Gifts by the Shore (Part 4) by Marilyn Brant — 21 Comments

  1. Marianna’s job sounds less than stimulating, but it’s steady and predictable and comfortable. I can totally relate to that. As much as I hate my job at times, I would be really pissed if they just let me go like that. Vivian seems to not want to make a big deal out of Marianna’s unemployment, which would only make her more anxious and ruin her vacation. Vivian seems more like a “let it be and see what happens” kind of lady. Let go and Let God, as my grandma says.

    I have the Abbott Springs anthology on my kindle, I just haven’t read it yet. Seems the perfect time, with the holidays fast approaching like a speed walking Vivian!

    • HA! Love that image of the holidays like a “speed walking Vivian,” Monica!!
      Thank you for getting the antho and, as always, for reading and sharing your thoughts. I’ve had a few jobs that were like Marianna’s, too… And I’ve heard and I love your grandma’s saying. That fits Vivian very well 🙂 .
      I can’t believe it’s already November! It does feel like the holiday will be here any second. (Commence panicking!) xox

  2. What a beautiful excerpt. I love shelling. Walking on the beach at sunrise watching the seastars dance in the shallow water is amazing. As for shelling, I think my favorite spot is Waikiki Beach in Salem, Mass…..I love collecting sea glass. It is beautiful. I like Vivian’s advice….no sense in worrying now…relax….things may fall into place a little later. A coteacher once told me, “Take one day at a time.”. I try.

    I had a very similar experience to Marianna. I taught 4 year olds and gave ponybrides at camp in summer for 23 years. A few days after we all were told no one was being let go I was told I was laid off. It was the day before our 3 week road trip to California’s Death Valley and the Grand Canyon. I was told this was so I could cancel our vacation. I told no one until after we got back. Didn’t want to stress anyone else. It ended up being a great trip. I do so HATE being lied to. Did get a job as soon as we got back, but didn’t like it. But, nothing like the job I lost….we were like family.

    I love this. Will we get to read more soon?

    • Oh, Deborah, thank you. I’m so glad you enjoyed the excerpt and that you could relate to Marianna’s experiences, Vivian’s advice, and the beauty of shelling… (I love it. 😉 )
      So sorry to hear about your awful experience with that job, though, and that the person who’d let you go treated you that way. It’s unconscionable, but I do strongly believe that there’s karma in the world…and I’m glad you were still able to enjoy your trip and get beyond the frustrations of the situation you’d left behind.
      And YES!! There will be more of the story soon! I’m set to post the 5th installment on Nov. 24th. Can’t wait to share it with you all! xo

  3. “Let Go and Let GOD” – I have used that statement myself.

    As for seashells, I used to have a lot from vacations to the Caribbean but, in now downsizing so my children won’t have too, decided to get rid of those. Then, as none of my children wanted them, I put them on the railroad ties used to fence in the condo playground one night (so that no one would see me doing it as I wanted it to be a mystery for the children who came to play and found them). They were gone very quickly and I like to think that the children had some delight in finding those treasures.

    Loving this story. Have not had that exact experience with a job but have had an experience in which I applied for a position, everyone told me that I was perfect for the job, but it went to someone much younger (and with much less time and/or experience). I voluntarily took a job with another department soon after that. It was just too much of an embarrassment to stay and have anyone pity me, etc.

    Thank you for this story. Like that we are dealing with women who have had a few knocks in life and being able to relate somewhat.

    • Sheila,
      What a kind and beautiful thing you did for those children!! I love that idea… If my son doesn’t want my seashells, I’d love to replicate your gesture. Very, very sweet and thoughtful, and I know those lucky children who found your shells would have felt they’d discovered a treasure! 🙂
      Thank you so much for all the lovely things you said about my story. I’m glad it’s one you can relate to…and it means a lot to me that you’re enjoying it. If you like women’s fiction stories, you might enjoy the work of Elizabeth Berg. Her novel OPEN HOUSE was an Oprah Book Club pick and it’s about a woman who’s starting over. (Here’s the Amazon page for a further description: xo

      • I’m checking with my sister-in-law, as she buys a lot of Oprah’s books. I am lending her How to Marry an English Lord, from which Downton Abbey took much of its premise. It is a good book based on fact: that American heiresses bought a title by marrying impoverished English peers. Winston Churchill’s mom was
        American – you may already know, but there were many others. Lots of photos in that book.

  4. Another great chapter Marilyn! I started my career as a secretary and loved it. The title changed over the years to Administrative Assistant and then Executive Assistant. Use to love shorthand and typing. Lost the shorthand as it was never utilized. The odd symbol I can remember. I fortunately never was laid off. I was the one who moved on. It was difficult to leave people I had worked with for years but to be abruptly let go must be devastating. Not to minimize the loss, I have always been a firm believer in…one door closes, another opens. Sometimes it does take a while for that door to open or for one to see it open. As for collecting shells, my sister (who has the condo in Florida) got me into Sand Dollars. She has yet to find one down there, but her sister-in-law did! So when I was out in the Magdalen Islands this past September, my husband and I walked a lovely beach where the tide was going out. We found dozens of them! Needless, to say, I collected as many as I could carry (they are so delicate) and will gift her with some of them. I just haven’t decided how I will present them. I’m thinking a shadowbox of some sort. I hope to go visit her there in early spring before she heads back north to her other home, and bring it down as a gift then.

  5. Though never let go, I have been squeezed from a job because the old employee of many years, who I had replaced, wanted to return. It was I who did the grand exit, leaving the keys on the table in front of the under-handed yellow-livered spineless ….who would prefer to run me off so he wouldn’t have to pay unemployment. He didn’t have a basis to fire me. That said, he did me a favor, for I had a temporary job the next morning and the state job I was wanting within three weeks.
    You have done a very good job of opening Marianna up to the reader so that she has laid open her vulnerabilities, her fears, but also her longings and hopes. Marianna has been under the thumb of oppression for too long. She is going to have to learn to stretch those long cramped wings and expose them to the light before she can learn to fly , both in the area of self confidence and love.
    Eagerly awaiting to read even more. Love where you are going.

    • Karen, no matter who that “underhanded, yellow-livered spineless” guy was (and I *love* your description!), I have no doubt at all that he eventually got what was coming to him 😉 . People like that usually offend so many others — and get used to doing it without immediate repercussions — that they start to think they’re invincible. Someone smarter or more powerful, though, frequently shows them otherwise at some point, LOL. In any case, the most important part is that things soon worked out better for YOU, and I know your new coworkers had to be over the moon to get to work with you. <3
      Thanks for your lovely comments about the story, too! Getting ready to post the next part…

  6. Now that I had the chance to read Part 4, I find it is good and liking it more. Marianna was a secretary before her move to Sarasota? I got the impression that she was doing something enjoyable that would suit her personality but with a small income, enough to get by for the day. I’m not good at guessing the background of characters from stories that I read.

    • Lúthien,
      Thanks for taking the time to read the latest part(s) of the story!
      Yes, Marianna was a secretary before her trip to Sarasota. She enjoyed the more social aspects of the job but, as you guessed, it was a small income…not quite enough when she needed to support herself, a college-aged daughter, and take care of the mortgage/maintenance of a house.
      She knows she needs to make some life changes…but I don’t think she realizes how many of them there will be just yet!

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