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Chilocco School Short Stories
Chilocco's Susan

With a twinkle in her flashing dark eyes and a sparkling grin on her face Susan was there holding the big old heavy door open at Home Five. Like all the students who came into the school Sherry was just now arriving and she was filled with mixed emotions. She was a little frightened, but not enough to hold her back for wanting to be a part of the great place. The building would have been enough to intimidate anyone with its heavy stone structure and there was certainly room for that feeling of being threatened by the unknown. The students helping with her trunk were putting their shoulders into the lifting of it. She was now watching it disappear up the double staircase. The girls had a look of bold frivolity as they carried it, something like what a pirate might express. She didn't understand it at the time. Later it would become clear, what these looks meant when the newcomer became accustomed to the changing and exchanging of wardrobes.

The paper work had been finished and she was now down to nothing left to do but to settle into the scheme of things. If there was any sadness on her Mother's part, she as a true alumnus of the school herself would never express this openly there before her daughter, the matrons and the students. One last backward look at her mother standing, smiling in the doorway and she was up the stairs with her guide, Susan.

For a while she was busy putting her clothes away and when finished with that, there was a quiet moment for her. The girl was alone in her room. Sherry wondered who would be her room mate. At the moment no one was there.

As if by timing Susan knocked a little tap or two and opened her door. That same sparkle seemed to brighten up the space with her entrance. There was a polish about the girl which seemed extra ordinaire to this very green newcomer. Certainly Susan was in control, not only of herself, but of any other circumstance coming her way.

"We are having a party of sorts in Mary's room." "Want to come?" Susan was inviting her.

For whatever was expected of her, Sherry did not know, but anything would be better than the quiet solitude of this room with its sort of isolated feeling. "Sure." Sherry was agreeable. As the girls walked down the shining floors of the hallway she was blissfully ignorant as to how they got that way.

Sherry was greeted by the sight of the girls in their pajamas. There was a party mode. Large boxes of popcorn were filled. All about the room it was strewn like little white globs of intrusive clutter on the shining bright-dark floors. The popcorn was painfully out of place in this very neatly arranged room. It was obvious the girls were not just eating it, but were using it rather like a pillow fight.

The girls were showering each other with popcorn, rubbing it into their opponent's hair, or dropping it down their back. This was all something to think about for this newcomer. Her strict conservative raising couldn't be concealed she was sure. She tried not to wonder about how plentiful this food was. If in her mind she was seeing her mother hoeing long rows of the grain, the picture did not come to her, but, nevertheless; it was written into her conscience. In her girlish beginning here she would find no fault with the fun loving ways of this new girl she knew as, Susan. As time progressed she would observe many times how these sweet ways were more than just a whimsical thing, but rather the strength of a person who was truly a brilliant leader.

During the future times when different triumphs and joys or sadness came to Sherry for some reason or other it always seemed to be Susan who was there at any particular moment. She in her lilting laughter and beaming countenance acted like a friendly spirit sharing the trial or win. They were not close friends. Susan was a veteran of the school and her time was to be spread about between the many activities and her self-appointed responsibilities to one or another. Truly Chilocco was the footstool for Susan. It was her Kingdom and she ruled with the grace of a monarch, but with the dignity of goodness.

With the advent of the computer and the renewed association of long lost friendships, the realization struck Sherry these same emotions were tied up with all the students.

She read the notes and they were filled with questions. "Do you know what happened to So and So?" Or maybe. "Have you heard anything from him?" "I heard he died?" Still others might be more definite as to their being leaders, "If you know or hear anything from her, let me know?"

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