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Marigold's Story: Dreams Can Come True

Family, Talent and Courage to Believe

By Babs IversonPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 11 min read
Marigold's Story: Dreams Can Come True
Photo by Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash

August 10, 2000

In the sunlight, Marigold's hair shined and glowed. Indeed, the color of her hair was identical to the golden yellow flower that she was named after. Of course, her mom and her Gram would each take credit for naming her. Besides disagreeing on who made the best decadent chocolate cake, there was always a heated argument as to who had chosen her name FIRST as if it were some kind of contest. In fact, each had its own unique story.

Gram's version was that she called her first grandchild "my flower" and her October 1st birth flower was the marigold. On the other hand, her mom's, Joan's, story was that the very first flowers given to her on her first date with Marigold's dad were a bouquet of marigolds that were picked from his mother's garden.

In remembrance of that day, Joan kept one of the marigold flowers pressed in a scrapbook that sat at the top of her bookshelf. As a sentimental type, Joan would keep holiday cards, birthday cards, and postcards she received over the years along with playbills, flyers, and brochures of places visited, and pictures galore. While she always justified the keepsakes as touchstones from the past, the momentos bookmarked the happy moments, pleasant joyful times, and life's adventures and memories not to be forgotten.

August 9, 1996

With a surge of amazing energy, Joan cleaned, scrubbed, and vacuumed her whole house, did the laundry, and finished up on the dishes. At this point, she retrieved the scrapbook and with a cup of hot herbal tea took a well-deserved rest. As she turned the scrapbook pages, she started to have cramps. At first, the cramps were about twenty minutes apart. Joan reasoned, "It must be time!" Eight hours later! After running ten green lights straight, her husband ran through the red light, the last one, with the hospital ahead on the right.

Once inside the hospital, the nurse demanded, "Relax! Breathe! Don't hyperventilate!"

Breathing and thinking, Joan's thoughts drifted to the bouquet of marigolds that were given on her first date. When her now-husband shared, "It's my favorite flower!"


Unfortunately, Marigold had no memories of her dad. When she was one and a half, he lost his fight with lung cancer. At a young age, she didn't know nor did she remember the loss, the tears, and the heartache that her mother went through and endured.

After his passing and Joan selling their home. they moved to the Florida panhandle and within a few miles of the beach. Coincidentally, Gram relocated to that same area a few years prior. Truly, Gram couldn't have been happier that the loves of her life were going to be close by.


September 30, 2000

Marigold loved the beach! Without a doubt, the beach was her favorite place in the whole world. With blue skies, greenish-blue water, and warm white sand tickling her feet, the beach was her kind of place. Playing in the sand and making sandcastles, Marigold considered it her kingdom.

"It's time to go home!" shouted Marigold's mother.

Marigold cried, "Fifteen more minutes!"

Her mother giggled and responded, "Ten minutes, we have errands to do!"

"Thanks, mom!" Marigold chimed. With a time extension, she collected as many shells as her green sand bucked would hold.

After a quick stop at the grocery store and a brief stop at the post office checking her postal box. Inside the postal box, an orange key to the postal package box laid on top of her mail. Opening the postal package box, she discovered an unexpected brown paper box. Driving home, Joan couldn't help wondering what was inside the mysterious box.

Once home, Joan started dinner. Without being told Marigold entered the bathroom taking her shower and cleaning up for dinner. Stepping out of the steamy shower, she wrapped herself in a pink towel and with another pink towel draped it over her head. Seeing her reflection in the mirror, she thought she looked like a princess.

Then, walking towards her mother's cheerful kitchen, Marigold announced to her mother, "I am Princess Towel!"

"Yes! Your highness, what can I do for you?" quizzed her mother.

"Well, I would like ice cream!" announced Marigold.

"Why of course your highness, but first we must have your royal dinner of mac & cheese and mummified hot dogs that you liked so much last Halloween. After dinner, we will have the Palace's royal mint chocolate chip ice cream." proclaimed her mother.

"Yum!" sang Marigold.

"By the way, Princess Towel, your Gram is coming tomorrow," added her mother.

Excitedly, Marigold squealed in delight and inquired, "Yeah! Can we take Gram to the beach tomorrow?"

"We will be celebrating Gram's birthday tomorrow!" answered her mom. "Maybe, we can go later in the week."

Lovingly, Marigold pleaded, "Can we have chocolate cake and ice cream?"

"Yes! We will go to the Pear Tree Pastry Shoppe early tomorrow morning!" replied Joan while thinking it best to purchase a cake avoiding another argument as to who makes the best decadent chocolate cake.

After Marigold went to bed, Joan opened the brown paper box. Quickly tearing the brown paper! Inside the box, she saw her husband's 1995 Nikon NC2000 camera along with a short note.

Joan, Found the camera at our aunt's home. Clueless as to how it got there. I am sure my brother would want you and Marigold to have his camera. Please give a hug and kiss to Marigold for me! Sincerely, Your Sister In Law.

October 1, 2000

Marigold sweetly sang, "Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday, Dear Gram. Happy Birthday to You!"

Smiling and crying joyful tears, Gram proclaimed, "That was absolutely the best rendition of Happy Birthday ever, ever ever sung to me. Marigold, Thank you!

"Now, let's eat cake," commanded Joan as she sliced the cake. Granted everyone savored each and every bite of the sweet creamy chocolate dessert.

After the celebration, they watched Marigold's and Gram's favorite movie on TV. Since it was over an hour past her bedtime, Marigold didn't complain as she trudged off to bed. While preparing for bed, her mind pictured the fun time that she would have at the beach the next day.

After building her sandcastle, Marigold began to dance, leap and tumble imitating the gymnast who had performed and competed in the Summer Olympics a couple of months earlier.

Gram asked, "Have you thought about registering Marigold in gymnastics?"

Joan retorted, "No! Besides, money is tight, and it's hard enough to make ends meet!"

August 9, 2004

"Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday, Dear Marigold. Happy Birthday to You" sang her mother and Gram. "Make a wish!" they chimed in unison.

Gram made the decadent chocolate cake, and Joan didn't bring up their cake feud as to who made the best cake. Everyone was in a party and celebratory mood. However, the following day, Gram asked Joan about gymnastic lessons for Marigold. This didn't sit well with Marigold's mom.

"We had this discussion before mom," snapped Joan. Do you think our economic situation has changed?" she tersely asked.

Gram sadly shrugged her shoulders then sweetly replied, "Marigold has natural talent, and I am willing to pay for her lessons. My friend, Kara, advised me that Marigold is at the right age to begin gymnastics. How about? What do? Why don't we ask Marigold whether she wants to take lessons at Coral Coast Gymnastics Academy? We really should let her make the final decision.

After listening to Gram's argument, Joan exclaimed, "Yes! If she wants to take gymnastics and if you are willing and able to pay for the lessons, then, there isn't a problem!"

On Saturday and a week after her birthday, Joan, Grams, and Marigold went to their favorite restaurant. While having lunch, Gram asked, "Marigold, would you like to take gymnastic lessons?"

Marigold's eyes sparkled and her face brightened, she proudly shouted, "Yes!"

The lessons and training began with Marigold loving the sport. Unbelievably, she excelled and advanced with ease.

Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, months turned into years, the years passed, and with each passing year, Marigold's skills and talents became phenomenal. As a matter of fact, at the beginning of her lessons and training, coaches would say, "Wow! She's a natural!

January 9, 2006

At the beginning of the year, Marigold was putting in forty hours a week in training. At this point. Gram hired a tutor and Marigold was home-schooled.

Nevertheless, she tirelessly practiced and diligently worked towards her dream. Her goal and dream were to be in the Summer Olympics. While the competitions were challenging, Marigold dreamed about becoming a member of the US Gymnastic Olympic Team.

August 2, 2007

Unsurprisingly, Marigold loved the crowds and the crowds loved her. Naturally, she made it look easy and effortless. While making it appear effortless, she actually worked hard and was definitely dedicated to the sport which many consider the hardest in the world. Understandably, Gram and her mom attended all of Marigold's competitions. She loved them being there for her. In fact, she considered them her biggest fans.

July 4, 2011

With the Summer Olympics a year away, Marigold's name was appearing in the news and sports reports. If there was a body type to be a top-notch gymnast, Marigold's fit the type perfectly; and she was considered one of America's best.

February 18, 2012

Now, with the Summer Olympics less than five months away. Marigold worked and polished her routines.

While visiting Vermont, Gram went ice skating on her brother's frozen pond. The ice began to crack with Gram falling through the ice. Immediately, she was rescued and transported to the hospital. Unfortunately, Gram was in the icy cold water for too long causing hyperthermia with pneumonia complications. Tragically, she died a few days later.

Devastated! Marigold was heartbroken and depressed upon hearing the news regarding her grandmother. With the news, Marigold felt like a ton of bricks had hit her. Rumors began circulating that Marigold wasn't going to compete for a spot on the US Gymnastic Team; however, the rumors were false.

March 3, 2012

Mourning their loss, Joan and Marigold were going through Gram's things. They laughed and cried together as they reviewed Gram's scrapbook. Reminiscing over all the pictures, laughing at Marigold's first lessons on the balance beam. Impressively, Marigold's smile tells it all, nailing her floor exercise at her first competition. Recalling it was her first gold medal during competition, the next picture was of Marigold with her two biggest fans on each side of her.

Gram's pictures showed happy and joyful times. Winning competitions for floor exercise, balance beam, the uneven bars, and the vault, the pictures documented Marigold's achievements.

However, Marigold had never seen the postcards Gram had collected and received over the decades. Marigold especially liked the raging bull postcard from Madrid, Plaza de T aoros, Spain with a bullfighting scene sent to Gram from her sister.

While Gram was in college, her sister was traveling the world. Of course, Joan loved the London's Big Ben postcard that Gram sent to herself on her London adventure. After Gram graduated from college, she was able to have her own travel escapades.

Then, Marigold wondered aloud, "Where was this old barn picture taken mom?"

Joan squinted her eyes and cried out, "That's your great, great grandfather's farm in Western New York.

Marigold sobbed, "I miss Gram so much!"

Her mom couldn't speak. She couldn't hold back her tears any longer. They fell into each other's arms and cried their eyes out. Remembering and sharing Gram's special moments in her life, their cry was deeply cathartic.

July 29, 2012

Obviously, the excitement and emotions were running high with the gymnastic artistic competition underway. The USA gymnast group's first round was outstanding and they were in first place. In the second, the USA team dropped to second place by a fraction of a point.

Marigold remembered Gram's favorite Helen Keller quote, "Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement."

In the third round, Marigold's heart filled with optimism and inspired her team. Their results were spectacular! But, the currently leading team hadn't finished their third round.

As the saying goes, things weren't going the lead team's way, everyone was making unbelievable mistakes and at the conclusion of their third round. Their total score dropped to second place.

Looking up at the board, Marigold watched the board change and now the USA Team was in 1st place. Naturally, the USA team went wild.

Receiving her gold medal, Marigold waved pointed to heaven and to her mom in the stadium, mouthing, "Love you, mom and Gram! Dreams can come true!"

Short Story

About the Creator

Babs Iverson

Barbara J Iversen, also known as Babs Iverson, lives in Texas and loves her grandkids to the moon and back. After writing one story, she found that writing has many benefits especially during a pandemic and a Texas-size Arctic Blast.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (4)

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  • Cathy holmesabout a year ago

    Beautiful story. Well done

  • Judey Kalchik about a year ago

    I like the way you wove all the different prompts into one story.

  • Linda Rivenbarkabout a year ago

    A very touching, beautiful story of family love and Marigold's strength and tenacity to win!

  • Apart from Gram passing away, this was a lovely and wonderful story

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