Thirteen-year-old Betony has always hated going to her cranky great-grandmother’s house. It’s old and stuffy and boring and the woodstove in the kitchen is always burning too hot. But her Gram doesn’t have any other family living close by on the Kingston Peninsula, so Betony ends up being dragged along all the time.
She’d rather be pretty much anywhere…until one day Betony sits on her Gram’s favourite chair. She is suddenly transported into the past, and is experiencing her Gram’s life as if it were in her own memory. At first Betony is excited and curious, and begins to develop a close relationship with Gram, even learning to cook and quilt. But after she has experienced a few more of her great-grandmother’s memories, she realizes she is slowly uncovering a terrible, shameful family secret.
It had been after eleven when I woke up in Gram’s chair the night before, feeling cramped and needing to pee. When I went to bed I had gone over in my mind every detail of the rooms I had seen in Aunt Basha’s house. I could see the faces of the two little boys and the baby, Benjamin. I remembered Grandmother Frazee’s kitchen and the dress she was wearing as she sat in her rocking chair. She had been pulling a large needle with a string of red yarn through the heel of a grey wool sock. Grandmother Frazee would be Gram’s grandmother, which would make her my great-great-great-grandmother. I had seen my great-great-great-grandmother sitting in her own kitchen. Olive green boards came partway up the kitchen wall behind her chair.
Those memories were still in my mind. All the memories from the other two times I had fallen asleep in Gram’s chair were still clear as well. I could see Uncle Lesley’s car, Thomas as he ran by Evelyn, pulling her braid, and Ida and Luella slipping off a log into the brook. I could see it all, not as if someone had told me or as if I had seen a movie, but as if they were my own memories. Memories I could search for in my mind just as if they had actually happened to me.
The creak of the bedroom door opening interrupted my thoughts when Gram walked to the foot of the bed.
Sue White was born in New Brunswick and moved from one New Brunswick city to another. As a teenager her family moved to the Kingston Peninsula and she only left long enough to earn her BA and BEd at St. Thomas University in Fredericton. Settling on the peninsula, she and her husband raised four children and ran a small farm while she taught elementary school. Since retiring she is grateful to now have the time to work on her writing and the freedom to regularly visit her new granddaughter in Alberta. Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.
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