Monday, January 14, 2013

A Story from Sylvia

Blogger Friends- I'm back after taking a break for a short while. I published my second mystery "Death Beyond the Breakers" and I'm starting on the third in the series. To get back in the groove of blogging again, I'm going to start posting some short stories. Some may make you laugh and others might bring a tear; I hope they'll entertain you.

Lost Letter
By Sylvia Melvin

            Ruth Moyer struggled to balance a stack of old books she carried in her arms on the way to her car. The church rummage sale was a good excuse to get rid of thirty years of packing and unpacking them each time she and Tim moved. Why on earth her husband held on to such relics she could never understand. As she shifted her load to open the car door, a dog-eared college history book fell off the top and landed at her feet. After arranging the other books on the back seat, she bent down to retrieve it and noticed a sheet of folded yellowing paper sticking out from the text. Since it was not part of the book, her curiosity grew. Hmm…now I wonder what this could be?
            The first three words of a letter sent her pulse racing.
            My dearest Tim,
                 Please forgive me. So many times I’ve picked up a pen to write you but the words in my heart never seemed adequate so they didn’t make it onto the paper. This time I was determined to express my feelings.
            Over and over I’ve wondered how to make you understand how much I loved you. I never wanted it to end the way it did. Please believe that. I still have your picture and each time I look into your eyes my heart aches .The day I lost you I thought I’d lose my mind and I swore I’d not rest until you heard the truth. Please keep reading and hear my side of the story.
            Ruth’s eyes scrutinized every word and as she read down to the end of the page she flipped over the paper, anxious to read the explanation. A disappointed gasp leaped from her throat—the page was void of words. Blank.
            “No,” her voice trembled, “I’ve got to know.” She grabbed the book and held it upside down shaking it furiously. Nothing fluttered from within and soon she heard the cover start to break away from the binding. Slamming the two ends together, she stood staring at the letter.
            How long has Tim held this secret affair from me? It must be dated. I’ve missed it.
            Once more Ruth unfolded the letter and her eyes searched the upper right-hand side. 1979. Math calculations buzzed around in her brain and she didn’t like the results.
            Tears moistened her eyes and memories of 1977 freshman college days clouded her thinking. We were the inseparable couple .Was he two-timing me? Who was this woman? Did Tim truly love her? Was I second best and did he marry me on the rebound?
            Anger reddened her cheeks and in her distraught state she kicked the car door so hard the slam echoed in her eardrums. No rummage sale today .I’m not in the mood to smile and listen to a bunch of middle-age women pretend ‘all is well with the world.’My world’s turning upside down and only one man can set it right. And as soon as he gets home from work he has some explaining to do.
            By five-fifteen, Ruth had checked the roast for doneness, poked the potatoes and carrots for firmness, and tossed the salad. Though the letter had taken away her hunger, she knew Tim would be famished. The squeaking of the screen door announced his arrival. It never varied. He was as predictable as summer following spring. That part of his personality simply didn’t fit with the letter. She’d known him all of her adult life. At least I thought I knew him.


            “Honey, I’m home,” was a familiar refrain but Ruth’s response was silence. She placed the history book with the letter inside the front cover in the middle of his place mat and waited for Tim to enter the dining room.
            He walked to her, grazed her lips with a kiss and sat down. “Guess you didn’t hear me come in. Well, how was your day? You mentioned this morning you were going to clean out a cupboard for the rummage sale.”
            “The cupboard’s clean. I believe one of your books was in the pile.” Her eyes beckoned to the textbook in front of her husband.
            “You don’t say!” A half-chuckle followed as Tim picked up the book. “World History. I struggled with that one. Too many dates. What’s this?” The letter slipped onto his lap as he opened the cover.
            Ruth struggled to keep her composure. “Why don’t you read it?”
            Something in her tone puzzled Tim and he wasted no time in fulfilling her request.
            Suddenly, Tim’s demeanor became agitated. “Did you read this?”
            “Yes.” Ruth’s breath came in shorter pants. “Why couldn’t you tell me you were in love with someone else while we were dating? I believed I was your sweetheart. You certainly fooled me. Second best must have been a let-down.”
            Tim pounded the table with his fist. “I never wanted to hear from her. It’s not what you think, Ruth. The rest of the letter would have explained the situation. Yes, there was another woman in my life.” Tim took a deep breath as tears filled his wife’s eyes. “But she wasn’t a lover. She was my mother.”
            Ruth wiped away the wetness that blurred her vision. “But your mother died when you were born and your father was killed in an accident. You told me an aunt raised you.”
            “My mother gave birth to an illegitimate child then gave me away. Guilt caught up to her and when I was in college she tried to make amends by sending this letter. I never believed her tale of woe and her sister passed away when I was five. No one else wanted this stray child so the county paid foster homes to feed and shelter me.”
            By now steam no longer sent a delicious aroma of beef into their nostrils and the vegetables were cold. Ruth reached over and placed her hand on Tim’s wrist.             “Sweetheart, forgive me, I was jealous. But why have you held the truth to yourself all these years? Surely you know my love for you could have handled it.”
            Tim’s head hung low and his voice faltered. “Ashamed, I guess.  Your family was so normal—everything I always visualized. When I met you all I wanted was to put the past behind me and finally make my dream come true.” Tim squeezed Ruth’s hand. “And it has, darlin’. I’m so sorry this letter upset you. Let’s just forget it, okay?”
            “But Tim, the missing page. What was the explanation?”
            “Oh, she tried to convince me that she had no choice but to give me up. Told me her father threatened to disown his daughter since she’d disgraced the family. Apparently my heritage had some ‘blue blood’ running through it. A real sob story but I wasn’t buying it. Women, in my opinion, who love their children keep them no matter what. She was more interested in saving her reputation.      I never answered her letter.”

            Ruth looked into her husband’s eyes and saw the hurt but she had to ask, “Then why did you keep it?”
            It was a few seconds before Tim answered her. “I guess it was the only thing I had that came from my real mother. I used it as a book mark.”
            Ruth’s response came in a veiled question. “You could try and find her. She may still be living. How old would she be? Seventy, seventy-five maybe?
            “And what would I say to her, Ruth? Gee, mom, thanks for leaving me to grow up with strangers. It did a lot to develop my independent character and sense of responsibility. No, I think I’ll take some time-honored sage advice and ‘let sleeping dogs lie.’ Now, would you pass the biscuits, please?”

The end

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Biking Beauties

I met two new friends this week. Linda and Coreen are both in their sixties, retired, and crazy about cross country biking. They challenged themselves to ride across the southern tier of the United States from San Diego, California to St. Augustine, Florida. After seven weeks of cycling, they came to Milton, Florida and spent the night with my husband, Al and me.
There’s an online organization in the cycling circles called “” which my husband joined a couple years ago before his own cycling trip down the eastern coast of Florida. The purpose of this group is to extend hospitality to cyclists who need a comfortable bed, a home-cooked meal, and laundry facilities at no charge to them. Members post their cell phone numbers and a profile.
More than once, I’ve come home from work and Al has greeted me at the door with the announcement that we’re having guests for supper. Kinda like that movie in the 60’s called “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”
We’ve met couples from Norway, two newly weds who took a year off work to cycle to all 50 states, a young man from Hawaii, women who had the courage to bicycle alone and retired men who were fulfilling a wish from their ‘bucket list.’ They’ve come from all walks of life and it has been a joy to hear about their life experiences.
I admire the dedication and positive attitude they display; especially, since my exercise routine amounts to a walk around the neighborhood three times a week—if it doesn’t rain.
Thank you all for adding a special dimension to my life and may God bless you as you cycle on.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Riverwalk Festival

Tomorrow is the biggest Arts Festival in Milton, Florida and I will be marketing my books along the Blackwater River. The weather promises to be beautiful after a few days of doubt.Rain stopped late this afternoon and I gave a sigh of thanks.
I'm hoping the crowd will be readers looking for a local author(Sylvia Melvin) who has written the following:
Summer Guest- romance
Helena:Unwavering Courage- biography
Southern Sage:The Honorable Woodrow Melvin-biography
Death Behind the Dunes- Mystery

It's a two-day event so I'm going to be a tired puppy when it's over, but to me ,it's well worth it to know someone is reading a book I put my heart and soul into.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring Break

Have you ever wondered why "spring break time" goes so quickly? It seems like only yesterday I was composing my 'things to look forward accomplishing on my spring break list' when here it is Friday with half my chores finished and I go back to teaching on Monday!However, freshly laundered curtains do hang from sparkling windows that I scrubbed inside and out, a delicious smelling pumpkin pie sits on the counter and the leaves around the pool have been swept up and deposited over the fence. But the task I enjoyed most all week was working on my sequel to my mystery "Death Behind the Dunes". Every time I see the word count increase it gives me a thrill; yes, there is hope I'll complete "Death Beyond the Breakers" before summer.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Featured On Author Outbreak

What a nice surprise to see one of my books featured on a site that promotes indie authors this morning.I appreciated the encouraging review,too. My Canadian grandmother's story is unique and has been well received.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Birthin' My Latest Book Baby

The gestation period lasted almost a year, the pangs of rewrite came frequently, but once committed, there was no turning back. Finally, my spanking new "Southern Sage:The Honorable Woodrow Melvin" book baby was delivered to my front door ready to show itself to the world.

Its first appearance was at the Milton Riverwalk Arts Festival April 26. Judge Woodrow Melvin's photo caught the eyes of those who either knew him personally, worked with him or had an occasion to stand in court before him. All gave words of praise for a man they respected.

This summer I'm planning to acquaint the citizens of Santa Rosa County with his biography at a number of venues.His story can also be found on

Just like the arrival of new babies, newly published books create curiosity too; so for anyone who'd like a sneak preview,I've posted a short synopsis here on my blog.If you think it's a book of interest to you, email me at and I'll get back to you.

Synopsis of Southern Sage

How many attorneys who start as small town lawyers end their careers as a judge on the Appellate Court? Woodrow Melvin’s passion for the law takes him on a journey into the courts of Florida as well as the State House of Representatives and the State Senate.
The stories Woodrow tells from his twenty years working as a circuit court judge are charged with emotion as the reader sees the gut-wrenching decisions he must make whether it be a life-changing child custody case or the life-sentencing of a hardened criminal.
Anecdotes, shared by his family, friends, and peers show Woodrow as a man of conviction, fairness, humility and humor. A familiar down-home, southern phrase often heard from him by attorneys when discussing a case goes like this, “You know, I don’t believe that dog will hunt.”
The legacy of this hard-working public servant continues to touch the lives of Floridians to this day, especially, in the areas of public health and education.
The old cliché, ‘Home town boy makes good’ more than applies to Woodrow M. Melvin.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Writer's High

I came home from school today feeling low; the sinus infection with its continual torrent of drainage running down my red, scratchy throat and the unexpected coughing spasms that left me gasping for air, got the better of me and I gave in. Even though I have not missed a day of work all year, I felt as though I could not endure another eight hours in this condition trying to teach kindergarten children the correct phonetic sounds of the ABC’s. The only compassion I heard from one dear child as my contorted face emitted a cacophonous sound was, “Mrs. Melvin, are you going to throw up?”
Before I left for the day, I confirmed with my principal that he need not count on me to perform my duties tomorrow since my resistance to this irritating malaise was now nonexistent. All I wanted was a hot cup of tea, a warm blanket and a little sympathy from my husband.
While waiting for the water to boil for the soothing liquid I was sure would calm my throat, I checked my email. One message stood out that lifted my spirits better than any prescription drug. The publishing company announced that they were producing a paperback anthology of short stories that had been selected from their contests and my story of two talking turkeys would be included. Now that’s the kind of medicine any sick writer wants to hear. I’m still taking the day off!