Meet the Cartwrights | Teen Ink

Meet the Cartwrights

April 17, 2017
By Kameron.Leigh, Kentwood, Louisiana
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Kameron.Leigh, Kentwood, Louisiana
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Author's note:

I honestly had a dream about one of the chapters and couldn't wait to put it on paper, now i can't wait to put it up on here. 

If I had known what would become of me I would have never had “The Incident”. No, scratch that, if that hadn’t have happened I may not be here writing a story for you. Everything in my life has led me right up to this moment, so I won’t regret anything because everything that has happened has brought me here to all of you reading this right now. It’s funny how things work out, right? Enough of me though, let’s talk about the story. Some parts of it are true; others are a little embellished for my own selfish reasons. Names have been changed because of identity or for their own good. There’s a lot of love, loss, peace, war, truth, lies and all the other in-betweens of life bundled up in my little world. It has taken me many years to find the words my mind has been searching for to create this. Some of these people in this story are already long gone and others are standing right beside me, bringing coffee to me as I write. To get to where we are now though, we have to start at the beginning, or more accurately the beginning after the end.
I was born Opal Caren Alder, June 13th 1923 in the good ole town of Bluewaters, Louisiana. My father, George Alder, was not a plantation owner but a wealthy businessman who owned and oversaw several cafes, hardware stores and -since it was considered a fishing town-lots and lots of boat, bait, and tackle shops. He was a sturdy man of 5’10 with a large, grey mustache and the clearest blue eyes you had ever seen on a man. When I was about three I used to believe the town was named after those famous eyes of his. To my disappointment it was named after the man who founded the town, Thomas J. Bluewaters, and father laughed at my scrunched up face when he broke the news to me. His laughter roared out of him like a dragon in a story book, and like a book, the lines on the side of his eyes would crinkle like its pages.

  Sometimes he would smooth my hair back to look at my face, and in that moment we would look just alike. Me with small, dark curls pushed from my forehead in a floppy manner and his in subtle waves that seemed to accentuate his salt and pepper coloring.

  There were also times when I was supposed to be asleep he would sneak into in his study, and I would quietly follow behind him. On those nights I would watch him take out his gold pocket watch from the bottom drawer of his desk and just watch the time roll by. I never knew why he did such a thing, it looked to me as if he had all the time in the world, and yet here he was, brows furrowed together as he watched the seconds ticked off one by one till the next hour. He would then look up and see me standing there, wipe the look off his face, and take my hand and bring me back to my room. “C’mon chickadee, tomorrow’s a big day,” he would always say. I remember how his rough hand held my small one and carried me around everywhere he went. Whether it was a meeting, parties, or even walking around the town, my side never left his.

  My mother was fortunately left out of this equation. She was a socialite; admired by every man and envied by every woman from all walks of life. She had short, straight brown hair that always framed her ivory face and brought out the green flecks in her eyes. She hardly smiled, but when she did it was as radiant as if the moon was rimmed with dark red lipstick. She walked with the grace of a dancer, and had the build of one as well. Everything about her seemed to turn heads, even her name, Rosaline G. Cameron-Adler, was like music in everyone’s ears.  I don’t remember much of her personality since the only time I spent more than a few minutes with her was when she brought me in to town with all her other rich friends and their children; even then she wore a cheery facade. I was more of a possession to show off and look at rather than play and be loved by when it came to my mother. Although she never loved me as a child of her own flesh and blood, I still loved her with every ounce of my small body. I wanted to dress like her, wear my hair the same way, and even tried walking the way she walked. At first she enjoyed my admiration just like everyone else’s, but after a while she began leaving the room as I walked in, waved me away and a maid would bring to my room, and even turn her head and call my father to come get me when all I wanted to do was talk to her.

  My father was a savior of mine; when she wasn’t there he was there twice as much. It was considered odd in that time to show love for their own child, let alone show it in public. Yet he never seemed to play by the rules and his assertiveness in everything he did made people not want to question it. I believed we were both trying to save each other from my mother’s cool interior. She only married him because of his social standing and everyone knew it, and yet my father tricked himself in to believing she fell in love with him as he did for her. It was the only foolish thing he had ever done in his life, and once I asked him why he was still here when she wasn’t. “Chickadee, love is a strange thing. So’s your heart. You can’t control where it’s going nor can you control whose hands it falls in to. And that’s the way it is Opal. I just hope you find someone more willing to take care of it than I did”. He would wink, smile, and encircle me in the crook of his arms. In this moment, I would always catch a hint of sadness in his eyes, but it would always go away when he caught me looking. I never knew why I didn’t ask about his sadness, my mother, any of it. Maybe it’s because I didn’t want to hurt him. I’ll never know if it would have hurt him. He died in October 29, 1929; I was only five years old.

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