OLWG #47 – The New Riverside Children’s Home

Written for OLWG #47



Sybella Proud did not grow up like other girls. At least not the way that she thought other girls grew up,

but sometimes she dreamed it might not be all that different after all.

Then she’d catch a glimpse of her reflection in a darkened window and she knew.

Each night she would lie in her cot (near the end on the north side of the room).

She watched the spider high in the corner, and wondered why it stayed there.

In the morning all the children would rise before dawn and report for work. The breakfast bell would ring at 7:30 and they could come back to eat.

Some of the girls worked in the kitchen. Most of the boys worked in the gardens,

boys raised squash, tomatoes, corn, and cucumbers. Fruit trees. Rabbits, sheep, and lots of chickens.

Sybella Proud worked in the laundry. Washing, wringing, hanging things out to dry, ironing.

The good sisters would arrange to bring in laundry from the town.

The girls would fetch it, soiled, in the mornings. Deliver it back, clean, in the evenings.

The good sisters would count the pennies. Once a week, market day,

a few kitchen girls (usually the older ones) would set up a barrow in the middle of the block.

They sold produce and eggs.

New parents never came for Sybella Proud.

New parents wanted infants. Sybella was a wash girl. Too old.

New parents were not shown the laundry, or the kitchen, or the skinny, undernourished  girls who worked those places.

New parents were shown healthy babies, less than three years old.

Sometimes Sybella Proud would watch the town girls, playing dress-up or skipping rope.

She wondered what the point was.

She learned to tell the difference between town girls and Riverside girls.

It was the look in their eyes.


This week, the prompts were:

  1. playing dress-up
  2. watched the spider high in the corner
  3. in the middle of the block

Don’t think! Write!
You have 25 minutes but if it takes longer – just don’t tell anyone.