Hidden Passages

Hidden Passages

Vila SpiderHawk

Price: $5.99


Vila SpiderHawk’s stories celebrate crones in a way that makes the reader feel and remember their own memories of women in their lives. Readers meet Grandmother Spider, Lavinia, Cara, Mima Po, and more. Each of the crones in Hidden Passages share their hearts with readers young and old, through Ms. SpiderHawk and her wonderfully woven tales.

PUBLISHED BY: Vanilla Heart Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9796545-6-5
CATEGORIES: Fantasy, Inspirational, Paranormal
KEYWORDS: Tales to Honor the Crones, Vila SpiderHawk, Vanilla Heart Publishing, Short Stories, crone, women

EBOOKS BY Vanilla Heart Publishing

EBOOKS BY Vila SpiderHawk

COPYRIGHT Vila SpiderHawk/2007

Mima Po

People think living in the city is anonymous and solitary, and maybe it is for some. But the block I grew up on was as intimate as a small village. I lived in the corner house at the end of a row of stone and brick homes on a narrow tree lined street in the shadow of the elevated trains. Each house had a small patch of dirt in front that most of our neighbors planted with ivy and rhododendrons, which would flourish in the shade of the elms that grew just at the edge of the curb. People spent time outside. They talked while they swept imaginary dirt from their patch of sidewalk or while they weeded their front yards. And on summer evenings they gathered on their front porches and chatted over the railings that divided them. As children we knew we could knock on any door on the block and be welcome. All the neighbors watched over us as if we were their own.

In our neighborhood we all addressed our elders as Mr. or Mrs. and their last names. Even the adults followed that rule. There was only one exception. An old woman who lived in the middle of the block had a long and unpronounceable name that no one could remember. We called her Mrs. Po, though behind her back people called her other things. Mama called her D.P. I didn't know what that meant, but I knew by the way she said it that it wasn't nice. I thought it was a bad word for which she was using initials, the way she did when she said G.D. Once I asked Mama what G.D. meant and got smacked for the question. I allowed D.P. to lie in the realm of mystery.

The children called Mrs. Po a witch, because she was a solitary old woman who didn't go to any of the local churches and because she was dark skinned and spoke with a slight accent. "Don't go near Mrs. Po," Kathleen had warned, tossing her black braids knowingly. Though she went to Holy Innocence School and I went to Francis Hopkinson Elementary, we were best friends. She was a year older than I and had adopted me as her little sister, since both of us had only brothers. "She'll cook you in her oven and eat you for dinner," she had promised. And, as proof she cited Hansel and Gretel.

Everyone in the neighborhood was afraid of Mrs. Po. Though the adults pretended to be civil with her, even they gave her a wide berth and never initiated conversation with her. I found her fascinating the way people are fascinated with car wrecks along the side of the road. Though I lacked the courage actually to knock on her door, I found my eyes clinging to her house as I walked past to run errands for my mother or to go to Kathleen's house to play. Then one autumn afternoon I saw her on the porch. "Hello, Susie-Q," she smiled. And I giggled. She knew my name was Jody. Everybody did.

Her playful voice cracked a bit, but her eyes twinkled, and her face erupted in a smile that overtook her entire body. I could hear Kathleen's voice warning that witches wore charm like a new dress when they wanted to lure unsuspecting children into their lairs. But I liked the lady in the babushka and flowered apron who smiled down at me from the shadows of her porch. She looked pretty much like any of the other women of the neighborhood. She wore the same brown oxfords as all the mothers. And, like theirs, her hose were rolled in garters that showed just above the knee as she bent over her broom to sweep the autumn leaves from her porch. Her faded cotton housedress was cheaply made, as were the dresses of all the mothers. To me she looked like any other woman on the block except that she was a bit darker and she wore a black wool shawl instead of a sweater. And, of course, she was old.

I had never seen anyone as old as Mrs. Po, and that, too, fascinated me. I stood transfixed for what seemed like a very long time. Then I ran. ...


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