Understanding Ora

Understanding Ora

A Story by Longing for Home

A character description


           She was born in 1892, and had already lived a lifetime by the time I came into the world – and the lifetime had not always been kind, revealing its’ harshness towards her in her face and body. There was nothing extraordinary about her.   She was of average height and average weight, with drab, thin yellow-gray hair (not elegant silver or pearly white) pulled back in a severe, no-nonsense bun. Her face was long in shape, and was lined and scored with deep wrinkles, eyes a dim blue that gazed intently behind her “spectacles”. Her nose was relatively thin, but seemed to have large nostrils that flared. Her sister once made the comment that she “looked like the south end of a north-bound horse.”

            She spoke in a husky whisper, as if her vocal cords were rebellious at the thought of actually speaking. She tried to appear frail and weak, but her sturdy body and sharp mind refused to allow this image to take shape.  Never flashy or ornate, she dressed in faded plain “housedresses” with deep pockets which she sewed herself without the aid of a store-bought pattern. In those pockets, one could find wadded up tissue to catch the drips from her nose caused by her constant hayfever, as well as horehound candy and Luden’s cough drops. No-nonsense stockings held up by homemade rolled elastic garters covered her legs, topped with sturdy, sensible black shoes. She always looked the same.

            My little 4-year old heart would rebel at the sight of her…my perception was that she was mean and boring and selfish and...old.  Even her name was old – Ora. Whoever heard of a name like that?
            “I’m NEVER going to be like HER!” I’d say to myself, and I’d wonder why she had to be so horrid and boring.
            What I didn’t know, of course, was the story of her life. How she had traveled in a covered wagon from Illinois to the Indian Territories during the Oklahoma Land Rush. How she’d outlived her fiancé who was killed during World War I, then her husband and two daughters, all who died exceedingly young. How she supported her daughters and their families during the dust bowl, the depression, and World War II.
 I didn’t learn until much later, after her death, of how she helped my own mother escape from an abusive relationship from my father in a time when such things were not discussed. She gave my mom the money for a divorce, and said, “There is no shame in being a grass widow.” 
I was too young to understand her faith -- she was a devout Christian, who showed love in actions, not words, always putting the needs of others’ before her own. 
 Now that I am older, I do understand. I wish I could tell her that I think she’s beautiful and I believe that like her, I too, am strong.
 I wear her wedding band as a reminder. I think that she would approve.


© 2009 Longing for Home

Author's Note

Longing for Home
This is my first assignment for the writing course that I'm taking. I'll be interested to compare comments to those of the instructor.

Thanks in advance.

My Review

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Please do not worry a lot about the instructor.

My high school English teacher flunked me. My best friend
who was a straight A student handed in a paper with my name
as the writer and she gave it an F.

A friend of mine is a proof reader and some-times editor of
a publication. She has English teachers submit so many errors
that it is almost impossible to correct them.

Now----to your story.

Understanding Ora is a story of such quality and depth that
it could be rife with poor spelling and errors in grammar and the
subject matter of the story would shine through, blazing with
empathy, understanding, kindness and high moral values.

Actually, I was readily overcome by the quality of the story to the
extent that spelling and grammar became an unentity.

You drew a character portrait of such magnitude that I was immediately
drawn in to the subject.

I sincerely hope that you get an "A" on this paper, but if you get a "C" you
will have done an "A" piece of writing.

Consider this:
The important part of most writing is in the subject matter. I am a great
admirer of Albert Einstien . I have read almost everything he ever wrote
and I have never once thought to look for an error in spelling or grammar.
He was a human, so I`m sure errors existed in his work, but who cares.
The stream of consciousness that dredged up some of the world`s greatest
thinking is the important thing.

You have written an extremely profound and kind character study of a
person this reader will never forget.
Consider what you have done, the importance of your writing.
This wonderful woman will have lived and died without fanfare, without
anyone haveing sung her praises, until now.

You have eulogized Ora in a manner that is befitting the saintly figure she'
was. No one could do a nicer thing for her. She is smiling now, because
the words you said for her will live ----- forever.

Thank you ,

----- Eagle Cruagh

Posted 11 Years Ago

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Added on March 15, 2009
Last Updated on March 15, 2009


Longing for Home
Longing for Home

Madison, WI

Who am I? I am a mom (with an indomitable spirit) of 3 young adult children -- one of whom suffers from Paranoid Schizophrenia. I am the wife of a very gentle soul. I am an employee to a savage co.. more..