Ms. Hope

Urban St., Buffalo NY

Urban St., Buffalo NY

“Ms. Hope says I got potential.”

“Potential,” the old man spat. He tossed the picture back.

Mama stroked my shoulder in that way she did that used to make the world go smooth. “Don’t you listen to him. Ms. Hope is right.”

He just snorted.

I studied the drawing again, squinting closer. I tried to imagine what Ms. Hope had seen. I could see now all the places I’d erased, where I’d rubbed the paper raw. How dumb to think it was special. I started to crumple it.

Mama eyed me. “Here I thought Ms. Hope was right. But you’re not special.”

I looked at her, surprised.

She shook her head. “You’d throw your potential away based on what others say? That’s not special.”

The old man stared at the broke-down Chevy in the drive and shook his head.

I pulled the paper back and made it smooth.

148 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click the blue froggy button:

Get the InLinkz Code

This week’s prompt plunged me into a rabbit of research. Murder under the tracks maybe? Or a body in a vacant lot snagged from this week’s headlines (blocks away, as a matter of fact)? But then I stumbled upon a nearby school, run by an actual Ms. Hope. I loved the name so much I decided to do my best for her.


  1. This is lovely. Hopeful and serious at the same time. Ms. Hope is aptly named.

    1. Aw, you’re sweet. I read about the real Ms. Hope and she does seem like just this sort of person.

  2. Dear Karen,

    I related to this child. From the time I could hold a pencil I wanted to be an artist. People told my parents I had talent. Once my father suggested I wouldn’t had what it takes when I grew up…I was somewhere between 8 and 10 at the time. I threw a full scale tantrum. That fear followed me.
    Good story. I like Ms. Hope. The name fit her perfectly. Teachers should give their students hope.



    1. Rochelle–Brene Brown talks about how so many kids are discouraged from art at about that age. I’m sorry this has followed you! You should find your way back to it. There are all kinds of pleasure in the pencil & pen.

      PS It’s interesting that this resonated with you personally–your story resonated with me personally too. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. Oh, K, there is such hope and promise in this story. Thank you!

  4. P.S. when I hit the Get the InLinkz Code button it takes me directly to the other stories as if I’d hit the Blue Froggie button. Am I just the special needs child?

    1. Maybe there is something wrong with the link. I’ll take a look at it.

  5. Touching story. I hope the dad comes round to encouraging her in the end too. A good reminder of how I want to bring up my kids. Well done.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Iain.

      Initially I thought the dad was being a complete jerk, and then I thought about him staring out at the broken down car, and wondering if he is motivated by not wanting the child disappointed as he has been…. Anyway, we all need hope.

  6. well the real Ms. Hope and others like her are true inspirations – and this was a moving piece. 🙂

    1. Inspirations and heroes 🙂 Thanks so much!

      1. 🙂
        and they often get overlooked

  7. I loved this! So inspiring, always believe in yourself and your potential!


    1. Thank you akaushiva! I’m so glad you liked it 🙂

  8. Glad the child has Ms. Hope and their mama. Burn bright the flame of inspiration. 🙂

  9. Amen! A wonderful story.

  10. Loved the story 🙂 And more than Ms Hope, I appreciate the mother, her sentiments and attitude to keep the hope going – nicely done!

    1. Thanks Dahlia! We can all use some hope 🙂

  11. lillmcgill

    This story has a lot of depth. Excellent.
    PS I loved Ms Hope.
    I think a large part of becoming who we are
    is related to recovering from our childhood.

    1. That could take a lifetime! 😉

  12. I’ve heard other parents talk like that to their children – putting them down, telling them they’re useless. It comes from fear, I guess, a resignation that good things happen to other people, not to the likes of ‘us’. And a terror of failure. Mum’s the best in this story – a real ray of hope and encouragement in what could be a blek future. Great stuff

    1. Thanks Lynn! I agree, I think the father is cruel out of fear. It can be hard to have hope….

      1. Easier not to try than fail

  13. lillmcgill

    Your repertoire is phenomenal, eclectic, amazing and delightful. Love you,

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