VOICE OVER: SETTING: 1986. Third grader Bernie sits at the dining room table writing his very first school report. However, he missed the primary aspect of his assignment — research. Larry, his first grade brother, walks in.

“Whatcha doin’ Bernie?”

“Homework.”

“Whatcha workin’ on?”

“A report.”

“Whatcha goin’ call it, Bernie?”

“The Alamo.”

“What’s an Alamo?”

“It’s a place in Texas.”

“Oh.” PAUSE “Who lives there?”

“Nobody. It used to be a fort.”

“What’s a fort, Bernie?”

“A big place where soldiers live. You know, like a soldier hotel.”

“Do they live there now?”

“Nagh. They had a big fight with some other people and all the soldiers died.”

“Who killed ‘em, Bernie.”

“A bunch of people were working for Santa…ugh…Sant,” PAUSE “Santana.”

“The band?”

“Yeah, that’s right Larry. They were playing at the hotel. And there was a fight and all the people got killed.”

“Oh, no.”

“Don’t worry about it, Larry. Everybody thinks about the people. In fact, a guy called Francis Scott, wrote a song about them.”

“Was he from the band?”

“No, stupid. He was a janitor. Francis Scott had some keys and he locked himself up in the hotel. When the riot was over, he came out of the closet and wrote a song about the soldiers.”

“What’s the song about?”

“About the soldiers and their flag.”

“What flag?”

VOICE OVER: Bernie points to a picture of the Texas flag.

“Texas is called the long star state. That’s why there’s a star on the flag. It shines real bright. You can see it from a long ways away.”

“Did you ever hear the song?”

“Sure, stupid. They sing it at baseball games. It’s called the Star Spangled Banner.”

“Why do they sing it at baseball games, Bernie?”

“Because it’s about soldiers and baseball players. At the end of the song the people sing, Land of the Free, Home of the Braves.”

“I thought braves was Indians, Bernie. Our teacher said we’re gonna learn about Indians. They were here before us. She wrote the names on the board. Black Foot, Delaware, and the See-Ox.”

“See-Ox. What’s the See-Ox, Larry?”

“Indians.”

PAUSE: “Oh, you mean the Sioux. You sounded it out wrong, Larry. You spell it like this, S-I-O-U-X, but you say Sioux. You know like Sue Kane who lives next door.”

“You mean Susy Kane who lives next to Tyler?”

“Yeah, that’s her.”

“Gee, Bernie, you’re pretty smart. When I get to third grade I wanna be smart like you.”

“You will be, Larry.”

“Thanks, Bernie.”

VOICE OVER: Larry heads off to the kitchen where Mother washes the dinner dishes.

“Hi, Larry. What were you and Bernie talking about?”

“Oh, he was just telling me about the Susy Indians. You know, they were the first people in our neighborhood.”

A New Jersey native, Carol Mac­Allister holds an MFA in creative writing and is now retired, spending time between Ocean Grove, Atlanta, and Puerto Rico. She is currently completing her third novel, a YA historical romance, “Evening Star,” that takes place in New Jersey in the 1850s.

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