• Cultural Differences

Cultural Differences
Daris Howard

Cultural Differences
 Copyright 2002
by  Daris Howard
All Rights Reserved
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No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, by any means, now known or yet to be invented, including mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording, videotaping or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Dramatist Personae
Eli Whittier - Man about 25-35 years old

Anya Whittier - Woman about

Eliana Whittier- Girl about six years old

Jim - Old fiesty man abou80 years old

Agnes Harris - A big strong willed woman about 40

Mabel Jaimison - A woman about 40

Elizabeth Jackson - A woman about 40 years old.  Needs to be made up to look a little heavy

Ivan - Man about 45-50 years old.  Speaks with accent.

Katiana  - A woman about 45-50 with a strong accent.

Cultural Differences

The stage is set up as a living room scene, the living room of Eli and Anya.  Jim comes out on to stage with his cane walking slowly and is spot lighted.  He comes down stage center and addresses the audience.

Jim: It has been a few years, in fact around six or seven, since Eli and Anya got married and... {With a look of unbelief.}  You mean there are some of you who don’t know about Eli and Anya.  I thought everyone knew about Eli and Anya.  We’ll take a seat and let me fill you in. {Jim also takes a seat on a stool or whatever is available.} You see, Eli got engaged when he lived in England, but couldn’t find work so he set out for America to join the Quakers in Pennsylvania, with plans to earn money to bring his fiancée over.  However, his ship got in a storm and he ended up here in North Shore, Newfoundland.  We were a tough lot of lumberjacks and sailors and he became the defacto town preacher and taught reading and writing at night for free.  He worked two years as a lumberjack to earn the money to bring his fiancée over here.  During that time he stayed with me.  He wrote his fiancée every week and, unknown to him, she married the postman that delivered the mail. {Jim laughs as if reliving the moment then acts as if he is back to the present.} Sorry.  Anyway, not wanting to face up to telling Eli, Eli’s fiancée  bought a mail-order bride for him to marry.  Anya was her name.  Anya had been sold by her own father, a fact that really bothered Eli, for because of his mother’s Quaker upbringing, he disliked slavery.  To make matters worse, he was supposed to come up with a one to five dollar gratitude gift for what he thought Anya was worth.   Eli began to love Anya, but because he was reluctant to pay the gratitude dowry, feeling it was a slave payment, and due to the gossip of the town, she felt Eli didn’t want her and she left on the ship, thinking she was heading home to certain death because of the dishonor to her family.  It was at that point she found out that Eli had sold everything he owned to pay a fifty dollar gratitude dowry to show her father he loved her, but was not paying it as if it were a slave payment.  He also was not sending her home to her death, but had borrowed money to send her to California where she had dreamed of going.  Anya, realizing Eli loved her, got the captain to stop the ship and she returned and the wedding was performed right then.  I was the best man.  Always have been the best man. {Jim laughs.} Uh, that was a joke.  Well, like I said, that was around six or seven years ago.  Eli and Anya have built a nice little home on some land I gave them.  They have two sweet little girls, Eliana named after Eli and Anya and Katie Mary, named after my own sweet departed Mary and Anya’s mother, I think.  Oh,  and Anya is due very soon with their third.  I’m so excited.  The children call me grandpa and I look at them as if they were my own.  Well, I’ve got to be going.  They’ve invited me over for dinner.  It’s almost always a vegetarian affair since Anya doesn’t eat cow and Eli doesn’t eat dog, but Anya makes a mean carrot loaf.  I’m sure you would be welcome to join us.

{Lights fade as Jim goes off stage.  As the lights come back  up Eli is sitting on the couch reading a newspaper.  There are two little girls sitting on the floor playing.  If this is difficult to do with the smallest the child can have reference to her and have her not really be on stage.  Jim knocks on the door and Eli gets up to answer it.  It would be good if Jim had a distinctive knock for later on.}

Eli: Jim, come in, come in.

{As Jim enters the room the children jump up and run to meet him.  He kneels down and they throw their arms around his neck.}

Eliana: I’m so glad you could come over, Grandpa Jim.

Jim: You been missing me?

Eliana: Momma cooks better food when you’re coming.

Jim: Oh, so that’s it.  Well, I may be old, but every soiled rag still has some use.

Eliana: We were going to have spinach.  But when Momma found out you could come over she decided to do an asparagus casserole.  

Jim: What’s wrong with spinach?  It’s supposed to make you strong like Popeye.  

Eliana: But you told me it makes girls look like Olive Oil and I don’t want to look like Olive Oil.

Jim: I happen to know Mrs. Harris loves spinach.

Eli: And she doesn’t look like Olive Oyl.

Jim: {Kind of aside to Eliana.} Personally I think she looks more like Brutto.  

{They both laugh.}

Eli: Jim, you’re not helping her learn to eat spinach.

Jim: No, but we really need to eat asparagus when it’s in season.

Eliana: And spinach has a long, long, long season, longer than a summer day at the north pole.

{Anya comes in, obviously very pregnant.}

Jim: But I know something that is always in season.  

Eliana: What?

Jim: You’re momma’s cookies, at least since she learned to cut the sugar a bit.

Anya: Sorry, no cookies tonight.

Eliana and Jim (together): No cookies?!

Anya: I’m afraid not.  It’s my turn for the women’s tea this week.

Jim: You mean the women’s gossip hour.

Anya:  Mrs. Harris brought over pie for dinner so I wouldn’t have to cook more than to make the cake for the tea.

Jim: And Mrs. Harris makes great pie.  Speaking of the Harrises, Whitman asked me to drop this off to you Eli.

{Jim hands Eli a letter.}

Eli: What is it?

Jim: It’s just a letter, but Whitman said it somehow fell behind the counter when it came in and it is a bit past due getting delivered so he asked if I would mind dropping it off.  Personally, I think he was a bit embarrassed to deliver it himself.

Eli: Anya, the address is from your hometown.  

{Eli rips it open excitedly and starts to read.}

Jim: {To Anya.}  What news have you heard from home?

Anya: I’ve written every month, but not heard anything.

Eli: You’re not going to believe this.

Jim: Well, are you going to share it with us or are you waiting for a season you like?

Anya: Jim’s family, Eli, why don’t you read it to all of us.

Eli: “Dear Mr. Eli.  Ivan invested fifty dollars sent for daughter acceptance in piece of land and make much money.”

Jim: Who’s Ivan?

Anya: That’s my father.

Eli: “ Ivan  now a leading member in community.  Ivan been elected myezor.”

Jim: Myezor?

Anya: That would be like mayor here.

Eli: “Ivan happy hear of grandchildren.  Ivan say time visit.  Ivan and Katiana book passage with ship say arrive June three.”  

Anya: Oh, my heavens, that’s the day after tomorrow.  

Jim: Who’s Katiana?

Anya: Katiana my mother.

Eli: “Ship name ‘North Atlantic Passenger And Freight’.  Please watch for Ivan and Katiana for speak not good English.”

{As Eli is reading the last lines he and Jim have not noticed that Anya has wandered off, down stage left and seems very perplexed.}

Jim: So Anya’s parents are coming here.  That’s so exciting.  We’ll finally get to meet the old block the chip came from.  

Eli: I can’t wait to meet them.  Isn’t that exciting, Anya? {Suddenly realizing that Anya is upset.} Anya?  Anya, what’s wrong?

Anya: I want to see mother, but I don’t want father to come here.        
Eli: But Anya, he’s your father.

Anya: {Almost pleading.} I know how he treats me and I don’t want him in our home. {Pausing, then turning and pleading to Eli and Jim.} What if he treats me the same way?  What will my daughters think of their mother?

Eli: {Realizing the gravity of her feelings, comes to her and puts his arm around her and tries to comfort her.} Anya, Eliana and Katie will never think of you in any way besides the wonderful mother you are and I will not allow him to treat you in any way other than that.

Jim: {Also realizing somewhat how Anya feels, he steps in.} You know, you’re home really isn’t big enough for company to come visit.  Perhaps it would be better if they stayed with me.

Anya: Could they?

Jim: I’d be glad to help out.  

Anya: {Throwing her arms around Jim and giving him a hug.} Thank you, Pappa Jim.

Jim:  Of course that would mean Eli would have to come help me get the place ready.  It does kind of look like the north wind took a detour through my living room, since just an old bachelor lives there.

Eli: I’d be glad to come help you.

Jim: Let’s get started right after dinner.  Thanks to Whitman, we don’t have much time.  Now, how about something to eat?  I’m starved.

{The lights fade.}

Act I Scene 2

{The stage is set up as a dock scene.  Jim and Eli are talking with the little girls nearby while Anya is pacing back and forth.}

Jim: ...and so I say to Mabel, well maybe they’re coming and maybe they’re not and maybe it’s none of your darn business.  We don’t want to act like it’s a big deal.  They’re coming to visit Anya, not have the town get all worked up about somebody new.

Eli: I know what you mean.  I could hardly walk down the street without people stopping me to talk about it.  Everyone wanted to know what ...

{He is interrupted by Mabel and Elizabeth coming on stage dressed in their Sunday best.}

Mabel: Well, hello.  What are you all doing down here?

Jim: You know very well what we are doing here.  The question is, what are you doing here?

Elizabeth: Oh, we just thought we would come down to the beach for a stroll.

Jim: I would have to say you are a bit overdressed to go clamming.  

Mabel: We just like to look nice when we go out.

Jim: Nice!  You look like you got locked in a dress shop and someone threw away the key.  {Agnes comes in dressed in her Sunday best.} So whose funeral are you going to?

Agnes: I just thought since Whitman is mayor and couldn’t be here I should be here to greet Anya’s father.  After all, Anya’s father is Mayor in their home town.

{As Agnes is talking the stage is filling with other townspeople.}

Jim: How convenient, the whole town turned out for a stroll on the beach.  Looks like we’re having a bloomin’ tea party parade.

{A ship horn sounds.}

Eli: Look, here comes the ship now.

Mabel: It’s so exciting!

{Ivan comes in followed by Katiana carrying all the luggage.  She accidentally drops one.}

Ivan: You be careful of that.  I did not come all the way here to have my things broken. {Everyone gets extremely quiet.  Ivan goes up to Jim.} I am looking for husband of my daughter named Eli Whittier.

Eli: {Stepping forward.} I am Eli Whittier.

Ivan: {Kisses each cheek shocking Eli.}  You no look like rich man.  How many wife you have?

Eli: {Flustered.} Just one.

Ivan: One!  What kind of man send fifty dollar gratitude dowry and have only one wife. {Poking Eli in the chest.}  You just his servant!?

Eli: No, I am Eli.

Ivan: Oh, I see.  You own many horse then?

Eli: {Really getting flustered.} No, I don’t own any horse.

Ivan: You not own horse, have only one wife, and still send fifty dollar gratitude dowry?

Eli: Yes.

Ivan: {As if he got it.} Oh, you do this to brag!

Eli: No.  I did it because I love Anya.

Ivan: Love?  Are you stupid in the head?

Agnes: {Stepping up.} We welcome you to North Shore, Newfoundland.  My husband is mayor here.

Mabel: And I am her friend.

Elizabeth: Me too.

Ivan: What kind of place is this that woman talk to man?

{The women are really taken back by this.}

Jim: It’s different here.  Here it’s getting ‘em to shut up that’s the trick.

{Women look upset at this comment.}

Ivan: And why women not keep their faces covered?

Agnes: We don’t have to here.

Ivan: This is not modest.

Jim: Maybe, but with some of the women not covering their faces, it’s like having Halloween {or you can say “All Saints Day” or whatever fits your culture} every day of the year
{As the women look mad at Jim, Eli brings Eliana forward.}

Eli: Ivan, this is your granddaughter, Eliana.  (Or granddaughters Eliana and Katie)

Eliana: Hi grandpa.

Ivan: A granddaughter of mine in public?!

Anya: {Has been in the shadows but stepping up, almost in anger.} Things are different here, Pappa.  My daughter is free to be in public if she wants to!

Ivan: {Raising his hand as if to strike her.} How dare you speak to me that way.

{Eli steps between Anya and Ivan and grabs Ivans hand. Jim pulls Eliana (and Katie if she is there) behind him.}

Eli: No one strikes my wife.

Ivan: {Calming down a bit.} I suppose you are right.  You paid for her, you should be the one to make her mind.

Eli: But I...

Ivan: And she not even wear veil in public.

Jim: Perhaps Eli wants the world to see what a beautiful woman he married.

Ivan: You are all stupid-in-the head.

Jim: {To Ivan.} Let’s get you settled.  You will be staying with me.  

Ivan: And who be you?

Jim: I am Jim.  I am Eli and Anya’s friend.

{Ivan acts like he might do the kiss on each cheek thing so Jim grabs Ivan’s hand and shakes it instead.  Ivan kind of pulls back and looks at his hand.}

Ivan: Nice meet you, Mr. Jim.

Jim: You can just call me Jim.  That’s what everyone calls me, well most everyone.  {Looking at the women.}  I won’t say what some people call me.  You can follow me to my house.

Ivan: {Turning to his wife.} Bring luggage.

Jim: {Turns back and picks up most of it.} Let me help.

Ivan: If woman not carry luggage what is woman for?

{Eli quickly goes and takes the other luggage.  Anya runs to her mother and takes her arm and they exit stage right while the rest of the people, especially the women look at each other and then follow.  As they are exiting, Jim and Ivan are still talking.}

Ivan: Do you not think my son-in-law is perhaps stupid in the head to send fifty dollars gratitude dowry and only have one wife?

Jim: In this place a man can’t  handle more than one woman.  That would take a miracle.

{Agnes, Elizabeth, and Mabel now come down stage.}

Mabel: Did you see how bossy he was?

Elizabeth: And how he treated his wife?

Agnes: Why if Whitman treated me like that he’d wish he’d never been born.

Mabel: It’s no wonder Anya acted like she did when she came.  And Anya’s poor mother.

Agnes: I think we should see if Anya’s mother can come to our tea.

Elizabeth and Mabel: That’s a good idea.  Let’s ask Anya to invite her.

Agnes: This may be an interesting week.

Act I Scene 3

{It is Eli and Anya’s living room.  Eliana is busy hunting for something.  The coffee table is set for tea.   There are a couple of knocks at the door.  Eliana ignores it and keeps on hunting.  The knocking continues.  Finally Anya comes from the kitchen and goes for the door.}

Anya: Eliana, didn’t you hear the knock on the door?

Eliana: {Continuing to hunt.} Yes.

Anya: Then why didn’t you get it?

Eliana: I was busy.

{Anya opens the door.  Agnes, Mabel, and Elizabeth (and possibly more) come in carrying some sweet bread and cake.}

Anya: Agnes, good to see you.  Come in.

Agnes: Anya, dear, I brought some sweet bread to help out.  I really feel this is too much on you in your condition.

Anya: It is my week to host the ladies tea, and with all you’ve done to help, it shouldn’t be too much bother.  Besides, what does it take to boil some water?

Mabel: {Patting Anya’s belly.} It takes a baby.

{Anya laughs.}

Elizabeth: I’m so excited to have some time to get to know your mother a little better.  She is coming, isn’t she?

Anya: Yes, she is coming.

{Eliana has continued to search the whole time.  Agnes goes over to her.}

Agnes: Eliana, dear, what are you searching for?

Eliana: I’m looking for the worms I got ready this morning.  I found a wonderful new can and got the biggest fattest worms.  Grandpa Jim always takes me fishing on Wednesdays.

Mabel: From what I’ve seen, he pretty well takes you fishing every day.

Elizabeth: {To Anya.}  Do you feel it is good for a young girl to spend that much time with such a grouchy old man?

Anya: But Pappa Jim loves her so much and ...

Mabel: She really ought to spend some time learning the finer arts of being a young lady.

Elizabeth: How to walk appropriately. {She walks like a duck trying to be feminine.}

Mabel: Talk appropriately.

{Everyone rolls their eyes.}

Elizabeth: How to hold her tea.

Mabel: How to sit. {Mabel sits, taking the best seat.}

Elizabeth: How to stand. {Elizabeth pinches Mabel so she stands and then Elizabeth takes the best seat.}

Agnes: In other words, with her getting older it might be a good idea if she stayed and joined us for tea once in a while.

Anya: But, Pappa Jim...

{Suddenly there is Jim’s distinctive knock at the door.  Eliana, who has been oblivious to the talk, runs to answer it.}

Eliana: That would be Grandpa Jim. {She jerks the door open.} Grandpa Jim!

Jim: {Stepping in and picking up Eliana or patting her head.} So how’s the prettiest girl in all of Newfoundland?

Eliana: Grandpa, I got worms all ready, but I can’t find them.  They were in a nice, new can too, and I was fattening them up like you said.

Jim: Now, don’t you worry any about that.  I got plenty for both of us.  Just run and get your hat and we’ll be on our way.

{Eliana runs off stage to get her hat.}

Mabel: {To Jim.} It may not be any of our business, but like we were telling Anya, a young girl should not be out all the time fishing with men.

Elizabeth: It’s just not healthy.  She should be with women, learning the finer things of life.

Jim: I totally agree with you.

Mabel: You do?

Jim: Yes, absolutely.  It is none of your business!

{Mabel and Elizabeth act very offended as Eliana comes running in wearing a fishing hat.}

Eliana: I’m ready Grandpa Jim.

Anya: Pappa Jim, maybe Eliana could stay and have tea with us just this once.

Jim: But we always go fishing on Wednesday.

Mabel: And Monday and Tuesday.

Elizabeth: And Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Jim: It beats sitting around minding other people’s business.

{The ladies all act very indignant.}

Mabel: Who says we mind other people’s business?

Jim: A skunk hide nailed to the smokehouse wall is still a skunk hide and don’t smell no better dipped in tea.

Anya: Maybe she could stay just this once since my mother is coming over for tea.

Jim: But I was taking Eliana with her Grandpa Ivan.

Anya: {Alarmed} With Father?!

Jim: Now don’t get your line wrapped around your rudder.  I would take care of her.  You know I love her as if she were my own.

Anya: I know but...

Jim: I promise, there will be no problem. I would not allow it.

Anya: You let her stay today, and you can take her tomorrow.

Eliana: But Momma, I don’t want to stay for a stupid tea party, I want to go fishing with...

Anya: Eliana, that is enough.  You can go tomorrow.

Jim: {Kneeling down to talk to Eliana.} We’ll just catch bigger fish tomorrow to make up for it.

Eliana: {Disappointed} All right.

Mabel: {To Jim as he is heading to the door.} It is for her own good you know.

Jim: Bunch of busy bodies.

{Just as Jim reaches the door there is a knock.  Jim opens the door and in steps Ivan and Katiana.  Ivan’s clothes can be something like no one ever saw before.  Anya and/or Agnes go to escort Katiana in.}

Ivan: I am ready to go fishing.

Jim: I am afraid we will not having Eliana with us today.  

Ivan: It is perhaps best.  Fishing is not women’s work anyway.

Eliana: But I am the best fisherman in all of Newfoundland.  Grandpa Jim told me so.

Jim: It is true.  She pretty well catches the biggest fish every time we go.  Well, I guess we best be going.

Eliana: But Grandpa Jim, I don’t want...

Jim: {Kneeling down and bringing her close.} Now you be a good girl and do as you momma says.  I’ll pick you up at 8:00 tomorrow and we’ll make a whole day of it if it’s alright with your momma.  {They both look at Anya and she smiles and nods.} Now you go help your momma get the tea ready. {He gives her a swat on the backside and sends her to the kitchen.}

{Jim and Ivan head for the door.}

Mabel: Rest assured that she’ll be learning important things of life while she’s here.

Jim: Like a sucker fish on a hook.    

{Jim and Ivan exit.}

Agnes: {Taking Katiana by the arm and bringing her over to the couch.} Now, Katiana, why don’t you tell us all about yourself.

Mabel: Can you first take that thing off your face?

Katiana: Is all man gone?

Elizabeth: Oh, yes.  No men come around to our tea.

{Katiana takes the veil off and is a very beautiful woman.}

Mabel: Now tell all about yourself.

Katiana: Katiana not know what say.

Elizabeth: What is it like living in your village?

Katiana: It much different than here.

Mabel: In what way?

Katiana: Women talk to men, even men not related.  Women no wear veil.  Food taste funny.  

Elizabeth: That’s just because Jim is cooking it.

{They all laugh.  While they are talking Agnes pours the tea and is passing it out.  Anya goes into the kitchen and brings in a can that says “SUGAR” .  Eliana sees it and tries to intercept her.}

Eliana: Uh, Mother, can I look in...

Anya: Eliana, it not polite to talk when someone is talking.

Eliana: But, Mother...

Anya: Eliana! {Everyone pauses to look at them.  Then Anya turns to the women.} Here’s the sugar for those who like sugar in their tea.

Mabel: {To Katiana} So are all men like your husband?

Katiana: I think so, but not know.  Woman not allowed talk to man not relative.

{As Katiana is talking and the women are asking questions they are dipping in the sugar tin not paying attention to the fact that what they are putting in their cups is black.  (This could be ground up oreos or such.)   Eliana tries to get to the can a here and there, but is rebuffed politely.  As the women talk Katiana gets more and more confused.}

Agnes: Does your husband always treat you that way?

Katiana: What way?

Agnes: You know, make you carry the luggage, things like that.

Katiana: Why, yes.  Woman should carry luggage.

Elizabeth: If a man ever treated me that way I would punch his lights out.

Katiana: What good smashing lanterns do?

Anya: No, mother.  Punch lights out means to hit him.

Katiana: That is very dangerous thing to do.  Man might get angry.

Mabel: Let him.  He can just sleep in the dog house.

{By now the women are starting to sip their tea.  Elizabeth gets a strange look.}

Katiana: Sleep in dog house?

Anya: That means she would throw him out of the house.

{By this time most of the women are starting to look in their tea cups, noting something is wrong.  Elizabeth acts like she is chewing.}

Elizabeth: Anya, did you put something in this tea?

Anya: No.  Why do you ask?

Elizabeth: Because I just got something chewy.

Mabel: And mine is full of black stuff.

Agnes: {Looking in the tea pot.} There is nothing in the tea.

{They all reach for the sugar container at once.  Mabel gets it, but Elizabeth jerks it away and looks in.}

Elizabeth: But this is full of dirt.

Mabel: {Looking in.} And fishing worms.

Elizabeth: Then that would mean the chewy thing was a... {She runs to stage right and just sticks her head out the door and makes a barfing sound.}

Anya:  {Mortified!} But I know that was full of sugar last night when I... {She pauses and turns and all of the women turn as well to face Eliana who has slowly been backing to the kitchen stage left.  Just as Eliana turns to make a break for it her mother’s voice stops her.} Eliana!!

Eliana: {Innocently.} Yes, mother?

Anya: Did you put worms in the sugar tin?

Eliana: Grandpa Jim says sugar makes the worms fatter and the fatter the worm the happier the fish.

Elizabeth: {Who has come back from the door.} I think somebody is in big trouble.

Mabel: Oh stuff a rag in it.

Katiana: Stuff a rag in it?

Anya: That means be quiet.

Elizabeth: Well, somebody’s going to get it if I ate worms.

Mabel: You always eat worms.

Katiana: You always eat worms!?

Anya: That means you’re messed up.

Elizabeth: Well you ate dirt.

Mabel: Well at least I don’t talk dirt.

Katiana: Talk dirt?  

Anya: That means you say bad things.

 Elizabeth: You think so.  Well I...

Agnes: Ladies, ladies.  Calm down.  It doesn’t seem to me it is this child’s fault.  If anyone should get a lickin’ it should be Jim.

Mabel: I could go for that.

Elizabeth: Me too.

Katiana: You are going to lick him?  

Anya: To give someone a lickin’ means to spank them.

Katiana: You would do this?

Anya: Not literally.

Agnes: What we need to do is to simply start over.  We still have the cake and the sweet breads.  Anya, do you have anything else to drink.

Anya: I have some juice.

Agnes: Anya, you get the juice.   Mabel and Elizabeth, you can take the cups back to the kitchen and get some clean cups.  And Eliana, you take care of the sugar, uh worms.  I’ll cut some cake.  

{Everyone goes to do what they are told.  They all come in carrying their assignments.  Eliana comes in carrying a towel which she hands to Agnes.}

Eliana: I thought you might be able to use this to wipe up the tea that spilled.

Agnes: That is very sweet of you.  You are very well mannered child.  Thank you.

Eliana: Not at all.  Grandpa Jim says we should always be nice to old ladies.

Anya: {Seeing the look on Agnes’s face.} I’m sure Jim meant more mature ladies.

Eliana: No, he didn’t.  He meant old.

Elizabeth: That’s a man for you.  In my opinion men are pretty useless.  Why, the only thing I think my husband is good for is rowing the boat when we go fishing.

Eliana: It is a good thing he does that, considering you don’t have both oars in the water.

Mabel: Who told you that?

Eliana: Grandpa Jim.

{Through the next scenes the ladies keep trying to push their way in by Eliana so they can ask her questions.  Eventually everyone forgets about Katiana.}

Mabel: And what does Grandpa Jim say about me?  

Eliana: He always talks about how you like the water.

Mabel: But I hate the water.

Eliana: Well he always says you think you’re swimming but the tide’s out.

Mabel: Oh, he does, does he?

Anya: {Trying to change the subject.} Did anyone hear that Johnson’s dog had puppies?

Elizabeth: {Ignoring Anya.}  What else does he say about Mabel?

Anya: I heard she had 9 puppies in all.

Eliana: He says some people talk and make sense, some people talk and make conversation, and Mrs. Jaimison just talks.

{Elizabeth just roars with laughter.}

Anya: {Desperately} They were all black and white.

Elizabeth: {Still ignoring Anya.}  That was true, oh so true.

Anya: Eliana, dear, I think you ought to go clean your room.

Eliana: But, mother, I just cleaned...

{As Anya reaches and grabs Eliana’s arm Mabel grabs Eliana and pulls her back.}

Mabel: Not yet she can’t.  I want to know what else Jim has to say about Elizabeth.

Elizabeth: {Reaching for another piece of cake.} Like there is anything more.

Eliana: He did say she’s not a fussy person.

Elizabeth: See?

Eliana: He said she never met a dessert she didn’t like.

{Elizabeth, her mouth full of cake, looks from person to person as they stare at her and then she puts the cake back on the plate with a forced laugh as the others smirk.}

Anya: Eliana, I really...

Mabel: What about Agnes?  What does he say about her?

Agnes: I don’t really think...

Eliana: He thinks she’s really patriotic.

Elizabeth: How’s that?

Eliana: He says if she were leading the troops in 1776 we would still own the United States.

Agnes: Is that right!

Eliana: Yes, in fact he says you could have been the whole army.

Elizabeth: Oh, that’s funny, that is so funny.

Eliana: But he says we may not have even had to fight if Mrs. Jackson scared them off running  around in her birthday suit like she used to.

Mabel: {To Elizabeth.} You used to do that?

Elizabeth: Only when I was young.

Eliana: He said you were married and...

Anya: I really must insist that Eliana go...

Elizabeth: Oh, no you don’t.  I want to know what else that old codger has to say.  What else does he tell you?

{All the women have been gathering around her and now she is the center of attention.}

Eliana: He says that once, when you were about 16 there was this dance that you decided to wear a dress to that the person creating it must have run out of cloth and it got hooked on a nail and there was this rip and everyone turned around and you ...

{The lights fade as Elizabeth gasps knowing what is coming.  The women and Eliana all freeze as the next scene is played out on the side.}

Act I Scene 4                

{The lights come up on a small stage built like a dock.  Jim and Ivan are there fishing.}

Ivan: Jim, tell me, is everyone as strange as you and Eli?

Jim: What do you mean?

Ivan: It is perhaps none of my business, but I see how you act around Anya.

Jim: I love Anya as if she were my own daughter.

Ivan: She is my daughter and you wouldn’t find me doing things like cook, clean, and that kind thing.

Jim: Why not?

Ivan: Because it makes a woman forget her place.

Jim: And what is her place?

Ivan: To take care of home and children.  To do what man say.

Jim: In other words you treat her like something you own, similar to a dog or horse.

Ivan: Of course not.

Jim: So you at least feel she is important?

Ivan: No, I mean I would never beat my horse.

Jim: You would not beat your horse, but you would beat your wife?

Ivan: A woman expects that.  That is what she understands, and it is only by being strong with her that she fulfills all to make her husband proud.

Jim: But you don’t beat your horse?

Ivan: Of course not.  Why, to beat horse is most ridiculous thing I ever hear.

Jim: Why?

Ivan: Why?  Why?  I tell you why.  Horse carry you into battle and out again.  If you beat horse than when battle gets rough if you fall off horse he head home and leave you to self.

Jim: Then how do you train him?

Ivan: You train him gently with love and reward for what he do good.  Then he be loyal to you.  Then, when battle get rough, if you fall he stay with you, even if he get killed.

Jim: So what if your wife decides to leave you when life gets rough?

Ivan: That is ridiculous.  

Jim: Why?

Ivan: Because against law.  If woman leave can go to prison or... or...

Jim: Or?

Ivan: Or be put to death.

Jim: Maybe that is why we treat women different here.

Ivan: What you mean?

Jim: Here a woman can leave if she wants.

Ivan: You joking?

Jim: I am not joking.  Women have the right to divorce their husbands and leave if they desire.

Ivan: Then what keep them from leaving?

Jim: Maybe because we have loved them and were kind to them.  That way when life gets rough they stay with us instead of running home and leave us to ourselves.

Ivan: This is very strange idea.  Very, very strange. {They both sit there very quiet for a few seconds.} Jim, if you feel this way, why you not have wife?

Jim: I did once.  

Ivan: Once?

Jim: Yes.  And a little son.  They both died many years ago in a flu epidemic.

Ivan: I sorry to hear.

Jim: {With great emotion almost to tears.} Nothing will comfort me more than the fact that just as my wife was passing from this life she reached up, touched my face, told me how much she loved me and said she would be waiting for me when I too left this life. {They are quiet for a brief second.} I guess you can say as life’s greatest battle separated us, it was nice to know she would not leave me, but would still be there for me of her own free will and choice.

{Ivan and Jim look at each other, than Ivan looks away, down at the ground as if deep in thought.  The lights fade.}

Act I Scene 5

{The lights come back up on the women in their same positions around Eliana.}

Eliana: ... but you hadn’t really sprained your ankle like you said, you only pretended so Mr. Jackson would feel guilty and buy you that new swimming suit.  But Grandpa Jim says that new swimming suit makes you look like a beached whale that had bloated so it’s skin was too tight to fit over the blubber that ....

{There is a knock on the door.  Jim opens it to call in.  As he does Katiana quickly throws her veil on.}

Jim: Hello.  It’s just us, can we come in?  We got a few fish to fry for dinner.  {Not noticing the women, only noticing Anya who has come to get the door.}  By the way, Anya, somebody left you a little present on your step.  I almost stepped in it. {He then sees that ladies are still there.} I thought you would be gone hours ago.

{The women pick up their purses (all but Agnes, who leaves hers on the couch) and head out the door.  Each in turn stops at Jim and glares.  Ivan stares at all of this in unbelief.}

Mabel: I will never speak to you again as long as I live.

Jim: Oh, how nice.  And it’s not even my birthday.

{Mabel puts her nose in the air and stomps out.  Next is Agnes.}

Agnes: You sir are an onry, ill tempered, crotchety old man.

Jim: {He motions her to come closer and speaks in a stage whisper.}  But just between you and me, I have some bad qualities too.

Elizabeth: You...  You..

{Jim kind of looks at her like, “What?” then she just hits him with her purse and walks out.}

Jim: That must have been some tea party.  What did you put in their drink?

Anya: I think I need some aspirin.

Jim: Does that mean Eliana can go fishing with me from now on?

Anya: I don’t know whether to never let her go again or to never let her stay home for another tea party.

Jim: That bad, huh?

Anya: She told the ladies everything you tell her on your fishing trips.

Jim: Uh-oh.  I guess that means I better check my Halloween candy for razor blades.

Anya: Can you be a little more careful what you tell her?

Jim: But it is all true.

Anya: Elizabeth looks like a bloated whale in her new swim suit?

Jim: I suppose you’re right. {With a grin.} I really shouldn’t insult the whales that way.  

Anya: {In a loving way.} Oh, Pappa Jim.  Sometimes I just don’t know what to do with you.

Jim: Well, in that case you can feed us.  We caught some fish and I’m starving.

Anya: Sure, I’ll throw on some dinner for all of us.

Eliana: Mother, can I go out and play for a little while?

Anya: Alright.  But only until dinner is ready. {Eliana runs out the door with Anya yelling after her.} And don’t get dirty.

{Anya then heads into the kitchen.}

Jim: I will come help.

Ivan: Fixing dinner is women’s job.  

Jim: Helping someone who needs help is everyone’s job.

Ivan: Ha.

{Katiana, Jim, and Anya head into the kitchen stage left.  Ivan sits down on Agnes’s purse on the couch.  Presently someone knocks on the door.  Ivan just sits there.  The knock comes again.  Ivan still sits there.  Finally Agnes sticks her head in the door.  Ivan grabs the newspaper and acts like he is reading it, even though it is upside down, using it to avoid Agnes.}

Agnes: May I come in?  I think I left my purse here.

Anya: {Steps in from the kitchen.} Yes, Agnes.  Go ahead and come in.  Feel free to look around.  I’ve got to get dinner started, then I can come help you look.

Agnes: Oh, don’t bother.  If it is here I’ll find it.

{Anya goes back into the kitchen.  Agnes begins to look.  She eventually is in front of Ivan.}

Agnes: Would you mind getting up so I can see if I left my purse there?

Ivan: {Reading a paper upside down, or anything to act like this woman is not worth his time.}  You would dare ask me to stand up!

Agnes: Yes.

Ivan: You are a woman.

Agnes: Yes, I know.

Ivan: No woman asks Ivan to stand.

Agnes: I just did.

Ivan: I will not move.

{Agnes grabs him and jerks him clear off the couch.  There is her purse.}

Agnes: So it was there.  

Ivan: How dare you touch Ivan.  I will not stand for this.

Agnes: You already did.

Ivan: I have enough of your attitude.

Agnes: And what do you plan to do about it?

Ivan: I will put you in your place.

Agnes: You just try it.

{As Ivan reaches for Agnes she gets into a fighting, karate type stance.  The next segment could be a blackout or be done with strobe light to make it slow motion.  In either case when the lights come on full, Ivan is upside down in a coal bin that is upstage left by the fireplace, and he is struggling to get out.  Agnes straighten her dress, brushes back her hair and then goes to the couch for her purse.  She picks up her purse and heads toward the door.  As she passes Ivan in the coal bin she gives him one more wack with her purse and then continues out the door.}

Ivan: Help!  Help!  Hellllp!

{Jim, Anya, and Katiana come running in from stage left.  Jim and Anya help lift Ivan out of the bin.  He has coal dust on his face,}

Jim: What were you doing in the coal bin?

Ivan: It was not choice of mine.  That.., that person put me in there.

Jim: What person?

Ivan: A woman.

Anya: Agnes came back to get her purse.

Jim: Oh, Genghis Khan in a dress.

Ivan: That woman should be arrested.

Jim: And who are you going to get to do it?

Ivan: The mayor.

Jim: The mayor is her husband.

Ivan: Then I get city council person.

Jim: She is on the city council.

Ivan: Is everyone here stupid in the head?  A woman on city council.  Next thing you know women will own shops, run things, tell men what to do. {They just stare at him for an instant and back and forth at each other.  He just looks at them then realizes.} Oh no.  Don’t tell me has already happened?

{Just then the door opens and Eli comes in.}  

Eli: {Holding something behind his back.} Anya!  Anya!   I got something for you.

Anya: Is it flowers?

Eli: Better than flowers.

Anya: What is it?

Eli: Well, you know how you are over due for having the baby.  Some of the guys up at the lumber camp were talking about how when their wives were over due, what a person could do to get things moving along.  Oh there was lots of suggestions.  Mr. Johnson said he threw his wife in a cold pool of water in December.

{Anya shivers at the thought.}

Jim: That won’t work since it’s June now.

Eli: Mr. Jaimison said he took his wife on a horse ride at full gallop.

Jim: We ain’t got a horse.

Eli: Well, then Fred Jackson had this idea.  It wasn’t as dangerous as the others.  In fact it was kind of a fun idea.  I said to myself, Anya would like this one so I...

Jim: Are you going to tell us what it is and what you got or are you going to make a fifteen chapter book out of it?

Eli: It’s chocolate.

Anya and Jim together: Chocolate?!

Eli: Yes, chocolate.  He said whenever his wife was overdue he bought her chocolate and the baby came right away.

Jim: Are you sure that was Fred’s idea or Elizabeth’s?  You know how she can’t pass up a good dessert. {Then as if to himself.} Come to think of it she can’t pass up a bad dessert.

Anya: It sounds like a good idea to me.  I guess if the baby doesn’t come I will at least be happy.

Eli: {Pulling out the chocolate bar.} I thought the same thing, so I bought a two pound chocolate bar.

Anya: {Laughs and throws her arms around Eli.} You are so sweet.

Jim: Talking about old tales, Eli, have you gained weight during this pregnancy?

Eli: What kind of question is that?

Jim: The old Chinese woman at the laundry says there is a sure fire way to know if the baby is a boy or a girl.  If the father gains weight it is a girl and if he loses weight it’s a boy.  So which is it?

Eli: I think I have stayed about the same.

Jim: Well that just screws up everything.

Ivan: This is most stupid in the head thing I ever hear.  In my country delicacies like chocolate are only for men.  They not meant for women.
Jim: Well, aren’t we glad we’re not over there.  Women might not ever have a baby.

{Everyone laughs except Ivan and he just grunts.}

Anya: Let’s go ahead and move into the kitchen.  Dinner should be ready.  You all get tea bread for dessert, but I get chocolate.

{Everyone laughs except Ivan and he just grunts again.  They start to move toward the kitchen.}

Jim: You know, Anya.  Maybe you ought to let your mother have a taste of chocolate.

Anya: {Turning to her mother.} Ah, yes mother, would you like that?

{Katiana nods her head very enthusiastically.}

Jim: {Turning to Ivan and elbowing him.} You better be careful.  You might have a new little one come along.

Ivan: That is not even funny.

 {They continue to move to the kitchen.  Just as they get about to the kitchen Eliana bursts in the door dirty and crying.}

Eliana: {Crying and running to her mother.} Momma!  Momma!

Anya: What happened?

Eliana: Billy Jaimison hit me.

Ivan: Is he family member?

Anya: No.

Ivan: Then how dare he hit her.

Anya: Pappa, I would rather be mistreated by someone I didn’t know than by a family member.

Ivan: That not sensible.

Anya: When someone you hardly know mistreats you you feel bad and avoid them.  But when someone you expect to love you mistreats you you feel like you are worthless because you mean nothing to them and you cannot avoid them and the feelings.

{Ivan looks shocked.}

Jim: {Picks Eliana up in his arms.} Let me take her and get her washed up.

{Jim gently carries her out as she buries her head in his neck sniffling.  Everyone else except for Ivan follows.  Ivan sits there pondering that thought for a short interval.  Eli then appears at the door of the kitchen.}

Eli: Dinner is ready.  Coming?

{Ivan nods but says nothing as he starts for the kitchen.  Lights fade.}

Act I Scene 6

{When the lights come up Eliana, Jim, and Ivan are coming into the house from going fishing.  Ivan is visiting with his granddaughter.  She obviously is very much like Jim, whom she spends a lot of time with.  As she says phrases that are Jim phrases Jim can have almost a look of embarrassment, while Ivan is amused.}

Ivan: Eliana, you sure are good at catching fish.

Eliana: It’s important to be smart when your fishing so everyone knows which end the suckers on.

{Ivan looks at Jim and Jim just kind of smiles.}

Jim: That’s true.

Ivan:   So my granddaughter, how you get along with boy whom hurt you.

Eliana: I just avoid him.  You can’t win a handshake a lobster, you know.

Ivan: Yes, I understand.   I have decided to avoid that one woman.

Jim: You mean Agnes?

Ivan: Yes, she is the one.

Eliana: Oh, she’s nice enough when her girdles not too tight.

Ivan: When her girdle’s not too tight?

Jim: It’s just a saying.

Ivan: She invite Katiana and myself to dinner, but I say, no, I not speak to that woman.

Jim: That might be a good idea.  A shark might invite a salmon to dinner but he won’t say what’s on the menu.

Ivan: We did get dinner invite from a Mr. Jaimison.

Jim: You’ve got to be careful going to dinner with him.  He’s a real estate agent and will try and sell you some land you’ll never need.

Eliana: Besides, he’s as slippery as an eel and twice as slimy.

Ivan: Got it.  This has been one interesting morning.  Maybe we all go fishing again tomorrow.

Eliana: Can I come too?

Ivan: {Bending down and showing a bit of love for his granddaughter.}  Sure, why not.   I listen to you talk and think I have two Jim’s with me.

Eliana: I’ll take the fish into the kitchen.

{Eliana takes the fish and goes into the kitchen.}

Jim: {Turning to Ivan.} Is something the matter.

Ivan: Why you ask?

Jim: I noticed you have somewhat quiet ever since dinner last night.  Kind of unusual for you.

Ivan: Ivan do much thinking.

Jim: About?

Ivan: Ivan watch Eli, and daughter Anya.  Ivan watch how she smile at Eli and how her eyes look at him in way Ivan never seen before.

Jim: Do you like how she looks at him?

Ivan: {As if trying to put the subject away.}  Not really important.  I guess is alright.

Jim: So what’s bothering you?

Ivan: Who say something bothering me?

Jim: I’m old and I’ve learned to read people and I know something’s bothering you.  ‘Sides, you left the table before dessert.

Ivan: I guess I just full.

Jim: And I’m Prince George.

Ivan: I not know that.

Jim: It’s just an expression.  I think we ought to see how Anya’s doing before we head home.  {Yelling into the kitchen.} Anya, we’re back? {There is no answer.} Anya? {Still no answer.}  Anya?  {He then starts to head for the kitchen, but just as he does Anya appears assisted by Katiana with Eliana close behind.} Anya, are you alright?

Anya: I think it is time.

Jim:  We need to get Eli, and the doctor.  Eliana!

Eliana: Yes, Grandpa Jim?

Jim:   Can you run to Dr. Smith’s Office?

Eliana: Yes, Grandpa Jim.

Jim: Now he might not be there.  I think this is his day up at Northridge.  If he’s not there, Mabel should be.  Tell her to try and send for him and to come help.

Eliana: I will, Grandpa Jim.

{Eliana runs out the door.}

Jim: {Motioning to Ivan.} Let’s get her to the couch. {Ivan doesn’t move.  Katiana and Jim help her to the couch..  Jim turns to Ivan.} Thanks for the help.

Ivan: Perhaps this time you will do well and have a son.

Anya: {Angered by this.} Some of us love our daughters.

Ivan: {Angered at her tone and insinuation he turns to backhand her.} How dare you speak to me that way. {Jim jumps quickly in front of her taking the full force of the blow and knocking him to the ground.  Ivan is immediately distressed at what he has done.} I,... I’m sorry.

Anya: Pappa, why don’t you just ...

Jim: {Getting to his feet.} Now let’s all calm down.   {He finishes helping Anya to the couch.} Someone has got to run for Agnes since the doctor might not be in.

{Jim looks at Ivan.}

Ivan: Don’t look at me.  I not speak to that woman.

Jim: But she is the only midwife and Anya may need some help.

Ivan: I won’t do it.

Jim: Then I will go.  

Anya: But Pappa Jim.  It’s quite a ways into town.

Jim: I will be fine and I will see if Whitman will run to the lumber camp for Eli.

{Anya is really hurting.   Shortly after Jim leave Mabel and Eliana come in.}

Mabel: The doctor was out, I sent word for him and came right over.  I also sent someone to the lumber camp for Eli.  Has anyone gone to get Agnes?

Anya: Yes, Jim went.

Mabel: Jim?  Why didn’t someone more able bodied go? {She looks at Ivan in disgust as Anya shakes her head.} We better get some towels and water.  Agnes will want them when she comes.

{Mabel takes Eliana with her into the kitchen to get towels as Agnes comes in panting and rushes to Anya.}

Agnes: How are you doing, Dear?

Anya: They are coming fast and hard.

Agnes: Try to breathe through them for a minute.  We will get everything ready.

Anya: Where is Pappa Jim?

Agnes: When he found out Whitman wasn’t in he insisted on heading up the hill to the lumber camp to get Eli.

Anya: He can’t run that hill.

Agnes: You just calm down.  You have one thing to worry about right now and that is getting that baby here safe and sound.

{Elizabeth comes in the door as Mabel comes out of the kitchen with towels and water.}

Elizabeth: I’ve come to help.

Agnes: You can help hold her hand until Eli gets here.  Katiana, you can hold her other hand.  Mabel, you come around here to help me.

{Eli comes rushing in the door and runs to Anya.}
Eli: {Out of breath and in a panicked voice.}  Just stay calm.  Everyone just stay calm.  Whatever you do don’t panic.

Agnes: Just breathe deeply and calmly.

Eli: Did you hear that, Love?  Just breathe deeply...

Agnes: {To Eli.} I was talking to you.

To read more, please purchase the script.

This is a fun sequel to The Mail-Order Bride where Anya's father sold her. Now he comes to visit and finds himself in a culture where women think for themselves. A lot of humor dealing with the differences in two people's cultures.

Author:    Daris Howard


       This is the sequel to The Mail-Order Bride but can stand on its own. It is set about six years later. Now Anya and Eli are married and have two little girls and are expecting a third child. The oldest girl, Eliana, who is about six, is a vibrant young lady that follows Jim, the crotchety old man, around and has learned to talk and act like him.
       It is into this that Anya's father and mother come. Anya's father is the one that sold her as a mail-order bride and Anya has some bad feelings toward him. Anya's father, Ivan, is not used to a culture where women are anything more than property. He has a lot to learn about others and about himself as Anya has a lot to learn about forgiving.
       This is a delightful tale of caring, compassion, and humor as two cultures and feelings come to grasp with one another.

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