Audrey Austin

Audrey Austin
Proud to be a small town indie author

Monday, September 30, 2013

Time for a Change! -- by Patricia A. McGoldrick; October's featured author


Freshly brewed coffee in hand, Maggie settled into the soft green wing-backed chair, inherited from Grandma. She took a sip of her favourite medium roasted java and began her Saturday morning ritual of catching up on the news from back home in Derry Bay.

Since the local newspapers had been put on line, it was easy to check in for the latest happenings. Today, however, was a surprising headline:

Derry Bay--Wartime Houses on the Chopping Block!

Condos coming!

The huge headline seemed to pierce through the screen of Maggies iPad right into her heart.

Wartime houses held a special place in Maggie Byrnes life story. Daughter of Jack Byrne, WWII veteran, Maggie had lived in one of those little houses on Borden Avenue--Number 27 to be exact-- until she was in Grade Two.

Years ago, her Dad had survived the WWII D-Day landing on Juno Beach, unlike his two best friends from high school who died in that stormy landing. Dad never wanted to talk about it much but the war left its mark.

Along with many other veterans, Jack came back from the war and married his high school sweetheart. They settled into one of the "temporary" houses built to meet the needs of wartime workers and returned soldiers. Jack and other veterans who lived in the houses on Borden Avenue were more than happy to have the worry of housing taken off their list of concerns.

As she read the article, Maggie recalled those childhood days of sharing a bedroom with her sister, Manda, right across the hall from their brother Joe's room. The sloped ceilings, inset window shelf benches, and small closets had been their play space for many years. Now, somebody, some company, wanted to tear down her childhood home!

After refilling her coffee mug, Maggie moved over to the breakfast nook. She settled on the bar stool and continued to read the article by Kitra Cole, her old friend from college who now covered news stories for the digital press in southwestern Ontario.

Apparently, Cole had discovered, these houses were located on prime property according to Toronto developer, Madge Michaels. Historic value aside, the buildings overlooked potential condo vistas that would draw prospective buyers to the village. Time to redesign the waterfront?

This was not exactly an original idea. Living in Toronto, where waterfront redevelopment flourished, had taught Maggie that drastic changes could be wrought by tearing down the old and building anew, but condos in Derry Bay? This was beyond imagining!

Todays startling headline from Derry Bay set Maggie to thinking. Drifting into a daydreaming mode, as she finished her second cup of coffee, Maggie began to reflect on the sadness of the past two yearsloss of her last remaining grandparent, and the accident that took Frank from her. Last year, within two months, she had seen the passing of Gran, an almost surrogate parent to her since Mom and Dad died in a horrific plane crash as Maggie was finishing her publishing internship. Then, a month later, Franks car slid off the icy road in a February storm as he was returning from a ski trip with his friendsno survivors.

For months since, Maggie had persevered with her work but, as memories flooded back today, she thought that maybe it was time to take up her employer on the idea of taking a sabbatical. It was worth considering.

Rinsing her blue pottery mug, one of Franks garage sale finds, she decided that, for now, she would just let the thought brew. First she would finish reading that last manuscript from yesterdays pile.

Maggie returned to the green chair and the first page of the manuscript: 

Blonde and swarthy, he waded up out of the water looking like Adonis in Neptunes pond

Maggie sighed as she read the opening line with its mythical mentions. Maybe she had been editing too long. She needed a break! Derry Bay, in the headlines today, was a sign. She would go there, to Gran's place, where Maggie had spent so many summer days. It seemed like the right spot to get away from the relentless submissions by authors, old and new. Turn off the Facebook, Twitter, the Blackberry, for a few weeks. Maybe here at the bay of her childhood vacations she could get the rest she needed, before the town was changed, irrevocably, by developers.

A few weeks at Derry Bay would ease the pain of her losses, renew that sense of vitality that she had shared with Frank, and maybe get involved to save those wartime houses.

Time for a change! 

Patricia A. McGoldrick is a Kitchener, Ontario Canada writer with poems published in anthologies, including: Animal Companions, Animal Doctors, Animal People; Beyond the Dark Room, an international collection of transformative poetry; Poetic Bloomings--the first year. Poetry and reviews have been published in the CSM, The WM Review Connection, and Recent titles include: Potato  and MLK in Dufferin County plus an acrostic fiction piece, Best in the Bruce!
Patricia is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and the League of Canadian Poets 


  1. Nice, Patricia! So easy to identify with Maggie, and by the time I got to the end, I was envisioning my own happy ending to this story. :-)