My Brother Victor by Diane Gruendl
When James was 8 years old his mom left he and his sister and never came back. The children went from relative to relative for a while, but none of them could keep the children long term. Finally an older couple with grown children and many grandchildren came forward and took them in. They told the children that they could live with them until they were grown. James and his sister called the couple Grandma and Grandpa.
Grandma and Grandpa were very good to the children. They took care of all of their needs and gave them many extras. They joined 4H and got to keep rabbits and chickens. They had dogs, a cat and a horse to ride. They grew a garden, they rode bikes. They drove to California, and took many other trips. They had parties, took fun classes, and joined a pool. The children had fun playing with all of the grandkids, who often stayed over. But still, James and his sister missed their mom. They cried over her often.
One fall day Grandma took the kids on a bike ride down a local bike path, while she walked and visited with her friend. Suddenly James spied something up the path and went to investigate. It was a large pumpkin! They all wondered what a pumpkin was doing in the middle of the bike path. James said, “It doesn’t feel good to be left. Can I take it home?” “Of course”, agreed Grandma,” But you’ll have to carry it, and it looks pretty heavy”. “I don’t care.” said James. “I can’t leave it all alone.” “OK, then I’ll push your bike.” said Grandma. It was a long walk and the pumpkin WAS heavy, but James never put it down. He carried it all the way home and took it to his room. After the pumpkin was settled on his desk, James came out and declared, “The pumpkin is my brother, and his name is Victor.” So Victor became part of the family. He sat at the table and went on trips with the family. Victor went with James to visit Grandma and Grandpa’s oldest daughter and grandkids. The daughter, who was adopted herself, also knew what it felt like to be left, so presented James with a smaller pumpkin, a sister for Victor. James names her Victoria. And so life went on with Victor and Victoria as part of the family.
After a time, as these things happen, Victor and Victoria began to soften. Little by little they began to look as if they were melting. They began to smell and, finally had to live out on the porch. Grandma’s heart broke when she finally told James that Victor and Victoria were dying. James was crushed, but Grandma gave him some hope. Let’s bury them in the garden she said. Maybe in the spring Victor and Victoria’s babies will be born.
It was a long winter. As spring approached James went to check the garden every day. No babies. Day after day, no babies. He had all but decided that there would be no babies, when one late spring day he noticed a few little green vines. Then more and more appeared. That summer the pumpkin vines overtook the garden, then the backyard. Big yellow flowers bloomed then little green pumpkins appeared. Victor and Victoria’s babies were finally here!
The babies grew big and orange, and that fall, the grandkids and the neighborhood kids got to adopt the babies, just in time for Halloween. James saved a pumpkin for himself, one for Grandma and Grandpa, one for his sister, and finally, one for Grandma’s friend, because she had been a witness on the day that James rescued Victor.