14 Let the Stories Begin

by admin on October 26, 2011

Ida began with the stories she had heard as a young girl, covering up the truly ugly ones for fear of offending the old gent sitting across from her.  As she spoke the tension between all of them seemed to melt away.  The tales of her early youth brought a warm smile to her face.  She had a wonderful relationship with her older brother Joe.  He had been very much her protector and confidant. Ida seemed to stiffen a bit when talking about her parents.  Although she loved her folks there had always been a strain between them.  It turns out that the acorn hadn’t fallen far from the tree.  Seems that Samuel, Jr. (like his father before him) sowed a few wild oats of his own.  Story has it that he got the wife of a former business friend pregnant.  Back then everything was hushed up for fear of a neighborhood scandal.  A divorce was out of the question.

However, Sam’s wife Esther was not the forgiving kind and she made the rest of his life a living hell.  Esther used to give Ida tuppence (two pence – or cents) to go spy on Sam when he went down to the pub.  When Sam would catch Ida spying he would give her thruppence (three pence) to go away.  (This caused resentment for everyone and would affect Ida’s relationship with her sons many years later).

Sam’s only respite came when senility clouded Esther’s memory and she forgot to be mad.

Ida moved quickly passed the bad times and worked her way up to the point where she and Harold had met.  Again a fond smile returned to her face as she recounted stories of waiting for him at the mine and stealing away from parental scrutiny whenever possible to be with the much older boy, Harold.  For his part Samuel listened intently to Ida’s stories.  He found himself drifting back to a time when he and Elizabeth met decades ago.  The stories held such irony.  Elizabeth used to wait for him at the mines.  After his shift the two of them would steal away to an old abandoned warehouse where young couples often rendezvoused.  It was there that the seed was planted that would change the lives of everyone surrounding Samuel Dunwell, Sr.  Samuel suddenly snapped out of his daydream when he realized all attention was focused on him.  “Beg your pardon, what was that again?” he asked.  There were a few chuckles when the others caught him lost in thought.  “Never mind, Dad” Charles said.  “It’s getting late, why don’t we all get a good night’s sleep, we have a big day in front of us.”  Everyone nodded their approval.

Harold and Ida bid the two Dunwells a good night and retreated to their room.  Samuel and Charles each retired to rooms prepared for them by the hotel staff.

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