Friday, February 19, 2016

Episode 21 - January 1999 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace

Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
January 1999

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 21 - Christopher with Karen and Jennifer - early Tuesday evening

[From Episode 20:

Karen: “Jennifer came across one of William’s journals where he mentions a “Snooki” - does that name mean anything to you?”

Virginia: “Oh, yes. "Snooki." That was his ‘special name’ for Ethel!”

Virginia had almost spat out the name “Snooki” it seemed to Karen. She closed her conversation with Virginia, not wanting to upset her any more.

Karen: “Thank you, so much, Virginia. It is about time for your supper. I appreciate you talking to me. We’ll talk again, another day.”]

Karen and Jennifer met back at Christopher’s office following Karen’s visit with Virginia.

Karen was anxious to share the specifics of what she had learned from Virginia before any of the details got away from her. As a nurse, she had become used to doing this, but she hoped that ability had not diminished from being away from that kind of situation for a few years now.

Karen: Virginia confirmed that Ethel left Oak Springs during the summer, right after graduating high school. That was 1929. Virginia compared Ethel’s desire to leave with Beverly’s desire to get away from home. However, Ethel’s reason was because she had been encouraged that she could ‘make it’ on Broadway, in New York City.

Jennifer: So, this information basically confirms that she did go to New York, like Bruce Randolph claims.

Karen: Yes, and I think it is important that Virginia said that her parents, Joe and Beth, were strongly opposed to her leaving. But, with her drama coach providing information on where she could stay, and who to contact to get try-outs, it would have been hard to talk her out of going.

Christopher: How did she pay for the move, if her parents were opposed?

Karen: A key question, for sure, Christopher. Virginia said someone provided the financing. She said no one knew for sure, but it was strongly suspected that it was her Grandfather, William McDonald.

Jennifer: That is very interesting. Why did she say that?

Karen: Apparently William had been quite taken with Ethel from the time she was born, or very young. He, and his wife, Charlotte, had only had the one child, Joseph, a son. When Joe and Beth had their first daughter, William treated her as very special from the beginning, and that never let up, it seemed. Virginia said that Mildred was quite jealous of that attention. She even implied that when Ethel left, and never came back, that Mildred was happy with that. Mildred had never mentioned Ethel again, over all those years.

Christopher: So that is why you, and her other children, had not heard of your aunt Ethel?

Karen: Presumably, yes. Two other closely related items, before I forget to mention them. The stock market crash occurred not long after Ethel left. Virginia said that had a strong impact on her family for sure. They had about lost their business and took attention away from any further talk of Ethel. The other thing that may be even more important to us: William had a special name for Ethel: “Snookie.”

Jennifer: Oh my, the name from his journals.

Karen: Yes. We’ll want to look at each of those entries very carefully. There may be important information, or at least clues, in those entries, even if tangential. I know you said they were each short, and cryptic.

Jennifer: I’ll do that, this evening. I’ll let you each know what I find out, in the morning.

Christopher: Good. In the meantime, I’ll want to check on William’s records for 1929, if there are any. If he gave Ethel a fair sum, there might have been a legal record, even if the bank records are no longer available… or especially if it was paid in cash or bonds, or something like that. Thank you, Karen. This at least gives us something to go on. Was there anything else?

Karen: No, I think that was all. It was striking, however, how strong the memory was for Virginia when she talked about it. She became visibly upset, and I had to excuse myself and end the conversation. Also, I cannot believe they never heard from Ethel, again. Those were certainly different times.

[To be continued - next Friday]

"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."

Dr. Bill  ;-)


  1. So now my question is why was Virginia so upset? and why such a strong memory of Ethel? As always Bill waiting for next week, Thanks and have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Sibling jealousy runs deep, and affects best friends, as well. Thank you for your loyal comments... ;-)

  2. Replies
    1. It has been fun to actually watch it develop, for sure!! ;-) Thank you for your visit and comment. Love getting them!! ;-)