Dummy and Me


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Fifteen-year-old Deanna Lambert is miserable. She can't find her niche with the popular kids at school and believes she is ugly. Then too, after her mother deserted the family to pursue an acting career in New York City, Deanna's father has grown distant and embittered. Now Deanna is saddled with most all the chores at home—and she and her dad barely communicate. Yet Deanna's one happy escape is her volunteer work at the nearby Children's Hospital. There the activities director convinces her to get back into her ventriloquism, a creative skill Deanna's grandfather had taught her years earlier. Deanna and her puppet, Ramblin' Roy, entertain and delight the young hospital patients, but Deanna is worried. What if the kids at her school discover what she's doing? Will they think she's just “a baby” who still plays with dolls? Deanna takes the risk, but one problem soon leads to another. Can she ever gain true acceptance at school, especially from Jason, the guy whom she has a major crush on? And most of all, can Deanna embrace her gift of ventriloquism, and in so doing, come to terms with her mother's leaving?



Publié par
Date de parution 02 février 2013
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781772996715
Langue English

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Sydell Voeller
Digital ISBN EPUB 9781772996715 Kindle 9781772996722 WEB 9781772996739 Print ISBN 9781772996746 Amazon Print 9781772996753
Copyright 2013 by Sydell Voeller Cover Art Michelle Lee 2013 All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights un der copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electron ic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
Chapter 1
That stupid old feeling was haunting me again. I kn ew it was time to strike head-on. Flopping down on my bed, I closed my eyes and for t he hundredth time called forth a picture in my mind. There I was in the school cafet eria with a bunch of kids clustered around me, talking and joking like it was the easie st thing I’d ever done. My hair was no longer a mousy washed-out brown, but strands of curls fell, like the commercials say, with rich auburn highlights. My to o-large nose was perfectly formed with just a hint of a ski-jump tip like Sally Murdo ck’s, the most popular girl in the tenth grade class. I wore cool looking clothes with the l atest designer labels—not the stuff I’d bought at Good Will. But the best part of all, I kn ew exactly what to say at exactly the right times. Even Jason Middleton, the class clown, laughed at my jokes. I had a major crush on him! The vision suddenly vanished. Negativ e vibes, the eternal culprit. It happened every time. As soon as I’d managed to conc entrate on even a hint of my innermost dreams, there were those vibes, reminding me it was all impossible. My hopes faded as quickly as snowflakes striking a sun -warmed windowpane. During the past week I’d been reading this book about improvin g one’s self-confidence. In it, the author said that you had to imagine yourself the wa y you wanted to be, tell yourself you’d already accomplished your goal, and then live as if you really believed it. Pretty soon you’d discover you were closer to your dream than you ever imagined possible. I sighed, then shook my head. I’d tried it time and time again. Was it really possible for a fifteen-year-old like me? Oh, it’s not that I lacked friends totally. Tammy H addon and I’d been best friends ever since second grade. And Delia Zeigler, my locker pa rtner, sometimes joined Tammy and me when we walked to school. Yet now at Meadow View High School, I wanted to stretch my wings and really belong to a special crowd. The sound of my dad’s angry voice jerked me from my thoughts. “Dede, how many times have I told you to start dinner before I get home?” Springing up from the bed, I groaned. “Coming, Dad!” A couple of years ago, Mom divorced Dad and took of f for New York City to become an actress. They had always been so different. My f ather was contented to keep working at the cannery where he’d landed a job the day he’d graduated from high school. But my mother, who’d majored in drama and g raduated from college with honors, was a dreamer. I know Mom loved my older brother, Bryon, and me. I ’ll never forget the look on her face that horrible day she told us good-bye, nor my own helpless feelings raging inside. How could she just walk off and desert us? Still, she was restless, just like her grandfather, a famous ventriloquist in the fifties who traveled with the vaudeville. I could never cha nge her restlessness.
I hurried out to the kitchen, nearly bumping into m y father. “Sorry, I guess the time got away from me.” “Deanna, Deanna,” he scolded, shaking his bald head . “The time always gets away from you. What were you doing? Lying in that room o f yours and day-dreaming again?” “Sort of.” I reached into the lower cupboard and gr abbed a handful of potatoes. How could I ever explain to him about my latest attempts at positive action? “I suppose your brother is working down at the grea sy spoon again.” “Dad, it isn’t a greasy spoon. It’s McDonald’s. You know, a cherished American institution like motherhood and apple pie.” I’d bor rowed those words from a commercial on TV. He glanced up from the front page ofThe Oregon Reporter. Though his gray eyes looked weary, I could tell my dramatic proclamation had caught him by surprise. Or was it what I said, not how I said it? I wondered a spl it second later. Why had I mentioned motherhood and cherished institutions? I was only t rying to get my point across, not open old wounds. “Little do you know about motherhood,” Dad grumbled . “Certainly nothing your mother ever taught you.” I sighed, saying nothing. It seemed he was always c omplaining about her. Before she left, Mom had longed to go to the East C oast. Dad insisted on staying in Oregon. They fought about it constantly. Yet secretly I couldn’t blame him for complaining. Why couldn’t she have been contented with her teacher’s aide job at Blakely El ementary? Wasn’t it enough to direct the annual school play and audition for roles at th e community theater? Dad snapped open a can of beer. “Better watch that day-dreaming, Dede. You’ll end up just like your mother.” “So? There are worse things than being a dreamer.” I refused to tolerate his criticism any longer and rallied to Mom’s defense. Funny how mixed up inside you could feel about someone you lo ve. But Dad would never understand that. He was much too wrapped up in earn ing a living and hanging out at the Elks Club on weekends to care about me. Dad clunked his lunch box down on the counter. “Did you get an e-mail from your mother today?” he asked. I told him I had. “What’s she up to now?” “She’s still stuck in that little rooming house, bu t she’s hoping to find something better soon.” I yearned to be with her, yet I knew it was impossi ble. She could never afford to keep Bryon and me on her meager income. Dad didn’t have extra money to send either. “You can read the e-mail if you like,” I added. “Later.” He dismissed my offer with a shrug. I glanced up at the clock on the wall. I’d better h urry if I was going to get this dinner out on time.