Cover Illustration by Patty Gallinger
It was never easy being a teenager...
Itšs an exciting time for seventeen-year-old Libby, as she announces to her aunt that she plans to leave Toronto in the 1950's to spend the summer living alone in the empty family home in Pinkney Corners. Libby is determined to make it on her own and to spend some time honing her skills as a writer so that she can become a novelist and journalist like her deceased mother.
But living alone can be a challenge. Libby makes a little money working at the five and dime, but the local paper canšt afford to hire. And then there's the strange men that she sees on the property, and the uncomfortable attentions of the storešs assistant manager. But there are some bright spots in the summer, new friendships and the possibility of romance with handsome Michael, her best friend's brother.
Libby is put to the test when she stands up against sexual harassment from her boss and writes an article on it for the paper, running the risk of losing her job and the respect of the community.
"Do you know how to weigh out candy?"
"Not yet," I admitted.
"Come on over to the candy counter, then. I'll get Gloria to show you. You can help her there this afternoon. We've had a new shipment, and I just brought some cases to her on the dolly. The bins will all need filling."
I followed him down the creaking floor to a block of glass cases. "Hey, Blondie," Bobby greeted a pretty girl who was wiping finger marks off the front of the glass. "I brought you some help."
Gloria straightened up and gave me a friendly smile. The assistant manager moved in closer to her. "Now don't say I never do anything for you." His voice was a husky growl.
With a town as small as Pinkney Corners, I'd seen Gloria Hooper around, but I didn't know her personally. She was, I discovered, fun to work with. She had a lively sense of humour and kept up a constant chatter while we opened boxes and scooped candy into the compartments in the glass-fronted case. She was eager to make me feel right at home. Gloria knew all the staff and the regular customers and seemed to know everything about them. Working with her made the afternoon hours fly past.
The first time I saw Gloria pop a French cream into her mouth, I was horrified. "My favorites," she grinned mischievously. With her pink circle skirt, her white blouse, her hair blonder than blonde, she looked like a piece of candy herself.
"You're allowed to eat them?" I asked.
"Sure. Everybody does. Just don't let Freddie Forth catch you. But if Bobby's on, he's the worst one of the lot. Comes in and grabs a whole handful of the mixed nuts." Her face darkened. "Just watch out that's all he grabs," she finished, cryptically.
"Let me give you a word of advice about that one," Gloria said in a conspiratorial tone, as we broke open a carton of butterscotch wafers under the counter. "Watch out."
"Oh?" I queried cautiously, aware of being the newcomer here and not knowing what the relationship between these two might be. "He seems very friendly."
Gloria snorted at my observation. "That's the understatement of the year! He's engaged to a girl in the town where he took his training. Karen comes in to check on him sometimes. Would you believe I'd gone out with him three times before he told me about their engagement? So, you be careful. Especially seeing as you're new. You'll have to make it plain to him that you're strictly business." She gave me a knowing look. "Unless you aren't."
"He's not really my type," I said, thinking of Michael.
"As a coming-of-age story this is satisfying....by the end (Libby) has achieved an ambition and firmness of purpose that is both believable and acceptable...This is history? This is history! It's just recent history, and well worth reading about."
Copyright Š The Manitoba Library Association. January, 2002
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