It was a chilly morning in early winter 1933. And as usual, Uni and Grandpa Walter readied themselves for their journey to Uni’s snowbound street corner in downtown Minneapolis, where Uni would sell her pencils. Uni who lived with Grandpa Walter—now aging with arthritis and light symptoms of forgetfulness—was always pleased to have her Grandfather accompany her each morning, although he could only walk her part of the way. And when evening came Grandpa Walter would be waiting—promptly at five—right where he left Uni that morning to walk her back home. And although Uni was blind from birth, with her cane and keen senses she never lost her way.
As Uni stood on her street corner that morning awaiting for noon to arrive (pencils in one hand, a tin bucket half filled with pencils in the other, thus, allowing folks to drop coins into the bucket while taking a pencil), she talked to a few regular customers that stopped on by: and upon their departure, asked them for the time. But to her disbelief, it was only 8:20 a.m. ‘Gosh,’ she thought: ‘when you’re waiting for something special to happen, as having your Grandpa to keep you company for the day, time sure goes slow.’
Uni, awaiting Grandpa Walter, asked everyone she knew—or thought she knew—to be sure to stop by and get introduced to her grandfather who would be with her that afternoon. Most of Uni’s friends replied with a warm yes. A few strangers, who were mistaken for acquaintances, were promptly apologized to and they went on their way.
On the way home that evening, Uni—bewildered because of her friends’ attitudes—questioned Grandpa Walter saying: “I just don’t understand. All my regular customers came by and they were so unfriendly. I just don’t understand.”
Uni stopped walking, stared in the direction of her grandfather, hesitated a moment, and said: “Oh Yaw?” She took Grandpa Walter’s hand in hers. “I never noticed. In my world Grandpa, everything is dark. Is there a difference?”
Note (Background): In 1984, the author switched from poetry to see if he could write short stories. He had written five short poetic short stories between 1981, and 1984, but never a short prose story. Thus, in 1984, he produced two short prose stories the first being, “The Little Russian Twins,” which was selected to be published in a book by “The Little Peoples Press.” The one not selected, the second story, was “Uni’s street Corner.” Both these stories were put into a ten-page chapbook of 100-copies, of which only a few are left. “Uni’s Street Corner,” was never seen by the public other than within the 100-chapbooks, this is the first time ever the author has allowed it to be reprinted. The Chapbook carried the name “Two Modern Short Stories of Immigrant Life,”© 1984 (Edited by Sharon A. Waagen, 1984)