I was around three or four when daddy died. I must have been four because my mama and all the grownups had talked about me going to school the coming year. They couldn’t wait for me to start on my educational road. I was going to be the one to set the family a – right. Didn’t look like that was going to be possible now. Daddy was a salesman who was only home on the weekends. He was a mighty powerful man, as I can recall. Now, well, now he was six feet under. The only valuables he left behind, as he would say, were me & mama. And mama, as valuable as she was, was breaking. The love between daddy and mama was so thick, it could be cut with a knife, and cut it was.

“Come on, Dutch. It’s started to pour cats and dogs. Your mama’s in the car waiting!”

That was my Aunt Fran. Her whole name was Francine Carol Marsh. She came to help with all the chores and arrangements after she’d heard the news. I don’t recall where she lived at the time. I just knew she didn’t live close.

I awoke to the sounds of tears and talk. Mama crying and Aunt Fran talking. She was telling mama to come out and live with her and her family.

“Marta, you have no money, limited skills, and a little boy to take care of. What can you offer him here, in this little town?”


(Have you read Amelia And Zander?)


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