Parade on an Empty Street
Encountering someone you knew long ago can be a nerve-racking experience. What do you say? Does the flood of memories mean as much to them as it does to you? In this moving and very human story, Keith Gillies sees a woman he knew as a child, and is plunged back into his youth, reliving the events of their strange and special friendship.
It is 1939. War is threatening and an August heat hangs sullenly over Toronto. When a young girl no one has seen before moves in across the street from eleven-year-old Keith, there is endless speculation about her identity – and why she would be sent alone to live with the widowed and bitter old Mrs Upshaw. Gradually Keith becomes fascinated with the girl, Shirley: her strange clothes; her rigid and unnatural shyness; and her mysterious and fobidding past. She become a focus for Keith's imagination – a secret part of his life, separate from his friends, his life at school and on the street, and his family. And she provides an escape for him when a visit from Durham Stott, an old friend of Keith's mother, causes personal conflict and upheaval.
As Keith persists in his attempts to strengthen his friendship with Shirley, he triggers a series of startling events that expose past tragedies and present emotions. Against the tense atmosphere of wartime, Margaret Drury Gane has written a story of childhood remembered, a story with a richness and poignancy that will move every reader.