THE LUCKY STONE by Lucille Clifton


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As they sit rocking on the porch, Great-grandmother tells Tee how she got her lucky stone from a neighbor named Vashti, whom she'd never spoken to (""We was all scared of them because they had real long fingernails. . . and toenails. . ."")--and how the stone saved the life of a little girl (Vashti's mother) during slavery time, when the girl hid safely in a cave until emancipation. (She came out of the cave with wild hair and long nails, which explains the family custom.) In later porch-sitting sessions Great-grandmother tells how the stone saved Vashti from lightning at a prayer meeting, and how it got Great-grandmother herself acquainted with her future husband at a traveling show. For the last chapter, Tee takes over--telling how Great-grandmother, nearing 80 and sick with pneumonia, passes the stone on to Tee on the very day before Tee's first Valentine arrives. (Great-grandmother's recovery, also lucky, occurs on the same day.) It's a story with small but sought-after virtues: fond glimpses of old-time black life and culture (the prayer meeting, the traveling show) bound together by a positive picture of intergeneration affection.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1979
ISBN: 0440451108
Publisher: Delacorte