Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

Just being picky. "Ev -(") inverted commas wrong way around.

Justin Campbell Justin Campbell
Recommendations: 6

Yeah, Word won't let me fix it. I know it's inverted. It just automatically makes it the wrong way regardless.

Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

1st line...them(,) not (-) x2 Again in line 4. Unless perhaps that's how you want it to be?

Justin Campbell Justin Campbell
Recommendations: 6

Sounds like too many commas. A 'the' is needed between 'at' and 'new' at the bottom of the paragraph actually.

Leslie Blackwell Leslie Blackwell
Recommendations: 21

I tend to side with Justin on this. I think the "-" format is better than too many comas. The only thing that reads a little ambiguous is "...his arms wrapped around his legs.." Though it is probably obvious that Daniel has his arms wrapped around his father's legs it could also read as Daniel has his arms wrapped round his own legs. - just an observation (petty as it is)

Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

Thanks for your explanation. Makes sense.

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Justin Campbell Justin Campbell
Recommendations: 6

Daniel Morgan

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Under the Double Star - Chapter One

September 7th, 1962

It was a bright, sunny day as movers unloaded furniture and belongings off of a large truck and into the house. The sky was clear with almost no trace of clouds at all.

       It was a simple little bungalow with minor features, recently built. It sat on a corner property, facing both Deerpark Road and Meadowlands Drive. Nothing was particularly special about the place other than what the young family saw in it when they signed the papers and accepted the mortgage plan on the house. They were buying directly from the developer; no one had previously lived in it – it was brand new.

       The family consisted of Evan and Marie Morgan, and their four-year-old son Daniel. Evan was a young civil servant working in the Federal Government while Marie worked as a nurse at the General Hospital, and both had met while at the University of Ottawa in the mid-1950s. Evan was a mild-mannered man raised on a working dairy farm located in the southern fields along the Merivale Road, and Marie came from an upper class family living in Rockliffe. In the two years of courtship they’d experienced together while at the university, they’d decided over time that they were in love, and the year they graduated, Marie became pregnant with Daniel. Helped along by her parents, they put together their meager savings after several years and made a down payment on the bungalow, moving out of their rented apartment in Hintonburg and into the growing suburbs.

       As the movers unloaded the small truck, the two parents instructed them where to put things while Marie’s father, Edwin, sat in a lawn chair outside on the fresh front lawn, entertaining Daniel and keeping him occupied. A veteran of the Second World War, he kept a careful watch on both the young boy and the movers. The boy was energetic enough; running around everywhere, Ed had to keep him nearby as the big men moved tables and mattresses, and if that wasn’t enough, the construction vehicles on the road and materials surrounding the place also posed a danger. Across the street, directly in front of the house, sat a brand new three-story apartment complex, and along Meadowlands Drive, disturbed earth and bits of construction material littered the landscape, the place of future planned development.

       An idea struck Edwin. Calling out Daniel’s name, he asked the boy if he wanted to go to the beach. Daniel was immediately thrilled.
       They drove in Ed’s car, a 1957 Chevy, east down Meadowlands until they came to Fisher Ave, and then turned north at the T intersection. Soon they came to Dynes Road, and continued east. Soon they were at a body of water known as Mooney’s Bay, and parked in a neat little lot located in the central part of a little peninsula that divided the water body into rapids on one side and a Canal on the other. Taking the boy by his hand, they walked across the Hog’s Back Bridge which crossed the water as it descended into rapids on its other side, and then walked along the grassy shoreline, past a little marina, until they came to a sandy beach. It was mostly empty as the water had gotten colder in the latter summer months, so grandfather and grandson just walked along it.

       “Water!” Daniel exclaimed in marvel at the calm water.

       “Yes, water,” Edwin said brightly. “Stay near me.”

       “Okay,” the little boy said. They continued up the beach until the sand ended and became grass again, where they turned around and came back the way they came. Most of the time Daniel was quiet, contemplative, observant of the world around him. As they came back to the north end of the beach, Daniel indicated the big hill in the middle of the park. When they got up there, both sat down to take in the afternoon, Edwin pulling out a small pipe.

       “Grandpa?” Daniel asked him.

       “Yes, my boy?”

       “Are we on top of the world?”

       Edwin looked out across the water, through the tops of the trees on the opposite shore. He could just make out the distant tops of the first two new low-rise apartment buildings along Meadowlands Drive peaking barely over the trees. Otherwise, nothing else was tall enough to overtake the greenery.

       “Yes, you could say we are. On top of the world, on top of everything. And one day, my boy, you’ll be surfing on top of the world all on your own.”

       “I will?”

       “Yes, I’m sure you will.”

       Daniel sat quiet for a moment, considering this. “Grandpa?”

       “My boy?”

       “What’s the meaning of life?”

       Edwin stared at his grandson. Clearly he’d overheard someone say or ask that, as the boy couldn’t know the meaning of half the words in the sentence he’d used.

       “Where did you hear that?”

       “Don’t know.”

       “Don’t know? Well, my boy, the meaning of life as we say is to play and have fun.”



       Later that afternoon, when the movers finished with all the furniture and left in their big truck, Edwin brought Daniel home to his mother and father, who were hooking up the telephone. The street and neighborhood was noisy and busy as construction workers used backhoes and machines and cranes and other machinery on the nearby construction properties; a new apartment building was a floor off the ground, and almost directly across the street from the house’s side, a huge rectangular pit had been excavated neatly, with a foundation of poured concrete marking the edges. Rows of town- and garden-homes were in varying stages of construction. It was a very young neighborhood.

       Regarding the sound of engines and machinery, Edwin said, “Couldn’t you two have bought somewhere else?”

       “Well,” Marie answered, “This was the most affordable deal we got. Besides, it’s a lot better than that second-floor space in Hintonburg.”

       “It won’t go on forever,” Evan said as he hung up the phone, satisfied with the dial tone coming from the receiver. “And Marie and I have some news.”

       “Evan! I don’t want to tell my parents yet.”

       “Why not? We’ve got the house now.”

       “You’re pregnant?” Edwin deduced.

       Marie gave him a stare. Evan said, “Well…”

       “Yes. I am. Two months.”

       “That’s why we jumped on this house,” Evan continued. “Land movers and construction aside, this’ll be a fine place to have a second child. It’s big enough.”

       Edwin looked around for Daniel. “Does your son know about this?”

       “Not yet, we plan on telling him later this summer. We think it’s a girl.”

       “Why hold off on telling me?” Edwin asked, blindsided a little. “Two months now?”

       “We didn’t want to tell you until we got our house,” Marie supplied. “We were going to announce it at our housewarming party when we have one in a few weeks.”

       “I guess there’s a time and a place,” Edwin said. “But I hope you can keep Daniel out of trouble with all that noise going on. Are you guys going to build a fence?”

       “Yes, of course we are. This summer.”

       “Good. I can help. Well, anyway…are you two all settled in?”

       “Yes, we are, and thank you for looking after Daniel today. You went to the beach?”

       “We did, we did. Your boy has an inquisitive mind. We sat atop the big hill. He asked me what the meaning of life was.”

       Both of the young parents were taken aback. “Why would he ask that?” Evan asked.

       “Where could he have heard such a big phrase?” Marie wondered.

       “Don’t know, but it occurred to him,” Edwin said.

       “What did you tell him?”

       “Oh, just a simple thing about how it’s about having fun.”

       Both Evan and Marie seemed immediately satisfied. “That’s all right, then.” Marie gestured towards the front of the house. “Well, dad, thanks again. I think we’re going to get onto supper now.”

       “Wait,” Evan hesitated. “I want to do something quickly, before you leave.”

       “What’s that?”

       Evan ran out of the room, down the hall, and into the master bedroom. There he ripped open boxes at random, looking for something. Finding it, he ran into the foyer where his wife and father-in-law were waiting.

       “I want to get a picture of the three of us. In front of the house.”

       Marie shook her head. “Don’t be silly, Ev. It’s messy outside and the house isn’t close to ready. We should do it later.”

       “Come on,” Evan prodded, holding a camera. “I don’t care. It’s our first day in our first house. It’s a beautiful day outside, your father’s here, he can take it."

       “Ev – “ 2 comments

       “Oh, let’s just do it,” Edwin interjected, thinking it better to let his son-in-law have his way on this one. “Daniel! Come over, we’re taking a picture.” Daniel came racing from the cluttered, boxed-up living room and presented himself in the front hall. “Picture!”

       Outside, in the sunlight, the three of them – Evan, Marie, and Daniel standing in front of them – stood in tight pose for the camera, their new bungalow in the background. The scene was complete with a flattened box on the ground in the immediate right, clutter on the porch, and the front door hanging open. But it was a good image – Evan smiled warmly as he stood a foot taller than his wife, who also had a cheery smile; Daniel stood directly in front, his head reaching up to his father’s waist, his arm wrapped around his leg, grinning childishly at the camera. When it would come developed two weeks later, Marie would put the black and white image on the cover page of a brand new album bought at new K-mart on the Merivale road. 4 comments

       Walking to his car parked in the driveway, Edwin said, “I’m not going to tell the wife about this news.”

       “We’d prefer it if you didn’t, in our interests,” Marie said.

       “We’ll announce it at the housewarming party,” Evan repeated. “Thanks again for helping out today.”

       “Not an issue,” Edwin said as he started the Chevy. “You two are all right?”

“As right as rain,” Evan said confidently. “This is a new place. I’m sure there’s lots of people like us around here, lots of young boys for Danny to play with.”

       “We’ll be happy here,” Marie finished.

       They waved as Edwin slowly reversed down the driveway, into the street, and drove away, heading north on Deerpark until he rounded a corner and was out of sight.

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