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My Great-Great-Aunt Sarah
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by Sam J
"We're going to the trolley to pick up Aunt Sarah," my dad said like he was very tired. That made me smile. She had a round face that was home to a big friendly smile. She always wore black with wicked witch of the west high heels. She never had kids so she treated me like one. Another thing good about her is that she gave me money whenever I saw her.
"Okay we have to get out here." My dad still sounded tired. This was not my aunt's house; this was a police station. I stopped smiling. What if Aunt Sarah was hurt? I tried to walk as slow as possible because I really didn't want to go in a place with evil, sly criminals, but my dad pulled me along. Normally police stations weren't scary, but now it was like a monster pulling me into its big belly.
When we got in, I sat in the waiting room while my dad talked to the clerk. It wasn't so scary after all. It looked like any waiting room; some chairs, tables, and someone sitting in a desk.
A policeman came out with Aunt Sarah. She did not have her big smile anymore. She was in handcuffs and her clothes were all wrinkled like she got in a fight. I saw my dad give the clerk a wad of cash and then the officer unlocked the handcuffs. She rubbed where the handcuffs had been and said hello to us. This was not the usual hello, this was a disappointed tired hello. It sounded like when my dad was talking.
We all walked out and got back on the trolley and went to my house. Nobody talked the whole way. Then we got to my house. "Marilyn go to bed."
In my bed I kept on thinking about what happened to her. Then I heard my dad and my aunt start talking.
"How could you get in jail again? I've bailed you out way too many times!" my dad yelled at my aunt. Normally I wouldn't get in someone else's business, but I had to know what happened because things were not normal with her. She didn't give me any money. She didn't have her smile She didn't even give me a hug.
"I'm just doing my job," my aunt replied calmly. She is a worker for the Garment Worker's Union.
"I know you're helping, but can't you do it without going to jail?" my dad said in a lower voice. "I don't try to go to jail, the policemen are just unreasonable," she answered in a calm tone.
"It's not like I hurt anybody; I was just protesting."
"You still went to jail! And this time I had to bring Marilyn! Do you know how strange this will be?"
"Do you want to hear what happened?"
"It doesn't matter what happened! You still went to jail!"
"It matters in court."
"Okay, you can tell me what happened."
"We were outside a shoe factory with a sign. My sign said 'These workers are getting the boot'. Other signs said things about health care and pay. There was a mix of Union people and shoe factory workers." I knew Aunt Sarah would be sympathetic with shoe workers because she used to be on so she knew the conditions and some of the workers.
"We were all screaming and holding up our signs. Then it got a little out of hand. Some people started throwing stuff at the factory."
"You call that a little out of hand!"
"You should see some other protests. As I was saying, people started throwing things, but I didn't because I knew the police were going to come if I did. I was right because in a few minutes I heard sirens, and the police came. Luckily they didn't take out guns. They just caught people, and put them in handcuffs. Then someone caught me and brought me to the jail. Then I called you and you bailed me out."
"Sarah, you told me you could tell the police were coming right?"
"So next time can you try to leave when you think the police are coming."
"If I left then I might as well not be there."
"Fine. Don't try to not go to jail, but remember this; I will not pay all of the bail next time."
"You don't know where I'm coming from and you know I can't pay the bail."
"I know where you're coming from."
"No you do not! One of my old friends from the factory is a single mother. She spent last night crying because she was sick for a week and she couldn't feed her family. One of my old colleagues cut off one of his fingers and he either could eat for the next month or get his finger fixed and starve. He now has a piece of cloth wrapped around it. It got infected and now he still needs to get it fixed."
"Can you still do your job, but not go to jail?"
"Well I am not paying for the bail anymore."
After that I heard loud footsteps and a door slam. This was the first time I ever heard about a protest. Since I couldn't ask my dad any questions because he thought I was asleep, I just went to bed.
My Great-Great-Aunt Sarah (Marilyn's Aunt) kept on going to protests.
She never went to jail after this either. She stayed a Garment Union Worker for many years. She started living in a retirement home at age 92. She died when she was 95 years old. I never met her, but I am named after her.