Let's Get Aquainted!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Writer's Corner: Pickleton Plateau Part 2

Character List
  • Rabbi Akiva Detwiler and his wife Rebbetzin Chava Detwiler
  • Mayor Mordecai Schapiro and his wife Julianne Schapiro
  • Mrs. Lydia Rosen- Prorpiter of boarding house
  • Mrs. Elvira Stern- Matchmaker
  • Mr. Isiah Babbino- Owner of general store
  • Mr. Nigel Churchill- Owner and editor of the Chronicle
  • Miss Vivian Silver- Switchboard operator 
  • Miss Katz- School Teacher
  • Miss Anastasia Mendoza- owner of small seamstress shop
  • Miss Ella Bach- Piano teacher
  • Mr. Hugh Michaels- newcomer
Scene 4
(Laidies Aid Society gathered for second meeting in Lydia's parlor)

Lydia- Did everyone get tea and cookies?  Good, let's begin with what we've accomplished this past week for the Hanukkah preparations.  Julianne?  You start.

Julianne- (clears throat) Well, the Plateau Players received my opera with great gusto and enthusiasm.  Oh, it's such a honor and privilege to live among such dear comradeship as fellow thespians!

Vivian- I managed to spread the word about the latke contest.  Mrs. Astor has already signed up.

Ella- I reserved Town Hall for the first night of Hanukkah, and also presented our request to the rest of the choir and they have accepted.  Last night we started working out a program which I'll bring next week.

Lydia- Excellant!

Anastasia- (Very dramatically) Last week I took up a collection and have sent away for a Parisian rose bush to be awarded to the winner of the latke contest!

(Exclamations of delight)

Lydia- Well, it sounds as though everything is coming together nicely.  There is just one more thing to be mentioned.  Decorations. 

Chava- I think I may safely say that there is but one here perfect for the task...Anastasia!

(Everyone agrees)

Anastasia- Oh, thank you all so much!  I will do my best and you won't be disappointed.

Elvira- (murmering) I'm disappointed already! 

Lydia- With the party a week away, do you think you'l have enough time?

Anastasia- Yes, indeed, though I wonder if you, Ella would assist me?

Ella- Of course, but I'll need Wednesday nights free for choir practice.

Anastasia- That's fine...perhaps we should go Bohemian!  When I spent a week in Bohemia----

Elvira- (interrupting) Nonsense!  A traditional white and blue theme will do just fine.  We want none of your frippery in our event, Anastasia!

Anastastia- Frippery??  I never-----

Chava- Ladies, honestly.  Anastasia, perhaps the town isn't quite ready for such a bold move as Bohemian, though Elvira, we all could learn to embrace new ideas....perhaps Elizabethan?

Anastasia- Oh, no! The collars alone!

Elvira- Never!  Not to mention the britches!

Chava- Then perhaps something more present day, hmm?

Julianne- Well, inasmuch as this little culture exchange is riveting, I must be going.  I've a prize winning latke recipe to hunt up, groceries to buy, and the there is the business of wiping that chronic smirk off Mrs. Chrysanthemum Astor's face!

Miss Katz- What chronic smirk?  She always seems nice enough to me.

Julianne- You don't know what she is capable of, Miss Katz!

Vivian- I heard that Mrs. Astor is entering a family cherished recipe that has been handed down for four generations.

Julianne-Well, my family's recipe has also been handed down, and for five years longer than hers, so don't you worry.  That Parisian rosebush will soon be gracing my parlor!

Ella- I must go as well.

Lydia- Oh, really, Ella?  I thought you didn't have choir on Sunday nights anymore?

Ella- I don't...something...came up!  Goodnight.  

All - Goodnight!  

(Ella leaves)

Vivian- I wonder where she's going this late.

Anastasia- Well, if I was her, the lateness wouldn't matter to me one bit.

Elvira- What are you saying, Anastasia?

Julianne- Yes, what do you mean?

Anastasia- You mean you haven't seen him yet?

All- Him!  Him, who??

Anastasia- The tall, dark, mysterious stranger whose slipped into town, and barely shown his face for a week, of course!

Lydia- You must mean Hugh Michaels, a very nice man from England.  He works for Nigel Churchill at the Chronicle.

Vivian- Oh, he must have been that voice on the switchboard I didn't recognize.  He made several calls this past week.  I knew that accent wasn't a native.

Julianne- So, your saying Ella's gone to meet him tonight?

Lydia- What makes you think that, Anastasia?

Anastasia- Well, Ella left my shop last Thursday, and bumped into the gentleman in question as she headed out the door.  Next thing I knew, they were walking off together.  And I've seen them together twice since then!  I'm convinced they are seeing each other!  Didn't you know about it, Mrs. Stern?  I assumed you would, being the matchmaker and all.

Elvira- (offended) Not a word of it.

Vivian- Why wouldn't she tell us?

Lydia- Well, whatever the reason, Ella's a girl of sense.  She wouldn't keep something like that from us without a good reason.

Elvira- Well, let's hope so.

Anastasia- When you're in love, nothing makes much sense.

Chava- Now, Anastasia, don't you think you're making more of this than there really is?

Anastasia- Why, Rebbetzin, why would you think I would do such a thing?

Scene 5
(Ella and Anastasia walking up Town Hall's steps)

Ella- Do we really need all this to decorate town hall, Anastasia?  It's not that big.

Anastasia- (opening the door, and walking in)  Of course we do!  We want to bring dazzle and sparkle to the hall!  We want our party to be the talk of the town, don't we?

Ella- (setting her crate on a table)  Not exactly; we just want it to be a nice party we all look back on fondly.

Anastasia- Fondly!  Is that all?  No, no, no, my dear, we must have razzle, dazzle, pzazz, and spark!  Now, you start tacking up the banner I made up in that far corner.  I'll unpack the tablecloths and, oh!  My Parisian rosebush is arriving today at the general store!  I'd better hurry and pick it up before it gets dehydrated.  You don't mind, do you, Ella?  I'll be back shortly, I promise!

Ella- Oh, not at all.  Take your time, better yet the afternoon!

Anastasia- Alright, Ella, I can take a hint.  I just want this party to blossom with exuberance!

Ella- I know, and it will.  Now, run along.

Scene 6
(Anastasia entering the Monsier Babbino's general store)

Isaiah- Ah, Madmoiselle Anastasia!  Just the person I wanted to see.

Anastasia- Yes, I came for my Parisian rosebush.  After three weeks, I was getting worried.

Isaiah- Well, that's the bad news.

Anastasia- Bad news?  No, no bad news, what is it?

Isaiah- Your se magnifique rosebush was lost en route, but they are sending you a full refund.  Here is the message Vivian copied from their telephone call this morning.

Anastasia- Oh, no, that is utterly dreadful!  What shall I do?......I'd better go; thank you, Mr. Babbino. I must now go find a new prize before my reputation is tarnished by this scandalous mistake!

Isaiah- Before you do that, Vivian demanded I "flag you down".  These American expressions.

Anastasia- Oh, all right.  She's back at the switchboard, I presume?

Isaiah- Oui, Madmoiselle.

(Anastasia heads back to Vivien's office, listening to her talking into her headset as she enters)

Vivian- Yes, of course, I know that you're the Mayor's wife, but that still doesn't change the fact that Monsieur Babbino is out of flour!  (sighs)....I'm sorry....yes....goodbye, Mrs. Shapiro.  (sighs again as she rips off her headset)  Oh, Anastasia, Mrs. Shapiro has been haunting her phone, calling every hour to check if the flour shipment has arrived yet!  It wasn't enough that she bought 5 bags yesterday; she has to have a sixth from the new shipment!  But anyway, you'l never guess what I beheld in this store only hours ago??

Anastasia- (glumly) What?

Vivian- Well, the dark, mysterious stranger you spoke of received a small velvet box here today!  I saw he and Monsieur Babbino speaking in hushed tones over the counter, and when he opened it...I saw a diamond ring!!

Anastasia- (Brightens) Really?  Oh, how wonderful!

Vivian- Shh!  Then, when I saw him leaving he said something to Monsieur Babbino, and I distinctly heard Ella's name!

Anastasia- He must be about to propose to her!

Vivian- Of course, he is!  And do you know what, Anastasia?  We should plan a surprise engagement party for them on the same night as the Hanukkah party!  They'd never see it coming!

Anastasia- What an inspiration; why it's positively brilliant!  They will surely be engaged by then; why it's two whole days away!  I'll broach the subject to the ladies tonight at our meeting after Ella leaves.

Vivian- Perfect!  By the way, I saw that Tilly Macantire wrote an article in the Chronicle about the infamous prize coming all the way from Paris to be bestowed upon the winner of the latke contest!  Now, everyone is talking about it!  I had to expand the sign up sheet for the contest to fit all the applicants!  What's the matter, Anastasia?  You look quite pale all of a sudden?

Anastasia- That's horrible!  Absolutely, positively, oh, what shall I do?

Vivian- About what?  What's wrong?

Anastasia- I must go talk to Mrs. Rosen.  Goodbye, Vivian!

Vivian- Goodbye!  (Buzz, Buzz)  Operator.  How may I direct your call?

Scene 7
(Anastasia arriving at Lydia Rosen's Bordinghouse)

Anastasia- Mrs. Rosen?  MRS. ROSEN??  WHERE ARE YOU??

Lydia- (coming around a corner) Calm down, Anastastia.  I'm not deaf!  What is the matter?  Come into the kitchen and have some tea.  Jemima just made her famous Benton cake, and you'l have some of course.

(Lydia leads her into the kitchen where she gets two teacups down from the shelf)

Anastasia- Oh, Mrs. Rosen, I'd love some, but I fear it would give me indigestion!  I'm so overwrought about the contest's prize!

Lydia- Well, I can see that, but I thought you had a Parisian rosebush coming.  The paper even did a spotlight on it.

Anastasia- I know, and now a monsoon has made the ship sink, so they are "unable to deliver Madam's package", and I'm left with no prize!  I'll never live this one down!  I can just hear Mrs. Stein gloating now!

Lydia- Anastasia, dear, I'm afraid you are spending to much time on this.  Just get another prize and everyone will understand.  (Pours tea into cups)

Anastasia- That's just it!  There's nothing good enough.  It's a hopeless situation!

Lydia- Anastasia, sit down.  (Both sit at kitchen table)  Why were you getting this prize?

Anastasia- Why, for the latke contest of course.

Lydia- And why are we having a latke contest?

Anastasia- It's part of the Hanukkah celebration; are you feeling alright?

Lydia- I'm fine, dear.  And why are we having a Hanukkah celebration?

Anastasia- Because we have one every year?

Lydia- No!  Because we are celebrating Hanukkah!  And why do we celebrate Hanukkah?

Anastasia- To remember the great miracles Hashem did for the Maccabees?

Lydia- And??

Anastasia- And...Jews like to eat, so this is another excuse to have a feast?

Lydia- NO!  Anastasia, Hanukkah is a time of dedication, remembrance.  We are to examine ourselves, and rededicate ourselves back to Hashem.  We remember the great miracles that happened and we go on trusting that just as Hashem rescued the Maccabees from the Greeks, He will rescue us in our time of need.  You are not focusing on the things you should be.  You are to caught up with the lights, the party, and your reputation.  You need to step back, Anastasia, and rethink what's truly important in all this.  It's certainly not  a Parisian rosebush, I'm sure.  Also, we are not meant to deal with life's problems all on our own.  God is our refuge and strength, our stronghold in times of trouble.  Do you understand?

Anastasia- Yes.

Lydia- Good, now drink your tea before it get's cold.

(Each take a sip of tea and are silent for a moment)

Lydia- And I think a gift card to your boutique would make a lovely prize.

Anastasia- (brightens)  Of course!  Why didn't I think of that?  Oh, thank you, Mrs. Rosen.

Lydia- Your quite welcome.  Now, let's see about that cake!

Scene 8
(Ladies Aid Society meeting in Lydia's Parlor)

Lydia- Alright, now that everyone has gotten some tea and cake, let's begin.  I'm very excited to announce that this is our last meeting before the party on Sunday night, just three days away.  Let's go around the room again, and say what has been accomplished this past week and what remains to be done.  Ella?

Ella- The choir has successfully perfected "Maoz Tzur", and "Oh, Chanukah".  I thought perhaps we could perform them right before the fireworks?

Elvira- Fireworks?!  Surely, we are not going to bring those deafening contraptions into the festivities?

Julianne- Elvira, honestly!  Your lack of embracing progress never ceases to baffle me!

Elvira- You speak many words for one baffled, Julianne.

Julianne- (obviously miffed) Ahem!  All prominent communities, including Rosington Falls, are lighting off fireworks on festive occasions.  It's high time we displayed the same prominence in our town!

Chava- Julianne, why don't you go next?

Julianne- Yes, I have the punch bowls procured, and the punch ingredients over at Town Hall already.

Lydia- Perfect.  Vivian, how many accepted our invitations?

Vivian- We had one decline, but it was only the Evans.

Ella- (abashed) Vivian!  

Vivian- Well, it's true!  No one has liked them from the minute they entered, or shall I say flounced into town!......Alright, pardon my saying it.

Elvira- I pressed the tablecloths and brought them over to Town Hall this afternoon.  The stage is going to be set up outside by the Rubin sons, and they told me they would have to start early Sunday, due to a busy week.

Chava- That will be fine.  Akiva and his brother Yitz'chak have agreed to see to lighting off the fireworks, and lighting the Hanukiah.

Anastasia- Well, the...hall has been...uh...decorated, and we've brought over the tables, chairs, forks, etc., and stored them in the closet.  I, uh, have one bit of sad news to, um, say to you all though.  The P-Parisian rosebush was lost in transit, and I've had to replace the prize with another.  I...I was quite desperate, and so I...um...well---

Lydia- (interrupting)  I suggested a gift card to Anastasia's lovely boutique.  I thought everyone would be just as thrilled with it.

(All agree)

Ella- I'm sorry, but I have to leave for choir practice.  Excuse me.

Chava- Oh, I think that was everything.  Goodbye, dear.

All- Goodbye

Ella- Bye

(Ella leaves) 

Anastasia- Ladies, before you leave, Vivian, and I must tell you about a certain top secret engagement party planned for the same night as our Hanukkah party!!

To be continued...


  1. *giggles* I sense trouble brewing! And the Parisian rose Bush incident was a nice moral touch, I love it!


    1. Thanks, Catherine! Oh....and you may be right about that trouble, who knows??

  2. Wonderful!
    P.S. I love the name of your blog!