Hope Can Make It Happen

Hope Can Make It Happen

by Howard Blankman


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496958792
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 01/14/2015
Pages: 36
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.10(d)

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Hope Can Make It Happen

By Howard Blankman


Copyright © 2015 Howard Blankman
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4969-5879-2


Some magicians can pull a rabbit out of a hat. That's one kind of magic. Another kind of magic happens when a little acorn becomes a big oak tree. Then there is yet another kind of magic. But it happens only once a year — and always at the same time of the year: Christmastime, and with it comes Christmas magic.

But Christmas magic happens different ways for different people in different times. For Port Washington, New York in 1931, it was the beginning of the most terrible two years of what the newspapers called, The Great Depression — a time when many Americans lost everything they had: their jobs, their earnings, some their homes, the money they had invested, and a way to make enough money to feed their families, let alone buy Christmas presents for their children. And the little children, because they were little children, had no idea of how bad things were.

Everyone else felt the pinch. It seemed as though there were more stores empty than there were stores open for business. The number of restaurants in town had dwindled. Haircuts were fewer. Going out of business signs were nothing new. People even put off going to their doctors and dentists. That well-groomed, helpful man, who was the president of a local bank for years before it had to close, was last seen with a snow shovel helping to clear the roads and pavements on the Guggenheim estate.

Adversity brings out either the best or the worst in people. During the winter of 1931 in Port Washington, neighbors were helping neighbors the best they could. If that meant sharing a bottle of milk with the family next door whose child had not even a gulp of milk in two weeks, share it they did.

And it was not unusual for a neighbor struggling to stay afloat as a contractor to be being awakened by another neighbor tapping on the windowpane of his back door to ask him the most repeated question of the time: "Do ya' have anything for me?"

One of the hardest hit in those days was a local entrepreneur, who had spent the last ten years of his young life in and out of successful and unsuccessful businesses. Thirty- two-year-old Jacob Mertz (everybody called him Jake) was by nature upbeat, affable and a confirmed optimist.

Unfortunately, optimism was not enough to take care of his wife, Rose, and their somewhat precocious six-year-old daughter, Hope.

As he hurried home that particular snowy Christmas Eve, good person that he was, Jake stopped to put back in place an overturned trash can. A strong winter wind picked up the debris and sent it flying everywhere, indiscriminately.

The front page of the Herald Tribune, flying its own route, landed on Jake's face. Annoyed, he quickly grabbed the errant piece of newsprint and was about to get rid of it when something on the page caught his eye. He read it and smiled almost to the point of laughter. Then Jake thought to himself, "I've got to read this to Rosie. Maybe it will cheer her up."

A little bit later, after a dinner that was as penny-wise as it had to be, Rose and Jake repeated their nightly after dinner routine: She washed the dishes; he dried the dishes. When they finished, Jake sat down on a rickety wooden kitchen chair that was on its last legs and was about to say something when Hope pranced happily into the kitchen.

She looked just the way a little six-year-old girl should look: pretty, dark brown hair with eyes to match — not skinny, not pudgy — just right. She was perky and she had a broad smile like Jake's. It was the kind that makes you want to smile back— especially Jake. No matter how he felt, good or bad, there was one thing you could count on. A smile from Hope was always returned with a warm smile of his own.

There were hugs all around, and Hope was off to bed without the usual delaying tactics. It was as though she could not wait to go to bed or her mind was somewhere else.

As a matter of fact, Hope's mind was somewhere else. She was thinking about her secret plan — and as it must be for all secrets to remain secret, it was not known to anybody else, especially her mother and father.

Jake had no idea of what was on Hope's mind, so he simply shrugged his shoulders and looked after her quizzically and said, "She usually asks me to read her The Night Before Christmas before going to bed," he said in an aside to Rose. She looked worried, but said nothing.

In an effort to cheer up his wife, Jake pulled out the Tribune's story from the breast pocket of his well-worn shirt, and announced with gusto, "Rosie, don't you worry. Everything is going to be okay."

As she put the last of the clean dishes in an overhead cabinet, with a trace of sarcasm, Rose asked, "Yes, who said so?"

"None other than, John D. Rockefeller himself said so," was Jake's answer.

"Who," asked Rose?

"He's only the man who made a zillion dollars with his oil company," said Jake, who was clearly impressed by Mr. Rockefeller. "You know, Standard Oil. It's the biggest oil company in the United States. Listen, I'll read it to you."

Rose listened as Jake — sounding like a radio announcer giving the evening news — read aloud, "'These are days when many are discouraged. In the 93 years of my life, depressions have come and gone. Prosperity has always returned and will again.'" Then, trying to lighten the mood, Jake quickly added, "But, hey, Rosie, somebody like John D. Rockefeller ought to know. So let's take heart. Besides, it could be worse."


Excerpted from Hope Can Make It Happen by Howard Blankman. Copyright © 2015 Howard Blankman. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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