Little Brenda in the Red Plaid Dress

April 22, 2019


Dear little Brenda in the red plaid dress, little white socks and shoes, on the lawn. Bob gives a toy to you, toys with you, plays. Bobby, you will one day call Bob. Bobby will be your friend, you will hold him in your heart.

Little Brenda in the red plaid dress. Martin rides a bike around you. Nine years old, he may be, little Brenda, he has 20 more years to live, and you have more, much more. Little Brenda, you have a lovely little dress.  

You will have more than you can imagine and your heart will be broken more than you can comprehend. Soak in the love of your Granny.  She will sustain you.  You will carry her heart even beyond her death. Remember the love and especially the laughter of your Pappy, who is behind the lens of the 8 mm camera that films you and give me, your 59 year old self, a glimpse of your innocence, your life energy, your joy, before any spoiling or overwhelming pain.

Your 3 year old dance on the lawn, surrounded by your 2 brothers and your mother’s parents. Little Brenda, you are held in divine love and you don’t know it yet.  You will write stories in 5, 6, 7 years and you will write stories in 57 years and you are now a story of innocent joy in a red plaid dress and dark rumpled hair, clapping your hands on the grass on Acklen Dr. in Huntsville, Alabama, in 1962.

Little Brenda, I see you in a picture in your Brownie uniform, maybe 3 years later.  David has now been born and your hand is on his head. You have placed your Brownie Beanie there.  He sticks his tongue out, you smile in Brownie dress with belt and red tie and pin on the left breast pocket.  Martin, to your left, tall, full height.  Bobby on your right, not yet as tall as Martin, both in boy scout uniforms. 

Little Brenda, take heart.  You are loved.  You are love, follow, follow that intuition, that, what you will call, the “glob,” inside of you, that yearning.  Look into your own eyes in the mirror, as you will do, in wonderment.  Write your stories, scribbled in code in your journal and know that you are held in divine love, even when, especially when the world, your known world seems to crash around you.

Little Brenda, keep that red plaid joy always, carry those childish steps and take trace them with your grown feet. Little Brenda, listen to the voice that is growing inside you, the voice, the spirit of your creator, of your life energy, of your life’s calling, to share with others the red plaid girl joy as you are encircled by Martin on the bike and Pappy with the camera, by love that will carry you your whole life and beyond. 
Little Brenda, you will sometimes feel alone; you are not.  You will sometimes feel ugly; you are beautiful.  You will sometimes feel lost; you are found.  You will sometimes feel your world has ended; and it will have just begun anew.

Little Brenda: I love you.  You are loved.  We are love. Love is us, my dear. 


Henrico, VA. Rev. Dr. Brenda Walker is a retired Presbyterian (PCUSA) minister living in Richmond and writing full-time. Her first book is entitled Martin/Martine, creative non-fiction opening with the mysterious death of her oldest sibling in December of 1982 in San Francisco, California, with themes of family secrets, gender identity, forgiveness and addressing grief complicated by trauma.


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