My Dancing Grandmother plus other award winning short stories
A collection of nine original short stories by Elizabeth Pulford, five of which have won awards.
All stories have been published in either anthologies, on the radio, or literary magazines
The stories marked with an ** have either won or been placed in the top three of national short story competitions in New Zealand. More
The nine stories are:
My Dancing Grandmother **
A teenage girl’s mother is getting married and she romanticizes about weddings and her grandmother.
‘My mother told me she was eighteen when she got married. It's hard to believe sometimes she was ever that young. I wonder about things like that. And what I'll be like when I'm old, if I've got glasses already and I'm not exactly slim or pretty.’
The Girl in the Red Stockings **
An old lady remembers her first love and how it felt.
‘The girl in the red stockings. Like wind through the trees, passes through my life. A mere sigh.’
The Doubling Bike
A teenage girl tries to learn a bike so she can accept a date.
‘My father used to ride a bike. When he first met my mother, before the war, he would double her everywhere. I like to imagine that. Both of them together and laughing. Her long brown hair all let loose from its usual steel pins, lovely and flowing. And him, his legs outstretched sideways as they flew down the hill from our house with him singing, ‘Off we go. Off we go like the billy-o’.’
Along the Home Road
Family roots and a summer in Greece are two skins worn by this woman.
‘Yiorgos was a waiter at a local tavern in a small bay just beyond Piraeus. I would go there in the early evenings and sit and drink a glass of Retsina and wait for him. The white light, passionate blue sea and heat breathed a life into me I had never known before. It was there I first danced with my feet bare.’
Shuttered Summer **
A steamy affair in Italy one summer long ago.
‘And the flies in the room at the top of the building in Rome where the sun shone and where I made love behind the shuttered door and windows.’
Tea at the Dunedin Savoy – 1950 **
Three children are taken for a treat at the plush hotel.
‘At home our kitchen table is covered with a plastic cloth and our Christmas fairy has hardly any hair and her wand is bent in the middle. My mother gave the fairy to Katy last year to hold while we were decorating the tree but Katy played with it instead. That's how it got ruined.’
After the death of her mother the daughter is remember the tragedy at the lake.
‘Sitting here beside you now, I am listening to the silence. I am hearing the deep of you in the black earth. I am calling out to your colours, a soft gentle grey on your good days, a purple red and fraidy-cat-rust on your bad ones.’
First Kiss **
After a dance a girl experiences her first kiss.
‘Last week I had a dream about Ralph Weedle. We were dancing. His face was close to mine. He was going to kiss me. Then my mother opened my bedroom door and bellowed at me to get up.’
Summer of the Albatross
Three women from the same family, three different generations, spend a day together. One remembers a heartbreaking family tragedy at the beach.
‘Aunty Rita looks up from her book when I scrunch down beside her. She is sitting under the umbrella, her white legs dazzling in the sun. "Nice swim, love?" She is wearing a green striped frock. Wide straps sit over her shoulders, big white buttons go down her front and I try not to look at her bosoms as they come and go in and out of the top of her frock. She has on a pair of mysterious dark glasses and smokes a cigarette.’