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Family, Flash Fiction, Society, Writing

Weekly Writing Challenge: Mrs. Robinson

This week’s Challenge over on the Daily Post asks us to do a character sketch. I thought of a number of folks but Mrs. Robinson, my childhood hairstylist, came to mind immediately. Could I go back to the first time I met her, I would have wished to write this:

Her salt-and-pepper short hair cut was as sharp as the crackle of the gum between her pearly-white teeth. I couldn’t tell her age, but she had to be older than my mom, even though she moved twice as fast. I guess it was the Brooklyn in her. “Siddown, sweetheart,” she practically yelled, brandishing a black shop drape which she deftly put around me as I got into her barber chair. “Woo! You got some wool up here!” She took a comb and attempted to pull it through the thick brown tresses that my grandmother had been giving a twice-per-month press ‘n curl until now. I’d made the big leagues; I would be going to Mrs. Robinson, the neighborhood stylist, from now on. As she put the chair back so my neck could rest on the sink (“zink,” as she put it), my eyes were drawn to her starched white top and pants. I found it interesting that she dressed almost like a nurse, that she was in fact a hair practitioner. The only difference between her and any nurse I’d seen was her bosom; it was ample and saddled within one of those pointy, “24-Hour” bras I had seen on the lingerie rack at Jamesway.


Copyright: Estatik

During each visit as she reached above, over, behind me, the soft torpedoes of her chest would  unashamedly press into my upper arm or side of my head. She was like an auntie to me, regaling me with stories of the talk shows that played incessantly on the television in the corner of the shop.

Fast-forward at least ten thousand years; I’d left town, off to college, then married, then widowed, then remarried. She’d been in a car accident; I’d gone to the trauma center with my mom. They said she’d lost most of her teeth in the impact. She looked small in that bed, covered in machines that kept her alive.

Fast-forward another ten thousand years; I went with my mother to visit Mrs. Robinson’s husband in the nursing home. Mrs. Robinson was there and she looked gorgeous; I told her so, doing my best impersonation of her saying it. She smiled and said it back to me, with that real Brooklyn accent. Her dimples were just as deep as I remember them, and the pearly whites she flashed now came from a dentist instead of from God. She hugged me and I could feel that “24-Hour” bra through our mutual sweaters. It was like being home.


  1. zlowdown February 11, 2013 5:47 pm

    This is SO good.
    I just want to keep reading…

    • AR Neal February 11, 2013 5:48 pm

      Thank you so much! She is still alive, and a wonderful woman!

      • zlowdown February 11, 2013 5:50 pm

        You honestly moved me with this post like I was watching a delicate movie on Lifetime. What a genuinely talented writer you are! 🙂

        I will have to step up my game in writing my entry! ha ha

        • AR Neal February 11, 2013 5:55 pm

          Hahaha! No worries! I am sure you will provide a wonderful piece! You’ve already got it goin’ on at your site 🙂

          • zlowdown February 11, 2013 6:04 pm

            Ha ha why thank you!

            I’m working on finding my niche as a new blogger. Taking a few pointers from the experts 😉

          • AR Neal February 11, 2013 6:07 pm

            Ah! Be sure to visit http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/community-pool-design/ if you haven’t already if you want feedback!

          • zlowdown February 11, 2013 6:07 pm

            I have not.
            Thanks, will do.

          • AR Neal February 11, 2013 6:09 pm

            😉 Helpful lot over there–post a link with any specific feedback questions desired, and be sure to click the link to get follow-up emails. However, the volume of messages might be large. You can also ask for responses directly in your own blog comment section instead to cut down on the email strain.

  2. jacksdavie February 11, 2013 5:54 pm

    I agree, great depiction! I just wanted to keep reading too 🙂

    • AR Neal February 11, 2013 5:55 pm

      Thank you, Jackie!

  3. Baxterwrites February 11, 2013 8:10 pm

    Great post. What happened in those 10,000 years? Did you think of her? Did your wives know about her?

    • AR Neal February 11, 2013 8:14 pm

      Interesting questions; I did become a widow during the first 10,000 years. And I remarried later, which is when I saw her next. Nope, no wives; only a (second) husband, a son, two cats, two dogs, and some fish 🙂

  4. Britt February 11, 2013 8:16 pm

    Beautiful, powerful writing.

    • AR Neal February 11, 2013 8:17 pm

      Thank you, Britt!

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  6. Joyce February 12, 2013 4:00 pm

    You describe her very well. Her character is real in my vision. Good images. I have one posted here: http://jemj47.wordpress.com

    • AR Neal February 12, 2013 4:01 pm

      Thank you, Joyce! I think when someone is important to us, we are able to give them life–even on a printed page/computer screen 🙂

      • Joyce February 12, 2013 4:03 pm

        I totally agree.

  7. snosler February 12, 2013 7:50 pm

    I know people who chew gum like that! Just stopping by to see what people are writing about for the Challenge

    • AR Neal February 12, 2013 9:33 pm

      😉 There are some enjoyable reads for sure! Thanks for stopping in!

  8. Dirk Porsche February 13, 2013 3:49 pm

    This is a really nice post. It made me remember my similar equipped stylist when I was a teen and how it felt when she had to reach over me …

    • AR Neal February 13, 2013 4:00 pm

      The things we remember… 😉

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