Friday, March 11, 2016

Episode 24 - 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 24 - Christopher, in his office, Thursday morning, with Bruce
(Part II, continued from Part I)

[From the end of Episode 23:

Christopher: Really. Do you know how much she had ‘accumulated?’

Bruce: It was something in excess of $10,000 at the time of her death.

Christopher: Interesting. She must have gotten some pretty good roles. Did she work other than acting?

Bruce: Not that I ever heard of. [End of Part I] ]

Christopher: Were there any other markings on the box?

Bruce: Yes, there was one. There was a Masonic logo on the top.

Christopher: I was pretty sure you would say that, Bruce. Here is something we learned, about that box. Ethel’s grandfather, William, kept a personal journal that recently came into the hands of the family. His notations on farming and the weather were often detailed. His comments about family were generally pretty cryptic. From what we have learned, from the journal, and talking to a elderly friend, still living, William referred to Ethel as “Snooki.” He apparently thought a great deal of her. There is some evidence they exchanged letters over the years, but none seemed to have survived. However, one entry in his journal referenced a box, about the time she left for New York: “Took care of Snooki. Sent with her in Mason box, to remember me by.” William was an active Mason.

Bruce: Did it say what was in the box?

Christopher: No, not in the journal. However, it seemed he was the only one in the family who was willing to offer her support to follow her dream. My grandfather was a young lawyer in town at the time, the only one in town. It seemed logical to me that if William ‘took care of’ her, there might have been a legal consultation and perhaps a record. Before my father died, he made me aware that there were legal records of the firm dating back into the 1920s in the bank vault, for safekeeping. He said they might still come in handy one day… he had used them a couple of times.

Knowing the approximate date, and the parties, I was able to retrieve a copy of the document that was in that box that went to New York with Ethel. It is short. I’ll let you read it.

Bruce: [after reading the document] He sent along ten thousand dollars in government bonds. He actually said, ‘This is your inheritance.’ [Bruce paused for a moment.] They would have survived the Great Depression. He recommended she only spend the interest as needed, and save the principle for ‘a rainy day.’ That was the money Carlos had for me.

Christopher: That is how I read it, as well. A few days after you were born, Ethel wrote him a letter. He noted, “Snookie has great news.” But then, she died. Several days later, he noted, “Haven’t heard from Snooki.” He died a few days after that, of an apparent heart attack. 

Bruce: And that is why you all knew nothing of this relationship.

Christopher. It certainly appears that way.

Bruce: It also appears I already got my inheritance, didn’t I?

Christopher: Yes. You were very fortunate there was one to receive. You were able to make the most of it, from what you said earlier.

Bruce: Yes I was. I certainly was. This is a bit of a relief. Thank you.

Christopher: By the way, Bruce, welcome to the family. I think we have clearly shown that you are a McDonald, even though your name is Randolph.

Bruce: That is very nice to know.

Christopher: Let’s arrange to have you meet the rest of the family.

Bruce: I’d like that.

…and that is what they did.

[This Friday series of posts will now go on Hiatus for a bit. Thank you for your support!]

Follow earlier stories of William and his extended family and friends at:

…as well as related stories at:

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

Dr. Bill  ;-)


  1. Very interesting how this all played out from the very first phone call from Bruce. The level of detail was brilliant and certainly held my interest, Great job Bill, and as always I'll looking forward to more.

    1. Thank you, Sam. I am pleased that you feel that way. Kind of fun to have written about William joining the Masons in the 1880s, coming full circle to his award box, then bringing it to the recent story. Have a great weekend! ;-)

  2. I'm a traveler.
    Martin Kloess, PM,33

  3. Thanks for your visit and your comment, Martin...

  4. Boy, I take one day off from the internet and I'm facing a ton of articles and blogs to read. Sigh! Well I wasn't about to miss yours, and I'm glad I didn't. Carry on my friend, and Happy Weekend to you.

    1. Your loyalty is unsurpassed. Thank you, very much for that! Enjoy the balance of your weekend, as well... and best wishes for the new week! ;-)