Friday, February 5, 2016
Episode 19, January 1999 - 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 19 - Christopher, Bevins family
[From Episode 18:
“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 gathered up the journals to take with her as she left.]
Right at 3 o’clock, Christopher welcomed the group in the law office conference room: “Thank you all for coming on such short notice. I felt this was important enough for everyone to hear it at the same time, so I’ll get right to the point. I have been visited by a man named Bruce Randolph, from New York City, who claims he is a first cousin of you four Bevins siblings. He says he is a son of Ethel, a sister of Mildred McDonald Bevins, your mother. He saw the $800,000 state grant to the McDonald Conservancy in a newspaper, he said, did some research, and now wants ‘his share of his inheritance’ from the Trust. He comes across as a serious, a very cool character. I am not yet certain of his true intentions, but I am taking him very seriously at this point. I’ve asked him to come back on Thursday with his proof of identity. In the meantime, I knew we’d all want to do our own research, as well.”
“First, has anyone else had contact with this Bruce Randolph?”
Christopher had invited Beverly to attend, because she was family, even though technically no longer part of the Bevins Trust. She was the first to speak. “Actually, I think I likely met him last evening at the library, but we didn’t speak about this. We were both looking at old issues of the Enterprise.”
“That was probably him,” Christopher responded. “I assume he is staying nearby. Especially if he really is ‘real,’ I’m sure he is continuing to gather information on the family, and ‘his past.’ What do we know about the sister, his mother, Ethel? I assume that is true?”
Karen replied, “Yes, Jennifer and I have identified her in the 1920 U.S. Census, but we’ve seen nothing else about her. I had assumed she had died. It appears I was wrong. I’ve meant to talk to Virginia about this, but just haven’t gotten around to doing that. I certainly plan to now.”
“Is she able to talk to you?” Christopher knew of her recent health issues.
“Yes, I believe so.” Karen added, “I’ll go by the nursing home and see what I can learn as soon as we are done here. What else do we need to know?”
With no one else speaking up immediately, Christopher continued. “I have already pulled the records here in the office that my father kept from Frank and Mildred’s wills and setting up the trust. I am very confident that they had clear ownership of all their property at that time. Notices were published. No claims were filed. Legally, we should be solid on solid ground on that front. I hope Virginia can tell us more about Ethel. Karen, find out as much as you can. I know Virginia has often been reluctant to talk about ‘the old days.’ Use your best ‘bedside manner,’ please.”
“I’ll do what I can, and let you know.”
Bart finally found his voice. “I don’t ever remember any talk of Mom having a sister. Why would she never have mentioned it?”
Beverly couldn’t help her self, “She kept lots of secrets; you surely remember that!”
Christopher quickly replied, before the sibling rivalry revived. “Let’s each take some time to reflect and see if any old memories come up that we hadn’t thought of before. Perhaps there is someone else in town besides Virginia that might have memories we haven’t considered. Please keep me apprised of your thoughts, and I’ll do my best to keep everyone updated. We all have email now, so I’ll likely give you regular updates.”
Christopher allowed a few moments for further comments and then dismissed the group. As the folks left, Christopher thought to himself, “I’ve never seen this group so quiet. They are all stunned, obviously. I wonder what will come next.”
To Karen, he said, “Please let me know right away what Virginia will tell you. That can be really critical to inform us as to our next step. Thank you, very much.”
“I certainly will.” Karen smiled ruefully and left to see if she could talk to Virginia.
[To be continued - next Friday]
"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."
Dr. Bill ;-)