Friday, January 29, 2016
Episode 18 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
This series of posts on each Friday, moving forward during 2016 will continue the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began. Earlier, we have seen the community move from January 1997 through December 1998. We are now in January of 1999, in episodic serial format…
Episode 18 - Karen and Jennifer, Tuesday noon
Jennifer and Karen had lunch at Karen’s apartment at the Homeplace Country Inn as they planned. As they ate their chicken noodle soup and turkey sandwich they chatted about Beverly’s arrival and Jennifer’s Ashley prior to getting to discussion of William’s journals. By this time, Jennifer had scanned all four journals and realized that perhaps they were not quite as ‘exciting’ as she at first had thought they might be. While Karen had seemed very interested in seeing them, and looking at them, her underwhelming level of interest had continued to puzzle Jennifer.
Sitting in Karen’s living room, Jennifer laid the four plain journals out on the coffee table in front of Karen much as she had with Brian the night before, to let Karen approach them in her own way. Karen picked each one up, flipped through the pages to see the handwritten entries, and went on to the next one, looking at each one of the four, briefly, in order. As she looked, she said “William, my great-grandfather, was living alone, on his farm, at this time, wasn’t he?”
“Yes,” Jennifer replied, “both his mother and his wife had died in the flu epidemic a couple of years before this first journal was started in 1920. Your grandparents were living down the road, here, with their two daughters, according to the 1920 census. I looked that up, again, just to be sure.”
“And, that was the only mention we have found of a second daughter, Ethel, was it?”
“Yes, and I didn’t see her mentioned in what I’ve read of the journal, either. I was also surprised how few specific comments he made about the family, at all. I was disappointed, actually.” Jennifer picked up the first journal, again, as if to confirm what she just said.
Karen was pondering what Jennifer had said, it seemed, for an extra moment, it seemed to Jennifer.
Then, Karen spoke, almost to herself, “I really need to talk to Virginia. Surely she has some memories, even random ones, that might be helpful to know what those days were like.”
“Yes, we should have already done that. How has Virginia been? Time just slips by.” Virginia grew up just down the road from the McDonalds, and was best friends with Mildred, Karen’s mother, her entire life. Virginia was now living in the local nursing home, in her mid-eighties, having suffered a mild stoke a while back.
“She is still in recovery mode. I really need to go visit her.”
Jennifer had been thumbing thru the journal she picked up, and casually scanning a random entry or two. “I did notice that William occasionally mentions a “Snookie” from time to time. They are brief entries. I didn’t recognize the name. Couldn’t tell if it was a person, a pet, or a farm animal. Do you recognize that name?”
“No, I don’t. They didn’t really have pets, back then, I don’t think. But, they got very close to some of the farm animals, much as we do with pets, today, I think. I don’t really know.”
Jennifer could tell Karen’s mind was far off somewhere. But, before she could say anything else, the phone rang. An extension was right beside Karen, so she picked it up. She listened, intently. A few moments later, she said to the phone, “Jennifer is with me here. I will tell her.” She listened a few more moments, and hung up.
“That was Christopher. He has called a meeting of all the Bevins Trust family trustees for 3 o’clock this afternoon, at the law office conference room. It seems very important. I told him I’d tell you.” Karen had an ashen, very official demeanor.
“That is very unusual. He didn’t say what it was about?”
“No. He said he would explain when we were all together. I guess we’d better get ready to go. I’ve got some things to arrange. I’m sure you do, as well.”
“Yes, I sure do. I’ll see you there.” Jennifer took the journals with her when she left.
[To be continued - next Friday]
"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."
Dr. Bill ;-)