The Way to Stay in Destiny
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When Theo gets off a bus in Destiny, Florida, he's left behind the only life he's ever known. Now he's got to live with Uncle Raymond, a Vietnam War vet and a loner who wants nothing to do with this long-lost nephew. Thank goodness for Miss Sister Grandersole's Boarding House and Dance School. The piano that sits in Miss Sister's dance hall calls to Theo. He can't wait to play those ivory keys. When Anabel arrives things get even more enticing. This feisty girl, a baseball fanatic, invites Theo on her quest to uncover the town's connection to old-time ball players rumored to have lived there years before. A mystery, an adventure, and a musical exploration unfold as this town called Destiny lives up to its name.
Acclaimed author Augusta Scattergood has delivered a straight-to-the-heart story with unforgettable characters, humor, and hard questions about loss, family, and belonging.
Miss Sister’s voice is rising. “Do you have proof it was stolen?” I can’t hear her answer, but Anabel’s mom storms off like she’s late to a fire and she’s the driver of the fire engine. In a quick flash, Miss Sister’s back in the studio, smiling. Ready to start dancing again. As if Mrs. Johnson hadn’t just waltzed into her front hall and said the words that boy Theo and thief in the same breath. After the last dancer finally flitters off, Miss Sister moves close to the piano and says, “I guess
closet. It’ll be fun. Miss Sister and I think you should be there. He’ll just say no. I pull out that puke-green jacket I hauled to Florida from Kentucky, and I try it on. Still way too small. Before I stash it back in the closet — saving it for just in case like my uncle said — I fiddle with the big ugly buttons on the front. Inside a pocket, something’s stuck in the seam. The scrap of paper from my granddaddy’s desk. I thought I’d lost it! Granddaddy’d saved the grocery list to remember my
don’t know nothing about kids. Especially one that reminds me of the bad times.” “The bad times?” I almost turn around and run all the way back to Miss Sister. “Every time I look at you, your mama comes back. Not the good parts, either.” The cloud covering Uncle Raymond’s face is as dark as the storm starting out past the waves. “The bad’s your daddy’s fault. He got her in with them war protesters! Called me an ignorant murderer, to my mama no less. Telling my own family it was wrong to join
touch a key or two, fast and jazzy, if I stretch my sneakers onto those pedal things, maybe then the music will make my uncle smile. Fat chance. He turns away, still spitting mad. “Can’t be bothering about this. Got to get to work. My old army buddy, he got me this job. Boss is coming in early to show me the ropes. Least there’s somebody left who appreciates what we both fought for.” Uncle Raymond turns and narrows his eyes. “You need something, ask Miss Grandersole. Be polite about it.” He
things jump up like they’re saying hello. I touch a black key, quietly at first, then a white one. So what am I worrying about? Uncle Raymond’s long gone. My fingers fly up and down the keyboard. Again, then again. Faster! I finish my made-up song, with a few hat dance notes thrown in. Then I sit back and touch a tiny ray of sunlight jumping off the shiny finish. She sighs, then asks, “Who taught you, Theo?” “Taught myself. My grandparents told me Mama first showed me piano notes. But my