Saturday, April 7, 2012

A MODERN FAIRY TALE



Once upon a time there was a family: a Papa Bear and a Mama Bear, who lived frugally with their 4 cubs in a modest home. Papa Bear had always worked and Mama Bear, from the time the youngest cub was 2, worked 2 part-time jobs in addition to taking care of the cubs and baking and cooking meals from scratch. Mama Bear bought all of the cubs' clothes and toys at resale shops and the only vacations they took were occasional weekend camping trips, along with a 1 or 2 week camping trip in the summer, when Papa Bear could get away from his job.


When the cubs got older Mama Bear got recertified to teach because she had done such a great job with her 4 cubs that they were all college-bound, erudite and well-spoken bears that she and Papa Bear were extremely proud of having raised. She reasoned that since she loved to teach teenagers, an age group that few seem to enjoy interacting with, that she could devote the rest of her life to teaching other cubs how to express themselves in an intelligent manner. Boy, was she wrong! The students she subbed for loved her, responding to her respect for them; the powers-that-be, not so much. After many years of filling out applications, all of which had multiple essay questions to answer, she became despondent when her words seemed to disappear into a black hole and interviews rarely happened; the only teachers who got hired had degrees so new the ink hadn't dried yet.


Meanwhile, the cubs were all in college and the only way Papa Bear and Mama Bear could help them out was by taking out a second mortgage on their family home, in addition to taking out parental student loans. Papa Bear continued to work long hours and Mama Bear added a third part-time job in order for them to pay all of their mounting bills; she even stopped dying her fur to same money, and tried to be proud of her silver and gray colors, telling herself she had earned them. Even their vacations shrank down from two weeks in the summer to just one week of camping, and the weekends to de-stress became fewer and farther between.


One day Papa Bear came home early with a cat-that-swallowed-the-canary grin on his face. Mama Bear was concerned that he had become unhinged after losing his job. Instead in a voice choking with excitement, he told her he had bought a lottery ticket on a whim, and had won ten million dollars! Mama Bear burst into tears that he would try to play such a cruel joke on her. But it was true! They had more money than either of them had ever expected to have! They called all of the cubs, leaving messages for them, and Mama Bear called her night job and said she was too ill to come to work that night. Because the real truth was that she was sick and tired of people treating her like a servant, expecting her to put up with their abuse so they could feel better about themselves, when all she was being paid to do was to sell them stuff.


Papa Bear and Mama Bear went out to dinner then talked long into the night about what changes to make in their lives. They called a friend whose cub Mama Bear used to do daycare for, and got investment advice. They resolved to pay off both of their mortgages and sell the family home, since only two of the cubs were still living there, and both were old enough to move out. They paid off all of their credit cards and repaid all of the student loans they and the cubs had already incurred. They bought a piece of land up in the north woods of Wisconsin near a lake, and moved into the small home that had a big enough garage for their 2 trucks and Papa Bear's canoe, as well as the boat he planned to buy.


Papa Bear and Mama Bear quit all of their jobs and moved up north. Papa Bear enrolled in a local college to get the degree he had never been able to afford to get earlier in his life. Mama Bear spent long hours at her laptop, producing novels of romance and sci-fi. Her sales reflected the number of books she was publishing as well as the time she spent promoting them. She still dreamed of one day becoming a best-selling author, but at least she no longer had quarters where her sales were so paltry that it wasn't worth it for the publisher to even cut her a check.


The cubs all graduated from their colleges and got jobs and apartments, to begin their adult lives secure in the knowledge that if they needed help, Papa Bear and Mama Bear had the resources to do so. Papa Bear discovered he had a flair for nature photography and began to sell his pictures to various magazines and e-zines.


And when all of the cubs came to visit for holidays, Papa Bear and Mama Bear would sit in the midst of the chaos of family that their love for each other had created, and smile private smiles to each other, knowing that they no longer had to fear dying at work, apart from each other, from the sheer exhaustion of trying to pay all of their bills.


And they all lived happily-ever-after.


The End.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Fiona!

    Thanks for being my guest 6this week. I wonder who the mama bear could be?

    This is definitely a tale of our times and a cabin in Wisconsin sounds pretty good to me.

    Garce

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah Fiona!

    Hopefully for some people this isn't such a fairy tale.

    Thanks for joining us.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fiona, I like the HEA ending of this story. For awhile, I was afraid the bears were going to discover that a sudden fortune attracted envy, scammers, & the taxman, and made things worse than before.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Garce, my hair is now silver and gray, though I'm keeping that red-haired picture on my sites for now.
    Lisabet, to win we'd have to start buying tickets, and my parents when retired spent untold thousands, until my Mom won once, $1`,000. By then she already had dementia and hid the money. I hope we found it before we had to sell her house!
    Jean, I always write HEA endings, because I need to read them, to try to believe they are still possible!
    Thanks for having me as a guest on your site. I love the insightful comments and interesting discussions you have here. I'm glad Garce is always sending out a general invite for his postings, since I usually end up reading all of them!

    ReplyDelete