In my Creativity Training for Writers group, my mentor assigned us to write a fictional short story or a nonfiction article based on inspiration from a news publication.

For mine, I used a story about a 70-year-old retiree on the verge of eviction, who was able to buy the house she had rented for two decades after a quarter-million dollars were raised by the community on her behalf. The woman was known for having a heart of gold and a pair of green thumbs. She was a beloved neighbor in her community for years, a volunteer who helped the homeless and needy as a “bright star” (excerpt from

Shady streets lined with magnolia trees were packed with familiar faces, protesting. Everywhere the bold words, Take a Stand. Stop Evictions across fluorescent posters poked out from the crowd. Cars were beeping, passengers waved as they drove by. More posters said Here to Stay. The support that flooded in from her community was a kindness Mary couldn’t have imagined.

Two days ago, up the wooden steps to the house she had made almost four decades of memories in, was an envelope taped to the door with her name scribbled in red ink. She pondered before opening it. Sandra called yesterday. Marjorie is leaving town for a funeral. Could you organize dinners next week? Marjorie supervised kitchen duties, and hot meals at the shelter.

Maybe Sandra brought next week’s meal calendar. What a lovely lady, she whispered, smiling. The shelter had been her saving grace and home away from home. Strangers’ faces lit up the moment they stepped into her presence. Sincerity radiated through her, gentleness exuded from her. Her eyes gave away that she had been through hell and back again. Because she had. Now, serving the women and children was a full circle from those days, 40 years ago, a terrified momma juggling her 2-year-old son and newborn daughter.

Under the porch light, her eyes shot over the underlined words in all caps: EVICTION NOTICE. Her heart sank to flashing memories from a lifetime ago. Her children grew up here–played on this street–these people were her family. The phone disrupted her thoughts. It was Angie, next door. Angie, girl, my landlord is selling my home. She sobbed to her dearest friend. That was only 36 hours ago. The sight she saw now was overwhelmed by crowded sidewalks, families that she knew well, and even four ladies she recognized from the shelter showed up with handmade signs. 

That evening, the neighborhood became quiet again, as Mary sat in her favorite chair to finish the blanket for her new grandbaby. With every weave of the crochet needle, she sunk further into the chair until she was interrupted by giggling outside the partly-open window by the front door. The voices of Angie’s kids brought relief because she couldn’t move. From her cozy place in the living room, she hollered, Come on in, Dears. 

Angie stood behind the twins with the same mischievous expression. We have a gift for you–from everybody, she nearly sang. 

Within seconds, Mary held a $250,000 check with the message Our Bright Star is Here to Stay. W–w-what? She stammered.

For you. To buy this house, the siblings chimed in unison.


2 thoughts on “Good News in the World

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