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Chapter 5

The Wilcox House

Brian slept like a baby after Angela left.  He called her to make sure she had arrived home safely. She was also getting ready to go to sleep, exhausted from their weekend romance, but happy.

He went to work the next morning but was not quite up to his usual standard. His boss noticed and asked him if he was in love or something. “You are walking around like in a daze.”

“Well,” said Brian, “I did meet this girl, a wonderful person and I fell in love with her, so you are probably correct.  Sorry boss, I will get on with my job.”

After work, he began thinking about Angela and himself, wondering what the future would bring for the two of them.  Should he buy an engagement ring and ask her to marry him next weekend.  The idea appealed to him, but then again, he had not mentioned Angela to his parents yet.  No, that idea was too premature.  He did not want to rush marriage with Angela.  They needed much more time together to get to know each other, and he did not feel it would be fair to ask her this early in their relationship. Jeepers, they had only had two dates, and even though it was love at first sight, his common sense told him to bide his time and wait.

He called Jim at night and asked him how things went in Brighton, and if he met up with Lora again.

“ I sure did, and I put on my best act.  I asked Lora if I could have another date with her, and she said yes, she liked me.  I need not go into details as to how the rest of the night went, but it was super good. She said she would like to see me again, so I guess Brighton will be my weekend home for now.”

“Well,” said Brian.  “It looks like you may be hitching up with her. I had the most marvelous time here with Angela, and I’m going to Brighton next weekend to be staying at her house, rather than the motel.  I’m looking forward to that.”

“You are falling headlong into love with Angela, aren’t you?

“I guess I am, Jim.  I have never felt that way about a girl before.  She is just marvelous and so unpretentious about her good looks.”

“I’m happy for you Brian.  I hope your relationship will develop in the best possible way.” I’ll see you Friday night at Corner’s, and I guess we will both be in Brighton this weekend.”

“OK Jim, see you Friday night and have a good week at work.”

“Thanks, Brian.”

Thursday night after work, Brian went to see his parents.  He had not seen them for a while, and he wanted to tell them a little about Angela,  just saying he had met a girl and like her a lot.

“That’s good news,” said, Edna.  We have been hoping for a long time that you would meet someone.  Your dad and I are not getting any younger, and we hope to see a grandchild before we pass away.”

“His father Bruce asked if they were going to meet this girl and when?”

“Give it some time, Dad. We need to get to know each other better, but if all goes well, you will meet her soon, and you will love her, I’m sure.

 “I can’t wait for that,“ said Edna. “You have had a few girlfriends since you graduated from college, and some before that, but you never talked seriously about any of them.  This girl you met, what’s her name? I can tell that you are serious about her.  A mother’s instinct, you know.”

Her name is Angela, and she is from Brighton, which, by the way,  is quite a lovely town.

“Oh. So that’s where you have spent your weekends.”

“Well, kind of, mom, but Jim and I also spent a weekend in Banfield and had a great time there.” Jim loves chasing girls, and he has a great time doing so wherever we go for a weekend. You know that we meet every Friday night at Corners bar, and have a few beers together.”

“Is she a working girl and how old is she?”

“Yes, she is a financial adviser, 24 years old. You ask too many questions, mom. I’ll tell you more about her if I keep seeing her, and  get to know her better.”

“Well, I hope you will.  You know we will be going to Florida for a month or so in January. That’s a few months ahead, so maybe you have decided if you want to keep seeing Angela by then.”

“I’m sure I will by then, if not before,” said Brian.  “I’ll be running along now, so you both have a nice evening.  I’ll see you again next week.” He hugged his father, kissed his mother and said goodbye.

Back at the apartment, Brian began to think about a possible future with Angela as his wife, but there were just too many gaps he couldn’t fill.  First, there was his own future as a self-employed electrical contractor.  Should he try and take the risk, using his savings, or should he wait until he has saved some more money?  There was no doubt in his mind that between Angele’s salary and his own, they would have no financial problems.  The problem as he saw it was where they were going to live. Torrington was bigger than Brighton, but Angela owned her house outright, and if they lived there, there would be some savings since he did not have to pay the rent on his apartment. Then there was Angelas desire to be transferred to the BOA bank’s main branch in Torrington.  If she was offered a position there, and she took it, they would have to live here.

He would have to discuss that with Angela over the weekend, but then hell, if he did, she would assume he wanted to marry her.  No, it was better to wait until there was more light on the horizon. He didn’t want to rush her.  Best to keep the romance going and enjoy the passion that they had together at night during the weekends. He knew she shared his feelings and that she loved him.

Friday night he went to Corners Bar, and Jim was there already.

“Hey, buddy! How are things going? You know I may be seeing you over the weekend in Brighton.  Perhaps we could have lunch or dinner together there.  Angela knows Lora,  She has met her at some parties, but she is not her personal friend.”

“Sure,” said Jim. “I’ll ask her, and we can arrange things over the phone after we are there.  I’ll be staying at the motel as usual.”

“OK,” said Brian, “we’ll see you in Brighton.  Call me when you get there after you have contacted Lora. This could become a real nice weekend for all of us.”

Brian left at 9:30 in the morning, expecting to arrive in Brighton at about ten am.  He found her house with the GPS system in his car and honked the horn.  Angela came out and greeted him with a big hug and a kiss. She was wearing a mini-skirt and a lovely red blouse.

“Come on in,” she said and get settled in for the weekend.

Brian was very impressed by the size of the house and the lot it was sitting on.  There was nothing small about anything.  Inside, the rooms very spacious and exquisitely furnished.  There was three bathrooms, including two in suits, a huge living room, separate dining room, a library that also served as an office and a huge kitchen with every conceivable appliance and plenty of counter space.  He now understood what Angela meant when she said that the house was too big for her alone.

“Well, what do you think of this place?”

“I could never afford to buy a place like this.  It’s a fabulous house.  How do you manage to pay for the upkeep of it and the property taxes?”

“Oh, I manage OK.  There is little in the way of maintenance since it is a stone house and the garden I love to look after myself, although I have contracted out lawn moving.”

“Well, you are sure doing a great job on the garden, It looks lovely.”

“I would like to make a lunch for you a bit later.  What would you want to eat?”

“Whatever you make will be fine with me.  I’m not too hungry for food, but I could eat you alive.”

“Don’t put ideas in my mind, Brian. I may just ask you to do that right now.”

“Down boy, down,” said Brian it’s not time yet.

Anglea laughed out loud and walked into the kitchen with Brian following her.

“How about a Spanish omelet or huevos rancheros?

“The latter sounds great. I make it once in a while, using Chipotle peppers, which are hotter than hell, plus red onions and tomatoes. Perhaps you make it differently, but that’s fine with me. There is more than one way to skin a cat like they say.”

Brian sat down at the kitchen table, and Angela gave him a beer.  They chit-chatted about a whole lot of things and enjoyed each others company.

“By God, Brian, I wish you were living with me here all the time, but I guess that isn’t possible as things are now. You have your job in Torrington, and I have mine here in Brighton. Perhaps the future will have a solution to this conundrum.  I love you so much it hurts, Brian.  I never thought I could love anyone as much as I love you.”

“Sweetheart, I love you as much as you love me.  I hope we can keep these feelings and enjoy our lives in the way we do right now. Let’s see what the future has in store for us. I told my parent’s about you and mom just got super excited,  figuring you were going to be her daughter in law.  I had not suggested that, but she said something about a mother’s instinct.  It must be the way I had described you.  She had also wondered where I was going on weekends.”

They had lunch together and continued talking about their past lives.

Brian’s phone rang. It was Jim calling.

“Hi Brian, how are things? I’m with Lora right now, having lunch and I suggested that we perhaps could have dinner together tonight.  What do you think?”

Brian turned to Angela and told her what he had said.

“That sounds great to me, but I have an alternative idea. Why don’t we all spend the afternoon here at the pool?  We can order something to eat later, and I have lots of beer and booze on hand.”

Brian related what Angela had said, and both Jim and Lora thought the idea was great. “Don’t forget to bring your swimwear,” he said ending the conversation.

“Angla, you didn’t show me the swimming pool.  Where is it?”

“It’s out in the back garden. Come, I’ll take you there.”

Angela showed him what must have been close to an Olympic-sized swimming pool with an elegant deck surrounding, a part of which was furnished with patio furniture.

I’ll go get my swimwear. I keep it in the trunk of my car since I go swimming on weekends sometimes.” said Brian. “This will be a nice way to spend the afternoon.”

Lora and Jim showed up about half an hour later.  The first thing Jim said when he entered was “Oh my God, this is some house,” and Lora liked it too.  They all went out to the pool area after they had changed into their bathing suits. Lora wore a mini-bikini so tiny that it left nothing to the imagination.  Angela’s bikini was more of a standard type, flaming red and fashionable, and she looked great in it, very sexy and attractive.

Angela had arranged several bottles of beer in a bucket of ice, and there were a variety of bottles of liquor on a table, together with glasses and ice.

“Let’s hit the pool,” said Jim, and they all jumped in, swimming, frolicking, laughing, and splashing at each other like kids. Kisses and touching made it sexy and intimate at times.

After a while, they went over to the tables and dipped into some drinks and beer. “Boy,” said Jim, “this is the life. I could tolerate this permanently.”

Angela and Lora sat down next to each other and began talking. I know we have only met at some parties before, and I don’t really know you well, Lora.  Do you have sister or brothers?”

“No, I’m an only child. My father owns the golf and country club, and it keeps him very busy. We have a nice house, but not as beautiful as yours.  My mother also stays active with the country club, organizing events and parties, so I spent a lot of time alone or with my girlfriends.  I graduated from high school here and went to a secretarial school afterward, but never took a job after I graduated.  I work for my father now and then, but otherwise, remain a girl, probably quite spoiled, but I’m no push-over, and I don’t hang out with guys who do drugs or other stupid things. Jim is the first guy I have seriously fallen for, and I hope our relationship will continue. He seems such a decent, uncomplicated guy.”

“I don’t know Jim that well, other than what Brian has told me about him.  The two of them have been friends since they were school kids. I look at both of them as being “the salt of the earth, unpretentious, honest, hardworking and highly likable.  They are the kind of persons I like to be with.”

“Well, what about you and Brian. I can tell you are in love with him and he with you.  Do I hear wedding bells in the future?”

“Brian has not asked me to marry him, but given time, I think and hope he will. I’m head over heels in love with him.”

“Hey!” Shouted Angela, what would you all like to eat? Home delivery, so choices are limited to Chinese, Italien or from a Canadian Restaurant called “Best food” who also delivers? You can get their menu on their website.”

“Let’s check out their menu on the website,” said Lora and Jim agreed. They all ordered different meals from it, and the food was delivered within an hour.

Angela had turned the stereo on and chosen some nice dance music. The atmosphere grew more romantic, as darkness slowly fell upon the scene. They danced, drank, ate, kissed, fooled around, and just thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

It was early night when Jim said it was time for Lora and him to leave, but Angela objected, saying that we have all been drinking and shouldn’t drive. If you like, you can sleep in one of the bedrooms here.

Jim looked over at Lora and asked what she thought of that. She nodded and said that would be perfectly OK.

 “We should go inside and change, and then perhaps have some coffee and a nightcap before we retire for the night,” said Angela.

They all agreed.  Angela showed Jim and Lora the bedroom they would be sleeping in and then walked to the master bedroom where she and Brian would be sleeping.  They both got into their clothes, and Brian noted that Angela was wearing her mini-skirt again. His imagination run wild when he thought about how to undress her later, for he planned on doing that.

Downstairs, Angela made coffee and asked if anyone wanted a drink to help themselves at the bar. They cuddled up on the couch and the armchairs and chatted about their lives and what ambitions they had. Lora looked cute in her shorts and tight blouse, and Jim sat very close to her with his arm around her. There could be no doubt as to what they would be doing later in their bedroom, but then Brian and Angela had similar plans.

The night had drifted toward eleven o’clock, and they all retired to their Bedrooms.

Brian kissed Angela passionately, then lifted her up and threw her on the bed. She gasped, but Brian was on top of her and unbuttoned her blouse, exposing her bra.  He took the straps and pulled them over her shoulders, turned her around and undid the bra, then turned her again and began fondling and kissing her breasts.  Angela moaned and writhed with pleasure as Brian kissed his way down to her belly.

He pulled her miniskirt up and tore her panties off.

“Oh my God! you shaved all your pubic hairs off.”

Yes, I did.  I haven’t looked like this since I was ten years old, but I’m no longer an unknowing, innocent little girl.

Brian pulled her miniskirt off, and she now lay naked in front of him.  He began fondling her naked pudendum, using his hand, his fingers, and tongue. Angela moaned in ecstasy, shuddering with pleasure.  “Brian, I love you, I love you.”

Brian was as hard as he could be and plunged into her.  She screamed in frenzy and arched her back toward him, urging him toward greater pleasure with each stroke he made. Suddenly he stopped, pulled out and went down on her, kissing and fondling her smooth shaven pussy again. She moaned. “Brian, you are driving me crazy.  Oh God, how I love you.”

He turned her over, spread her legs and entered her dogie style  Brian just groaned with pleasure and climaxed just as he could feel Angela was reaching an orgasm.  They both fell into a  state of euphoric trance, laying hugging each other tightly and savoring the moments.

They both slept till near noon the next day, showered together and then went down to make some brunch.

“Brian, I’m starved. How about you?”

“Me too; I can eat a ton of something with bacon and eggs.

“How about some stir-fried vegetables with scrambled eggs and bacon?”

“That sounds great, but how about Jim and Lora? I don’t know if they are awake yet.”

“Call Jim on his cell and find out.”

“They are finished showering and will be down in a few minutes,” said Brian.

“I’ll make coffee in the meantime and prepare some vegetables. Brian, can you beat a bunch of eggs to scramble? About eight or so. Also, there is some bacon in the fridge.  I guess we can each eat two or three slices.”

“Also, Brian, the way you made love to me last night was rapturous, incredibly exciting.  I can’t describe how much I love you and it calls for a repeat again, hopefully very soon.”

“You won’t have any trouble persuading me on that score, and Angela, it was just as exciting for me.  I was going wild and couldn’t get enough of you. You being shaved down there was a huge surprise, and I don’t mind if you keep it that way.”

“I promise you I will if you promise me to treat it the way you did last night.”

Jim and Lora came down the stairs and greeted us with a cheerful Good Morning.

Hey! How are you guys?  Did you have a good sleep?

“What do you mean ‘sleep,’?” said Lora.  I can’t sleep as long as I have Jim next to me in bed.  We had a beautiful night, and I have no hesitation to say that I love him. We have decided to get together in Torrington next weekend.”

Let’s have some breakfast guys, it’s ready.”

Everyone sat down at the table and tore into the prepared food.  Jim said it was great, as did Lora.

You will be leaving soon, Jim and Brian will too. I’ll be sorry to see you go.  It was great having you, and I hope we can repeat this weekend another time.

“Angela, I would like to become one of your personal friends.  You are such pleasant person,” said Lora.

“By all means, Lora.  We must get together during the week sometime.  Call me when you want to go for lunch.”

“Will do,” she said. I look forward to it.”

It was two PM, and Jim asked Lora if he could drive her home before he headed south to Torrington, to which she agreed.

Brian said he would leave later in the afternoon, as he wanted to talk to Angela about some things.

“OK,” said Jim, we’ll be off then and thanks for your hospitality, Angela, perhaps we can have a repeat sometime.”

“There is no reason why we couldn’t.”

Jim and Lora took off in his car.

Angela and Brian sat down at the pool and talked about their deepening relationship and how to keep it going the way it was in the last few weeks and about the potential future. They both agreed to keep it going for several months before they decided on what to do.

Brian packed his bag and passionately hugged and kissed Angela before heading for Torrington.

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Chapter 4- Angela

 

Brian couldn’t sleep.  He lay thinking about Angela and what he was going to do and say when she arrived tomorrow.  He really liked her and thought she was the most exciting thing that had happened to him in his life and did not want to just brush the affair off as a one-night stand. Getting together with her tonight could prove critical to any future relationship between them.

He just realized how little he knew about her. He did not even know her last name, so aside from any passionate moments, which he was looking forward to, they would have to exchange a lot of information about their personal lives, to get to know each other better.

At 9:30, he heard a car honking it’s horn and figured it would be Angela.  He looked through the window, and sure enough, there she was waving at him through the car window.  He waved back and hurried down to meet her.

“Hi Angela!, so good to see you again.  How was your week?”

“I have done nothing but thinking about you since you left. You were so wonderful, so amazing and romantic that I could not get you out of my mind. How have you been, Brian?”

“OK,” he said, “you were also very much on my mind, but let me take your bag, and we will go upstairs to ‘Brian’s Inn.’and get you acquainted with it.”

They stopped on the stair landing and kissed each other passionately.

“Brian, you are already driving me crazy. I can’t wait to make love to you.”

“Me neither, but come on in and settle down. We have a lot of talking to do.”

Brian showed her around in his ample two-bedroom apartment, ending up in the master bedroom.

“This is where you will be spending the night in my arms, Angela if you want to?”

“I hope you are not suggesting that I would refuse to.  I can’t wait for that to happen.”

“Let’s sit down and talk.  Do you want some coffee, Angela?”

“Yes please, that would be great.  I left home early and only had one cup of coffee before taking off.

They settled down on the couch and began talking. 

“Do you realize I don’t even know your last name, and you don’t know mine, which is Carlson.” Said Brian.

“Mine is Wilcox. My father was an architect, and he designed the house  I live in.  It is huge, in fact much too large for me, being that I’m the only one living in it. My brother and I inherited the house after my parents died, but he does not want to live there and gave me his half interest in the house.  His name, by the way, is John Wilcox, and he loves South Africa. He says he has no plans on returning here to Canada, other than perhaps for a visit.”

“I wanted to buy a house of my own here,” said Brian “but my parents thought it would be foolish since I will inherit their home when they pass away.  I have lived here for three years now, and I’m quite content with my apartment. There are only 4 apartments in the building, so it is quiet, something I like a lot.  I hate noisy places.”

Brian served the coffee and continued asking questions.

“How do you manage to live alone in that big house of yours:” Don’t you ever get lonesome?”

“Sometimes I do,” said Angela, “but I often invite my girlfriends over, and we have some nice times together, talking about all the things we would like to do and some of the things we have done. Strictly girls talk.”

“My life here is simple.  I’m not a great party goer like I used to be.   I read a lot, and my friend, Jim and I go for a beer or two on the weekends.  He is quite the girl chaser.

‘My mother was 45 years old when I was born, and I’m their only child.  She is 70 years old now, and my dad is 74. They are both reasonably healthy and enjoy their retirement years. I visit them often.”

You are lucky Brian, you still have your parents.  I miss mine so much.  My brother was the first-born. He is three years older than me and saw the light of day when my mother was 31.  Me…. I came along when mom was 34 years old. Had she lived, she would have been 58 years old.

“I spent nearly all of my life in Brighton, going to school there and graduating from High School.  The only time I was away from home was during my studies at University of Central Ontario, where I received a degree in finance when I was 22 years old. My first job was at the  BOA bank in Brighton, and I’m still working there as a financial adviser,  trying to build up experience in the field.”

“I did not go to university,” said Brian,  I chose technical college where I studied to become a certified electrician.  That took two years, during which I worked as an electrician’s helper, to gain some practical experience.  I got a job as soon as I graduated five years ago and have worked for the same firm since then.  It’s steady, well-paid work, but someday, I would like to have my own company. Being self-employed has many advantages, including being independent and in control of the time I spend working.”

“Well, tonight we are going to spend Time working together on a very passionate project that requires sensitivity and attention to intimate details,” Said Angela.

“That sounds super exciting.  Should we go and practice now?”

“Oh, you devil you,! First, we get going, we won’t want to stop and end up too tired to have the exciting, romantic night we have planned.”

“I guess you are right,” said Brian “ but I thought I would ask anyway.”

“How about going out for lunch.  There is an excellent restaurant a couple of blocks from here.”

“ That you can tempt me with.  I’m hungry now.”

They walked to the restaurant and had a lovely lunch after which they walked around town so Angela could get a feel for it. There was a large shopping mall four blocks from Brian’s apartment, and he took her there to show her the main branch of the BOA bank, the one she would like to get transferred to.

Angela went into the bank and asked to speak to the manager and was shortly introduced to him in his office. She told him where she was working and her position, indicating her interest in getting transferred to this branch if any openings came up as a financial advisor.

They talked for a while, and the manager said he would be in touch h with her if a vacancy occurred.  She thanked him and departed.

Brian had waited outside, and she told him what had transpired. “That was a brazen move I made, she said. I kind of invited myself in for an interview, but I think he really liked me. On top of that, sometimes it pays off to be bold; some people thinks it shows strong initiative. “

 “You kind of took the bull by the horn, Angela. I hope you get what you want, but if you get transferred here to Torrington, what will you do with that big house you own?”

“I don’t know.  I haven’t thought about that yet, but a solution will present itself when the time comes.

They continued walking around town, visiting the art museum, several stores, and the local library. Angela expressed pleasure when she saw the extensive book collection they had, for like Brian, she was an ardent reader. She also liked the city in general and said that the fact it is bigger than Brighton clearly shows.

“Let’s go and pick up a few French pastries and go to my apartment and have some late afternoon coffee. We can talk about how to spend the rest of the evening.”

“Early bedtime, please,” said Angela. “ I have a particular exercise I want to try.  I’m sure you will like it.”

“I’m sure I will.”

Brian made coffee, and they sat down and talked a blue streak.  There was so much they had to say, so much to learn about to each other.  He asked her if she wanted to go to a restaurant for dinner, or perhaps just grab a hamburger and then go to Corners Bar, the place where he hung out with Jim every Friday night.

“Let’s just grab a burger and then go to the bar.”

“Jim won’t be there tonight.  He went back to Brighton to see if he could find the girl he was with last weekend.  Her name was Lora.”

“Oh my God!” I know a girl by that name.  She is young, really pretty and loves the bar scene. She goes there with her girlfriends and hangs out.  She is very fuzzy and no pushover when it comes to letting anyone pick her up.  If Jim made it with her, he must have been very persuasive and charming,” said Angela.

Well,” said Brian “I know for a fact that he took her to his motel room and I’m sure it wasn’t just for conversation. He was quite taken with her and said he was going to come back to look for her again.”

“I have been to some parties where she was present, and this is how I got to know her, but she is not a personal friend of mine.”

“Well, I hope he finds her again. I’ll know tomorrow night I guess.”

“We have been sitting here talking for over three hours now.  I think we should go for that burger ….don’t you, Brian.

“Yes, of course, Angela, time is going so fast when we are talking, but I’m getting to know a lot about you.  You are so easy to talk to, and that means you are also easy to get along with. Our personalities are very much alike, and we share so many interests, which I think is important for a good relationship.”

They stopped for a burger and then headed for Corners Bar.  It was only eight PM, so there were not a lot of patrons there yet, but later it would be nearly filled.  Brian ordered a Gin Tonic for Angela and a beer for himself, and they began talking again. It seemed they had so much to talk about and the atmosphere in the bar was conducive to that.

 “Right now, I have to wonder if Jim found Lora again and if she likes him enough to go for a second date with him,” said Brian. “How about next weekend? “Would you like to come back here or do you want me to come to Brighton?”

I’m way ahead of you. I want you to come to Brighton and stay at “Angela’s Inn.” We will have a great time together, make love, passionate love, erotic love, love-love-love. But we have to complete our tryst here tonight, and I expect it to be the same way as last time—I just can’t wait Brian.

“Jeepers, Angela, I think we will become a pair of sex maniacs if we keep on going like this. Sex with you is like a trip to some euphoric place.

“Last time, I had so many orgasms I lost count of them, Brian. It was simply unbelievable.  I have never experienced anything like it in my life.”

“Well, Angela, with a bit of luck you may have a repeat of that tonight, which reminds me that you said you wanted an early bedtime tonight, so may I suggest that we go home now?”

“That’s the best suggestion I have heard tonight.  Let’s go love.”

They walked home to the apartment and going up the stairs couldn’t keep their hands off each other.  They kissed and touched and kissed again and then stopped and felt each other all over again.

Brian opened the door to the apartment, and they entered.  Only a small table lamp was lighted, and the room was half dark. He went to put on some more light, but Angela said “no, please just leave it the way it is.  It’s romantic.”

They sat down on the couch and began kissing each other fervently.

“Honey, will you excuse me a minute? I want to go and change into something more comfortable”

Angela went into the bedroom but did not come out again.  Brian opened the door and saw her lying on top of the bed, completely naked.

“Oh my God, your are beautiful, he said. Am I looking at Venus?”

Brian stripped naked and joined her, touching her everywhere and kissing her fervently all over her body and Angela responded by touching him and fondling his now very hard part. He could tell that she loved doing that.

They made love until they were utterly spent and then fell asleep in each other’s arms.

It was late morning when they woke up.  Brian couldn’t keep his hands off her, and she responded in kind.  They made love once more, and then fell asleep again. It was nearly noon before they got up and showered…together.

“Brian,” said Angela. “This night was even better than the one we had in Brighton.  I know now that I love you deeply for no-one have ever made me feel like this.  Just being near you makes me warm all over. If love is like this, I want it for the rest of my life.”

“I’m totally spent, said Brian. I think I will need a few days to recover and get ready for next weekend, but what a delightful event to look forward to.  I know I love you Angela and I will miss you all week-long.

Angela kissed Brian goodbye in the afternoon after they had a quick brunch in a restaurant. Brian felt as if he was losing his soul mate when she drove off.

He realized he was terribly in love with her and that he wanted to marry her, but felt it was too early in their relationship to ask her and there was so much to consider before this could become a reality.

He kept thinking about opening his own electrical contractor business.  His parents had given him $10,000.00 when he graduated from technical college, and he had added to it over the last five years.  Currently, he had $60,000.00 invested through the bank but was uncertain if that would be enough to start his own business, and there was always the uncertainty of a successful outcome of it.

He also thought about the question of where to start his contracting business. Torrington or Brighton? The prospects were probably better in Torrington since it had a bigger population than Brighton, but competition in the industry also had to be considered. He knew there was several electrical contractors in Torrington, but had no idea how many there was in Brighton.

So much to think about and so much to plan.  It all seemed overpowering sometimes.


Brian was window shopping when he saw her reflection in the glass. She stood on the other side of the street, looking toward him, dressed in a short, summery light yellow skirt and a medium green blouse.  Her hair was black, straight and very long, nearly down to her hips.

He turned around and looked straight at her.  She was beautiful, young, about his age or slightly younger, with the built of a model. She glanced briefly at him and then walked up the street.  He followed her with his eyes, wishing he could get to know this raven-haired exquisiteness, but quickly brushed the idea out of his mind.  Someone like her would have her choice of boyfriends, and surely, he would not qualify.

A week went by, and he did not see her again.  He knew she was not from his town since he would have seen her before.  A girl with her looks would not go unnoticed.

Tonight it was his turn to buy drinks for Jim, his best buddy, at Corner’s Bar.  He arrived at 8:00 in the evening and Jim was already there. We ordered drinks, and then I told him about the girl I had seen, giving him exquisite details of her looks.

“Man, she must have been something to look at,” he said. “I wonder where she is from,”?

“Well, as you no doubt know, she is not from here,” I said.

“If she were, I would have tried to get to know her, but nothing like that is to be found in this town.  Perhaps she is from Banfield or one of the other towns north of here.  I’ll drive to Banfield and check around.”

“We can both go on the weekend, ” said Jim. “I know Banfield quite   well, and  there is as Inn there called “The Arrow Head,” which I’m sure you will love.”

“OK said Brian, let’s make that a deal.”

They left in Jim’s car Saturday mid-morning and arrived in Banfield within an hour.

“This is a nice town,” said Brian. “I have only ever been here once before and never looked around the town the way we just did.”

“Well, let’s go and get our rooms at the Arrowhead Inn.”

“Sounds great,” said, Brian, “Let’s go.”

After registering, they went walking around town just to see if by any chance they would run into the dark-haired beauty, but after a couple of hours looking in most parts of the city, they came up empty-handed and returned to the Inn.

“Well,” said Brian, “Let’s not waste the trip entirely.  We can go pub-hopping after supper and check the local chick scene.”

“Splendid idea. Maybe there are some better-looking birds here than back home.  Virgin hunting grounds.”

“Sure man,  nothing like picking flowers in a fresh garden.”

They both retired to their rooms to relax for a while and then met again in the Inn’s dining room to have their dinner.

“The steaks here are excellent,” said Jim. “I had a rib eye steak here last time I visited.”

“Nah,” said Brian, “I think I’ll have the Chicken Gordon Bleu.”

They each had a beer while they waited for the meals to arrive.

“You know, I wish we had a photo of the girl.  If we ask somebody in the pubs if he or she have seen this girl, all we can do is give a physical description of her,” said Jim.

“If I describe her the way she looks, I don’t think anyone could confuse her with someone else.  Her looks are so unique that no-one else can compare to her.”

“I guess perhaps not, but it’s the old story, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’; maybe someone took a picture of her here in town if she is from here or visited here. We can ask around in the pubs or bars when we get to them.”

They finished their dinner while talking about this and that, paid the bill and left.

Walking down the main street, they came upon a pub called “The Black Swan.”

“This looks good,” said Jim. “Lets hit this one.”

“OK, this is as good a start as any,”

Inside there was a sizable crowd around the bar counter, and the place was thick with cigarette smoke. Everyone was talking loud, and music was blaring from a couple of speakers. Some patrons already showed signs of having had one or two too many.

Brian walked up to the counter and ordered two beers and brought them over to the table that Jim had secured for them.

“Look,” said Brian, “we have to mingle with the crowd at the bar counter and ask questions about the girl.  That’s what we came here for, isn’t it?”

Sure, lest go and hang at the bar counter.  Bring your beer, and we can just casually ask some of the guys if they had seen a girl according to the description we give them.”

Brian said Hi to the guy he was standing next to, and they small talked for a while before he asked if he had seen a girl that looked like the description he gave him.

“No, I sure haven’t, but I would love to meet such a beauty.  There is no such a looker in this town that I know of.”

Brian looked down at Jim, who was further down the counter, but Jim just shook his head.  He had not had any luck so far.

Walking further down the bar counter he found a space next to a guy who looked sober enough to listen.

“Hi, my name is Brian, I’m from the next town down the road. I’m here with a friend of mine to check out the pubs and bars in town.”

“My name is John.  I’m a welder and work for a construction company.”

“Good steady work I guess,” said Brian, “but tell me have you by chance ever seen a girl like this, describing the girls looks to him.

“No, I sure haven’t“ but the description of the girl you gave me, reminds me of something a buddy of mine said. His name is Bob and the other night, he got a bit sloshed here and began rambling about some gorgeous chick he had seen. I just ignored it as being drunk talk. Bob is due to come here shortly if his habits remain the same. He is a machinist and work for the same company as me.”

“We can hang around for a while to see if Bob comes in later,” said Brian. The fellow down there with the blue shirt on is my buddy, Jim, and we both live in Torrington, just an hour’s drive south of here.”

Why don’t I call him over here, and the three of us can sit at a table and have a beer together,” said Brian.

“That would be OK,” said John.

Brian waved at Jim and gestured for him to come over, which he did. After introducing him to John and explaining the reason for it, they sat down at a table and ordered some beers.

Half an hour later, John pointed to a guy just coming in the door and said: “there he is.” and gestured for him to come to the table.

“Bob, this is Brian and Jim from Torrington.  They came up to see if they could find a girl they have been looking for.  They gave me a description of her, and that reminded me so much about the girl you were rambling about last Friday, when you were I bit pickled.  Tell them about the girl you saw.”

“Hello, Brian and Jim.  Well, it’s like this.  I was going home from work last Friday, and I saw this totally unbelievable gorgeous girl walking up the street.  I wanted a closer look at her, so I followed her, walking about 50 feet behind her.  Man! She had a body like a movie actress, and her long, flowing black hair was magnificent. I followed her for a while, but she turned down a side street, and when I got there, she was nowhere to be seen. It was like she had vanished in thin air.  I thought she might have gone into one of the houses on that street and hung around for a while, but then gave up and walked home.  That night I came here to this, my favorite pub, and got a bit drunk.  Perhaps I began yapping about the girl, I don’t remember, but I never saw her again.  I know she is not here from Banfield.  I would have seen her before.”

“Well,” said Brian, “I had the same kind of experience, although I did not follow her.  She is not from Torrington, and if she is not from here either, where is she from.  This is all becoming a mystery.”

They ordered a few more rounds of beer and then parted company, agreeing they should meet again sometime.

Jim and Brian headed for the Arrow Head Inn and decided to stay another night since they had both been drinking. They left early the next morning, returning to Torrington.

While driving home during the morning, they talked about the mysterious girl and Brian suggested they should dig deeper into this by going to another nearby town next weekend. They both agreed to that in addition to meeting at Corner’s Bar next Friday night to plan the details of it.

Brian couldn’t help asking himself what in hell he was doing pursuing the whereabouts of this girl.  He didn’t known her, but there was something about her that intrigued him.  Why was she seen in two towns so far, yet no-one had talked to her, and she appeared to vanish in thin air.  It was easy enough just to think of her as a casual visitor or tourist, yet the circumstances of her sudden appearance and then disappearance was just too intriguing for him to let the matter pass. Jim seemed equally enthusiastic about investigating this mysterious situation further. Besides that, they had both enjoyed the outing to Banfield, and a repeat of that to another town would be desirable.

Friday night came around, and Brian went to meet Jim at Corners Bar.  He had not arrived yet, so he sat down at a table, ordered a beer and waited for him to show up.

Half an hour later Jim came through the door and walked over to the table where Brian was sitting.

“Hi buddy, how are you?”

“Fine,” I had a busy week at work and could do with a bit of time to unwind.”

“Me too, I bought a map so we can decide which town to go to next.  There is one called Brighton, some 30 miles north of Banfield.  It would be no more than one and a half hours drive from here.

“Is it a big town?” asked Brian.

“I looked it up on the internet, which states it has a population of 74,000.”

“That’s a fair sized small town.  There should be hotels, restaurants, and bars there” said Brian.  We can go there tomorrow if you want,”

“sure, why not.  We might have a good time there like we had in Banfield, and we get to know some more towns north of us. We have both been visiting a bunch of places south of here, but not to the north, so it serves as an excellent time to get to know them.  I’m all for it.  If we don’t find her, maybe we can find another couple of hot chicks.”

“There is bound to be some nice girls in a town that size and I wouldn’t mind laying my hands on one of them. I’m as horny as a bullfrog in springtime, if not more so.”

Well, buddy, you are not the only one.  It’s been a while since I have touched a fair-haired pussycat. In fact, I would settle for a brown or dark-haired beauty, as long as her pounds well distributed on her body, a real voluptuous type.”

“You may be setting your standards a bit high.  Most of the girls today tend to carry a few extra pounds around the waist, and some with generous spare tires- love handles, or doughnuts as some prefer to call them.  The real good looking chicks often play hard to get, and neither you nor I qualify as super good looking guys. If you lower your standards a bit, you may have better luck in your pursuit, but hell! have a go at whatever your eyes desire.”

They left for Brighton the next morning, arriving at mid-day. Jim suggested they drive around town for a while to get a feel for it.  They found two motels, but no Inns.  One of the motels with the screwy name. “Pearly Dreams” seemed better than the other they looked at, so they decided to book their rooms there.  It seemed most of the pubs and bars were located in the center of town on two parallel streets a block apart.  That would make bar-hopping easy.

The motel was not far from the downtown area, so they decided to walk there, rather than drive. By nine in the evening they were scouting out the bars and decided first to try one called ‘Roosters Bar.’ It was half filled with people, but it was early yet and sure to improve.

The layout of the bar was impressive.  The counter was shaped like a horseshoe with a bottle shelf, stacked with an abundant supply of liquor, closing it in at the end.  Tables were placed along the walls on both sides of the bar, and numerous paintings of roosters adorned the walls.

I’m going to sit on the left side, and you can try out the right side, Jim.  Just ask casually, as usual, if anyone knew of a girl, giving the description of her as usual.

Brian looked around, after ordering a beer, and began by asking the guy next to him if he had ever run across a girl, describing her, but no luck.  He asked a few more patrons, but no-one had seen her.  He looked over at Jim and saw him engaged in conversation with a young man.  He caught his eye, but Jim just shook his head, meaning he had no luck either.

Jim came over to Brian’s area and told him he had asked a bunch of guys, but none had ever seen nor heard of a girl of that description. I was, however, talking to a young fellow who told me that if I wanted to chase the girls, the most popular bar in town was Fred’s Bar and Grill over on the next street. That’s where most of the girls hang out

Well, let’s head over there.  I like this bar, but we are here for a specific purpose, and the bar you described is as good a target as any.

They both walked over to Fred’s Bar and Grill and were met by quite a hullabaloo when they entered.  The place was nearly full and smelled of grilled food, cigarette smoke, and stale beer, but what the hell, could one expect anything less in what otherwise appeared to be a cheap bar.  There were quite a few girls there, anything from pretty to ordinary, and Jim surveyed the scene with a discriminating view, trying to decide which girl he would pursue.

There was no particular place either of them could sit, so they just took a seat wherever they could find one.  Brian could see that Jim’s primary interest was chasing the girls, so he began asking the question about the voluptuous girl and if anyone had seen her.  The answer was always no, I sure haven’t.

All of a sudden, Jim gestured to him to come over where he was sitting, and I walked over there.

Brian; Listen, he said.  This girl here tell me that she knows a guy who had shown her a picture on his cellphone that kind of matched the description I had given her. He is sitting over there, she had said, pointing to a an average looking guy sitting a couple of chairs down the bar counter.

Jim, we have to check that out.  Let’s go and buy him a beer and ask him about the picture. They both walked over to the guy and introduced themselves.

This girl over there told us you have a photo of a girl that perhaps matches the description of one that we have met in our home town of Torrington.  “Is there any chance that we could see it?”

“Sure.” Said the guy.  My name is Richard, and I’m born in this town. I know a lot of girls here, but one day, I was walking down the street, when I saw this totally gorgeous girl walking toward me.  I had my cellphone in my hand and quickly took a photo of her. I took a few seconds to check and see how well it turned out, and it was just fine, but when  I turned around to see if I could approach her and perhaps ask her for her name, she was no-where to be seen. It was like she had vanished in thin air.

“Can we see the photo?”

“Sure, no problem,”

He took out his cellphone and showed them a photo of a girl with long, black hair,  wearing a short, light yellow skirt and a medium green blouse.

“Oh my God, that’s the same girl I saw in Torrington.  No doubt about it” said Brian.  Look at it Jim, this is the girl, and she is wearing the same clothes as she was when I saw her a couple of weeks ago. Is there a chance I can get a copy of the photo, Richard?”

“Sure, why not?  give me your cell number, and I will send you a copy via messenger.” I have shown it to a lot of people in town, but no-one have seen her, so I kind of just gave up, but kept the photo as a memento. Why are you so interested in this girl?”

“Well, it’s like this.  I saw the girl in Torrington, where both Jim and I live.  She was seen by another person in Banfield, just south of here and now by you, here in Brighton.” She is not from any of those three towns and seems to vanish in thin air, just after she was seen.  The remarkable part is that in she was only seen by one person in any one of the three towns. No-one knows who she is, nor where she is from. She is a complete mystery girl and my buddy Jim, and I are very intrigued by her.”

Brian’s phone signaled that an incoming message had arrived and when he checked it, it was the photo of the girl send to him by Richard. He thanked him for it and then told Jim that there was no point in checking anyone else if they had seen her, since Richard had done so extensively, without any luck.

“Suits me fine,” said Jim.  “I just got to know a chick over there, pointing in the direction where he was sitting before, and I would like to get better acquainted with her.” Don’t wait for me, I’ll make my own way back to the motel.

“Good luck, I hope you make out OK.  I’ll look around a bit myself and see if there are any fish that might bite.”

Brian decided to go back to The Rooster bar since he liked the atmosphere there better. No sooner had he entered the bar and sat down, when a girl came over and said:  ” Didn’t I see you here earlier?”

You sure did.  My name is Brian, what’s yours?”

“My name is Angela.  Where are you from?”

“I’m from Torrington, just south of Banfield.  Me and my buddy, Jim came up here to do a little exploration.”

I was kind of sorry to see you leave, Brian. I took a bit of a liking to you when I saw you.

“Well, Angela, I’m here again.  Can I buy you a drink?”

“Gin and Tonic, please.  I like that drink. What about you?”

“I’m mostly just a beer guy.”

“What do you do for a living?”

“I’m an electrician and have been so since I was 20 years old. I like my profession, and it provides me with a good income. My buddy Jim is a machinist, and he also make a decent living.  We have known each other since we were school children.  He is a real decent guy.”

“It’s good to have a close friend.  Most of my girlfriends are casual, rather than close, with two exceptions, and like your friend, I have known them since we were children. We grew up in the same neighborhood, played together, dreamed about what the future would bring and chased the boys.”

“So, what do you do for a living?”

I’m a financial consultant at the BOA bank, the local branch here in Brighton.  It’s a good job, and I love it.  There is a large branch in Torrington where you live, but then that town is much bigger than this.  I would like to get a transfer to there, but there are no openings right now.

“Well,” said Brian “ that’s interesting for there are three branches of BOA bank in Torrington, including the main branch you are talking about.  I do my banking there.”

“Angela, you are an interesting and pretty girl. I would like to become your friend.”

“I have had several boyfriends during the last couple of years, but none of them worked out.  Perhaps we should become friends, for I like you a lot, in fact, I can say that you are the first one I have met that I liked right away.”

“That sounds like a promising beginning, but I’m going to ask you a straight question. Are you a virgin?”

“No,” said Angela “and I don’t think you would expect me to be.  I’m 24 years old, and yes, I like sex.”

“Well. That’s good to know, and I might want to take advantage of that.”

“I’m not saying yes or no to that. We can feel our way through it.”

“OK Angela, but I have to tell you that Jim and I are returning to Torrington tomorrow afternoon,  We both have to work on Monday.”

“I figured that, but we still have the rest of the night.

“We both have rooms at Motel Pearly Dreams.  I know Jim is chasing a girl over in Fred’s Bar and Grill and he will likely succeed.”

“Brian, you rascal, are you sure you are not doing the same?”

“I refuse to answer that question, since it may tend to incriminate me, but don’t get mad at me if I ask you to come with me to my motel room.”

“Ask me later,” said Angela.  You never know what will happen.”

“OK, that’s a deal.  Now, how about another drink?”

“Yes, please, the same as before.”

“Does your parents live here also, Angela?”

“No, they were both killed in a boating accident four years ago.  I have a brother, but he works in Africa as a mining engineer, and I rarely hear from him.*

“I’m sorry to hear that you lost your parent. My parents are still alive, and they live in Torrington on the outskirts of town.  They are both retired. I’m their only child, and I have a wonderful relationship with them. My dad was an accountant and mom worked in a department store for many years.”

It must be great to have your parents still.  I miss mine immensely and feel very lonesome at times.

“Well, Angela, I can sure appreciate how you feel.  I would be lost without my parents, but I know I won’t have them forever.

“It’s getting late, and the bar will close soon.  I would like to be so presumptuous as to ask you to come with me to the Motel, but I don’t want to ruin the friendship we have just started.  Can I call a taxi to take you home?”

Brian, I would like to walk with you to the Motel.  It’s a beautiful summer night,  and I’m in a romantic mood.”

“You are getting me all excited, so let’s go, Angela.”

They walked up the street toward the motel which was about a 15-minute walk.  Brian put his arm around her and felt excited.  She stopped, turned toward him and said: ”Brian, I want to kiss you.”

The romantic moments continued unabated until they reached the motel.

Well, this is your last chance to say no, Angela.

She just whispered into his ear, and they went inside the room. “Don’t turn the lights on.” She said. “I want to touch you, kiss you, hug you and embrace you.”

Brian turned her around, touched her breasts from behind and slowly took her blouse off, then her bra and kissed her neck.

‘”Brian, you are driving me crazy.” She turned around and started to take Brian’s clothes off.  In a frenzy, they removed each other’s clothes and began to caress the most intimate places on their bodies.

Brian lifted her into his arms and carried her to the bed.

They made love for a long time, seemingly unable to get enough of each other.

When they had both exhausted their desires, Angela rolled over on top of him and said ”Brian, that’s the best sex I have ever had. I’m madly in love with you now.”

Brian responded by kissing her and whispering in her ear that he had also fallen in love with her.  She stayed with Brian all night, and they made love in the morning before they left to go and have breakfast.

“What happened to your buddy Jim?” she asked.

I imagine he is still in his room, or perhaps having breakfast somewhere. I’m sure he lashed on to a girl in the bar he was in,  He is very determined to get what he wants, and I’m sure he did.

“Angela, We are leaving around noontime today, but I want to see you again.  Can we meet here next weekend?”

“Yes, I would love that, but why don’t I come to Torrington?”

“That would be super. I’ll book you a room in an Inn.”

“I would like that to be ‘Brian’s’ Inn, where I can sleep with the owner if you won’t mind the intrusion into your own little world?”

“Let me put it this way, I can think of no-one I would rather have intruding.  Let’s keep in touch on the phone, and I will give your driving directions if you need them.”

“All I need is your address.  I have a GPS system in my car, and it will take me there.

“OK, Angela.  That’s a date then.”

“Alright, I’m sure my week will drag until next Saturday.  I’ll be going home now to catch up on some sleep.”

“Do you want me to call a taxi?”

“No, I will walk home from here.  See you on Saturday, sweet.”

“See you, honey,- I can‘t wait.”

They kissed briefly, and Angela left the restaurant.

Brian walked back to the motel. He knocked on Jims door, but no answer, so he went to his room and waited for Jim to come to him.

It was nearly noon when Jim knocked on his door. “Sorry to be so late, but I had a fantastic chick in my room all night and this morning too.  I just sent her home in a taxi. How did you make out?”

“I’ll tell you all about it while we drive home.”

They left early in the afternoon, and Jim began by telling the story about this girl he had met in Fred’s Bar and Grill.  Her name was Lora, and she was very good looking and played hard to get, but like Jim said, persistence pays off.  She agreed to come along with him to the motel, and first, they were inside the room, things went right along.  Lora was very sexy, so it worked out great.

“Well,” said Brian, “ I think I’m in love.  I went back to the Rooster Bar, where I met this girl.  Her name is Angela, and we just had the most marvelous time together.  She is 24 years old and works as a financial consultant for the BOA Bank in Brighton.  She has a fabulous body and a great personality.  We have agreed to meet again next weekend, but she will be coming here to stay at my apartment.”

“Jeepers, you sound like you are going to get real serious about Angela.”

“Well, let’s see what happens, but I really like her, and the feeling is mutual.”

“OK, buddy, so what’s next now.”

“Well,” said Brian “I don’t think I will pursue the matter of this phantom girl anymore. We will never find her and at any rate, even if we did, what would we do with her?”

“Yeah. I kind of agree with you, but you can’t say we did not have a good time chasing her.  Will we meet at Corner’s Bar on Friday again.?”

“Sure Jim, let’s do that.”

Shortly they arrived in Torrington and went their separate ways for the week.

Wednesday evening Brian’s phone rang.  It was Jim, and he sounded very excited.

“Brian, I just bought the paper, and there is an article on page two you just have to read.  No good me trying to explain. It will take a long time.  Go buy the paper and then get back to me when you have read it.”

OK, Jim. I’ll go and get it right now. Brian walked down to the local corner grocery store and bought The Torrington Daily and rushed home. He went straight to page two, and the article he saw simply floored him.

New Development in the murder-rape case we reported on a year ago.

A year ago, a young girl was found murdered and sexually assaulted in Barring City, south of here. Here picture was distributed by the local police at first, but no-one had seen her before or knew her.

DNA was collected from semen on her body and checked against existing data banks, but with negative results. Her fingerprints and a description of her, together with her photo and what she was wearing, were circulated through national, and later international organizations such as FBI, Interpol, and various similar organizations through Latin America, but no results have come back so far.

A week ago, a man in his thirties was arrested for attempted rape of a young girl. His DNA was collected, and in a search of the data banks for criminal offender, it was matched to the DNA found in semen on the murdered girl.

The man was charged with murder and rape in the first degree.  During interrogations, he claimed he did not know the girl, nor had he ever seen her before.  He came across her in the local park and assaulted her there.

It was hoped that with the arrest of the offender, some more light could be thrown on the identity of the victim, but so far this has proven elusive. No-one anywhere has reported her missing or claimed to know her or be related to her. In time, unless new information is forthcoming, the case will go into the cold files.

We have republished a photo of the girl’s face and urge anyone who may have seen her or know her to contact the local police.

Brian was astounded, and more so because the crime was committed a year ago.  He did not remember reading about it, nor hearing anything of it on the TV. There was no doubt this was the girl.  The photo of her face proved it beyond doubt

He called Jim and expressed his amazement. “The fact that she was murdered in Baring City, the district capital south of here, suggests that wherever she is from, it is from somewhere south of here.  If it is the same girl that I saw here in Torrington and the guys in Banfield and Brighton saw, how can she appear in those cities a full year after she was murdered.  The only proof that anyone saw her is Richard, in Brighton, Who took a picture of her.  How the hell can anyone take a photo of someone who died a year ago? I checked the photo in the paper against the copy that Richard gave me, and there is no doubt, it is the same girl. This whole thing is driving me to the loony bin.”

“I don’t know what to think nor how to handle this whole thing in my mind.” Let’s think about it until Friday, and we can meet in Corner’s Bar to talk about it”  said, Jim.

OK, let’s do that.  Take care and have a good night.

Friday night came around, and they both met at the bar.

‘Jim, I just don’t know what to think of this whole affair about seeing this murdered girl.  I’m not ready to call the police and tell them that I saw her here in Torrington. They would pass me off as some nutcase.  The only one that has some proof of seeing her is Richard in Brighton, who took a picture of her.  That brings up the question as to how the hell you can take a photo of someone who died a year ago?” Furthermore, why is it that only one person saw her in any one of the towns.  Is she a ghost? Did she came back from the dead to wander forever? We have all heard of bizarre incidents where people have seen someone who died years ago, but until now, I never believed any of that.

I hope Richard does not read the article and call the police.  I have no desire to get involved in something so bizarre that it defies explanation. Unless they find out who she is and where she is from, I fear this incidence will remain in my mind perhaps forever.

“Angela is coming to my place tomorrow. We plan on having a romantic weekend, and I don’t want her to know anything about the murdered girl I saw.  She might assume I’m not playing from a full deck.

“Sure, I understand,” said Jim. “I’m glad I didn’t see her, and, by the way, I may return to Brighton tomorrow to see if I can find that girl I was with last weekend.  She is really nice.”

“Good luck with that.  Let’s call the mystery girl “The Girl from some place” and concentrate on those we can touch and love.”

“That’s  the most sensible thing you have said  all night.”

NOTE: This story will be published in several parts.

THE LETTER


The Letter

 

          Two days after John Norton’s father’s death, he received a call from the law firm of Benson, Langley, and Kessler.  The secretary advised him that Mr. Benson was the executor of his father’s will and asked if he would care to make an appointment.  John agreed to a meeting at 2:30 the following afternoon, which was a Friday. He would close his business early, to make the appointment.

          John had never met Mr. Benson, but he appeared to be pleasant, kind of distinguished looking old gentleman, dressed in a conservative, pin-striped suit with an impeccably matched tie.  After some small talk and condolences on the loss of his father, Benson asked for some proper identification, stating this was necessary, given the fact that he didn’t know him.  John produced a couple of pieces of identification, which satisfied Benson and the procedure of reading the will commenced.

          The will was dated 5 years earlier and in simple terms declared John, his only son and child, to be the sole heir to his father’s entire estate, with exception of a sum of ten thousand dollars, bequeathed to his housekeeper of 15 years and eight thousand dollars to the groundskeeper in gratitude for their dependable and diligent service.  There was also written recommendations for both of them.

          “Your father entrusted a special envelope into my care,” said Mr. Benson.  “It is addressed to you and sealed with wax seals and ribbons.  Please inspect them to ensure * they are unbroken.”

          He did and found the seals intact. They discussed the legal aspects of having his father’s money, and property deeds transferred to him and agreed to meet the following week again. Clutching the envelope and bidding farewell, he left the office and drove home.

          Pouring himself a stiff scotch, he sat down in an armchair and, with considerable trepidation, cut the seals and opened the envelope.  Inside he found what appeared to be a report, in a red cover with his name on the front and a letter addressed to him. He opened the letter and began reading:

Dear Son,

          When you are reading this letter, it means I’ve passed on to another dimension. I have always been proud of you, and it is with great pleasure that I leave you everything I own.  There are some aspects of my life. I have never told you about.  In reality, they amount to is a strange story, filled with both mystery and adventure, so much so that some years ago I decided to put it in writing.  By the time you have read it, you will know how I could have made a fortune.

          With all my love

          Your father

           John opened the folder and began reading the neatly typewritten account of those mysterious events in his father’s life he hadn’t told him about.

June 1991

          The events that changed my life forever began in 1986, the year after your mother passed away.  I had poured my heart and soul into the bookstore, attempting to bury my sorrow over the loss of Vera.  It is hard to lose one’s soul mate after so many years of marriage, but life must go on, and I tried to continue living as I had done before.

          As you know, I have always collected antique books and rare first editions, many of which you will find in my library. It’s a very valuable collection, and I discovered and bought quite a number of them at public estate auctions.  Few people bother bidding on what in most instances is ordinary books, but I often did, provided I could spot some interesting and promising titles.  The auctioneers in charge of estate sales habitually put books in boxes of various sizes, sometimes with other things included, and you would have to bid on the whole content of the box. I put many of the boxes in the basement, intending to scrutinize their contents further after I had removed the books that I was interested in.

          One Saturday during the summer of 86, I went to an estate auction over in Campbellsville; you know the town well enough, having been there sometimes. There wasn’t much that interested me, except for a box containing a few books and cheap knick-knacks. One of the books was about Spanish renaissance art, and it looked quite old.  When the box came up for bidding, some lady bid five dollars.  Rather than upping the bid by one dollar, I decided to offer ten, to cut her off.  The auctioneer’s hammer decided in my favor.  I paid the ten dollars, took the box, put it in the trunk of the car and went home.

          I quickly went through the box and discovered some inexpensive porcelain bird figurines, probably what the old lady had wanted plus some old magazines, pamphlets, and various booklets. There were five more books in addition to the book on Spanish Renaissance art.  None of them were of any interest, but the art book was a limited edition from 1953.  I began looking through the numerous pages of black and white illustrations of Spanish paintings and art from the15th and 16th centuries.  The book was in excellent condition and worth about two hundred dollars, I figured.  Not a bad profit for a short trip to an auction.

          I quickly flipped through the last pages, but suddenly near the end, I found an envelope.  Thinking it was probably someone who had used it for a bookmark; I put it on the table.

          The next day, while having my morning caffeine fix, I picked up the letter.  It was addressed to Mr. George Silliman, 47 Bartley Dr., Cornville, Ontario.  I didn’t know the person, but Cornville is only about 50 km away.  The return address was someone named Frank Burley, 12 Sudden Lane, Barker Town, Ontario which I was slightly familiar with.  It was quite a bit larger than Cornville and only about 20 km from there. I took the letter out, and read it:

 Dear George,                                                                                  September 11, 1982

            I know you must wonder why I’m writing to you, rather than just dropping in for a visit, but I have some things to tell you that that is best done in writing. 

             We have been friends a whole lifetime, ever since we were schoolboys and it’s been a friendship like no other I have ever had with anyone else.  We have shared much, but it is coming to an end soon.  My doctor sent me to a colon cancer specialist a couple of weeks ago, and last week, he gave me the sad news that I had only a few months left to live.  It was quite a shock for me at first, but heck George, you and I have had beautiful, happy lives and we both know that the time to depart will come eventually for both of us. I hope we will be seeing each other a few times before I go.

             What I want to tell you about is rather a bit of a mystery, so let me get on with it.

             In 1929, an Italian family settled here in Barker Town.  They were political refugees from Mussolini’s dictatorship, but apparently wealthy, for they bought a costly house in town. At that time, there were three generations of the family living in the house.  As you know, my wife’s mother was Italian, and she grew up with a lot of Italians coming and going through her childhood home, so it wasn’t long before she became acquainted with this newly arrived family, whose last name was Moretti. Both the grandparents died before the end of the Second World War.  Their son, Enrico Moretti and his wife Contessa became quite good friends of ours, and we frequently had dinner together.  They had a son, Leopoldo, who was born in Italy before they came to this country.

             Enrico and his wife were both killed in a tragic car accident in 1958.  Leopoldo, their son, was 39 years old by then and not married. I suspected he was homosexual, but we continued to be friends with him.  In 1968, he had full-blown aids and passed away within a year, but before that, he told me an unusual story about a valuable thing he had inherited from his father, who had said it had been in the family for many generations.

             He told me that since he had no heirs, and he had promised never to let the item (he didn’t say what it was) pass out of the family, he was left with no other alternative than to take it with him to his grave. His casket, he said, was specially constructed and the item would be inserted in a hollowed-out area of the plank in the lid so that even in his afterlife, he could keep an eye on it.  I thought it was a bit creepy, but reckoned everybody has some weirdness or quirks in their lives. 

             When he died, Mary and I went to his funeral, and including us, there were only a handful of his friends that attended. His coffin was placed in the family mausoleum, and it was kind of sad to think that with Leopoldo gone, the family had died out completely. At least you and I both have grandchildren and thus some continuity beyond our graves. His house, by the way, was willed to the Catholic Church here and they have made a retirement home for people who can`t look after themselves in it.

             Well, George, I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t think about what Leopoldo had told me until after I received the news about my impending doom.  It gnawed at me, and I thought perhaps I should pass the story on to someone, and since you are my best friend, I chose to tell it to you. I was never brave enough to go and find out just what it was that Leopold took with him in his grave, but it struck me that he perhaps told me what he intended to do, so that I, as his close friend, could go and recover whatever it is. He may have tried to tell me it was a gift from him to me, but I can`t be sure.

 9            At any rate, George, I will never find out, but perhaps you may be interested in pursuing this.  I`m quite sure Leopold never told anyone else but me about it, but now you also know, and I think it perhaps best that no-one else finds out.  If you don`t want to investigate this, maybe you should destroy this letter and leave the mystery a secret for posterity    Well, I guess that`s all for now.  I hope to see you a few times again before I die.

Best regards from your old friend

Frank 

           It was an exciting mystery the letter revealed, and while I wasn`t about to just run over and open Leonardo`s casket, I kept thinking about digging a bit deeper into the story, and I began by searching for the two families, Silliman and Burley.

          Since I figured George Silliman might still be alive, I drove to Cornville first, and after some searching, I found the address and I parked the car.     Some kids were playing on the front lawn, but soon as I approached the fenced-in front yard, a woman came out the front door and asked if she could help me. I asked if the Silliman family lived there.  She shook her head and said that Mrs. Silliman died some years ago and her husband, George, passed away six weeks ago.  I asked if she was related to the Silliman family, to which she replied no, but they have a son, who lives out west somewhere.

          I didn’t want to seem too inquisitive, so I ended the conversation by asking where they were buried. She told me, and I thanked her, saying that I used to know George a long time ago and would like to put some flowers on his grave.

          At the United Church cemetery, it didn’t take me long to find the grave site where both George and his wife were interred. I noted the date on George’s headstone.  He had died on May third, this year. I put the flowers I had bought at a local flower shop on their grave and left for home.

          Having concluded the Silliman connection to the letter, it was time to go to go to Barker Town and see if I could find Frank Burley and  I drove there the following Sunday.  The town has a population of over 130,000, so I bought a city map to find my way around. Sudden Lane was a quiet side street, lined with mature trees, shading well-manicured lawns in front of classy homes, suggesting this was one of the better neighborhoods in town.  Number 12, Franks Burley’s house, was a large, Victorian style, two-story home, kept in immaculate shape, suggesting he was well off.

          I walked up to the door and rang the bell.  Inside the house, I could hear the sound of a resonant gong and shortly a middle-aged man opened the door. I introduced myself with a fictitious name and said I was an old friend of Frank Burley and this was the address I had for him. He then told me Dr. Burley’s wife was dead and he was in a care home with advanced Alzheimer, and then saying that his name was Charles Lane and he had bought the house a little over a year ago.”  I apologized for disturbing him, thanked him for the information and left.

          So, Frank Burley was a doctor.  That explained the large, posh house he had owned. With his wife dead and him having advanced Alzheimer decease, I needn’t worry about anyone knowing about the letter, unless Frank had told someone about it.  It also explained how the book with the letter ended up on an auction.  It had apparently been a part of his estate and no doubt, there may have been many other things at the auction that had belonged to him, but I would never know.

          I decided to do some background checking on the old Doctor later on, but before I went home again; I went to two cemeteries, trying to locate the mausoleum of the Moretti family.  I found it in a Catholic cemetery, on the outskirts of town and it was quite large and ornate.  Some people walked about in the graveyard, so I just casually walked past the mausoleum, noting it had a large brass padlock on the door.  There was a small graveled area in front of it; quite weedy, suggesting that no-one was caring for the site. I made up my mind to come back some weekday night and scrutinize the cemetery closely, to make sure I wouldn’t run into something unexpected.

          For a week or so, I thought about the whole, crazy idea of breaking into a mausoleum and stealing that something, whatever it was, from a coffin.  It just simply went against my better judgment, and for a while, I honestly thought I would just forget about it, but curiosity is an intense sensation, and eventually, it got the better of me.  One night, I drove over to the cemetery, parking my car in an inconspicuous place away from it.  I walked around the spooky place for about an hour, but no-one showed up. Then I went over to the Moretti mausoleum and checked the padlock, noting the make and size. It had to be cut with a bolt cutter and, when the deed was done, replaced it with one that looked the same, although, I didn`t think anyone would notice since the Moretti`s didn`t have any living relatives.

          The following week, on a Thursday night, I decided to carry out this ‘grave-robbing’ adventure.  I had purchased a padlock that looked more or less like the one on the door of the mausoleum and gathered some tools I figured I might need, but no more than I could carry concealed under my coat.  If I run into anyone on the cemetery, it would be a bit hard to explain what I was doing there, carrying a toolbox in my hands. I arrived in town just after eleven at night, this time parking my car in a different place.

9          There wasn’t a soul around, and I proceeded directly to the cemetery where I began by walking around the area, to make sure no-one was there.  I don’t mind telling you I was nervous and jumpy like all hell and by the time I reached the mausoleum, I was about ready to take off and go home again.  I mustered up enough courage and got the bolt cutter under my belt, where I had hung it.  The weight of it was dragging my pants down.  Once again, I surveyed the area, to make sure I was alone and then carefully and as quiet as possible, I cut the shank on the padlock. It was harder than I thought it would be and made more noise than I had figured.  God almighty, I was jumpy and scared out of my mind.

          Opening the door made even more noise.  The hinges were rusty and squeaked, so I proceeded slowly, opening the door just enough to get inside and then pulled it to again.  With shaking hands, I turned my flashlight on and looked around.  There were two caskets positioned along each of the two side walls and one at the end wall.  I had no idea which coffin contained the remains of Leonardo but went to the one at the end wall, figuring that this most logically must be his.  I needn’t have worried, for there was a metal plaque on the casket with Leonardo’s name, date, and place of birth and his death date.  I wrote it on my hand, not having a notebook with me.

          The casket was made of oak and looked almost new.  I tried to lift the lid, but it was fastened with nails or screws or something.   I bent down and looked under the lid and saw it was secured with screws through a molding along the top of the casket, into the bottom of the cover.  There were two screws, which I removed. Wearing gloves made it difficult, but eventually, I got them out and put them in my pocket, thinking there would be no need to screw them back in again. Leonardo wouldn’t mind.

          Now came the moment I feared the most. I slowly swung the lid open and pointed my flashlight into to the casket. The image of Leonardo was horrid. A surge of Adrenalin went through my veins sending my heart racing. Leonardo’s face looked straight at me, with empty, hollow eye sockets, his skull partly covered with moldy patches of skin, the jaw bone barred and his bony, skinless hands crossed on his chest. His funeral clothes were partially decomposed, and the sight of him horrified me.

          There was a plank screwed onto the inside of the lid.  On it, there was a brass plaque with the name “Leonardo Moretti” engraved on it and his date and place of birth.  I unscrewed the plank, and behind it, within a hollowed out space, there was a thin book or something like it, wrapped in several layers of plastic.  I removed it, screwed the plank back into the lid again, closed it and hurriedly went outside, where I closed the door and put on the padlock I had bought. I looked around to make sure I had not left any evidence of my breaking into the mausoleum, and then returned to my car with the package.  I was shaking like a leaf and just couldn’t get out of town fast enough.   I drove without exceeding the speed limit, fearing the police might stop me.

          The first thing I did when I got home was downing a stiff scotch to calm my jittery nerves.  I was still shaking when I began opening the package. It was wrapped in three layers of plastic which protected a thin volume of something, with a cover of stained leather. Very gingerly, I opened it, and on the first page, I saw some sketches of human anatomy, the same on the second and third, with handwritten notes in different positions on the pages.  I thought it was Italian, but couldn’t be sure at first. Slowly I checked other pages and came across drawings of structural parts of buildings, then some more human anatomy drawings.  Then it struck me.  My God, this was one of Leonardo da Vinci’s sketchbooks. If it’s genuine, it’s worth millions of dollars.  Now I began to understand why Frank had told George about Leonardo possibly intending to leave it to him as a gift. I had to wonder if Leonardo was named after the famous 13th-century artist, because of his family’s ownership of the da Vinci sketchbook and while thinking about that, I remembered the note I had made on my hand; the birthplace of Leonardo Moretti, and wrote it down in my address book.

          Too excited to sleep that night, I began speculating just what on earth I was going to do with this unexpected acquisition.  My first thought was safekeeping it somewhere, and a large bank safe deposit box seemed the ideal solution.  It was just too valuable to keep in the house and how was I going to explain how I came to be the owner of this treasure if I wanted to sell it?  How could I get its authenticity verified, without raising questions?

          The next day, I set about to photograph all the pages of the sketchbook and have large prints made of them.

A week passed by during which I rented a safe deposit box in my bank and tried to find out as much as I could about Leonardo da Vinci’s sketchbooks.  I had read a bit about them and seen pictures of some of his sketches, but had no in-depth knowledge. The local library didn’t provide much information, other than da Vinci frequently wrote in mirror style, which explained why I couldn’t read the writing on the sketches.

          It became apparent that I needed information not available in this country. Italy was indubitably the place to go, and I needed to find out how to approach the search.

           The plaque on Leonardo’s casket indicated he was born in Fiumicino, a town just west of Rome, nestled on the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea.  It seemed highly desirable to go and snoop around there and perhaps discover something about the Moretti family’s history in Italy. I called my travel agent and booked a trip to Rome, departing in 4 days.  The bookstore was not a problem; my able assistant of 11 years could easily handle it alone. What he didn’t know about selling books wasn’t worth knowing.

          The trip to Rome was uneventful. The agent had booked me in Hotel Bettoja Atlántico, which proved to be a beautiful old pearl; lovely rooms and great food. I had brought the photos of the sketchbook pages along with the idea of trying to find out if it was authentic but had no idea of just how to do that, without raising suspicion.

          The national central library in Rome was my first stop.  Quite a few books were dealing with Leonardo da Vinci’s art, but I checked mainly those dealing with his sketchbooks. I compared the photographic illustrations of sketchbook pages in the library books against the photos I had taken of those that I “acquired” under circumstances that still didn’t sit right with me.  None matched them. Thus I began to suspect it was either an unknown sketchbook, retained in a private collection away from public scrutiny or a forgery.  There was nothing more I could do in Rome. I headed for Fiumicino, to see what, if anything, if I could find out about the Moretti family.

After I had checked into my hotel and enjoyed a lovely supper, I went to the lobby and asked for a local telephone book.  I sat down in one of the comfortable lobby chairs and began perusing the telephone book and quickly found the name “Moretti.” There were 11 entries in all, which suggested that Leopoldo and his parents/grandparents must have had several relatives in Fiumicino. Then it struck me that it would be unwise to contact any one of them, for how would I explain that I knew the Moretti’s in Barkertown. I suddenly realized that my impulse to come to this town was a mistake. I had wasted my time, all but for finding out that members of the Moretti family were living there.

The next day, I took an early flight to Rome and booked a room in the Hotel Bettoja Atlántico, the one I stayed in when I first arrived in Rome. I decided my trip was not going to be completely wasted, so I stayed in Rome for three days.  On the last day, I visited some antique book stores to see I I could find something of interest to sell in my book store at home. One or two caught my attention, both of them dealing with Roman antiquities.  I bought one, published in 1900 at a reasonable price.

On the flight home to Canada, I pondered on what to do with the Da Vinci sketchbook, and then it struck me.  Why not just say that my father had bought a box full of books at an auction in Barker Town, and after removing the book he was interested in, had put it in the basement, where it joined several others. He had not recognized the Da Vincy sketchbook as something of value and left it in the box. I had decided to go through all the boxes to see if there was anything worth keeping before I discarded them, and that’s when I found the sketchbook.

The more I thought about this, the more liked the idea.

It was great to be home and get the feel of the bookstore again.  I kept thinking about how to reveal the fact that I had this sketchbook that “might be” a Da Vincy.  I decided to send some of the photocopied pages I had made to a reputable expert in Da Vincy’s artworks and found one in New York City.  I mailed the photocopies to him, without explaining how I got them.

Ten days later, I received a phone call, asking if I was John Norton and the person who had sent the photocopies, to which I replied in the affirmative. He inquired if he could examine the original and I arranged to meet him in New York City in three days. His name is George Lucas, and he gave me his address in Manhattan.

The meeting with George in his plush Manhattan office went well.  He asked me how I had acquired the sketchbook, but like I said to him, I need to have it authenticated before I can reveal how I got.

He asked if I could leave it with him for a couple of days, as he needed to do some tests on it.  I agreed to this, provided he would give me a receipt, signed in the presence of a lawyer. After this was done, I returned to Ontario.

Two days later, early in the morning, I received a phone call from George in Manhattan.  His voice sounded excited, and he said he had excellent news for me.  The sketchbook was by Da Vincy and very valuable.  He offered me two million dollars for it, which just about floored me. I hesitated for a while, then politely declined.  I figured it may be worth more than that and I told him I would pick it up tomorrow.

I arrived in New York in the early afternoon, and after paying George his fee for the authentication documents of the sketchbook, I signed a receipt for it, thanked him for his efforts and returned home to Ontario. Before I left, he told me that there was no record of the sketchbook having been owned by someone or stolen, so it must have come from an estate or owner(s) who have held it for many generations and kept knowledge of its existence private. The same happens to valuable paintings and other artworks that have vanished for a couple of hundred years or more, and then suddenly shows up. I didn’t comment on that.

I had to figure out how to sell the sketchbook, without anyone knowing who I was, for I still had an uneasy feeling about the 11 Moretti entries I had seen in the phone book in Fiumicino.  I know that Sotheby Auctioneers will keep both seller and buyer names confidential, so maybe that’s the way to go.

I put the sketchbook back in the safety deposit box in the bank and then settled down for a few days to compose my thoughts and calm my anxiety.

Six days later, I placed a phone call to Sotheby in New York and asked to speak to someone in the antique arts department. A man, introducing himself as Frederick Barnes asked if he could help me.  I quickly explained that I had a Da Vincy sketchbook, the authenticity of which has been confirmed by George Lucas of Manhattan, who I was sure he was familiar with.  He concurred but said he would have to examine the sketchbook before he agreed to put it on auction for me. I informed him that anonymity was of paramount importance to me, but he would be free to check anything he wanted respecting the authenticity of the sketchbook and anything else he deemed necessary.

We agreed to meet in New York City in four days.

Once again, my anxiety increased and I had trouble sleeping. I just wanted to get this whole affair over with. I had not even anticipated the possible windfall I would get from auctioning the sketchbook.  What on Gods earth would I do with a few million dollars which it appears I would get.

The meeting with Frederick Barnes at Sotheby’s in New York City went without any problems.  He took delivery of the sketchbook and examined it briefly, appearing quite impressed by what he saw. I gave him a copy of the certificate of authenticity from George Lucas, and he gave me a receipt for both. He indicated that the Sotheby’s auctioneer fee was ten percent, which I agreed to. In writing.  After some discussions as to how the auction would proceed if he accepted the item, we bid a cordial farewell, and I headed back to Ontario again.  He said he would call me as soon as he had a decision.

It was ten days before Frederick Barnes called me; the longest ten days in my life. Most nights I had lain awake pondering on a possible new future and where to go if I left my hometown. Frederick said that they had accepted the item for auction and one would take place in New York in two weeks.  I asked him what he estimated the sketchbook would sell for and I was utterly floored when he said not less than ten million dollars.

To remain as anonymous as possible, I wanted to bank the money outside Canada. I began looking around, and the Cayman Islands seemed a logical choice, but it had too many requirements for documents and personal Id’s.  A Swiss bank account would be easier to open, and I chose that.  There was lots of help on the internet as to how to do it. I made a reservation to Geneva two days ahead, to give me time to get funding from my own bank to open the account with.

I asked for a certified bank draft from my bank for $30,000.00, which took the balance on my account down a few notches, but considering what I potentially had coming, it was a mere bagatelle.

The trip to Geneva was smooth and opening an account went equally well.  My passport served as documentation for my identity, and I received the details of my account, and it’s balance after I deposited the $30,000.00. I left for home the next day and settled down to wait for the auction in New York.

Nine days later, Fredrick Barnes called me from New York,  The sketchbook had been sold to an anonymous buyer for 16 million dollars.  He asked if I wanted to come to New York to settle the account, but I declined, asking him instead to deposit the net amount to my new Swiss bank account.

I was astounded, to say the least, and I seriously had to plan my future, adjusted to my new wealth.

My first action was to transfer 150,000,00 dollars to my bank account here from my Swiss account and then to buy a large motor-home. I arranged to have my assistant live rent free in my house and to run the business, taking fifty percent of the profits for his efforts and crediting the rest to my local bank account. I loaded the motor-home with the most precious belongings I had in the house and then informed my assistant that I would be leaving on an extended journey to places as of yet unknown to me.  He did not understand why I wanted to leave, but I said that I wanted a new life in my senior years.  I think he understood.

Two days later, I bid farewell to my assistant and left the town that I had lived in all my life. I felt excited and invigorated by the prospects of being able to go wherever I wanted.

I passed through Barker Town on my way and stopped for a cup of coffee. I picked up yesterdays newspaper (Barker Town Daily News), and on page three, I found an article that stunned me.  The paper reported that a catacomb on the Catholic cemetery had been broken into and the five caskets inside it had been opened as if someone was looking for something that may have been put into one or several of them. It was not possible to determine if anything had been stolen since there were no records of anything being present in any of the caskets.  The catacomb belonged to the Moretti family, all of whom were dead, and no-one had been designated to care for the upkeep of it. No suspects had been apprehended, and the whole case is just a mystery.

I was completely non-plussed by the article and could only think that the Moretti’s in Italy had found out about the Da Vincy sketchbook auction, but that would be pure speculation, and at any rate, there was no way they could figure I was involved.  I was safe to drive into the sunset of my life.

 

 

Comments are welcome

This work by K. Larsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

 

 

 

  

 

 


My father was born May 13, 1907, in Hornegyden, which is a part of the village of Horne; a small rural community located a few kilometers from the town of Faaborg, on the Island of Fyn, in Denmark.  He was the first born and only child of Søren Peter Larsen and his wife, Jensine Petrine Larsen and Christened Knud Christian Larsen.  His first name came from his paternal grandfather and the second from his maternal grandfather.  His father worked as a wagon driver at Horne West Mill at the time of his birth, so he started life under humble circumstances. Most people were relatively poor, so he wasn’t any worse off than his fellow human beings in the rural community that was to be his home for a few years.  The photo below shows the house where he was born.  It was close to the waters of Faaborg Fjord and it is pure luck that a photo of the place still exists since the house was torn down just after the Second World War, at which time it was much more than one hundred years old. Note the dirt road and the cobblestone pavement in front of this triplex building.

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The two children standing by the house are me (aged 5) and my sister Mona, aged  8.

Dad spent the first two or three years in Horne and then moved to Faaborg with his parents.  I don’t know the exact year, but I do know that his father began working for a brewery called “Sydfynsk Bryggeri”, (meaning South Fyn Brewery) around 1910 or possibly as late as 1912.  At first, they lived on the outskirts of town somewhere on Assens Rd., but in 1920 or 21, they rented the third-floor apartment of a new building in town, on the corner of Grønnegade (Green St.) and Østergade (East St.)  This became his home, perhaps the only one he ever remembered.

Faaborg was not a big city then and still isn’t today.  The population has remained around 6000 inhabitants for most of the last century, but it is a very old town, receiving its designation as an incorporated town in the 11th century.  He grew up amongst many old straw-thatched houses and cobblestone pavement, wherever there was any pavement.  The economy was predominantly agricultural and fishing, with an export of many farming products to other European countries. A couple of large merchant firms dominated the economy insofar that they had the biggest stores and were the biggest buyers of raw products. For some years, his father was employed” at South Fyn Brewery, as a wagon driver, delivering beer to farms, stores and manor houses in the upland.  Later, he became a malt maker, a position he retained for the remainder of the 40 years he was employed by the brewery. In this working-class environment, my father spent his childhood and formative years.  I know little about his childhood, for I never inquired much about this phase of his life.  He told me he had a little dog he had named “Dukken”, meaning “Doll.”  The dog was lame in one leg that accidentally had been squeezed in a door. A couple of photos of him and his dog have survived

The photo of him, together with his cousin Ellen Nielsen is assumed to be from the town of Odense since she was born there.  The street is paved with square granite cobblestones.  Note the wagon loaded with sacks of grain.

I remember my father telling me that he never went to school in Horne, so he completed his grade school in Faaborg.  At the age of 14, after completing grade 8, he was taken out of school and apprenticed to a cabinet maker in town.  This would have been in 1921.

His father, my grandfather Peter Larsen once told me that the cabinet maker also was in the business of making caskets and that the first two years, my father did nothing else but making these.  Grandfather finally got mad, went up to see the owner of the cabinet shop and flat out told him that if his son had to make another casket for the rest of his apprenticeship, he would be taken to another shop to complete his training.  This must have made some impact, for he completed his apprenticeship in 1926 and received his journeyman certificate on May 1, 1926.  A copy of the original can be seen on the last page.

My father had a talent for music and began taking violin lessons sometime around the age of 16.  From 1926, following completion of his apprenticeship, to around February 1928, he studied music in Copenhagen and learned to play the trumpet in addition to continuing his violin studies. I don’t know whom he studied under, or which music school he attended, but it resulted in him choosing a career in music.  When the music business was bad, he reverted to his secondary profession as a cabinet maker.

It should read: age 18 and 1925

 

On May 10, 1928, he was conscripted into the Danish army and served as a musician until January 5, 1929.  It appears that eight-month was the required service time back in those days.

 

He served in the second company, 16th battalion where for two months he received his basic training and where he also served as a company bugler for the fourth company.  He was then assigned to the 6th Regiments headquarters company as a regimental musician (see photo above)  This was a cushy job, for all he did was to play at official functions for the officers together with other musicians.  There he completed his service and his army discharge certificate states that he had served with distinction.  Both his discharge certificate and his record of service book (a little book with a red cover) have survived.


Now comes a period of years in which he dedicated his life to music.  He played in a number of different orchestras.  Numerous photos of him together with the band members of these orchestras exist.  The first and earliest is from 1929, the same year he was discharged from the army.

The first (above) is a dance band.  Dad is holding his violin and his trumpet is standing on the floor.  Of the many photos of bands he played in, one stands out a bit more than the others in importance. Sometime during the winter of 1933-34, he played in a dance restaurant called “Knudsborg” in my birth town, Fredericia, in Jutland, Denmark.

One night, while he was playing, he saw a pretty girl amongst the patrons and sent a note down to her, asking her to wait for him when the dancing was over.  The girl was my mother, Elinor Vera Bøgebjerg Møller, and she did wait for him.  He began courting her and obviously successfully  so

since otherwise  I would not be sitting here writing about it.

I think the two photos above best shows what my parents looked like at the time.  Both are taken in springtime, 1934.  My father is shown standing in the garden of his future in-laws and my mother close to one of the ponds in front of the old city fortress ramparts.  It is quite certain that they became engaged that spring.

During the summer of 1934, dad played in a resort hotel on the island of Bornholm in Denmark. The hotel was called “Sandvig Badehotel”.  Sandvig is the name of a town and badehotel literally translated means:”Bath Hotel,”, which we here in North America, of course, refer to as a “beach resort hotel.”  Mother received permission to visit her fiancé while he played in the orchestra in Sandvig, and, according to my father, appropriately escorted by one of her girlfriends, (Kirsten).  She spent a couple of weeks there and many photos from that time have survived.

Beach resort hotels could be found at all the most popular beaches in Denmark at that time.  They were popular vacation destinations and dance music by such orchestras as my father played in were part of the scene in those days.  During dinner, they would play typical dinner music, mostly semi-classical or quiet popular tunes, followed by dance music after dinner.  I think, of all the photos I have of my parents, the three above shows them at one of the happiest times of their lives.  Both my parents were quite photogenic, but especially dad. The two of them, photographed together that summer, so wonderfully shows two people in love.

 On November 10, 1934, dad left bachelorhood for good and married his sweetheart, my mother Elinor Vera Bøgebjerg Møller.

 

In the spring of 1935, my sister Mona Bøgebjerg Larsen saw the light of day for the first time.  This event was greeted with great enthusiasm for with her arrival, both my mother’s and my father’s parents became grandparents.

Grandfather Peter Larsen was sixty years old and Grandfather Sigfred Møller was 48 and as such quite young yet.  My parents were both living in the town of Faaborg, and this was to continue for a few more years, but sometimes in 1937, they moved to Fredericia, the home of my mother’s parents. I once asked my father why, they moved, for I knew he loved the area where he was born.  He replied that it was a matter of economy.  Fredericia was a bigger city and close to many other large cities.  It was a matter of getting more work as a musician and most restaurants that employed orchestras were located in cities.

From innumerable photos of orchestras he had played in, it is evident that he traveled around the country quite a lot, but he usually managed to come home late each night by taking the train from the city he played in.

Their first home in Fredericia was on Egumsvej 8.  It was a relatively small place. Located just outside the ramparts of the old fortress and here I was born on February 15, 1938.

According to my mother, dad was hysterically happy for now he had a son. I have no recollection of living in this place since in late 1939, my parents moved downtown, to a very fashionable apartment in Danmarksgade 10, on the third (top) floor and this would remain my parent’s home for 40 years and the place where both my sister and I grew up.

There was a large department store on the ground floor, selling women’s fashions, bedding, and carpets amongst other. Mr. Christian Nielsen and his wife Dora owned the department store and the whole building.  They became close friends of my parents for many, many years.

My Father frequently played in dance bands in local dinner-dance restaurants, which meant that he would be home every night after the restaurants closed.  Back in those days, a good restaurant would have a band playing background music during dinner and dance music afterward.  The Second World War between 1940 and 1945 did not interrupt Dad’s work as a musician, quite to the contrary.  Shortly after the German army invaded Denmark, everything became rationed and it wasn’t long before you couldn’t buy anything worth having.  Since people still worked and had some kind of income, they spend a lot of it on restaurants and entertainment.  Dancing was popular, so dad was busy playing music all during the war years.  There were times when it was difficult for him to come home at night, due to curfews imposed by the Germans.  This was especially true when he played somewhere outside the city limits, and he later told me that he had been chased by soldiers many times when he tried to sneak back into town again during the late night.

Some hard times came just after the war was over and dad had, from time to time, to return to his old trade as a cabinetmaker, although he still kept playing dance music on weekends in various restaurants.  It was a time of rebuilding the land and lives that had been shattered by the war.  It was time to return to the old way of life, but it really never came back.  The war had changed people and there was a desire to forge ahead and build a new order, a new way of living that would put the past behind and built something better.  It took many years, but slowly, things improved and Denmark emerged as a nation that gradually became modernized, reducing the centuries’ old agricultural based economy to a position of lesser importance and manufacturing taking a leading role in the country’s economic system.

My father passed away peacefully in 1995, at the age of 88.  He would have been 89 years old 23 days later, had he lived.  I saw him last time during Christmas and New Years 1990 when my wife Vanessa and I stopped by in Denmark on the way back from Indonesia. His wife, my mother Elinor Larsen passed away on July 20, 1988, thus he outlived her by 7 years.

I have many, many good memories of my father from the time I was a child and young man. They will live in my soul until the day I join the rest of my family, all of whom are now dead.

 

 


 

Vittepigen” means Vitte Girl and that was my nickname for many years, although only my mother and father used it. I was born on January 8, 1921, in Fredericia, Denmark and christened in Trinitatis Church with the name Vita Irene Bøgebjerg Møller.

If one was born inside the ramparts of the fortress in Fredericia, one had the right to be called a “Rampart child,” either “ Rampart girl” or “Rampart boy” and since I was born in Bjergegade 68, which lies inside the ramparts, I was a “Rampart girl.”

My father, Niels Sigfred Carl Eigler Bøgebjerg Møller was born in Fredericia November 13, 1886, and christened in Trinitatis Church December 26, 1886. He was the son of Jens Møller and his wife, Karen Nielsen, who lived in Sjælland Street at the time of his birth. My mother, Marie Christine Møller, born Petersen, March 18, 1889, in Fredericia and christened in Trinitatis Church June 16, 1889, was the daughter of Thomas Petersen and his wife, Mette Kirstine Madsen Bæk, neither of them were born in Fredericia. I had a sister, Elinor Vera Bøgebjerg Møller, who was born 9 years before me on January 6, 1912, in Fredericia. She married Knud Christian Larsen from the town of Faaborg on the island of Fyn on November 10, 1934.

A brother by the name of Carly was born between Elinor and me, but he died as an infant of Thrush, a fungal disease, which shows up as small, whitish spots on the linings in the mouth, throat and on the tongue.

We lived in a two-room apartment, consisting of a large combination dining and living room and a reasonable large bedroom, where mom, dad, and sister Elinor slept. We had a reasonably good kitchen, but no bath. Elinor and I would fill a large tub with warm water in the kitchen every Saturday and we would get thoroughly washed and then get our underwear changed.

We didn’t have a flush toilet in the apartment, only an outhouse in the backyard. I was not allowed out there after dark because of the rats and mice that scurried around there after dark, so I had to use and enamel bucket with a lid on it in which there was a hole, and my mother emptied this every morning in the backyard.

On the main floor lived the Jørgensen family. They had four or five children. I don’t remember the precise number. They were often spanked on their bare bottoms if they did not behave and this happened so often that they would pee in their pants out of fear. I was completely horrified of this, for I had never received corporal punishment, neither from my father nor my mother and it’s quite certain that I misbehaved every now and then.

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the floor above us, (the top floor), lived an elderly man with his grown-up daughter, who had a little son by the name of Helge. I often played together with him, while his mother was at work at the Bloch & Andresen factory. Little by little, he became like a little-adapted brother to me, for mother also cared for him quite a bit, something his mother greatly appreciated.

When I was a little girl, my clothes consisted of an undershirt, a kind of girder with elastic band on it that buttoned on to my stockings to hold them up. My mother knit the stockings, which were quite thick so they would make my legs look a bit fuller. I was very thin when I was a girl, a condition I later grew out of. On top of this, I wore something called an “Uldklokke” a kind of sweater, home knit from 100 per cent pure wool, with hooked fringes, made from the same kind of wool, but died pink. My pants were made from a light brown material called “Macco”, with a fleecy inside and elastic in the pants legs.

I hated my dress so much that some nights I would dream that I was walking down the street wearing this outfit, which was so short that if I pulled it down in the front, it would slide up in the back or vice versa, a most unfortunate situation since my bum was bare. This wasn’t a dream; it was a nightmare. When I started school, I was surely the last one in my class to be permitted to change from long stockings to short, white ankle socks when summer arrived. Otherwise, I was rather spoiled and always smartly dressed. My sister Elinor was nine years older than I and when she was old enough, she became an apprentice seamstress and after completing her apprenticeship she began her own business sewing clothes, which resulted in me always being rather smartly dressed.

As mentioned, the sanitary conditions in my birth home were not too good, but a fine solution for this existed. In the railroad shunting yards on Holsten Street, there was a little red brick house, where some rooms had been equipped with bathtubs. I don’t remember what it cost to have a bath there, but it was reserved for employees of The Danish State Railways. My father was head porter at the Fredericia rail station and later became superintendent of the shunting yard, so I was permitted to go and take a bath there.

I began school at the age of seven, while we still lived downtown in Bjerge street, but shortly thereafter, we moved to number 4 Egeskov Road, now renamed “July 6th road.” The schools were referred to as “The Parish schools” and we began in the Slesvig Street School, attending this for two years, followed by two years in the technical school in Fyn Street and finally three years in the Dale Street School for girls.

In the school, we were seated by the number and we would receive a booklet showing our grades. The classes were grouped alphabetically “A, B, C and D.” The “A” class had the best and most capable students, the other classes with the progressively less able students. I was assigned to the “A” class and stayed there until the seventh grade when I was 14 years old and became confirmed.

During the years I went to school, there were two swimming clubs up at East Beach, one for women and one for men. While at the Dale Street School, we used the women beach club facilities during the summer. We were marched there in columns from the school and learned both swimming and diving, including diving from the springboard. This activity replaced gymnastics, which was mainly a winter sports activity in the school. The club consisted of a wooden building with a number of small change rooms, a small, stretch of sandy beach for sun tanning and a long wooden wharf extending a good ways into the water, at the end of which there was a diving board. We thought it was wonderful to be there and often used the facility after school hours.

There was a small store close to the school owned by a Mr. Lind. Besides being able to buy pens, paper, and pencils, we could also buy candy. There was a particular kind called “Salmiakpastiller, (a salty licorice) which we thought tasted great and had a lot of fun with. They were very thin, small and diamond-shaped. By licking them on one side and sticking them on the back of the hand or wrist, we could make a pattern in the form of a star or whatever else we could think of. We would then sit and lick them with our tongues. They tasted very nice and would last a long time. Apricot bread was another form of candy we could buy in the store. It was made from apricot pulp, rolled into large, almost paper thin sheets and it could be bought in various sizes, depending on how much money one was willing to spend. This was also a delicacy.

All the schools’ records are stored in the local historical archives. Amongst them is the one from my class and here are written all the grades from year to year. I was never number one in my class, but several times I came in as number two. There were approximately 40 students in my class.

While attending school, I often wondered why my name was Vita, so I asked my mother about the origin of my name. I didn’t know anyone else named Vita, neither inside nor outside the school. She told me that while she was pregnant with me, she had read in the local newspaper (Fredericia Daily News) about a little girl by the name of Vita, who had gone down to the paper’s editor with a butterfly, which she had found in the dairy’s yard. It was a messenger of spring, even though it was in January.

In the local historical archives, one can also find newspapers dating all the way back to 1849. In Fredericia Daily News from 1921, I found on page three, column two, the story about the butterfly that the little girl “Vita” had brought in on January 12. It was thus quite true what my mother had told me.

My father was president of the railroad abstinence club, a non-drinkers association. When a lottery took place in the association’s clubhouse, I was put up on a table and asked to draw the lots. Incidentally, I also learned to dance in a hotel called “Afholdshottellet” in Fyn Street. Many well-attended dances and card games were held in this hotel. Prizes awarded to winners in a card game often consisted of ducks.

The association also had a Christmas savings club, were members throughout the year could buy savings stamps, which they glued into their Christmas savings books. Shortly before Christmas, the books were collected from the members and my father plus three or four of the members began counting the stamps. This took place during several evenings in our home, while I lived at Egeskov Road No. 4. The members who did the counting constituted the collective Board of Directors, and I was very eager to get commissioned to count, or rather re-count the stamps in the books. These were always joyful evenings.

I also became a member of the “Abstinence Club,” when I was a half-grown girl and remember the times when we had meetings at Afholdshottellet, in Fyn Street. There was a large cabinet on the first floor of the hotel, filled with club regalia in various sizes. Those for the children were all white and designed to be pulled down over the head and hang across the chest. The name of the host was Mr. Junge, who was very popular amongst the adults as well as the children. While living in Bjerge Street, we played in the street and in the yard behind the house. There were some games and playing hide-and-seek. From time to time a hobo would come up the street. We called him “Sanfus” and when he came staggering up the street, I had strict instructions to come home immediately. This was because mom and dad were non-drinkers. They had been so from the day were engaged and remained so until they died. This had to be respected.

For me, these were pretty good times and I was well looked after. In our Bjerge Street apartment, we had a two-way street mirror and often times I would have a cozy moment with my mother, sitting on her lap and looking into the street mirror, especially around the time when my father was expected home from work. Since he worked on various shifts, it was often late before he arrived home. This could happen on Christmas Eve also, which was not funny at all. The time spent waiting for him could be insufferable long, but Christmas was never celebrated before his arrival home.

While we lived in Bjerge Street, our shopping was done in various places. The Baker lived on the corner of Bjerge and Sjællands streets. His name was Baker Skov. In his shop, I often bought a quarter’s worth of day-old Danish pastry, together with some other goodies, which all in all came to quite a bag full. From time to time I would go down to the railroad cooperative store, which at the time was located in Jyllands Street No. 22. On the way there, I would pass by Printer Ottesen’s book printing and bookbinding store, located at Axeltorv, the main town square. I could stand on a small, elevated platform, just outside the window and see the machines working. That was quite exciting.

My father’s tobacco, I would go and fetch at Cigar Dealer Jeppe Jensen, at his store in Jyllands Street and he was very kind, always giving me a little candy. At Svendehjemmet in Konge Street 48 (meaning King Street), I picked up the kindling for our heating stove. Fish was bought at the fishmonger, who came up the street, pulling a small cart filled with fish and always shouting something about his wares, such as: “Herring is good!”

There were two drawers in father’s tobacco table. One was used for pipe tobacco (he smoked something called “Mélange Nicot”) for his long pipes; the other drawer was used for pipe ashes. When the latter was full, it was poured into a bag and I would go up to Mr. Mogensen, who lived in Købmager Street 47 (meaning Merchant Street) and give it to him. He would use this to make snuff with. In return, he would give me some eggs to bring home. The Mogensen’s had a wonderful garden at the rear of the house, where they kept a bunch of chickens. Incidentally, my father’s tobacco table was one of my favorite indoor location to play at. There was a small shelf a little below the drawers, which I used for many things. I was seven years old at the time and my legs could just fit underneath the table.

As a child, I was very fuzzy about what I ate. If we were having something for dinner I didn’t like, I was given permission to go down to the butcher, who lived a bit further down the road and buy ten cents worth of liver pate’, which came to quite a nice slice. I would eat this together with potatoes and some gravy.

Christmas in our home was celebrated in the traditional manner, with roast pork or duck, served with red cabbage and candied potatoes. One thing, however, was different from many other homes. We also had creamed kale with cooked, cold pork (fresh, uncured bacon) and smoked, cured boneless pork rib roast (called Hamburgerryg in Danish), served with mustard and pickled red beets. We could eat whatever we wanted to and I preferred the creamed kale. Naturally, we drank ‘Nisseøl’ and for dessert, we had Rice a la’Mande.

After dinner, we would go in and dance around the Christmas tree. This was followed by distribution of Christmas presents. It was always I, the youngest, who had charge of this responsibility. It brings me to think about an event, which happened shortly before one Christmas. I was out shopping with mother and on the way downtown, I asked her what they were giving me for Christmas. Naturally, mother wouldn’t tell me, but I kept insisting and finally, she said: You are getting a gold arm bracelet.” They were very fashionable in those days. Mother insisted that come Christmas, I was not to let on I knew what I was getting. Thus, on Christmas Eve, when I began handing out the Christmas presents, I naturally looked for a small square package, which perhaps might contain an arm bracelet, but I couldn’t find any.

Puzzled, I looked at my mother and she said: ”Try looking under the couch!” I proceeded to do this and hauled out a very large package. It contained a large, beautiful doll, with real hair and brown eyes, which could open and close and it was nicely dressed. There was only one thing wrong. I never cared much for playing with dolls. One day, when dad coma back from work, I had hidden under mom and dad’s double bed, something I did quite often. Naturally, dad had long ago discovered this, but he had brought home a small wind-up type toy train, and run it in under the bed to me. This made me extremely happy. I think I should have been a boy, as far as toys were concerned.

When I was a bit older, I had learned how to draw in school and played with paper dolls. Us girls designed all the clothes for the dolls on paper which were kept in exercise books. This was quite a game and we felt as if we were fashion designers. Often, we sat up on the old fortress ramparts and played with them. We also played song games, such as: ”Take this ring and let it wander from one to the other.”

My mother’s family I knew little of. I had only seen mother’s father one time when I was very little and lived in Bjerge Street 68, so this must have been before I was seven years old. Contrarily, I knew my father’s family very well and we often socialized with them. My father’s brother’s name was August and he was married to Aunt Laura. They had five children, two boys, and three girls. The boys were named James Carl and Egon and the girls Marie, Sigrid, and Sonja. We visited them often and I played together with Egon and Sonja, who were the same age as me. ”Uncle August”, as we called him was a ”Big loaf of bread” , strong as a bear, but a convivial character, who was fond of children. He would pull five cent coins out of the noses of children (well, at least he pretended to) and they were considerable impressed by this.

My father’s sister, Aunt Inger, was a spinster and remained unmarried until her death. She lived near the Church in Egeskov (meaning ”Oak Forrest”), close to Fredericia and was employed as a housekeeper for a widowed gentleman, who had a little son. From time to time, I would go and visit

 her and we traveled to her place in a horse gig. It was Uncle August who arranged the trips and he was also the driver. My cousins, Egon and Sonja, often came along and it was fun to ride in the gig. I remember during one of those trips that Uncle August suddenly stopped. There was a package laying on the road in front of us. Uncle jumped off the gig and proceeded to go and pick it up, but as soon as he reached for it, it disappeared into the ditch. Two boys, hidden there, had tied a string to the parcel so they could pull it. We laughed a lot about this and so did the two boys.

In the newspaper: ”Fredericia Daily News” of August 25, 1931, I read about a funny experience that uncle August had. The article stated:

Yesterday, two warehouse workers made a bet that one of them, August Møller, could drive a colleague to the town of Snohøj and back again in a wheelbarrow within a time span of two hours. The trip began at 2:15 in the afternoon and during the following two hours; quite a few people had assembled along Strand Road, to witness the race. When Møller arrived back, the trip had taken half an hour longer than needed, to win the bet, which was only a small amount. Ha had an accident along the way in that he stepped on a nail, which hurt his foot. Many people followed the two men on the last stretch of the road to the finish line. Even though he did not win the bet, it was never the less an impressive accomplishment and this morning his friends gave Møller 10 Kr. (Kroner) and a silver spoon as a reward for his performance.”

On the 28th of August, 1931, Fredericia Daily News writes that Uncle August will make another attempt to drive his colleague “Ernst” in a wheelbarrow from Fredericia to Snohøj and back. The article stated:

This time, Møller actually succeeded, in that he made the round trip in two hours and five minutes. The fact that he was able to reduce his time by 25 minutes was in part due to Møller’s better condition and also because this time he had positioned his passenger in a more practical way so that the weight was not as great as last time. When the two wheelbarrow men arrived at the finish line by the railroad crossing on Strand Road, a very large group of people had gathered, amongst them many of his colleagues, who had shown an interest in this undertaking and hailed this little expedition.

 

Amongst mom and dad’s friends from the abstinence club were Andreas Pedersen and his wife Johanne, whom I was quite fond of. While I was a little girl, I could not pronounce their correctly and thus called them: “Gres and Per.” Gres worked at Fredericia Coal Gas generating station, which wasn’t very far from our home in Bjerge Street 68. From time to time, it happened that Gres had forgotten his lunch bucket and since he and Per lived close by our place, they would send for me, so that I could bring him his lunch down at the gas works, something I didn’t mind doing. It was something of a big experience for me each time. I would get Gres to open one of the great gates to the coal roasting ovens and God, how the flames flared up inside them. I both thrilled and shivered at the spectacle.

While we lived at Egeskov Road No. 4 and I was attending school in Dale Street, I could either walk or bike to school. When I walked, I always went through The Prince’s Gate. On the city side of the gate were situated two small fences made of iron pipe, on each side of the gate. On these, I would always do a series of somersaults, before I went home. I thought this was a lot of fun and, by the way, they still exist at the very moment I’m writing, September 1994

During my childhood and youth, we were quite involved in the annual festivity called: “The Sixth of July Day.” This day commemorates the battle at Fredericia on July 6, 1849. On the part of the ramparts called “Prince George’s Bastion”, some of the old cannons were still mounted there and soldiers, wearing uniforms of the 1849 period, were firing the canons, which were pointed toward Venders Street. They gave some terrific “Bangs,” which rather scared me a bit, but I wanted to go up and see it. So mother had to wake me early in the morning, around 6 in the morning, I believe it was when the shooting started. So it was, that I stood out there on the ramparts, holding my hands against my ears, scared and thrilled all at the same time. Later there would be a procession through the streets and speeches were given at various commemorative monuments.

The celebration actually already began on July 5th, in the evening. People would show up with flower bouquets, which were laid on the grass around the statue of “Landsoldaten.”

There were many different types of flower bouquets, ranging from very expensive, store-bought flowers to those coming from gardens and also bouquets of wild flowers. Each year, when I was a little girl, I would get a new white dress on this occasion. This type of dress was very popular and much used in then.

Back in those days, there would be carriages in the procession, filled with veterans from the 1849 war, but of course, they are all dead now. Nevertheless, there was great jubilation amongst people, when their horse-drawn carriages passed by them.

While living at Egeskov Road 4, something both unpleasant and exciting happened, and that was a fire. The event was described in the newspaper: “The Social Democrat” on November 16, 1931. I was ten years old then and playing hide and seek with another girl on the day of the fire. We had gone through the gate to the yard of a farm, located close to where we lived and we saw that the barn was on fire. I rushed into the cow stable, where some girls were milking the cows and shouted; “Fire, fire!”

At about seven PM, the fire department was called and they arrived quickly with a lot of equipment. Four hoses were laid out and connected to pumps set up at the fire hydrant outside a place called “Rosenlund.” Some of the fire crew began fighting the fire, while others helped the owners and their workers rescue the animals from the stables, which was difficult since the fire had started so suddenly. There were 23 heads of cattle in the barn and although they managed to get them all out, three of them had suffered so severely from smoke inhalation that they were put down as soon as came out.

It was especially hard to get the pigs out since they didn’t want to leave the barn. Many of them had to be carried out, which took quite some time and it wasn’t possible to get them all out. The flames had spread and it had become too dangerous to rescue them all. Several piglets, four brood sows, and a boar fell victim to the flames. The hen house, which was attached to the barn, also burned and a lot of chickens succumbed in the smoke and flames.

Within an hour’s time or so, the firemen had gained control of the fire and at nine PM, the firefighters could return to the station. I fire guard remained behind, to keep an eye on the smoldering embers. It was stated in the newspaper that the cause of the fire could not be attributed to any electrical malfunctions since there were no wires where the fire had started. It was also determined that none of the people who lived there could have started the fire since all of them were working someplace else at the time the fire started. It is possible, however, that the fire may have started as a result of children playing with matches since the two girls who discovered the fire had seen two boys throwing lighted matches in the alley behind the farm. The barn wall facing the alley was in a state of disrepair, resulting in some straw protruding from it. Thus it is entirely possible that the two boys caused the fire.

 

The following afternoon, an inquest was held and the two boys were questioned. One of the two girls was also questioned, and that was I, something I still remember very clearly.

I was not some scared little wimp when I was 13 years old. My sister, Elinor, was more scared than I, even though she was nine years older. I remember one night when my parents had a card game at our place on Egeskov Rd. At the time, my father was having a house constructed on Spurvevej 5 (meaning Sparrow Rd) and he discovered he had forgotten his wallet out at the construction site. Since the house was not yet completed, there was no electricity in it and when dad asked my sister Elinor to go and fetch his wallet so that he could pay what he had lost in the card game, she said no. She didn’t dare to go out there in the dark. “Never mind”, I said, “Lend me your bike and I’ll go and get it.” The bike had a light on it and I went and got dad’s wallet.

Seaman, Chief Mate C.H. Hansen, and his wife owned the place we lived in on Egeskov Road and they tended to spoil me a lot. I learned to embroider at their married daughter’s place.
Her married name was Ellen Kragekjær and I embroidered everything that needed embroidering on my sister Elinor’s bridal outfit.

Much as I was spoiled, I was not permitted to decide everything for myself, especially if it involved something dangerous for me. After I had attended school for some years, I began to assert myself and found some interesting things to do in my spare time. I was quite good at gymnastics at school so I took out a membership in K.I.F. (Kvindelig Idræts Forening) where I took swimming lessons during the summer and gymnastics in wintertime. Later I also began “Step” and “Plastik.”

At the age of 13, in 1934, we moved to the new house on Spurvevej 5, which now had been completed. The house had a large room in the basement, which was used as a guest room and other things. I used this for training in gymnastics. By and By, I became a member of the elite team. Once, we were scheduled to put on an exhibition in the town of Odense on Fyn Island. We had to practice a particular gymnastics program, accompanied to music and in this respect; I was lucky, for I had a portable record player down in the basement room and a collection of records. Amongst them, I found a recording of “Stars and Stripes”, which suited precisely both the rhythm and the length of this gymnastics program. I remembered all the exercises, so I trained like mad at home in the basement. At our next official training meet, which took place at nighttime, I could remember all the exercises without making any errors. Because of this, I was put in front of the team, with the rest of the team following, and this made me quite proud. Our team became a success in Odense, and the whole affair was filmed.

During the summer, I benefited greatly from membership in the KIF in that I was taught both swimming and diving at the ladies swimming club on the east beach. We also had swimming competitions in on of the large harbor basins. The water was very deep there, which scared me somewhat.

My father’s position at the railroad entitled him to certain privileges, including “permission”, meaning he could get extra days off. He was also entitled to free travel anywhere the trains went and my parents would often take the train to either Filskov or Thorsø and our summer vacations were generally spent in either place. In Filskov, we vacationed on a nice farm named “Filskovsminde” owned by my aunt and uncle. It consisted of three buildings and a large storage shed for peat bricks, used for fuel during the winter. Although modernized somewhat, the farm still exists today.

An example of an arrival at the farm on a winter day would be something like the following. We would arrive by train at the railroad station in Filskov and outside, uncle Søren Christian would be waiting for us with his horse and carriage. We would then be driven to the farm and immediately be bidden into the large, cozy warm kitchen, where Aunt Edeline would be busy preparing some food. On some winter days, it could happen that I got cold hands, but aunt Edeline had a good remedy for that. On the back of the kitchen stove, there was a hot water container called a “Gris” (meaning “a pig”) and it was always filled with hot water. Edeline would put an egg in it and when good and hot, she would put it into my hands and they would quickly warm up again.

 

I helped to bring peat fuel bricks back from the bog and another wonderful event was the harvest. It was simply just great to go and visit there any time of the year.

They grew a lot of potatoes in some of the fields, and the surplus was sold. In this, my father was involved. Some of my dad’s colleagues from the railroad and friends from the abstinence club would order as many barrels of potatoes as they needed through my father. The potatoes were of very fine quality and inexpensive. When the truck carrying the potatoes arrived at our place from Filskov, dad would go with it around to the various persons who had ordered potatoes, to make sure everyone got what they had ordered. I also came along several times, and that was quite enjoyable. After aunt and uncle died, my cousin Anna and her husband Markus Nielsen took over the farm, but our visits there did not diminish because of that.

Anna’s sister, Marie, lived in Thorsø and was married to Jørgen Jørgensen. They owned a cement casting plant, where they fabricated cement bricks, culverts, well liners and various other things for use in construction. It was both interesting and a lot of fun to spend my vacations there. Their private residence was called “Thorshøj” (meaning Thor’s hill) and across from this lay the factory and the warehouses. From the warehouse, a set of rails had been laid, leading up to a gravel pit from where they got the sand and gravel used in manufacturing the products. A small train hauling dump cars would be running back and forth from the gravel pit and it was fun for us children to ride on it, which we could as often as we wanted.

Their house was quite large, so there was lots of room for the whole family plus vacationing guests. The family consisted of Jørgen and Marie and my cousins Frank, Richard, Betty, Inger, and Grethe. Betty and I were the same age and always together, whether just to have fun or working in the house. When we were teenagers, we would often

Go to a dance in one of the town hall in the neighboring towns. At times, we wouldn’t get home before five o’clock in the morning. Before we went to bed, we would sit down at the kitchen table and eat rhubarb jelly and salami sandwiches, which we would get from the root cellar underneath the kitchen. Then straight to bed to get a bit of sleep, before Betty had to get up and help around the house, something I also participated in.

I was very fond of going to school and wanted to attend “Latinskolen”, to become a high school graduate. My school gave me a letter to bring home to my parents, in which it was recommended that I be enrolled in that school. My parents, however, felt that I was too frail. I was prone to faint, often in such a way that I, for example, would all of a sudden fall off the bench at my school bench. This condition followed me for some years but has long ago vanished.

It was a disappointment for me that I was not allowed to attend the Latin school. Instead, I enrolled in “Handelskolen” (school of commerce) and at the same time, through an add in the local paper, I got a part-time job at Mr. Swane, who was a customs control officer and lived on Thors Rd 17. My working hours were from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM. This way, I could study in the afternoon and attend the school of commerce in the evening.

I wanted to work in an office and succeeded in getting a position with Johannes Hansen at Teknisk Material Handel, located at the northeast corner of Gother’s and Jylland streets. This business sold minor groceries, various health care supplies, and materials. There was a nice cozy office in the back of the store, where two desks were positioned against each other, and here Mr. Hansen and I sat across from each other. I had to keep the cashbooks and manage the accounts payable book every month. I gained quite an insight into who paid their bills and who didn’t. This was really quite a nice place to work and I maintained very good relationships with both the sales clerk apprentice and the delivery boy. We often sat together and enjoyed ourselves, while Mr. Hansen was home for lunch.

One day, something rather extraordinary happened. We were standing behind the counter talking about this and that’s when all of a sudden we heard a loud bang. It was a can of pears that had exploded and there simply wasn’t a place in the store where you couldn’t find bits and pieces of pears and juice. It took some time to get everything back in order before Mr. Hansen, who was home for lunch, returned again.

Mr. Hansen was foreman for the harbor committee in 1939 and the new west harbor was to be officially opened on July sixth that year. For the occasion, Mr. Hansen asked me if I had five girlfriends who, besides myself, would like to as hostesses, offering various types of tobacco from large mahogany boxes to the prominent guests during the inauguration.

King Christian the Tenth and Queen Alexandrine arrived in Fredericia aboard the royal yacht “Dannebrog” through the new entry to the harbor basin, over which was suspended a red banner, which the ship was supposed to cut when it entered. A lot of people stood on the wharf and hailed the royal couple. A grandstand had been erected, from where the King gave a speech, following which they signed their names in the guest book. After this was done, I had to go around to all the other official guests and have them sign the book also.

My girlfriend Ketty and I were supposed to go aboard a ferry in the afternoon, which was to take some of the guests for a tour of “Lille Bælt” down to and around the little island of Fænø. When we came on board, we were told we could go anywhere on the ferry we wanted, both on and below the deck. At some point during the tour, I was on my way up to the bridge, when I felt a tug in my skirt, I turned around to see whom it could be. It was a gentleman and he said to me: “Tell me little Miss, has anyone ever told you that you are walking very nicely on your legs? And who was this gentleman? It was the Prime Minister of Denmark, Thorvald Stauning. I think I blushed. In the evening, all of us six girls went to the Theater restaurant, where the 159 guests were dining. We were dressed in white, pleated skirts, white blouses with navy seaman’s collars and something akin to Navy officer caps.

The inauguration of the harbor and the celebration that followed are detailed in the newspaper “Fredericia Daily News”, July 6, 1939.

After dinner in the Theater Restaurant, us six girls headed for Hotel Landsoldaten, only to find that it was impossible to get a table in the restaurant. I happened to spot Johannes Hansen, my boss, sitting in the banquet room and since I had a bundle of keys, belonging to him, I went in and gave them to him. He asked me if we had managed to get a table, to which I sadly replied that we hadn’t. He called a waiter and asked him to procure a table for us six girls and for the rest of the evening, anything we ordered was free. What a party that was. I didn’t get into the office until noon the next day.

While I still worked for Mr. Hansen, I came to know Allan Christensen, who was a nephew to Pastor Erik Christensen of St. Michaelis Church. Allan worked at Mr. Clock’s bookstore in Gother’s street, and since Hansen and Clock shared the same backyard, where we parked our bicycles, I came to know him. There were five or six of us and we would often meet in the evening after work and supper. We would go for long walks out on Strand Rd or across the white bridge, but no matter where we went, we always ended up at the pastor’s residence for evening tea with Erik Christensen.

During my last school year, a new girl came to our class. Her name was Karen Kålberg and she was from the town of Viborg. We both became confirmed at the same time in Trinitatis Church and at this point in time, we had ‘discovered’ boys. We spent many hours together with two boys, Hans and Alex. They were friends that suited us fine. Hans became my boyfriend and innocent kisses were exchanged on one of the benches on the ramparts. We maintained our friendship for many years, even after we had found our respective husbands.

The Rhodora


Rhodora (Rhododendron canadense)

Photographed in Cole Harbour Heritage Park, Nova Scotia

 

 

 

                                             Rhodora

by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1934

On being asked when is the flower In May,

when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals fallen in the pool
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that, if eyes were made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for Being;
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask; I never knew;
But in my simple ignorance suppose
The self-same power that brought me there, brought you.

The Rhodora is a very common flower in the park during May and early June

Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of my favorite authors from the 19th century.  He was a pantheist, whose essays often dealt with the relationship between God and nature.  He was a contemporary with Henry David Thoreau, whom he knew well and had frequent conversations with.

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