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0105_001E Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber

Dawn Develops A Heimweh

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"Hi! Mr. Milkman! Say, Mr. Milkman!" with frantic beckonings.

He turns. He lifts up his voice. "The screen door was locked so I left youse yer milk on top of the ice-box on the back porch. Thought like the hired girl was upstairs an' I could git the tickets to-morra."

I explain about the cream, adding that it is wanted for short-cake. The explanation does not seem to cheer him. He appears to be a very gloomy and reserved milkman. I fancy that he is in the habit of indulging in a little airy persiflage with Frieda o' mornings, and he finds me a poor substitute for her red-cheeked comeliness.

The milk safely stowed away in the ice-box, I have another look at the roast. I am dipping up spoonfuls of brown gravy and pouring them over the surface of the roast in approved basting style, when there is a rush, a scramble, and two hard bodies precipitate themselves upon my legs so suddenly that for a moment my head pitches forward into the oven. I withdraw my head from the oven, hastily. The basting spoon is immersed in the bottom of the pan. I turn, indignant. The Spalpeens look up at me with innocent eyes.

"You little divils, what do you mean by shoving your old aunt into the oven! It's cannibals you are!"

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The idea pleases them. They release my legs and execute a savage war dance around me. The Spalpeens are firm in the belief that I was brought to their home for their sole amusement, and they refuse to take me seriously. The Spalpeens themselves are two of the finest examples of real humor that ever were perpetrated upon parents. Sheila is the first-born. Norah decided that she should be an Irish beauty, and bestowed upon her a name that reeks of the bogs. Whereupon Sheila, at the age of six, is as flaxen-haired and blue-eyed and stolid a little German madchen as ever fooled her parents, and she is a feminine reproduction of her German Dad. Two years later came a sturdy boy, and they named him Hans, in a flaunt of defiance. Hans is black-haired, gray-eyed and Irish as Killarny.

"We're awful hungry," announces Sheila.

"Can't you wait until dinner time? Such a grand dinner!"

Sheila and Hans roll their eyes to convey to me that, were they to wait until dinner for sustenance we should find but their lifeless forms.

"Well then, Auntie will get a nice piece of bread and butter for each of you."

"Don't want bread an' butty!" shrieks Hans. "Want tooky!"

"Cooky!" echoes Sheila, pounding on the kitchen table with the rescued basting spoon.

"You can't have cookies before dinner. They're bad for your insides."

"Can too," disputes Hans. "Fwieda dives us tookies. Want tooky!" wailingly.

"Please, ple-e-e-ease, Auntie Dawnie dearie," wheedles Sheila, wriggling her soft little fingers in my hand.

"But Mother never lets you have cookies before dinner," I retort severely. "She knows they are bad for you."

"Pooh, she does too! She always says, `No, not a cooky!' And then we beg and screech, and then she says, `Oh, for pity's sake, Frieda, give 'em a cooky and send 'em out. One cooky can't kill 'em.'" Sheila's imitation is delicious.

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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