Monday, January 11, 2010

Agnes moves to Moose Jaw

When I was growing up, Moose Jaw seemed like a big exciting city to me. It was a place where an adventuresome aunt or uncle might escape the limitations of our little community. Those memories inspired me to write the following short-short story. I'm not sure if I'm on Agnes's side, or if I sympathize more with her parents. What about you?


Agnes had a long face like her father’s. It contrasted oddly with her short-waisted figure but at twenty-one, she wasn't an unattractive woman. In fact, some people found her striking with her flaming hair and regal bearing. She was one of those women who know how to seem handsomer than they are.

            Though Agnes resembled her father, Doft, relations between them cooled in the autumn of 1945, when she announced her intention to marry Wren Wolford now that he was back from the war.

"Wren will never be a farmer,” Doft protested. “He’s only interested in hunting and fishing."

            “Wren’s not a Mennonite,” Agnes's mother pointed out. “I wonder if he’s even a Christian. Dad saw him come out of the beer parlor Saturday night.”

            After several stormy scenes, Agnes gave in. She wouldn't marry Wren. But a few days later, she packed her clothes and took the train to Moose Jaw. In the city she found the three things she wanted—a light-housekeeping room, a job, and a new boyfriend. The room was in the attic of a school friend’s cousin. The job was in the shoe department of the Army and Navy store. The boyfriend was a freight handler at the train station. In the years that followed, Agnes seldom came home, though her parents regularly brought borscht and jars of meatballs to her at the Army and Navy store.



  1. Elma,

    I lived in Moose Jaw as a child and loved being reminded of that "big city" time. Of course, being from Moose Jaw, we were always amazed to see Regina's skyline on the horizon. Now THAT seemed big! :)

  2. Sometimes one wins the battle but loses the war. *Sigh* - I feel for both these parties!

    (And I didn't know Moose Jaw had an A&N. But I know Saskatoon certainly did. So does the town I live in now - one of the few in the area.)

  3. I sympathize with both sides! I'm yearning for the sequel with some twist that has Agnes and her parents develop a strong relationship, Agnes discovers her passions and lives a meaningful life. Maybe she could start selling the borscht and meatballs and it grows into a wonderful business. (smile)
    (OH, how I love borscht - russian heritage!)

  4. Moose Jaw has an interesting history. This helps put the town on the map.