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The Lady on Burberry Street – 3rd Place Teens Writing Contest

March 22, 2023

By Leah Kuschmierz

It was an ordinary town, if a little drab. Ordinary houses, ordinary streets, ordinary animals. If a couple of stores were faded and had chipped paint, it added to the worn, loved look of the town. If the chairs at Stacks and Packs had worn down the floor, it told the story of thousands of people from near and far. And if the library looked a little run down, well, it added character.

So when strangers came into the town, after seeing all the mild colours of browns and greys and blacks, they were always surprised to see a bright yellow door in the outskirts of town. The house was a green that clashed with the yellow door, but it was clear the house was well-loved. Neat and trimmed gardens with bright flowers of yellows and blues and purples, a worn pathway with stepping stones that the children loved to hop from stone to stone. And always, someone asked, “What’s behind the door?”

What was behind the door?

There were pictures, telling of a story of a happy family growing up and older. There were always lots of shoes, of people coming and always staying longer than they planned. Paintings from kids, of stick figures and animals, rainbows and suns with sunglasses and a smile. There was always something home-baked, fresh out of the oven: chocolate chip cookies or blueberry muffins or the famous brownies that had won Best Dessert countless times. In the storage closet on the high shelf there was a medical box that held Band-Aids that had healed countless scratches and scrapes and bruises. Multiple plants sporadically spread around the house, flourishing in the care and sunshine. The attic with beds and a snack area for sleepovers. The crack in the mirror that looked like a dog if you looked close enough and tilted your head a certain way. A bouquet of flowers in the kitchen, freshly picked every morning.

Nothing in the house was matching, with a yellow couch with patches all over; a single white wall the children always coloured and painted on; wallpaper with pink flowers in the living room, but striped wallpaper in the dining room. The chairs by the kitchen table were all different colours and shapes; the fridge was a faded yellow with magnets and postcards from foreign countries. 

But the most important and lovely thing behind the door was the little old lady who had a different colourful outfit on every day. The little lady that let in anyone who knocked, would patch up kids, hand out the best baking anywhere; who had the kindest smile that made you feel like home. Who always had a kind word to say; gave popsicles on hot days and hot chocolate on cold days. Who let kids play dress up with her thousands of costumes. RR

The heart-warming descriptions of this piece make us feel like we are settling into the warmth of the home of the lady on Burberry Street. The home is a splash of vibrant colour on the drab background, and the detailed imperfections of cracked mirrors, patched sofas, and walls coloured by children give this piece a real-life homey feel.

The heart of the home. The Lady on Burberry Street, behind the yellow door.