Rose

Rose was a giver. All her life she had always put other people first and never herself, which is probably the most likely reason why she was loved by all who met her. At school if there was ever a charity or fundraising event she would always be the first to step forward and volunteer.

She loved children, studying childcare at college and as a student she offered to babysit for friends and family for only a small charge, this would at least help to cover money for petrol to get her from A to B.

Now aged 30 she worked in a children’s home as a residential support worker, she wasn’t the most academic of people but after spending 2 years of her life in foster care after her Mum battled with a drug addiction, she was able to deeply empathise with the children.

She was full of life and energy with a tall athletic frame and shoulder length blonde corkscrew curls in which the children took great amusement (whilst sat on her knee) in gently taking a strand of hair, pulling it so it was as straight as could be and releasing it shouting “Ping!!” and giggling happily. She never grew tired of this, as the laughter of the children made her heart dance.

The Playroom

The playroom was virtually in ruin. Rose was embarrassed as yet another piece of the musty 1970’s wall paper came away from the wall falling to her feet. The rest of the staff was also ashamed, but none of them had enough money themselves. The majority of them were volunteers, coming in to work out of the goodness of their own heart as was Rose. Only a miracle would help them to sort this and one was waiting around the corner.

 

The Old Lady

Rose had worked overtime again. Her boss Helen who was middle-aged with bright red bobbed hair and a tiny frame standing at only 5 foot tall shook her head: “You spend more time in this place that you do at your own home, you get yourself off”

Rose smiled : “Aww I love it here Helen it’s like a second home for me with all of you, I just wish we could do something about the playroom, I feel awful”

“Yeah and me” agreed Helen. “It would cost a small fortune to sort that room out. I’ve hired an industrial dehumidifier which should take the worst of the damp away. But apart from that none of us can afford to do anything. It’s such a shame”

“Maybe something will turn up” Rose added, Helen nodded her head in agreement and finished “Right see you tomorrow”

The night was cold and quite dark as the winter nights were drawing in. Luckily the children’s home was only a short walk from her own house 5 blocks away to be exact. A bitter icy nip in the air flushed her cheeks and her nose started to run.

The pavements were covered in black sheet ice which seemed to hide itself from the human eye maliciously waiting for its next victim. Many a time had Rose nearly slipped over but today it was someone else’s turn.

Ahead an elderly lady walked, pulling a khaki green trolley bag behind her. She was wearing spectacles so thick that they almost acted like a magnifying glass. Despite this she didn’t see the strip of black ice ahead of her and slipped and fell, her glasses fell off tumbling across the road.

Rose swiftly made her way towards to her exclaiming “Hello are you okay?!!”

The lady replied “I think so dear, just a little shaken”

Rose helped her to her feet and sat her on a nearby bench. She then went out into the road to fetch the pair of glasses one of the lenses was shattered.

“Are you sure that you’re okay? I’m afraid that your glasses are a bit worst for wear”

Rose took her arm “I’m Rose, I work at the local children’s home as one of the support workers. I’ll walk you home if you like”

The lady nodded “Yes please love, I’m useless without my glasses I’m afraid but I have a spare pair in the house. I’m Anna”

The discovery

Anna’s house was a small bungalow with heavily patterned 1970’s wall paper. It was clean and tidy but very dated. The garden however was another story. One could have compared it to a wild wilderness. The grass was knee-high and jungle like and over run by weeds.

Anna saw that Rose had noticed the untidiness of the garden almost straight away. “I know what a state…but it’s far too difficult for me to manage by myself. Not with my arthritis and poor eyesight.”

Rose nodded. “I understand, could your family not give you a hand?”

Anna shook her head “No, my husband died 5 years back and my eyesight has really deteriorated. My only son lives in Australia but it hard to stay in touch as much as I’d like.”

Rose stated “I’ll help you, I have friends who would be willing to help me sort your garden for you if you’d like”

Anna’s face shone with happiness “That would be wonderful”

 

Help is at hand

Back at the children’s home she told the other staff of her tale during lunch. “I just wondered whether you’d give me a hand to sort out her garden? If we all mucked in it would probably only take an afternoon, we could maybe get the children involved too.”

Two days later a help party of 10, including 4 members of staff and 6 of the older children were to surprise Anna.

“We’re here to do your garden Anna” Rose beamed.

Anna’s face once again lit up “Now are you sure it won’t be too much trouble?”

“Not a problem at all”

With their happy faces growing redder and over-heated, the help party soon ploughed their way through all the jobs. It was all hands on deck. 4 hours later the garden was immaculate, weed free with neat trimmed grass and fresh seeds planted. Anna was overjoyed with happiness.

Time passed and Rose would continue to pop in on Anna, helping her with small jobs such as gardening, general cleaning and tidying. But as the months went on she saw her less frequently.

The sad news came that Anna had passed away; she had died at the ripe old age of 85. Rose and the others were deeply saddened by this until Anna’s lawyer was to pay them a visit a week later.

The news

There was a knock at the door at the door stood a suited and booted, well-groomed ,tall middle-aged man with neatly cut medium brown hair and a goatee beard. “Can I come in? Sorry I should introduce myself. I’m Jonathon, Anna’s lawyer, I have some news which might be of use to you all” he smiled a secret smile. He continued “You were a friend of Anna’s weren’t you?”

“Yes, a friend and a helper”

Jonathon nodded. “Well erm…you might want to sit down”

 He continued without much hesitation “As you know Anna passed away last week. The only family she has, was her son Liam who lives in Australia. Did Anna tell you of her fortune?”

“No? no why, It’s not something I’d ever really talk about”

“Well the matter of fact is” he replied “She in-fact was very rich indeed, a millionaire her late husband was Charles Harrison who owned Harrison’s Dairy Farm in the Lake District. It was very successful indeed, a multi-million pound business. She had to sell it on of course but she made a small fortune in doing so. Her only other remaining family member was her son. She had a fortune of 5 million pounds. 4 million she has left to her son, the remaining 1 million pounds well, it’s yours!!”

Rose was in shock, she just gawped at Jonathon for about 5 minutes she thanked him, they shook hands. She was left still dumbstruck.

Rose’s decision

Rose had never ever had that sort of money before and her mind was already made up. Two months later the playroom in the children’s home was fully renovated warm and damp free with brand new wooden flooring and colourful new wall paper, not to mention the wonderful new equipment. Rose didn’t need the money for herself the gift for her was seeing the pure delight and glee on the children’s faces as they were allowed in the room again for the first time.

A shiny gold plaque was added in pride of place on one of the walls it read : “In memory of Anna.”


 

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4 thoughts on “In memory of Anna (A Short Story)

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