Thursday, February 22, 2018


The chapters which are numerical are factual. The chapters which are alphabetical are fiction, though in some instances the fiction modestly drapes what is factual. I will post one chapter a week, alternating factual and fiction.

The main thoroughfare in the new section was Wright Avenue. On the eastern end of Wright Avenue there was a large plot of land. One corner of it was designated for the rental and maintenance office buildings. About half of it was designated for a school. By the time my little brother started school there was an Armistead Gardens Elementary School.
About the same time the school building was begun, the Presbyterian Church gained the right to build a church on the ground which was designated for a church. Potomac Presbytery donated money for the building as did Glenn L. Martin, Bethlehem Steel, and the American Stores (which was owned by Scotch-Irish Presbyterians). Of course, the people of the church had a building fund. I remember the cornerstone laying ceremony. There was a huge crowd there. A Masonic Lodge had charge of the ceremony.
The building was large. A sanctuary that seated 200 people, two Sunday School rooms, a choir room (which was also used as the Session meeting room) and the pastor’s study were on the first floor. In the basement there were a fellowship hall which had a stage with curtains, a kitchen, and three additional Sunday School rooms. The building was made of concrete blocks with stucco on the outside and plastered inside walls. The sanctuary was Colonial style painted white with red maple trim. The chancel was divided with a pulpit on one side and a lectern on the other.
It was a very active church. The sanctuary was full every Sunday morning. At least once a year the church had a week of evangelistic services. During that week, members of the church would go out into the various streets in the project going door to door inviting the residents to come to the meetings. Several times, when I was in my teens, I was invited to visit homes with the evangelist.
In addition to the Sunday School, there were youth groups, an evening service, and a midweek prayer and Bible Study meeting. I joined the church when I was 12 years old. For young persons to join the church, they attended classes on the Westminster Shorter Catechism conducted by the pastor. After a year of classes, they were examined by the Session. An elder could ask a young person anything, but they mostly asked questions from the Catechism. The next Sunday the young people were asked the questions for membership from the Book of Order and then were admitted as members of the church. Those who had not been baptized as infants were baptized.
During the summer, there were tent meetings in the suburbs of Baltimore. Our boys’ Sunday School teacher, Mr. Loudermilk, would sometimes take several of us boys and his son to a tent meeting. It was a different type of service and a different form of preaching than what we were used to in the Presbyterian Church.
When we started going to church in the community building the minister was Rev. Charles Browning. He was a mild-mannered person. I don’t think he was married.
While the church was still in the community building, the church acquired a parish visitor, Miss Hazel Himes. Her mother lived with her. My parents did not attend church, but they always made sure that we children attended Sunday School. After the services moved into the new church building, my sister and I began attending the morning worship services also.
Miss Himes was from Pennsylvania and was not a Presbyterian. She was a United Brethren. My mother was United Brethren. When we lived in Elkins we were sent to the Presbyterian Sunday School one Sunday, then the United Brethren Sunday School the next Sunday. The United Brethren won out on baptism. My sister and I were baptized in the United Brethren Church. When World War 2 broke out, the church changed its services from German to English. The elderly former pastor who had preached in German sat in one of the pulpit chairs in every service. He still performed the baptisms in German.
In the spring and summer Dad did a lot to fix up the outside of the house. One thing he did every year was build a lattice work across about half of the house. It had a lot of strings running up to the roof. He would plant castor beans. He had to cut into each one or it wouldn’t sprout. They came up quickly and grew rapidly. Soon there was a blanket of leaves stretching from the ground to the roof. In the hot Baltimore summers they did a lot to keep the house cooler.
Mom planted flowers. She planted hollyhocks on either side of the front door. After they bloomed, Beverly and her friends often amused themselves making dolls from the buds and the blooms. On the sidewalk leading to the street Mom planted a border of rose moss every year. Rose moss is a short plant with spike-like leaves and delicate flowers of many colors.
Baltimore was tearing down old row houses in a slum clearance endeavor. The bricks from these demolished houses were soon in demand for new houses. When these bricks of many hues, some blackened from fire or colored from painted graffiti were mixed up they made an attractive brick wall of many hues and colors.
Across Pulaski Highway on vacant lots beside and behind the row of shops, the unsalable refuse of these demolitions was being dumped. My father began taking me over there to retrieve the lath that was discarded. Lath from old houses is very rough wood about an inch wide and ¼ inch thick. We kept hauling the lath to our yard until there were piles of it.
Dad then began building a fence with posts about every six feet and runners. Then he began cutting pickets from pieces of lath. Each piece was pointed on top. The work of sawing hundreds of pickets is hard for me to understand as an adult. Once he began sawing, the task of salvaging lath fell upon me. I had to hustle to keep up with him. I started work after school. He had already worked eight hours at a lathe before he started sawing.
Dad not only built a picket fence but a gate and an archway. We couldn’t afford paint for the fence, so Dad bought a bag of lime. Like Tom  Sawyer I whitewashed the fence. The lath was thirsty after decades holding up plaster in the old houses. Sometimes it took two coats of whitewash before it was white.
My father’s father loved roses. He had well over a hundred bushes in his back yard. He would take cuttings from rose bushes he liked, put the cutting in sand with a canning jar over it. In about a month he could plant it in the yard. Dad learned a lot about roses from his father. After we had a fence, he planted a half dozen or more rose bushes which he also grew from cuttings.
Dad also made some Adirondack lawn chairs from wood he salvaged. For several years he made lawn ornaments – a little girl watering flowers, a momma duck with ducklings trailing behind her, etc. He would cut out the figures and paint the background color. Then Mom painted in the detail.
My sister took tap dancing lessons at the Fox Mansion. She made a number of good friends of girls who lived in our neighborhood. Some of them she continues to have as friends seventy years later.
I wanted to join the Cub Scouts. My father decided that I would have to memorize the multiplication table before he would sign the paper. I walked all over Armistead Gardens holding a composition notebook in front of me. It had the multiplication table printed on the back. I would think I had memorized it perfectly. He would ask me several problems, I’d make a mistake and have to go back to memorizing. When I had memorized the table perfectly, he signed the papers for me to join the Cub Scouts. I don’t remember anything from the Cub Scouts, but knowing the answer to the multiplication of two numbers, and knowing the factors in a large sum made algebra and trigonometry so much easier for me than for most of my fellow students.   

Thursday, February 15, 2018


The chapters which are numerical are factual. The chapters which are alphabetical are fiction, though in some instances the fiction modestly drapes what is factual. I will post one chapter a week, alternating factual and fiction.
The Poole family lived on Frailey Way. Jimmy was ten. His sister Anna was nine and his brother Mike was four. They had a mother and father, but Jimmy was the designated adult.
There was a knock on the door of the Poole’s home. Mrs. Poole grabbed little Mike and whisked him to Anna’s room. Surprised by her sudden action, Mike stopped wailing.
“Anna, someone is at the door. Please watch Mike while they are here.”
“Yes, Mother.” They had to call her “Mother.” She said that only low class, ignorant people said “Ma” or “Mom.”
A change came over Mrs. Poole when she was in the presence of those whom she considered “people of quality.” Her bearing no longer had its usual weariness and despair. She stood straight and walked confidently. Her voice altered and she sounded like a completely different person. The children could see a change and hear the difference in her voice. They couldn’t know that she had stepped into a wholly different place and time, or so it seemed to her.
She opened the door. “Why, hello, Miss Himes. How nice it is to see you. Won’t you come in, please?” (Miss Himes was the Parish Visitor for the Armistead Gardens Presbyterian Church.)
“Thank you, Mrs. Poole. It has been such a pleasure to have your three children in Sunday School. They are there every Sunday. I know that when children attend Sunday School so faithfully that it is because they have parents who know the importance of Christian teaching. You haven’t been coming with your children. We would love to have you take part in our women’s class.”
Miss Himes was dressed in an attractive cotton dress with a flowery print. She had added a white lace removable collar. She wore a white straw hat with a wide wavy brim decorated with a large daisy. She was wearing light beige nylon stockings; her shoes were low heels, white with blue trim.
Mrs. Poole was wearing a shabby cotton dress, thin with wear, whose pattern had been washed out. But she imagined that she too was in a summery dress. She could smell the rose water she fancied she had splashed on herself after a long relaxing bath. She was entertaining Miss Himes in genteel surrounding, not a house in a low-rent project. There would soon be a pitcher of lemonade and nice tall frosted glasses brought out by the maid. What was taking the maid so long?
“Mrs. Poole, you must have come from a Christian home and background yourself. What church did you gow up in?”
“My mother and her family were United Brethren. That is the church to which I belong; Jimmy and Anna were baptized in that church.”
“I am from Pennsylvania. I belonged to the United Brethren church all my life. The church I am working for in Armistead Gardens and where Jimmy, Anna, and Mike have been attending Sunday School is Presbyterian. It is the only Protestant church in this community.”
“My husband and his family are Presbyterians.”
“Invite him to take you to church with him.”
“Yes….you do that.”
The mention of her husband suddenly brought her back to reality. She felt uncomfortable. She was painfully aware and ashamed of her shabby dress and worn-out shoes.
“Where are the children?”
“Jimmy is at the library. He sometimes stays there until they close at 6:00 P.M. Anna has Mike back in her room entertaining him.”
“Well, I’ll run along. Please remember that you have a cordial invitation to the women’s Sunday School class at the Presbyterian Church. And your husband can come to the men’s class. Both classes meet while your children are in Sunday School.”
“Thank you for coming to see us, Miss Himes. Come again whenever you can.”
Glenda Poole went to the sofa torn between hope and despair. There was no food and no money in the house. Today is payday. If her husband comes home from work, they will go to the Acme Market and buy several bags of groceries. If he doesn’t come home…
Tom Poole would sometimes go on drinking sprees of two and three days. During that time, he would drink up or otherwise waste away his pay for two weeks work. They lived from payday to payday and by payday there was no food or money.
The next day there was fork toast for breakfast, one slice for each of the children. Mrs, Poole told them she wasn’t hungry. There was no bus fare so Jimmy and Anna couldn’t go to school that day. There was no food for the rest of the day. That afternoon Mrs. Poole found a dime while sorting the dirty clothes.
“Jimmy, I found a dime. I want you to take the bus to Monument and Kresson Streets and see if you father is in the saloon. If he is, tell him to come home. We need money for food before the store closes.”
“Yes, Mother.”
When Baltimore had streetcars, the terminus of several streetcar lines was at Monument and Kresson Streets. A block-long car barn was there. Half of the old car barn was now used by Baltimore Transit Company to park and maintain buses. The other half was now a very large saloon.
Jimmy was afraid to go on the bus alone at a time when mostly adults were on it. He was even more afraid to go into that big saloon. He had only seen it from the bus window. What would he do if his father wasn’t there? He didn’t have a dime to ride the bus back home and it was a very, very long walk along the highway to get back home. Jimmy knew that he couldn’t tell his mother how scared he was or ask her what to do if his father wasn’t there. She would just cry.
“Be careful, Jimmy.”
“Yes, Mother,”
He walked to the bus stop and waited for a bus to come.
“Jimmy, what are you doing, waiting on the bus?” It was a lady who he had seen at church, Mrs. Krantz. She was awfully nosy, but he was glad someone he knew would be on the bus with him. There might be bad people on the bus.
“Yes, ma’am, I have to run an errand for my mother.”
The bus came and they got onto it. Jimmy was glad that he could sit next to Mrs. Krantz. He was thankful that the noise of the bus engine made it impossible for her to ask any more questions. He was ashamed of his errand. Too soon the bus arrived at Monument and Kresson.
He went into the saloon. It was a very large room with heavy, dark wooden tables and chairs. The bar was on the wall opposite the entrance doors. It stretched the whole length of the room. Bottles of various colored spirits behind the bar sparkled like jewels.  Neon logos of different brands of beer hung on the walls providing the only illumination in the otherwise dark and dank room.
The air was cloudy with cigarette smoke. At the tables men were talking, drinking, and smoking, but none of them seemed happy or friendly. They were dressed in work clothes soiled from the day’s work. Their clothes gave off the odor of where they worked – grease and cinders from the railroaders, a garbage like smell from workers at the olive oil plant, and the smell of pickles from the men who worked in the pickle factory across Monument Street from the saloon.
One of the men challenged him, “Hey, kid, whatda yuz doin’ in here?”
Jimmy’s fright turned to terror. Then he saw that his father was seated alone at the bar. Jimmy hurried to the stool where his father was seated. His father turned his back away from him. He tugged at his father’s trouser leg.
“Hey, Tom, the old lady sent one of the brats to bring you home.” The men all laughed.
“What do you want?”
“Mother sent me to ask you to come home. We haven’t eaten all day and the store will close in a couple hours.”
“Here’s some money. Tell her I’ll come home when I am good and ready to come home.” Angrily grabbing some bills and change off the bar, he threw them on the floor. Jimmy was shaking so hard that it was with difficulty he picked up the money from the floor. Down at floor level there was the smell of beer, tobacco, urine and vomit in the drafts of air. He was afraid that he would throw up or cry.
“I won’t cry, not in front of my father, not ever!”
He kept a dime for the bus fare and stuffed the rest of the money in his jacket pocket and zippered it shut. He didn’t remember the bus ride home.
Jimmy handed his mother the bills and change.
“What did your father say?”
“He said he’d come home when he was good and ready to come home.”
She gave an angry response to her absent husband, slammed the money on the kitchen table, stomped into the living room, threw herself onto the sofa, and commenced intermittently screaming and sobbing. Anna turned and silently went to her room. Mike stood in the middle of the room wailing and looking confused.
Jimmy took a dollar from the money she had thrown on the table. He ran out the door to go to the Acme Market. Baked beans, macaroni and cheese, bread. Maybe there will be enough for oleo.
By the time they had eaten, it was nearly bed time. Jimmy went to the room he shared with Mike. While his mother was getting Mike ready for bed, he lay on his bed and cried through his pain and fear and confusion, muffling it with his pillow.
Sometime after he had gone to sleep, he was awakened by his father coming into the house and slamming the door. There was a loud argument. He could tell that his mother was being hit. She ran into his room and hid under the double bed. His father staggered through the house looking for her, then detoured into the bathroom to noisily expel two days of drinking.  After that, his father must have gone to sleep. The house was quiet again. His mother crawled out from under his bed. 
Jimmy waited for a while, then tiptoed up the hall to check on his mother. She was sitting at the chrome dinette set in the kitchen. One eye was swollen, her cheek had an angry red spot, and one of her lips was puffy. She was humming a French song she learned in high school.
Alouette, gentil alouette,
Alouette, je te plumerai.
 Je te plumerai la tete, je te plumerai la tete,
Et la tete, alouette.
He looked into the living room and saw a big smear of mustard on the wall. A bag with hot dogs was lying on the floor below it. They were still warm. They had chili, mustard, and onions! He put the bag in the refrigerator. In the bathroom he got a wet wash rag and tried to clean the mustard off the wall. Then he went back to bed.

Thursday, February 8, 2018


The chapters which are numerical are factual. The chapters which are alphabetical are fiction, though in some instances the fiction modestly drapes what is factual. I will post one chapter a week, alternating factual and fiction.
At the end of my third grade in school, my brother would soon be three years old. The project by now was being operated by the Baltimore City Housing Authority. Rents were determined by your family income. Since our family had two boys and a girl we qualified for a three-bedroom house. We were put on a waiting list. We wondered where our next house would be located. There were some areas of Armistead Gardens that seemed like slums. Or maybe we would get a house in the new section.
The house we were given came as a happy surprise. It was at the beginning of Armistead Way, where it junctured with Pulaski Highway. There were single story duplex houses with gabled roofs in a column which followed Pulaski Highway down a hill to the northern end of the project. They were originally built to house the foremen at Glenn L. Martin.
There was a large grassy yard on three sides of the house. A street ran parallel to Pulaski Highway separating these houses from the cinder block two story row houses. These houses had asbestos shingles on the outside walls and drywall inside walls. There were three bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room, a kitchen/dining area. There was even a pantry off the kitchen.
Across Armistead Way there was a wooded and grassy area running alongside Pulaski Highway. Across Pulaski Highway from the wooded area was a large Acme Markets supermarket. The sidewalk in front of the house went to Pulaski Highway and there was a stop light so you could cross the highway safely. After you crossed the highway, there was a row of shops – a variety store, a drugstore, and a liquor store. Up the hill from these shops was the Acme Market and beyond it a Sunoco gas station.
That fall all the elementary school children living in Armistead Gardens were transferred from P.S. 231 to P.S. 83. It became known pretty quickly throughout the project that the parents in the neighborhood around Brehm’s Lane School had complained to the school board about busing children from the project to their school.
Another change was that there would no longer be school buses. We had to ride the city transit bus. The transit buses ran all through the project to Fox Mansion. That was the end of the line. P.S. 83 was in East Baltimore. It was situated between Fayette Street and Orleans Street. About a mile north of the school Fayette Street and Orleans Street merged and became Pulaski Highway. Entering the project, the first bus stop was in front of our house. Leaving, it stopped at the corner diagonally across Armistead Way from our house.
I think the first year the school gave us tokens. That changed and we had to pay 10 cents fare. There were many, many days that if I wanted to go to school I had to walk because my parents didn’t have 40 cents that day for Beverly and me to go to school and come back on the bus. I have always wanted to measure the distance from where we lived to P.S.83. I’m sure it was over two miles.
One aspect of the new school that I particularly liked were the libraries. There was a school library from which I borrowed many books. At home, unless I had some chore to do, I could be found lying on my bed reading a book. Beverly made many friends in our new neighborhood, but I didn’t. At school the school librarian noticed that when we were out on the playground, I would be off by myself or getting beat up by some other boy. I couldn’t and wouldn’t fight back. I tried to protect myself from the blows, but my attempts were ineffectual.
One day when I was in the library, the librarian said, “I need someone to help me by shelving the books that are returned and by repairing the books. If you are interested, you could come to the library during recess or at lunchtime if you are free.” I jumped at the chance to stay away from the playground bullies. Shelving books was easy. Repairing books took a great deal of learning, but the librarian taught me to do one stage at a time. Until I learned that stage I couldn’t go any further and had to leave the book for the librarian to complete. By the end of that school year, which was my fourth grade, I could repair a book as well as the librarian and could letter the titles on the spine as neatly as she could.
During the next school year, I began to go to the Enoch Pratt Free Library branch on Fayette Street about two blocks north of the school. I began to carry as many as six books home at a time and would read them all in a week. Once I read through all the books by Roy Chapman Andrews, a paleontologist. Then I read all the books by Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein.
In the fifth grade I started and edited a homeroom newspaper called Class Gossip. Members of the class would write out riddles, jokes, innocent bits of gossip, news about upcoming events in their clubs or neighborhood. Some drew sketches or cartoons. I would organize the pieces. One girl in the class was very artistic. She would make a cover with a piece of colored paper and crayons. Another girl, Gloria Mosca took the material home and her mother typed it onto typing paper, pasted in the cartoons and pictures, and put holes in the pages with a three-hole punch. The cover and pages were put together with brads. The newspaper was kept on the teacher’s desk. Students who finished their work ahead of the class could take it from the teacher’s desk and read it.
 The years living in Armistead Gardens were mostly financially hard years. We would receive boxes of clothes and sometimes food from the Church. Several times at least Grandad Pritt would find out that someone he knew well was going to Baltimore. He would send us a bushel of potatoes and some home-canned food.
Many, many times I went out with my wagon with a Kotex cardboard box in it. The box was so big that only one side fit in the wagon. The other side was propped on the other wagon side. That worked out fine. There was still room in the wagon for any soda bottles I found. I went up and down the streets in the old section looking in the garbage cans for newspaper or cardboard. After a while, people would stack their newspapers and put them beside the can. I was also looking for soda bottles that I could take to the Acme Market for the deposit. When the big box was full, I went across the highway and pulled the wagon almost a half mile down the highway to the salvage yard. They would buy the box of paper from me. Including the box, I would get 15 or 20 cents. I would wash out the bottles and take them with me to the store. I think the deposit was 1 cent per bottle. For 25 cents I could get a box of macaroni and cheese and a can of Manning’s beans. If I had 35 cents I could also get a loaf of day old bread.
Other times my mother would send me to Ginny’s house on the bus. She would send me with a note to Ginny asking if she could spare some food. Ginny would always send me back with a bag containing some potatoes, and a few cans of food.
We only had meat on Sundays and on payday (every two weeks). One time a man who lived across the street came back from a hunting trip in West Virginia. He had killed quite a few ground hogs and they were in the trunk of his car. His wife absolutely refused to clean them. He asked Mom if she would clean them and he would let her keep two of them. She worked several hours cleaning the groundhogs. Then she went to work on the two she had earned. She boiled them three times in water, maybe it was salt water, and threw the water down the sink. Then she fried them in lard. The meat was very dark and it looked like parts of a dog, but it was delicious and tasted like fried chicken.
I have painful memories of Mom standing at the door and taking verbal abuse from aggressive bill collectors. She had no money to give them. She would answer them politely. When they left she came into the house and cried. Other times she would have to ask the milk man to continue delivering milk and bread another two weeks and she promised she would pay him then. Afterward, she cried.
Too many years, I went all winter with holes in the soles of my shoes. Every evening I would have to cut a piece of cardboard to fit inside each of my shoes for the next day.
I read a lot of books, not so I could be smart in school, but so I could pretend I was living in other places and other times. I don’t have many happy memories of my childhood and teen years living in Armistead Gardens. Is that because I am morose by nature or did those years of my life make me that way?

Thursday, February 1, 2018


The chapters which are numerical are factual. The chapters which are alphabetical are fiction, though in some instances the fiction modestly drapes what is factual. I will post one chapter a week, alternating factual and fiction.
Marvin Thompson was probably ten years old. I was nine years old and he wasn’t in my class at school. He must have been a year older. He lived on Quantril Way. Across Armistead Way from our house on Newcomb Way was the beginning of the woods. That is where the creek began. There was a culvert that ran under Armistead Way and water came out of it into the creek. Where did the water come from?
The creek and the woods held a fascination for a group of us kids – mostly boys. I liked to pretend that I was an explorer and was making my way through the jungle. Other times I imagined that I was out West. Perhaps I thought I would come upon a settlement of Indians, or at least discover the remains of one.
For Marvin the appeal of the creek and the woods was his quest for “specimens.” That was his word for them. He found a skin that a snake had shed. Inside a hole at the base of a tree he came upon a bunch of baby mice – less than an inch long with their tails. He took them home in a discarded tin can he found. After that he carried a couple tin cans from home. From the creek he captured a baby turtle and a frog. Marvin’s mother was proud of her budding scientist but sometimes she had to discard his specimens when they began to smell.
Marvin’s prize acquisitions were his collection of bird eggs. When he found a nest, he would watch it until the mother bird flew away. Then he would reach in the nest and take a few eggs. He borrowed a book from the library to identify the birds. After that he could say, “That one is a robin’s egg. This one is a wren’s egg.”
When his teacher heard of his collection of bird eggs she asked him to bring them to class and give a presentation to the class. Marvin was very careful because he had to ride the bus to school. His gave him a shoe box and a box of cotton. He rolled each egg in cotton before placing it in the box. He made an excellent presentation and the teacher gave him extra credit.
Marvin had a good friend, Roland. Roland was always eating and his nickname was Roly-Poly Roland. “I’m going down to the woods and try to find a bird’s nest with eggs in it. Do you want to go with me, Roland?” Roland agreed but went back in his house for a candy bar.
Marvin did not see any nests along the path that he had not already robbed. He plunged into the area where I often went exploring. It was thick with brush and trees. In the midst of the seemingly impenetrable brush, there was a sycamore tree. On one of its higher limbs he spied the nest of a cardinal. He didn't have any cardinal eggs.
Marvin climbed up the tree as soon as the mother bird flew off on an errand. When he reached the nest, he saw that there were four baby birds inside the nest. He decided to take the entire nest, baby birds and all. Carrying the nest in one hand he awkwardly climbed down the tree using only one hand.
He was holding on to a limb with one hand, holding the nest with the other hand and kicking around with his feet trying to find a limb or something on the trunk where he could get a foothold. Just then Roland started screaming. “The momma bird is flying back!... She is going crazy looking for the nest… Watch out!” The mother bird saw the nest clutched in Marvin’s hand. She started diving at him. He had no hand free to swat at her.
The bird made one last desperate dive at the burglar who had stolen her babies. She aimed at his eyes. In a panic Marvin let go of the limb and fell to the ground. His head hit a rock or hard ground. Blood was coming out his ears. “I made a mistake, Roland…Can I have a bite of your candy bar?”
When supper time came and he had not returned, Marvin’s parents checked with Roland’s parents and found out that he also had not returned. They started for the woods. Along the way others joined them. They walked way out on the path and back with no success. Then the men went into the dense brush. The searchers located the boys by the sound of Roland sobbing. By then he was in shock. He kept repeating, “He asked for a piece of my candy bar. I gave it to him, but he didn’t eat it.”
The bird’s nest had landed near the dead body of Marvin. The baby birds were still cheeping, but he was silent forever.