Shoreline to Skyline

Mallory Houghton, guest writer


A cheerful sunrise was on the shoreline of Charleston, South Carolina. Adeline Benedict had gotten up early to take a walk on the beach until the rest of her family woke up. Just last January, her mother had passed away leaving Adeline, at eighteen years of age, to be the mother figure to her two younger siblings. As she sat watching the waves roll in, Thomas, her nine-year-old brother called her in to eat breakfast. He was raising the new American Flag on the porch of their southern home.

Making her way up to the house, Adeline could smell the sweet maple syrup and fresh hot cakes that were waiting for her.

“Well, good morning, darling Adeline. Why were you up so early?” asked Lee Benedict,         Adeline’s father.

“Just needed some time to get my thoughts in order and to finish reading my book,” stated Adeline.

“Well, I guess that’s a good thing, now isn’t it? What must I get you for breakfast, dear,” he asked.

“I guess I’ll take a pancake, but I’m going back to the beach to finish my book,” replied             Adeline.

“Alright, dear, have a delightful time down at the beach,” father said as he happily sent her off with her pancakes.

As Adeline made her way down to the sandy beach, the warm sun soothed her skin and left a sparkling glisten across the water. Adeline’s eyes skimmed over the last few pages of her newest book, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Harper Lee’s book was one of Adeline’s favorites because it showed the “examination of racism” (Themes). As Adeline closed her book, she sat on the sand thinking about how she loved to read and how she longed to get a better education. Adeline’s love of reading and her obsession with school came from her mother.

“Adeline! Adeline!…” screamed a squealing voice behind her.

“What? What’s the matter?!” Adeline responded in concern.

“You got a letter in the mail from Grandmother Blair!” screamed Adeline’s little sister Reese.

“Well then, hand it over, Reese!” exclaimed Adeline in utter delight.

Adeline jolted toward her sister and snatched the envelope right out of Reese’s tiny fingers. Ripping the letter open with excitement, she pulled out a perfect, light pink paper with swirly calligraphy and a faint smell of grandmother Blair’s perfume soaked into the package. Glancing at the long letter, Adeline assumed that it must be something important rather than her normal “Happy Birthday” or “Missing you” greetings.

“Well what does it say, Adeline?” Reese begged impatiently.

“Hold on Reese, I’ll read it to you when I’m done,” remarked Adeline, slowly becoming  irritated by her sister’s questions.

“Alright fine. . .” agreed the impatient little red headed five-year-old.

“Okay, Reese, listen up, I will read it to you,” Adeline said slowly as she tried to contain her excitement.

As Adeline started to read the letter aloud, she could not help but smile the whole time. The letter that her grandmother Blair sent was just what she needed and what she had been thinking about for the longest time. The letter read:

Dearest Adeline,

I apologize for my absence of letter-writing to you. I know that has always been something you enjoyed. I also remember something else you have interest in. I know that being in the city and learning about the fashion industry would be special to you. I gladly invite you to be my guest this summer at my apartment in New York City. I will be needing a new assistant for my Upper East Side Women’s Group to help me organize luncheons, functions, and events. I also will be able to take you to explore the city and teach you more about the fashion of New York. I hope you will consider. I love you dearly my sweet Adeline.

Yours Truly,

Grandmother Blair


The next morning, Adeline rose slowly out of the bed and walked down the stairs, being careful not to make a loud creaking noise on the wooden stairway. As she came around the corner, she found her father sitting in his study pouring over paperwork. He sat watching the Presidential Election on the television, curious about who will be the “victorious candidate” (Gidlow). Her father was waiting to see how they addressed the Civil Rights Act of 1960. In fear of denial, her heart raced as she mustered up the courage to ask him about the trip to New York City.

“Good morning papa,” Adeline sweetly greeted her father, giving him a big bear hug.

“Ahh, good morning dear,” he responded as he finished sipping his coffee.

“Could I ask you something?” she said cautiously.

“Sure thing, sweet Adeline! Ask away,” Papa said in a cheerful voice.

“Well, Grandmother Blair sent me a letter yesterday inviting me to stay this summer with her in New York City and be her assistant so we can spend time together. It sounds like a great opportunity, but I don’t want to leave you alone with Reese and Thomas. So, what do you think Papa?” she finished her statement almost out of breath.

“Well I don’t see why not, I think we can manage without you for a few months,” Papa informed her.

With her spirits lifted high and her feet almost off the ground, she leaped upstairs to her mothers room. She walked to the closet that now collected dust and had everything in its place just as it was when she had passed away. Adeline looked through the jewelry box and took a strand of shiny pearls and her mother’s finest diamond earrings to wear in New York. Her mother played a significant role in Adeline’s love for fashion and now Adeline was old enough and was honored to borrow her clothes.



Waking up to the city is one of the most exhilarating things that Adeline had ever experienced. The grand windows that overlooked the parks and skyscrapers absolutely excited her beyond belief. The busy streets and endless lights made her so joyful that she smiled every second that she was there. As she began to get ready, she played her Elvis Presley record and listened to her favorite tunes. Adeline opened her bags, picked out her outfit, got dressed, and made her way to breakfast. As she walked down the hallway with glistening marble floors she was greeted by the warm smile of her grandmother.

“Why good morning Adeline, I hope you got some sleep last night, we have a busy day ahead,” Grandmother Blair said with enthusiasm. “I would like for you to meet a close friend of mine,” she added.

“Of course, Grandmother Blair!” Adeline said.

“Adeline, meet Jacqueline Kennedy,” said her grandmother in delight.

“It’s truly lovely to meet you Mrs. Kennedy!” Adeline said as she firmly shook hands with one of her biggest fashion role models.

“It is a pleasure to meet you as well, Adeline, but call me Jackie,” responded the soft-spoken style icon of the year.

Over the next few weeks, Adeline’s grandmother and Jackie toured her around the city and showed her the excitement of New York. They went to musicals on Broadway, shopped on the Upper East Side and dined at the finest restaurants you can imagine. Grandmother Blair taught Adeline the tricks of the trade to being a classy and refined young women. Adeline soon had the best manners and was the best dressed eighteen year old in all of New York.

Ever since Adeline was a little girl she had dreamed of living in the city. Over the passed year, her desire to read and to learn more about fashion increased. She had become so involved in trying to be the mother to Reese and Thomas, that she didn’t have time for frivolous things such as fashion. Adeline was so grateful for the opportunity that her Grandmother had given her.

The first week that they were in New York City, Jackie’s husband, John was elected as the thirty-fifth President of the United States. They were all so excited, especially Adeline since she was invited to go to the inauguration speech by the President himself.

“Jackie, I can not even begin to imagine how I am now friends with the First Lady!” exclaimed Adeline.

“Well how can I express how truly honored I am to have you as a friend,” Jackie told Adeline in her soft but strong voice.

“Thank you so much,” Adeline answered with a smile on her face.

“Well now run along dear or else we will late for the celebratory party for the President!” Jackie told Adeline.

Adeline raced up the marble stairs of her Grandmother’s apartment making her way to her suite. She grabbed her finest blue satin dress and tied her curly blonde hair up with a red shiny bow. To complete her outfit she slipped on a pair of heels and clasped her mothers strand of pearls around her neck. As she stood in silence thinking about how proud her mother would have been, someone began to knock on her door.

“Knock, knock, may I come in?” said Grandmother Blair.

“Of course, Grandmother,” Adeline answered with tears in her eyes.

“Darling are you okay? What is is the matter?” asked her grandmother.

“I just miss my mother so much, and I know that she would be so happy for me,” explained Adeline with tears now streaming down her face.

“Now, now, come here, sweetheart. I know for a fact your mother would be extremely proud of you and say that you were the sweetest and most accomplished young lady she had ever seen,” assured her grandmother.

“Grandmother, how could I ever thank you enough? I have had such a wonderful time here in New York!” said Adeline.

“Oh why don’t thank me darling, you’re the one that has made these last few months a marvelous time for me!” exclaimed her grandmother.

“Well, I learned so much from you about fashion, etiquette, education, and even politics from Jackie. I just wanted to let you know that you have helped me gain so much confidence and knowledge these past months,” explained Adeline.

“Why thank you, Adeline, I am happy to help. But I do believe we have a party to catch,” reminded grandmother Blair.

Throughout these summer months, Grandmother Blair and Jackie Kennedy were Adeline’s greatest role models. They showed her grace, compassion, and dignity. They both left her with unforgettable memories of New York that would live with her forever. With the help of Grandmother Blair, Adeline learned to be her best and to be confident in the gracious young lady she had become.

Works Cited

Gidlow, Liette. “The Great Debate: Kennedy, Nixon, and Television in the 1960 Race for the   Presidency.” History Now. Web. 27 Mar. 2016.

“Themes and Construction: To Kill a Mockingbird.” EXPLORING Novels. Detroit: Gale, 2003.   Student Resources in Context. Web. 27 Mar. 2016.


Bradford, Sarah. America’s Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. New York: Penguin  Group, 2000. Print.

Flaherty, Tina Santi. What Jackie Taught Us. New York: Penguin Group, 2004. Print.