As Esther light-heartedly bounded into the house she called out gaily, "Gee, but I
had a great time today. I got 'A' in my chemistry test and --- but what's this? A telegram?
For - for me?" She ended questioningly.

    Slowly she reached for the yellow envelope held out by Aunt Grace. "Wh-when
did it come?" Wonderingly she tore the envelope open and read it. "Grandma Straw --

    "Is that about your grandmother in California, dear?" as Esther nodded numbly --
"Did it say she was dead? We saw an article in the paper this morning about it we think.
Let's see, yes, here it is. 'Body of aged woman found in San Diego Bay'."
 Miserably Esther read through that wretched news story. "The dismembered body
of an elderly woman was found tied in two different sacks, floating in San Diego Bay early
this morning."

    Numbly, in the face of the rising tide of sympathetic questions and conversation
Esther withdrew into the solitude of her own miserable thoughts. "Gee, that can't be true.
People can't kill old ladies like that. Why -- she was my Grandmother; murder can't hit that
near home. It's -- it's not real -- it must be all a horrible nightmare."

    Automatically she reached for the paper again. "Yes, there is -- all in black and
white -- 'Elderly lady found murdered." Then her eyes strayed to other head lines. "Three
Killed in Auto Wreck." "Two Lynched in Missouri." "Beat his Wife for a Penny." "Peace
Treaties Held in Scorn."

    In the midst of the conversation round about, she sat alone and muttered cynically,
"And they call us civilized. How could such a dastardly crime be committed? -- And I
thought this world was supposed to be governed by a good and all-powerful God. I guess
there must be no God, cause a God wouldn't let such a thing happen. -- And they call us
civilized!! Darn it, I wish Aunt Grace would shut up." Aloud but in abnormally measured
tones, "I'll be back in a few minutes, Aunt Grace."

    In confusion, Esther hurried across the street and into the woods. "And they call us
civilized -- they seem proud of it. Bah!" she whispered fiercely to the gently weeping
willows. She slumped down upon the cold, unyielding sand of the creek. What was the use
of it all after all?

    A warm, gentle breeze sprang up and shook the leaves of the tall, majestic oaks to
a friendly, hopeful rustle. Even the sand seemed now warmly quieting and protective. The
rocks and all nature preached to discouraged, cynical Esther a soothing, faith-reviving
gospel. The gentle breeze, bringing from all nature a wholesome love for all the world,
caressed her feverish cheeks; leaving little trace of the recent pessimism.

    Calm at last, Esther strolled back to the house murmuring, "Even these shall pass
away -- poverty, murders, wars, -- even these shall pass away. We will be civilized."

Dorris E Willows
English II  11
March 11, 1934

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