The Silent Generation
Faye Castro/Dennis Wayne
February 14th, 1931
“Milk, milk! Does anyone want milk?!” I yelled.
A man carrying a briefcase kicked my wooden bin filled with bottles of milk. “Hey!” I yelled, my voice shrill.
A woman bumped me from behind and my jockey cap almost slipped off my head. My eyes grew wide and I pulled the cap back onto my head. It was the only thing that kept my hair up, and the only thing that kept the identity of my gender a secret. Faye Castro, girl, was not allowed to work or sell anything. For Dennis Wayne, boy, it was perfectly fine. So that is who I became everyday from 6 in the morning to 6 at night.
I smiled brightly, recognizing a familiar face in the crowd.
“Miss Alisha, do you want milk?!” I called over the sea of people.
Miss Alisha turned to me and made her way over. “Faye!” She said happily.
I didn’t say a word. Miss Alisha apologized. “Oh sorry Dennis”
Miss Alisha was the only one who knew my identity. Miss Alisha was one of the richest women in New York, she always dressed in brilliant velvets and hats with exotic feathers. Today she wore all purple and her hat housed three peacock feathers. She tossed 50 cents into my palm.
“Two bottles” She said with a smile. As I fished two bottles out of my box she asked, “How old are you now?”
I handed her the bottles. “Twelve”
She smiled sadly. “You’re much too young to live without parents, you and your sisters should come stay at my place.”
I shook my head and straightened my fraying suspenders. “Thank you Miss Alisha, but we manage”
Miss Alisha turned to walk away, “Tell Carolyn and Rosie I said hi” She called over her shoulder
“I will!” I yelled. Carolyn and Rosie are my two sisters.
Carolyn or Lynnie, is eight. Rosie is 2. Carolyn stays home and takes care of Rosie when I leave everyday but Sunday.
The big city clock startled me as it swept up to six and let out a loud ring. I gathered up my box and headed to the market. I bought a dollars worth of meat, fifty cents worth of potatoes and carrots, A huge jug of water at a dollar and a small stufted monkey at fifty cents, leaving me with a dollar to show. I put all my things from the market in a sack and I walked the six blocks home.
Now, we don’t live in no fancy apartment or whatnot. We live in a dumpster behind the market that has been blown onto its side and emptied by a storm. Sure, it’s not ideal but when you are living during these times, it’s lucky I even have a dumpster.
I opened the lid and stepped inside. Carolyn sat on a pile of blankets at the far end of our home, cradling Rosie in her arms.
I scooped Rosie out of Carolyn’s arms and sat next to her.
“Hi Lynnie” I smiled, ruffling her curly brown hair.
Her eyes shone bright as she smoothed her canvas dress straight. “What did you get at the market?” She stuttered.
I pulled the stufted monkey out of the sack and pressed it into her arms. She hugged it to her chest. “Thank you Faye!” She smiled.
Rosie woke up, “Fa?” She asked.
She couldn’t say my full name.
“I told you it’s Faye“ Lynnie scoffed at the small child.
I quieted Carolyn, “Shhh, Lynnie you know Rosie can’t say it”
Carolyn crossed her arms and huffed. I dropped a nickel into Carolyn’s palm. “Go get that gumball you have been wanting from Ike’s Sweets tomorrow” I told her.
She hugged me. “Thanks a million Faye!” She said and hugged me tighter. It took very little to make one happy
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