317. Free at Last

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Virginia.  She lived in a big house in the Arizona desert.

Surrounding the house were snakes, lizards, and many other creepy crawling things. They were interesting to study and to watch, but they didn’t like to play, and they were not her friends.

One day, Virginia said to her mother, “Mommy, I wish we could be free.”

“But, Virginia, we ARE free”, said Beth, her mother.

“No, we aren’t” replied Virginia, sadly.

Life went on.  And suddenly, Virginia found a baby in her house.  His name was William, but she decided to call him Bill. Bill was a pretty nice baby, but he was too little to play and sometimes he got cranky.  

And so, one day, Virginia said to her father, Bob Brown, “Daddy, I wish we could be free.”

“What do you mean, Virginia?”, said her dad.  “We ARE free”.

“No, we aren’t” replied Virginia, sadly.

And so Virginia’s mother and father built a wonderland for her in the desert.  It had a cottage where she could play and study with friends who came to nursery school with her.  It had a play-land outside with a magical boat and swinging things and sliding things and an airplane and sand and trails to explore.  Virginia loved it.

But one day, she said wistfully to Beth and Bob, “Oh, I wish, I wish someday we could be free.”

Beth and Bob looked at her. “But, Virginia”, don’t you understand? We ARE free.”

“No, we aren’t” replied Virginia, sadly.

And so it was that Virginia lived in the desert, always waiting and wishing for when they would be free.

It finally happened about a month ago.  On June 21, 2011.  Beth and Bob and Virginia and Bill all went to the hospital in Sun City West.  It was there that Virginia’s baby brother Zachary was born.

As Virginia was proudly holding the baby, her Grandma Peggy Gorman said, “Virginia, you look so happy.”

“Yes, I am”, said Virginia, “ Because now we are free.”

“I don’t understand”, said her grandma, puzzled. “You’ve always been free.”

“No, we weren’t”, said Virginia. 

“I was the first one, so I was one. 


Then came my little brother William, so he made two.  And now comes Zachary, and he makes free.  So now, we’re free at last.”

And they all lived happily ever after.

 (I’m counting on my little great-niece Virginia to go on to become one of the great civil rights leaders of the century.)


Virginia  Margaret Brown is seven years old today.  Her diction is probably better than mine is, but I couldn’t resist making up this story about her. I haven’t seen her for a few years but at the time, she advised me that she was “free-and-a-half years old. Her pronunciation may have changed since then, but I certainly hope not.

Have a happy birthday,Virginia. I hope your birthday cake is as beautiful and as delicious as you are.



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