Friday, January 5, 2018


The last and most recent Neighborlee, Ohio book, leading up to the release this January of DORM RATS, the newest Neighborlee book -- which also happens to be the sequel to this week's Book of the Week.


Angela was, is, and likely always will be, one of those ageless women, with long, oval face and sculpted cheekbones. She has an incredible, thick, long fall of hair in a dozen shades of gold, with hints of strawberry in it, and big eyes that are usually blue—different shades, depending on her mood—but can sometimes seem gray and sometimes hint at green. The day I met her, she wore her usual handkerchief print blue dress with draping sleeves and no waist, what some might call a granny dress or hippie dress. Since it was August, she wore sandals.

"Do you know what a wish is, Lanie?" Angela asked me, once I was settled on the counter, with my legs hanging off the edge, braced on one arm and gazing into the Wishing Ball.

"It's something you want really bad lots, only it's kind of hard to get." I saw her reflection next to mine in the dark rainbow swirling surface of the ball, and tore my gaze away from it long enough to meet her incredible blue eyes. "And sometimes it's something you want really bad lots for other people, because they need it a whole lots more than you."

"Really? Like what?" Her smile softened and turned thoughtful, and she glanced at Mrs. Silvestri, who was standing behind me with one hand resting on my back. Like she thought I might fall off the counter?

"Like…" I turned to look at Mrs. Silvestri. Thinking back, I can't really say what concerned me more. Revealing orphanage secrets? Or revealing that I was very good at standing by the fence and listening to the children talking and playing on the other side of the tall wooden slats, to learn about the world outside the baby cottage? "Ginny Olsen wants her aunt to come back from Indiana and adopt her."

"How in the world…" Mrs. Silvestri patted my back and let out a little sighing chuckle. "Ginny's only worthwhile relative is a missionary in India. She wants the girl, but the other relatives won't let her take custody and take her out of the country. At the same time, none of them will bestir themselves to take custody themselves. They'd rather let the government be responsible for her." She stepped around the side of the counter to look me in the eye. "Where did you hear that, Lanie?"

"At the playground."

For some reason, after staring at me for a moment with her mouth dropping open, Mrs. S laughed. Then she kissed me on my forehead. Angela smiled and nodded, and for the first time I got that full-chest feeling that was partly relief, partly amazement, and the knowledge that I had pleased her.

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