“Mrs. Bragg and the Shortcut”


When we moved to the new neighborhood when I was almost 8, I lost all of the cookie people who had been so supportive for the previous five years. Our new house was very isolated, with forest on one side and a highway and a road on two other sides. Fortunately, Mrs. Bragg lived next door and promptly introduced herself to us. She was older than my mother, already had grandchildren, and she really loved kids.

This sign is just one I found on line. Mrs. Bragg really didn’t have such a sign in her yard. But she happily let me walk across her yard on my walk to school. Sometimes she would wave, sometimes not. I don’t think I was in her house itself more than a handful of times. But she had a warm heart and I knew she was a stone’s throw away.

She died the summer I turned 11. I was heartbroken to a depth I didn’t understand at the time, nor did my family grasp my loss. I now realize that she was the only neighbor, and I had come to trust that neighbors were kind figures. Sadly, her husband remarried in a couple of years. His new wife forbid me to walk across the yard, claiming I was making a path. Instead, I had to walk up a flight of stairs, go behind their house, and go down another flight of stairs to reach the road. I finally had a neighbor who was anything but kind and I once again truly missed Mrs. Bragg.(I called her the REAL Mrs. Bragg, unlike the second one!)

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