Can you believe it? It’s Susanna Leonard Hill’s 7th Annual Holiday Contest!
The rules: Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) about A Holiday Surprise! Any kind of surprise – anything at all! – the more unexpected the better!, but is not to exceed 250 words.
It was the first night of Hanukkah and everyone had gone across to the Mazur’s for latkes, leaving Binah alone to think for the first time since she arrived.
She could still hear them through the walls. It was always noisy in the crowded tenement.
Binah missed the village where she’d lived with Zayde, Bubbe, and Papa. She could run through the nearby fields and breathe fresh air!
Last spring, the pogroms began. Every week bought destruction and fear. One day Papa disappeared.
In August, Binah was sent abord a ship to join family in New York.
Kneeling near the stove on the cold kitchen floor, Binah dragged her overcoat from under the narrow bed she shared with her cousin Sally. She fumbled in the pockets until she found the large wooden dreidel Zayde tucked inside that day she had to say goodbye. It was large and lopsided, just like Zayde. Binah wondered if she’d ever see him again?
She stood the dreidel on end and tried a spin but it toppled right over showing the lucky letter, gimmel. Looking closer, Binah noticed a tiny crack. She put her thumbs on the gimmel and pushed. The side slid open.
Tickling her fingers into wool batting, Binah pulled out a coin, then six more, a gold watch, pearl earrings, and a little paper scroll.
Unrolling it, she read: “Binah—Use these treasures to help build your shining future in America. Always remember I love you, zeisele. I know you will succeed.”
I’ve missed participating in the last couple of Susannah’s contests so I really wanted to write something for this one. I’m still very attached to the characters I created for my very first holiday contest story, Sometimes, a Pigeon. This new story is about one of those characters. It’s also inspired, of course, by my own family history and a couple of visits to the Tenement Museum in New York (If you’re ever in New York, you MUST go!).
Thanks Johnelle DeWitt, Tami Traylor, and my husband, Bill, for their feedback!
12/9/2017 @ 4:59 pm
Love it. Good luck!
12/10/2017 @ 1:16 am
Lovely story! My favorite line is “It was large and lopsided, just like Zayde.” I am wondering , though, why Binah didn’t go with them. Good luck in the contest!
12/10/2017 @ 1:28 am
Thank you Jilanne!
Zayde and Bubbe stayed behind in the old country when they sent Binah to America.
Or are you wondering why Binah didn’t go with the relatives who came to America earlier?
12/10/2017 @ 9:12 am
Such a magical story! You packed so much feeling into so few words, wonderful job!
12/10/2017 @ 3:13 pm
So many new words and things I’m not familiar with…but that didn’t matter, I understood the longing that Binah felt. Good job getting your reader to connect with your characters. And sad but beautiful story. best of luck to you.
Carol Ann Martin
12/10/2017 @ 9:53 pm
That is a beautiful and powerful story, Mishka, and an important piece of history. Thank you!
12/11/2017 @ 12:18 pm
What a touching story and meaningful surprise. I sense there’s greatness in Binah’s future–and that Zayde’s treasures will help her achieve it. Nice job, Mishka!
12/13/2017 @ 1:27 pm
Best story yet. Creates fear, warmth, tenderness and love in just a few simple sentences. A true talent.
12/13/2017 @ 6:07 pm
Thank you, Mom!
Susanna Leonard Hill
12/13/2017 @ 5:31 pm
Oh, Mishka! What a wonderfully moving entry! And such a sweet surprise! Nothing could have been better. You did such a nice job of showing Binah coping as best she can but missing her old life so much. Really nice job! Thanks so much for an entry which has both a wonderful surprise and embodies the true spirit of the holidays!
12/14/2017 @ 1:29 pm
Such a tender and touching story Mishka! Thank you for sharing it with us. 🙂
12/15/2017 @ 11:53 am
Wow! I LOVE this story, Mishka. So moving!
12/16/2017 @ 10:38 pm
This is a beautiful story, with so much emotion in such a short length!
12/16/2017 @ 11:34 pm
I absolutely love this story for all the reasons already mentioned.