The Basic Story

The characters in this story came to me in a dream, actually. I am a crazy dreamer as my husband can attest. It seems most mornings I have the remnants of some nutty dream in my head when I wake, and sometimes I kind of enjoy the characters that my subconscious conjures up when I think I am sleeping.

Aunt Mattie was definitely one of those. She is the archetype of the independent, strong “woman of a certain age” who led an interesting and unconventional life before there was a trauma that sent her into solitary living in her small cottage in the middle of nowhere. She had pretty much turned into a hermit when she was contacted about her sister’s grandson who needed a place to stay. She starts out not terribly happy about taking on a twelve year old boy at her age, but since the poor kid had nowhere else to go she sighed and stepped up.

Brady is an enigma. He is only twelve, but having been raised by a couple of irresponsible alcoholics who made their living singing in honky took bars, he has been pretty much ignored his whole life. Like Topsy in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” he would say he “just growed”. He is a brilliant kid, self taught and curious, who learned to read when he was three and never stopped. Books were his lifeline and he devoured them, finding them in empty hotel rooms, walking away with them when he left the occasional actual school his mother would sign him up for, and seeking out libraries in the series of small towns where he found himself. His knowledge is somewhere at high school level despite his age, but he is a socially awkward pre-teen who never stayed in one place long enough to develop friendships except with the rare hotel staff who took an interest in him for some reason.

When he goes to live with Mattie, she immediately understands how bright he is and since he is a tall kid for his age, she signs him up for high school by lying about his actual age, and the only person she tells is Mr. Cavender who will be his math teacher, since Brady has told her he has taught himself calculus. Mr. Cavender, intrigued, becomes a mentor and father figure to Brady. Mimi is Cavender’s young daughter who, when the story opens, is only ten years old, two years younger than Brady, but they become good friends and grow into their teen years together. She will ultimately become much more to Brady and their relationship is where a lot of the conflict in the story arises, and how they work out all the obstacles that life gives them.

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