So Are They All by Mitchell Toews   

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Rosa Amelia Zilkie, the eldest of eleven children, was born in Canada in 1903. Her father was born in Poland, her mother in Romania. She married Cornelius F. Toews, in 1920 (at the age of 17) and took on his three young sons – he being recently widowed. Grandma raised his children and added ten of her own. Once her children were grown and out of the house, she took in disadvantaged boarders – Down’s Syndrome, polio victims, the elderly and infirm, and transient relatives – of which there was a plentitude!  Grandma passed away in 1985. 

This story was inspired by Rosa Amelia Zilkie

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My friend Leonard Gerbrandt was wiry and tall for his age and he had big dimples and a giant Adam’s apple. His mom worked for my parents at our little bakery and she was an elegant beauty reminiscent of the movie star, Hedy Lamarr. She was dark haired and slender with high, rouged cheekbones and large brown eyes. I was just a little kid, but I felt weak when she was near; the scent of her perfume confusing me through a kind of permeating intoxication, although I would never reveal it. Especially to Lenny, who was as tough and unyielding as a Manitoba March storm.

The Gerbrandts were made of stern stuff. Lenny’s older brother was gaunt and menacing – his unblinking stare was like a violent shove. Their dad was an ex-cop. Mr Gerbrandt had been a good baseball player and was a big rugged guy, like a young Robert Mitchum. Mitchum married Lamarr and they begat sons and daughters, including Lenny, who, in later years, taught me how to roll a corn silk cigarette and do a catwalk on my bike. Lenny’s dad was the town cop but then joined the army and when he came back, he was not the same anymore. He had run out of whatever it was that made him Robert Mitchum, the big raw-boned cop who got Hedy Lamarr. Instead, he sat alone in the Hartplatz men-only beer parlour and got quietly loaded every day.

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Linoleum by Deidre Jaye Byrne

 

“You could eat off her floor,” Miriam often said in a half envious way, if Dora was present, and in a half mocking way when she was not.  “I drove her home that day when her car wouldn’t start and honest to God, you’d think that floor had never been stepped on.  I mean, it was like a mirror it was so shiny!”    But what Miriam and her coworkers did not know was that Dora actually did eat off her floor.

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 The Boatyard Gang by Tom Sheehan

The gang from the boatyard, by God you had to love ‘em, the lot of them, every man jack of them; braised, poured, scratched, abraded, welded, mucked about by all of life, you had to love ‘em. Up front you have to know that those who had gotten nicknames felt honored, for that moniker stuff usually came from within, a private medal of sorts, earned without hoopla, seared forever. Those who hadn’t been so acclaimed patiently waited some kind of anointment, slow in coming, taking over like a root, underneath everything seen or known. Some of them had names like Max, Slad, Wilf, Muckles, Shag, Ronnie J, Slip, a feast of designations varied as character. And the sole captain of his own boat in the lot of them was Shanklin Garuf.

To a man, you had to love ‘em.

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Sweet Boy by Matthew Lyons  – Adult Content

When they can’t ignore the stink coming from his room anymore, Mom and Dad break the lock on Jeff’s door and go in, prepared, they think, for whatever happens next.  It’s not like they don’t have an idea anyway, they still do all his laundry.  There’s not a sock in his hamper that isn’t stiff and crusty and yellowed.  Mom doesn’t even gag about it anymore it happens so much, she just makes sure to wear latex gloves when she does the whites.

The only thing that doesn’t make sense is why they always smell like sugar.

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