Sandy Chatelain


In my fourth year, playing on the gravel driveway into our yard, I became aware of a Radio Flyer wagon with a blanket or pillow case covering some things. I saw it often. Always headed in the same direction. The things that were hidden by its cover must have been the same, for there were not signs of difference from one day to the other. Always it was pulled by diminutive woman, whose leaning stance was evidence of the gravelled, rutted, road which was called main street in out town. As she made her way, each morning five days out of seven, she neither looked to the right or to the left. If my mom was in the yard with me, they never exchanged greetings.
Everyone knew it was Sandy Chatelain. Everyone knew that she was a woman committed to the ideal of marriage, Catholic Marriage: “until death do us part”. Everyone knew that each day she went to several people’s houses to clean. Always with her wagon. At each home she cleaned she brought the cargo of her Radio Flyer inside. Everyone knew that her husband was an intolerable alcoholic whose needs could only be satisfied from the sale of household furnishings and the like. He did not work. Everyday, in order to preserve what was important to her, she drew the Radio Flyer with its cargo. No one knew what was important to her.
What she protected in that wagon was her promise to herself that some things are more important than others.


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