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November 7, 2012 / diannegray

Weekly Writing Challenge – A picture is worth 1,000 words

‘Smiley’ Barrow and the children

I know this street. I know these people. My grandmother used to live around the corner from them when she was a kid.

The man’s name is Clyde (Smiley) Barrow. His son (Clyde junior) was in my grandmother’s class at school. The girl was an orphan, adopted by the family twelve months before this photo was taken. Her name was Bonnie and both her parents (the Parkers) died in tragic circumstances.

This photo was taken the day of Smiley’s wife’s funeral. Her name was Nelly and my grandmother told me she was a boisterous woman. She worked as a cleaner and part-time seamstress. She and the kids were always beautifully dressed.

Grandmother said Nelly had died after falling from the second floor window of the family apartment. Apparently she was cleaning the curtains. No one believed it was an accident. They thought she had been pushed. Word on the street was that Nelly had found out about Smiley’s dealings with the mafia and she was going to ‘squeal’ as they used to say back then.

Twelve months after Nelly’s death, Smiley accidently shot himself in the head while he was cleaning his revolver. Was it suicide, an accident or a hit? That was the question passed with the collection plate at the funeral.

The kids were then taken in by Smiley’s spinster sister, Petunia. She was a sour woman who lived on cigarettes, gossip and sherry. A year later, Petunia died in a house fire believed to be started when she lit a cigarette after imbibing too much sherry. My grandmother said the children escaped the fire before it took hold. They were smiling – happy to be alive, she guessed.

After Petunia’s death, the children went to live with Smiley’s older brother, Horus. Horus was a wealthy bachelor who lived in a castle in Scotland. The kids were only with Horus for two years when he lost his footing at the top of a long spiral staircase and fell to his death. Such a tragedy!

After that Bonnie and Clyde were sent to live in America with Smiley’s only surviving brother, Pete.

My grandmother would often shake her head and say, ‘I wonder whatever happened to those lovely children.’


The above is a work of fiction for the weekly writing challenge. It’s a lot of fun! To join in or see how other bloggers interpret the challenge you can find out more here.


Leave a Comment
  1. javaj240 / Nov 7 2012 6:56 am

    Auspicious beginnings those two had. LOL. Loved this.


  2. Photos With Finesse / Nov 7 2012 7:01 am

    You had me convinced – until the disclaimer. Very nicely written! – Suzan –


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 7:04 am

      Oh those poor kids! They just looked so cute – I had to make them baddies 😉


  3. susannairn / Nov 7 2012 7:04 am

    Loved it!!


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 7:30 am

      Thanks, Susan. A bit of fun never goes astray! 😉


      • susannairn / Nov 7 2012 7:34 am

        I absolutely agree! I’m working on mine as well…not sure where it’s going yet, but that’s half the fun!!


      • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 7:40 am

        I’ll keep an eye out for yours 😉


      • susannairn / Nov 7 2012 2:54 pm

        Not sure what time it is there, but it will be up in about an hour. I’ll be interested to hear what you think!!


      • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 3:20 pm

        It’s nearly 3:30 pm here 🙂


  4. mrscarmichael / Nov 7 2012 7:10 am

    Oh my, I thought we were heading into TheTurn of the Screw badlands but this is even better.


  5. Theo Fenraven / Nov 7 2012 7:13 am

    Am I the only one who wondered if the kids were evil? Good story!


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 7:31 am

      I was trying to make them as evil as possible without being too obvious 😉


      • Tarina / Nov 8 2012 10:50 am

        Haha, I thought it was a true story at the start! The kids started to sound a little… creepy…. xD


  6. cajetaneGaetane Burkolter / Nov 7 2012 7:48 am

    so cool! love this idea 🙂 Thanks for sharing, GREAT story – I was totally suckered in….


  7. Deborah Hawkins / Nov 7 2012 7:53 am

    I agree. Good yarn spun around the picture.


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 7:56 am

      Thanks, Deborah. A bit different from my usual posts, but a lot of fun 😉


  8. adinparadise / Nov 7 2012 8:25 am

    Poor old Horus! Those kids look like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths. 🙂


  9. Kozo / Nov 7 2012 8:30 am

    You got me, Dianne. I too was suspecting the children to be possessed. I completely missed the names in the beginning. It kind of scares me how many ways you conceived to accidentally off someone. haha.


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 8:49 am

      I do a lot of study into how to get rid of people! It’s a bit of a concern for my family 😀


      • susannairn / Nov 9 2012 6:48 am

        LOL…..that comment struck me as worrisome since you will be back out in the country….on a big parcel of land….with many “hiding spots”!! 😉


      • diannegray / Nov 9 2012 7:41 am

        😀 😀 😀


      • susannairn / Nov 9 2012 7:44 am

        Haha….I’m going to start following the news across the world. 😉


      • diannegray / Nov 9 2012 7:49 am

        Okay – if people start disappearing in my ‘neck of the woods’ you’ve never heard of me – okay? Dianne who??? 😀


      • susannairn / Nov 9 2012 7:53 am

        Who is this? 😀


      • diannegray / Nov 9 2012 8:30 am



  10. gabrielablandy / Nov 7 2012 8:33 am

    Oh, this was really good fun!


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 8:50 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it. A bit of a break from the regular routine and a lot of fun! 😀


  11. jmmcdowell / Nov 7 2012 8:36 am

    What a great take on the prompt and bringing in Bonnie and Clyde the way you did. Fun story! 🙂 (Well, maybe not for the people taking care of the kids…. 😉 )


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 8:51 am

      Hahahaha! Those kids are gems 😉 I’m sure I wouldn’t have taken them on after the first couple of ‘deaths’ 😀


  12. 1girl4adamwest / Nov 7 2012 9:35 am

    I was intrigued from start to finish of this most interesting story. BRAVA!!


  13. Lisaman / Nov 7 2012 9:41 am

    That was intriging…thought the children were maybe not such lovely children!!


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 9:44 am

      A little bit evil, maybe 😉


      • Lisaman / Nov 11 2012 9:04 pm

        Yes…definitely and not so sure about ‘little’ hahaha


  14. pixilated2 / Nov 7 2012 10:51 am

    Not remembering my history, I was totally buying into your little tale. At the end I was getting ready to look them up and find out more. Living through so much tragedy could have done it, you know…

    Then I read your disclaimer. Bonnie and Clyde indeed! 😉


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 1:14 pm

      Oh dear, Linda! It was a bit fun writing that. I just couldn’t figure out what to with the children so I thought I’d make them Bonnie and Clyde. Wrong era probably, but you can get away with that when it’s fiction. I’m so glad you liked it! 😀


  15. Denise Hisey / Nov 7 2012 12:18 pm

    Ah, you really had me going there for a bit, Dianne! 😉
    Love your creativity!


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 1:30 pm

      Thanks, Denise! They were very naughty children indeed 😉


  16. jannatwrites / Nov 7 2012 1:20 pm

    Haha! Bonnie and Clyde. I wondered when I first read the names. Yeah, I wonder what happened to those lovely children 🙂


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 1:41 pm

      Naughty little things they were 😉 And butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths 😀


    • nrhatch / Nov 7 2012 2:09 pm

      Hi Janna! Are you new here . . . or am I just late to the party? 😀


      • jannatwrites / Nov 7 2012 2:16 pm

        I’ve been haunting Dianne’s blog for a few months now (I think)….I was just at your blog and saw Dianne was over there, too. Small blogging world!


      • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 2:28 pm

        Hey, you two – great to see you both here! 😀


      • nrhatch / Nov 7 2012 3:21 pm

        Good to be here, Dianne. As Janna notes, small blogging world. I love that I found you just as you started your new adventure. 😀


  17. bodhisattvaintraining / Nov 7 2012 1:55 pm

    ha ha very good 🙂


  18. jmgoyder / Nov 7 2012 2:00 pm



  19. nrhatch / Nov 7 2012 2:09 pm

    This is FANTASTIC! Thanks for the laughs . . . amid the series of unfortunate events. 😀


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 2:23 pm

      Very unfortunate for those who came in contact with the children 🙂 I think I would have stayed away from them.

      This was such a fun challenge 😀


  20. bulldogsturf / Nov 7 2012 2:15 pm

    Dianne Gray author… and from this one can see why your blog is so named… humorous, clear and a story so quickly developed and described .. a true author… loved it.. and it gave me a smile…


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 2:26 pm

      Thank you so much! 😀 This is my first ‘fiction’ piece on here – the challenge looked so delicious I just couldn’t resist 😉


    • swozy / Nov 7 2012 2:37 pm

      I agree with you – a true author. When I saw the photo, all I could think about was what I wrote about. Obviously lacking somewhat in imagination 🙂


      • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 2:42 pm

        I just read yours and I like the ‘reading’ – it was spot on 🙂


    • swozy / Nov 7 2012 2:41 pm

      I agree with you – a true author. When I saw the photograph, all I could think about is what I wrote about. Maybe I’m lacking in imagination? 🙂


  21. EllaDee / Nov 7 2012 2:23 pm

    Oh, you had me going there… so believable but when I looked over it agian, it wasn’t at all. You really can spin a yarn. If you ever need a job beyond writing you could go into advertising or real estate or car sales…


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 2:37 pm

      Hahaha – real estate or car sales! Love it 😀

      I’m really glad you liked it 😉


  22. Cindy Kilpatrick / Nov 7 2012 2:34 pm

    You totally had me going. Great story.


  23. agjorgenson / Nov 7 2012 2:46 pm

    “That was the question passed with the collection plate.” Great line! When I’m in the pew on Sunday I’ll be thinking of your story: and keeping my eye out for shortish sinister looking pairs…


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 3:19 pm

      Hahaha – please do 😀 I love this comment!


  24. bodhimoments / Nov 7 2012 4:44 pm

    Oh! (sigh!) you had me fully horrified! Yeah! I wonder what did happen to those lovely children……….


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 7:25 pm

      Oh no! I hope you weren’t too horrified. 😀


  25. dennisberry / Nov 7 2012 5:55 pm

    Your imagination is unbound.


  26. moderndayruth / Nov 7 2012 6:28 pm

    You are amazing, Dianne! I love your imagination! Great picture too! 😉


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 7:27 pm

      Thank you, Lena 😉

      The picture comes from WordPress so I can’t take credit for it. As soon as I saw it, I had to write something about those beautiful children (though I do have a bit of a dark streak in my writing sometimes). 😀


  27. Spider42 / Nov 7 2012 8:17 pm

    Awesome work!
    I like the way it builds, at first a simple tale, then a mob tale, then a almost Omen-esque vibe and then finally something quite different. What’s particularly great is that even though you outrightly state names right at the beginning, the way you’ve done it doesn’t make the immediate connect for the reader (I don’t think) and the result is a delightful bit of joy by the time you reach the end – followed by a smack yourself in the head moment as you go back to double check the names and then laugh out.


    • diannegray / Nov 7 2012 10:02 pm

      Lol! I love the ‘smack yourself in the head’ moment – classic!

      Thank you so much for this great comment. I’m so glad you enjoyed the story 😀


  28. danpentagram / Nov 7 2012 11:39 pm

    Didn’t even realise you could do that! Very intriguing …


    • diannegray / Nov 8 2012 6:54 am

      You should try the weekly writing challenge, Dan. It’s a lot of fun 😉


  29. Britt Skrabanek / Nov 8 2012 12:31 am

    Dianne, you’re a hoot! I had to read this twice because a) It’s the morning and b) You really had me going! I have always been infatuated with Bonnie and Clyde. I’ve got a Bonnie and Clyde story on the backburner for later. : )


    • diannegray / Nov 8 2012 6:56 am

      I’m glad you liked it, Britt. I don’t think it would be something I would get first thing in the morning either!

      I’m looking forward to reading your Bonnie and Clyde story 😀


  30. ocdreader/Elisa / Nov 8 2012 12:43 am

    Oh I loved that! What a twist at the end 🙂 You totally had me going too


    • diannegray / Nov 8 2012 6:57 am

      Glad you liked it, Elisa. The weekly writing challenge is a lot of fun 😀


  31. Don't Quote Lily / Nov 8 2012 12:54 am

    Great story! I must admit, I’m relieved it’s fiction, although of course, that could have happened!


    • diannegray / Nov 8 2012 6:58 am

      There may be someone out there with a life story like this (now that would be scary!)

      I’m really glad you liked it, Lily 😉


  32. Sheila Morris / Nov 8 2012 1:06 am

    I was so upset by the story my tears blurred the last paragraph…what happened to the children?? 🙂
    Good one.


    • diannegray / Nov 8 2012 6:59 am

      Oh no, Shelia!!! I hope you’re smiling now 😀


  33. mcwoman / Nov 8 2012 1:23 am

    Diane — Great piece! I so love your writing. Plus, you’ve given me a great idea for a writing assignment for my class. Thanks!


    • diannegray / Nov 8 2012 6:59 am

      It’s always great to be able to inspire ideas!

      I’m really glad you liked it 🙂


  34. Anna Scott Graham / Nov 8 2012 1:56 am

    You had me until the end, great tale! 🙂


  35. Janna G. Noelle / Nov 8 2012 5:13 am

    You totally had me going. I kept thinking to myself, “My, these people are accident-prone.” Great job!


    • diannegray / Nov 8 2012 7:03 am

      Hahaha – they are very accident prone! Love it!

      I’m glad you liked it, Janna. The weekly writing challenge can be a lot of fun 😀


  36. Rick Mallery / Nov 8 2012 5:57 am

    Excellent, Dianne. I’ll have to try one of these writing challenges sometime.


    • diannegray / Nov 8 2012 7:05 am

      You should, Rick. The message telling you what the challenge is about is on the front page of WP on the right hand lower side. I usually see it on a Tuesday morning here (I’m not sure what time or day that is in the US).

      I’m so glad you liked it and thank you so much for stopping by 😉


  37. pbh / Nov 8 2012 10:48 am

    men are so hopeless without women in their lives, even the boistrous…or not. smiles.


    • diannegray / Nov 8 2012 5:36 pm

      Absolutely – where would they be without us? 😀


  38. Bonnie at {PaperKeeper} / Nov 8 2012 11:03 am

    I love this totally had me believing this circuitous story of these two children. Being a Bonnie, of course, the Bonnie & Clyde connection was a little extra fun for me! Totally had me to the end!! Great piece! 🙂


    • diannegray / Nov 8 2012 5:39 pm

      Thank you, Bonnie – I was actually thinking of you when I wrote this (in name only of course!) 😉

      I’m so glad you liked it! 😀


      • Bonnie at {PaperKeeper} / Nov 8 2012 6:01 pm

        Oh that’s awesome! Thank you! So, you will love that the street I live on is named Clyde! Not kidding! 🙂

        And yes, I loved it! 🙂


      • diannegray / Nov 8 2012 6:44 pm

        Hahahaha! You’re right – I LOVE that you live on Clyde Street!!!

        That’s amazing 😀 😀 😀


      • Bonnie at {PaperKeeper} / Nov 9 2012 4:22 am

        Thought you’d like that! Was a fun selling point when buying the house! 😀 And I always know how old someone is – or isn’t – when I refer to Bonnie ON Clyde and there is no reaction becuase they are too young to get the reference…sigh!


      • diannegray / Nov 9 2012 6:18 am

        Oh my god, you just made me laugh hysterically! I’ve got tears…


  39. mike and brandy / Nov 8 2012 12:28 pm

    great idea for an article. picking a picture then writnng a story for it as a type of ‘extended caption’


    • diannegray / Nov 8 2012 5:41 pm

      You should try it, Mike. WP put out a writing challenge every week – I’ve only entered a couple of times, but it’s a good break from the normal routine 😀

      So glad you liked it 😉


  40. escapingdarkness / Nov 8 2012 2:34 pm

    I bought a couple of your Kindle books off Amazon today and a paperback. Cant wait to read them! Kat 🙂


    • diannegray / Nov 8 2012 5:42 pm

      Thank you, Kat. I’m very flattered! 😀 😀 😀


  41. lexiesnana / Nov 8 2012 3:52 pm

    Holy Cow! You had me hook line and sinker.I thought my God the beginning of Bonnie and Clyde.That was quite a little read.I loved it.


    • diannegray / Nov 8 2012 5:43 pm

      Thank you so much, my dear! It was a lot of fun 😀


  42. ramblingsfromamum / Nov 8 2012 6:14 pm

    Great story well thought and executed 🙂
    awww and butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths now would it….
    I think I stuffed up trying to the challenge I put the link…but it goes nowhere…**grizzles**


    • diannegray / Nov 8 2012 6:45 pm

      I’ll go over now and have a look at yours.

      Thank you so much for coming over to see mine and I’m so glad you liked it 😉


  43. ly / Nov 9 2012 12:41 am

    I am laughing alone in my living room. You are a genius! Love the way your mind works. Could we get together for coffee some afternoon?


    • diannegray / Nov 9 2012 6:15 am

      Coffee sounds fabulous!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Ly. It was fun writing it 😀


  44. vandysnape / Nov 9 2012 3:35 am

    Wow ! Had it not been for that disclaimer, I would have totally believed everything. Up until the disclaimer I thought the family was cursed or something.
    Awesome post 🙂


    • diannegray / Nov 9 2012 6:17 am

      Thank you so much! I had a lot of fun writing this 😀


  45. eof737 / Nov 10 2012 6:33 am

    Well dome.. This was a fun read Dianne! 😉


    • diannegray / Nov 10 2012 7:41 am

      Thank you so much – I had a lot of fun writing it! 😀


  46. Maddie Cochere / Nov 10 2012 2:23 pm

    Brilliant! 🙂


  47. Roy McCarthy / Nov 10 2012 9:44 pm

    Reblogged this on Back On The Rock.


  48. Debarghya Mukherjee / Nov 12 2012 1:28 am

    yes it does..


  49. Zen A. / Nov 12 2012 5:59 am

    Those kids seem to be the definition of bad luck, don’t they? Haha.


  50. Dawn Whitehand / Nov 12 2012 3:38 pm

    Bonnie & Clyde LOL!


  51. teaandtao / Nov 13 2012 4:25 am

    Ahaha if it weren’t for the disclaimer…


  52. Daphne Shadows / Nov 13 2012 5:55 am

    Wow! That was really good! Love it. 😀


  53. Paul / Nov 24 2012 12:46 pm

    Love your version of the Bonnie and Clyde myth even more than the Beatty/Dunaway version. Just great! I have quite a few books to catch up on but Wolf Pear is on my list!


    • diannegray / Nov 24 2012 2:17 pm

      Thank you, Paul. I just know you’ll love it! 😉

      I laughed a lot when I was writing the Bonnie and Clyde story – it was a lot of fun 😀


  54. restlessjo / Nov 27 2012 7:22 pm

    You had me going there! If I hadn’t known you were an author …



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