Chapter 2

“I’ll be there.  You can count on that.”  Win picked up his book and shoved it into his pocket.  Smiling again, he turned and began to stride away.  “Katie Vanderheiden, I’ll see you Wednesday.”   

She grinned and waved back at him.  Yes, Win was definitely different from the other boys she knew.  Turning back to the table he’d vacated, she checked to make sure no litter had fallen to the sidewalk underneath.  With no other customers in sight, she skated toward the employee entrance to get the broom and long-handled dustpan to sweep around the parking lot before the afternoon crowd arrived.

Her mind was whirling as she performed the mundane task.  She was meeting Winthrop Frayne at the soda fountain of Clayton’s Drug Store in just a few days!  He had all but asked her out on a date!  Warring desires bubbled inside her – the wish to get an education, travel, and see the world conflicted with the urge to marry a man who could take care of her forever, keep her financially secure, and give her a couple of children to love.  Win seemed like a man who could provide everything she needed.  She didn’t need total independence, just the means to have and do things her mother could never give her.   But she was still in high school, she reminded herself.  And she’d barely met Win Frayne.  Her mother had told her he was off-limits to a girl like her—a girl who wasn’t wealthy or from a family of influence in the community.  But her mother was so old-fashioned, how could she understand that the world was changing?

“Katie!”  It was her coworker, Sally.  “I saw that guy talking to you.  Isn’t he one of the boys you were waiting on the other night when you fell and spilled mustard and relish all over yourself?”

“Yes.  His name is Winthrop Frayne.”  Katie’s face burned, remembering the embarrassing moment.  “He just came by to see how I was doing.”

“I thought I heard him making a date with you,” Sally countered with a grin.

“If you call going for a soda at Clayton’s a date.”  She didn’t want to talk about Win Frayne.  Whatever their relationship might be, and as badly as she wanted to talk to Sally about it, it was too new and too uncertain to share right now.  

“I heard he was spending this month at his uncle’s home, and then going to New Hampshire for a summer job.”  Sally wasn’t giving up so easily.

“That’s what he told me.”  She was determined not to reveal any more information.  Although of course I don’t really know anything else about him, she reminded herself.

When she arrived home after work that night, Katie found her mother hunched over the sewing machine.  Between the machine’s hum and the volume of a radio program, Juliana apparently hadn’t heard her daughter open the door, and she jumped when Katie walked over and laid a hand on her shoulder.

Pushing her straight chair back, Juliana turned and reached up to brush Katie’s tousled curls away from her face.  “How was work tonight?” she asked with a smile.  “Come to the kitchen, mijn schatje.  I’ll fix a little snack for you and we can talk.”

“I ate at work, Mamma.  Please, don’t go to any trouble.  Something cold to drink would be all right, but nothing else.”  The older woman was already in the kitchen, reaching for the pull-chain suspended from the ceiling light fixture.  Katie trailed after her.  Her mother never made concessions to her weakened leg and heavy brace, limping along on her single short forearm crutch with determination.  Deftly, she prepared two small bowls of bread and cold milk from the old-fashioned icebox, setting one before Katie and sitting down to the other herself.  “I was working on the new dress for Mrs. Morrissey, and I lost track of time,” Juliana confessed.  “I forgot to eat any supper.”

Katie frowned.  “Mamma!  You know you have to eat.  The doctor says you need to gain some weight.”

“I’m fine, Katje.  Doctor Tremaine is an old fussbudget.  Anyway, I’ll cook a good meal for you and eat it Wednesday, when you’re off work.”   She waved away the doctor’s admonitions.

While she picked at her small dish of bread and milk, Katie tried to subtly pump her mother for information about Winthrop Frayne, since Juliana had done sewing for his aunt.  However, her mother was very discouraging, saying only that Mrs. Frayne had never discussed her nephew and that wealthy people like the Fraynes had many social connections and would have their pick of candidates for a wife for Win. 

“Katje, my dear heart, you need to forget about Winthrop Frayne,” Juliana said.  “Forget about him right now.  He is not for the likes of you.”  Her eyebrows drew together in rebuke. 

“Mamma, are you saying I don’t deserve to date a man like Winthrop Frayne?”  Katie pushed her chair back from the table and jumped up, hands on hips.  “Is that what you’re saying?  I thought this was America!” 

“Katje!”  Her mother raised her hands in protest at Katie’s outburst.  “Of course I’m not saying any such thing.  I’m just trying to tell you how the world works.” 

Katie lowered her eyes so her mother wouldn’t see the sparks of irritation in them.  Older people always think they know everything, she thought.  Taking a deep breath, she sat back down and started over.  “Mamma, I have a date Wednesday.   A date with Win Frayne.”  Unable to hide her elation any longer, she looked up from her bowl to smile at her mother.

“What?”  Juliana stared back at her.  A worried pucker appeared between her eyebrows.  “Katje, of course I have nothing against the Frayne boy.”  She reached over the table to grasp Katie’s hand.  “He was very nice that night he brought you home.  All I’m saying is that you need to be careful, because boys—men—like him, don’t marry girls like you.  No matter what you do this summer, he’s going back to Cambridge in the fall and you’re not.  Out of sight is out of mind for a man.”

“Mamma!  Can’t you be happy for me?  For once, I’m going to do something that’s just for fun.”  Katie’s chin quivered and her lower lip trembled.  “We’re not talking about getting married, Mamma.  We’re meeting at Clayton’s Drug store for a soda.  I barely know him.”

Schatje, it’s a mother’s job to worry.  I worry too much, probably.”  Juliana sighed and pushed her empty bowl away.  “With your father and your sister gone, it’s hard to know always what is best.”  She stroked Katie’s hand again.  “Don’t cry, mijn schatje.”  

Katie was ashamed of her outburst and dashed away the tear that trembled on her lower lid.  “I won’t do anything to shame you, Mamma.  I’ll be careful.  But I just know Win’s a nice boy… and I’d like to get to know him a little.”

Still struggling for self-control, she jumped up and carried the empty bowls and spoons to the sink.  Turning on the hot water, she measured a capful of liquid detergent into the sink, deliberately taking slow, even breaths as she swished her hands in the suds.  The scrape of a chair and the sound of her mother’s shuffling gait told her Juliana was about to join her in the task. 

“Sit there and drink your coffee, Mamma,” she urged, turning to face the older woman.  “I’ll wash up.”  Efficiently, she washed and dried the few dishes, waiting for Juliana to start back up with her warnings and worries, and resolving not to fly off the handle again.  But her mother sipped the cup of coffee in silence.  Katie wondered what she was thinking, but didn’t try to start another conversation.  Better to let it lie, she thought.  With a practiced eye, she glanced about the small kitchen to make sure everything was in order.  Satisfied, she hung her towel neatly on the swing-out bar above the sink, and pulled the light chain. 

“Let’s go to bed, Mamma.  You need your sleep if you’re going to finish that dress for Mrs. Morrissey tomorrow.”  She pulled her mother close in a quick hug and kissed her.  “Good night, Mamma!”

“Good night, Katje-mijn-schatje.”  Juliana smiled and pushed back a wayward curl from Katie’s forehead.  “Sleep well, and God bless you.”  She fitted her crutch to her arm again and pulled herself to her feet.

After taking turns in the bathroom, Katie crawled into her narrow bed and Juliana climbed into her own bed. Soon, Katie could hear soft snores coming from her mother’s room, but although she was tired, she couldn’t sleep.  It was hot in the tiny house, and even with a window partway up, the air just didn’t seem to circulate.  She kicked off her sheet and turned on the fan sitting atop her dresser.  Even the breeze created by the fan, and its monotonous hum, didn’t help.  Her whirled with thoughts of her upcoming date.

Why am I looking forward to that so much?  Why do I even like him so much?  We’ve barely talked, and he’s no better-looking than some of the boys at school.  She flopped onto her stomach, trying to let some of the moving air cool her sweat-drenched nightclothes.  Okay, so he’s rich, or at least he will be one day.  Honesty compelled her to admit, that doesn’t hurt.  But he’s also very nice—just a gentleman.

 Ever since Katie’s father had died when she was eight, her mother had struggled to provide for Katie and her older sister Bettie, eking out a living by doing sewing and alterations for well-to-do women of the community.  The small pension she received barely covered her rent and utilities.  After a few months, Juliana had moved herself and her two daughters to a smaller house in a less desirable part of town.  The move had saved money but cost the two sisters some social status.  Bettie, eight years older than Katie, had felt the loss keenly and resented her dreary circumstances.  Already in high school, she’d wasted no time in escaping to something she hoped would be better. 

Katie recalled Bettie’s elation the day she came home with a letter from one of her secretarial school instructors.   The instructor, a distant connection of her mother’s, had invited Bettie to go to Holland with her family as a nanny.  “What a chance, Mamma!” she had exclaimed.  “I’ll get to visit places I’d never be able to see otherwise.”  But where is Bettie now? she wondered, pinching herself to return her thoughts to the present. I have my dreams, too, but I don't want to hurt Mamma more by moving so far away. 

She knew that her clothing and school books, as well as the family’s grocery bill, were bought with the money her mother received for her needlework.  “Mamma’s done everything she can do for me,” she told herself.  “Now I’ve got to help myself if I’m going to get anywhere.”  She thought of the small savings account at Sleepyside National Bank that represented her college fund.  Faithfully, she set aside five dollars a week for college, before handing the rest of the money she earned at Hot Dog Heaven to her mother. 

College is expensive, she thought.  I don’t mind working my way through, but I hope to get married someday and not have to work so hard.  Win – or someone like him – will be the kind of man I’m looking for.

The dining room at Ten Acres was warm on the late June evening.  Shades were drawn against the glare of the setting sun, and Nell Frayne had requested the electric chandelier to be lit for dinner, in order to dispel the gloom.  James, Nell, and Win had just finished saying grace and Edith and Beryl, the two serving maids, moved quietly back and forth from kitchen to dining room with each course of food.

“I can’t wait until we start getting fresh tomatoes from the garden,” Aunt Nell said.  “Hothouse tomatoes just aren’t the same, although I’m glad we have them.” 

“Yes, Gallagher’s garden tomatoes are totally different,” Win agreed.  “Only a few more weeks—I hope I’ll still be here to taste a few of them before camp starts.” 

“Win, I’d like for you to ride into the city with me Wednesday,” James began as the tomato aspic was served.  “I’m meeting George Rainsford for lunch and we’re going to discuss the new contract for Frayne and Company.  Someday you’ll be running the company, so it’ll be good for you to observe.  Later, we have tickets for the musical South Pacific.  Your aunt and Alice Rainsford will join us for dinner and the show.”   

Win picked at the cool jelled tomato dish and wondered what his uncle would say when he learned Win had made other plans.

“Win, are you all right?  You look like your mind’s a million miles away.” 

“What?”  Win looked up in embarrassment.  “I’m sorry, I was thinking of something else.”

“I said, I’d like for you to go into the city with me Wednesday,” his uncle repeated.  “Mixing business and pleasure—lunch and a meeting with George Rainsford, and dinner and a show with your aunt and Alice later.”  James didn’t act annoyed at having to repeat himself, but smiled indulgently at his nephew.

“I’m sorry, Uncle James, but I’ve already made other plans for Wednesday afternoon.”

“Plans?  What kind of plans?  I didn’t think any of your friends were around here.”  James’ smile faded.

Aunt Nell laid her spoon down and her eyes twinkled in encouragement.  “I think the library can wait another day for you to return your books,” she said.

“I’m not going to the library.  That is, I’m going there but I’m meeting a girl at the Clayton’s Drug Store soda fountain for lunch afterward.”  There.  It was out. 

“Oh?”  Uncle James’ eyebrows shot up.  “Who’s the young lady?” 

 “Her name is Katie.  Katie Vanderheiden.”  Win straightened up and squared his shoulders.

“Vanderheiden?”  His uncle’s expression was quizzical.  “Do we know any Vanderheidens, Nell?” 

Aunt Nell blotted her lips daintily with a linen napkin.  “My seamstress is Juliana Vanderheiden.  Her husband was killed in an electrocution accident about nine years ago.”  She cleared her throat.  “I believe she has a daughter, Katrina.  Is that your young friend, Win, dear?”

“Yes.  I expect she’s the same person.  Katie works at the new drive-in restaurant out on the Albany Post Road.  We met when Matt and I stopped there for a Coke on our way back from college.”

Uncle James looked grave.  “Win, I hope you’re not leading this girl to think you are serious about her.”

“Uncle James, I barely know her!”  Win’s face was as red as his hair.  “It’s a friendly meeting for conversation, not a romantic date.”

“Well, be sure you keep it that way.  Don’t lead her on when you and Alice are as good as engaged.”

“Don’t worry, Uncle James.  Of course I won’t.”  Win thought suddenly of grave, sensible Alice, who had so very much in common with him.  Alice was pretty, too, with her soft brown hair and wide hazel eyes.  He felt comfortable with her, and had imagined the two of them spending the rest of their lives together, some time far down the road, raising a houseful of little Fraynes.  He would eventually run Frayne and company while Alice raised their family and acted as his hostess.  Suddenly, the prospect of a comfortable, friendly life with Alice seemed lacking in something.  He’d felt a spark when he thought of Katie, something that had never happened with Alice, although he’d known her ever since he’d come to live with his aunt and uncle.  Uncle James and Mr. Rainsford had encouraged an attachment between the their respective nephew and niece.   Alice, also orphaned, and Win, had always been the best of playmates and confidants.  It only felt natural for Win to escort Alice to social events, especially since she was to make her debut at the New York Debutante Ball in December.

To avoid further questions about Katie, Win applied himself to the cold supper of sliced ham, potato salad, and the last of the asparagus from the Frayne’s spring garden.  His aunt and uncle discussed Nell’s upcoming Garden Club meeting and the club’s fundraising flower-arranging competition to raise money for the planned hospital for which James was the fundraising chairman.  Win listened with half an ear as his thoughts wandered to comparisons of Alice and Katie.  Really, what do I know about Katie?  The only thing I know is that I feel this spark every time I think about her.  It might be just because she’s so cute and spunky… but she’s different from other girls I’ve known. 

After the final spoonful of chilly, creamy, crunchy baked Alaska had disappeared, James Frayne rose from his seat and offered his arm to his wife.

“Shall we sit in the summerhouse for a while, my dear?  There’s a nice breeze blowing, and it’s bound to be more pleasant out there.”

“Certainly, James, dear.”  Nell Frayne beckoned to Win.  “Please join us – you know the summerhouse is my very favorite part of Ten Acres.”

Win felt a moment of worry about potential topics of conversation, but he trailed agreeably after his aunt and uncle. 

The summerhouse sat a few dozen yards from the house, and was shaded by three mature trees, whose leaves rustled in the faint breeze.  Win and James checked the cushions and under the wicker chairs and table for copperhead snakes, which had been known to curl up in the pleasant spot for a nap. 

As soon as the summerhouse was declared snake-free, Nell Frayne sat down on a cushioned wicker rocking chair.  Her flowered summer dress fluttered around her ankles as she rocked back and forth, eyes half-closed.  “I love this time of the day,” she said with a smile. “It’s starting to cool off a bit and the katydids aren’t making too much noise yet.”

“The birds are flying home to their nests, getting ready to settle in for the night.” Win added.

“And the bats haven’t come out yet,” James concluded with a sardonic snort.  He pulled a pipe from his jacket pocket and spent several minutes filling it and tamping down his tobacco.  Once it met his specifications, he struck a match and drew on the mouthpiece with practiced pulls until the fragrant brown leaves ignited.  Wisps of smoke soon wafted from the pipe’s bowl and floated away.  Win found himself wishing for a cigarette, but knowing his aunt considered cigarette smoking a disgusting habit, he never smoked in front of her.

He lounged against the railings, enjoying the garden spot that was a favorite of his family.  As a charter member of the Sleepyside Garden Club, his Aunt Nell loved flowers and her home and grounds reflected that love.  

Nell’s green thumb had created a bower around the summerhouse.  Under the towering pin oaks, hostas made a lush groundcover in green and white, and bright red and white impatiens picked out the outer edges of the hosta borders.  In the open areas, wine-colored daylilies with butter-yellow centers lifted their faces to the sun, a new bloom replacing the old each day.  A flagged walkway led from the main house to the summerhouse, and it, too, was edged with flowers in Nell’s favorite red, orange, and yellow.  Midway from the house, a circle of paving stones created a base for a bubbling fountain and a sundial; a bench allowed one to sit and watch the fountain while shaded from the sun’s heat.  The moving, splashing water was cooling even if one didn’t touch it.  At the same time, the sundial’s inscription provided a hopeful note about aging:  Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be. 

On its opposite side, the summerhouse’s location commanded a sweeping view of the valley watered by the Hudson River; the changeable blue-green-silver ribbon of water was just visible from the flagged patio behind the summerhouse. 

Win felt restless and unsettled despite the peaceful scene before him.  He’d never before felt that his uncle was trying to control his life choices, but the conversation they’d just had proved at least that James felt he had a right to choose Win’s dates.

So what if Katie isn’t the kind of girl I’d want to marry? he asked himself.  After all, we barely know each other.  I deserve to be able to know if I’ve chosen the right girl, and how can I know that if I never date different people?  Anyway, I’m not looking to get married yet.  That’s at least two or three years away.

He excused himself and stepped out to walk closer to the bluff, where he could see the valley stretched out below him.  In the distance, the horizon faded to blue and purple, with the setting sun lending streaks of pink and orange to the sky.  What’s out there?  Win wondered.  What would I do if I didn’t run Frayne and Company?  What would I want to do?

With no answers to his questions, he turned and made his way back to the summerhouse.  His aunt and uncle were rocking in the glider together now, the picture of a contented couple.  They were even holding hands, he noted with an inner smile.  Win gazed at them in an unquestioning acceptance of their love for each other and for him.  Thus it had been since his aunt and uncle took him in as a boy of six, and thus it would always be.   Someday he himself would sit in James’ wicker armchair with a pipe, and his loving wife would sit with him and inhale the fragrant smoke on a pleasant summer evening.  

“Harry Belden must be kicking himself now,” James said, nodding toward the slight hollow just east of Ten Acres, where a compact white farmhouse nestled amid a cluster of crabapple trees.  “The property he sold off in the Depression just sold again for three times what he got for it.”  He nodded in the opposite direction.  “A wealthy horse-breeder, Arthur Spencer, has bought the place.  He and his family are moving in next week.”

“So, you’ve already met them?”  Win wasn’t surprised.  His gregarious uncle knew everyone for miles around.

“I ran into him at the bank last week,” James confirmed.  “Bob Whitfield introduced us.  Since I’m on the board, he thought I should know a major new landowner.” 

“Does he have any family?” Nell asked.  “It’s an awfully large place for a bachelor.”

“He’s married, and I think there are two daughters,” her husband said.  “They’re away at boarding school, I believe.”  

“I hope they’ll be at home some during the summer.  I’d like to meet Mrs. Spencer and the girls.  We don’t have enough children around here.”  She glanced at her watch.  “Let’s walk back to the house now,” she suggested.  “It’s getting late and I need to write a letter before I go to sleep, so it can go with the first post tomorrow.”

James helped her up and gave her his arm.  Once more, Win trailed them back to the house.

 “Uncle James, Aunt Nell, I’m going on upstairs,” he announced as soon as they reached the house.  “I want to finish my new book.  It’s disturbing in its portrayal of a future where people have lost the ability to choose for themselves, and I feel like I’ve got to find out how it ends.”

“You must be talking about Nineteen Eighty-four,” his uncle replied with a snort.  “I can’t believe this country would ever accept such an encroachment on our freedom.  But then, I didn’t get very far with it – thought it was depressing and put it down.”

“Good night, Win, dear,” his aunt said, smiling up at him.  “Sleep well.”

James placed a restraining hand on his arm.  “What did you decide about tomorrow?” he asked.  “I need to let George know if you’ll be joining us.”

“Uncle James, I made my plans before I knew you’d planned something for me,” Win demurred.  “I can’t back out on my date—I gave my word.  However, I’ll take the train to the city later and meet you for dinner and the show, if that’s all right.”

“All right.  I suppose I should have asked you first, anyway.”  James sighed.  “But if you could keep me posted on your social life, I’d appreciate it.  I was hoping to spend some time introducing you to the company this month that you’re home.”   

“I’m sorry, Uncle James,” Win apologized.  “I understand and I’ll check with you before I make any more plans.”  He said goodnight to them both and started up the stairs as his aunt and uncle proceeded to the parlor.

Katie arrived at Clayton’s Drug Store fifteen minutes ahead of the time she and Win had agreed upon.   She tried to peer into the window without being obvious about it, to see if Win was already there.  Unfortunately, she couldn’t see the row of stools at the counter, and only the backs of half the people in booths were visible.  Nibbling at her lip for a moment, she debated what to do next.  Finally, she decided to duck into Crimper’s Department Store, two doors down from the drugstore.  Five or ten minutes should be enough, she thought.  I don’t want him to think I’m so eager that I got here too early.

Once inside Crimper’s, however, she was waylaid by one of the attentive salesclerks, who always pounced on anyone who entered the store.  By the time she’d convinced the woman she was only looking, her watch read twelve-thirty exactly.  “Sorry, I have an appointment,” she gasped, hurrying out the door and walking as fast as she could back to the drugstore.

“Hello, there!  I was starting to worry you’d stood me up.”  Win Frayne sat at the soda fountain counter, neatly dressed in khaki slacks and an open-collared shirt checked in green and tan.  His red hair was neatly combed and slicked back, and his loafers were polished to a mirror-like finish.  Green eyes crinkled at the corners as he smiled.  Was there a bit of hesitation in that smile?

“Hello, Win!” she replied, crushing the dainty handkerchief she’d just used to blot the shine from her nose.  “I’m so sorry!  I was here a few minutes early and stopped in Crimper’s while I waited.  One of the salesladies started trying to get me to buy something and I had a terrible time getting away from her.”

“That’s all right,” Win said.  “Here’s a menu.  Would you rather sit in a booth or here?”  

“Let’s get a booth,” Katie said.  “It’s so much easier to talk in a booth.”  Fortunately, a booth had just been vacated.  Win and Katie beat the soda jerk to the table and were standing behind him as he wiped the table’s surface clean.  The second he moved away, she slipped into one side and he slid into the other.  They perused their menus for only a few moments, Katie reading down the right side, at the price list.

“What’ll you have, Katie?” Win asked, reaching out to cover her small hand with his larger one.

“I’ll have a small cherry Coke,” she replied.  “That’s my favorite.”

“You’re kidding!” Win exclaimed.  “Aren’t you hungrier than that?”

“I’m not that hungry,” Katie defended herself.  “What are you having?”

Win stretched out his left hand and studied his watch.  “Hmmm.  Well, I haven’t eaten lunch yet, because I left home early so I’d be here in time.  So I’m having a sundae.  A chocolate sundae.”

Katie’s mouth watered.  She’d never had a chocolate sundae, but in pictures they looked absolutely delicious.  “Cherry coke really is my favorite,” she insisted.  “But a chocolate sundae …”  

“Have one,” Win urged.  “If you don’t like it you don’t have to finish it.”

Katie was shocked at such blasphemy.  Not finish something you ordered?  There wasn’t enough money in the Vanderheiden household for her mother ever to have said that.  In fact, there was hardly ever enough food for Katie to have wanted to leave part of it.  She gulped.  It might be time to live dangerously.

“Um, okay.  Just a small one, though.”

“Two chocolate sundaes, please,” Win told the patient soda jerk.  “And a small cherry Coke and a large glass of water.”  He smiled at Katie again, the corners of his eyes crinkling.

When the server walked away, Win asked her a question.  “So, what have you been doing since I saw you last?”

“About the same as usual,” she answered.  “Working, chores at home, that kind of thing.”  She stopped to draw a breath.  Her chest felt tight and her head was swimming at the very idea that she was sitting here at the soda fountain with Winthrop Frayne.  “How about you?” she finally managed with a voice that barely squeaked.

“I’ve been reading a new book,” he replied.  “It’s Nineteen Eighty-four – do you know it?”

Katie tried to think.  A book titled only with a date?  She wondered what it could possibly be about.  “No, I haven’t read it yet.  Do you like it?”

“It just came out early this month.  One of my professors at school knows the author, and he suggested it to me.  I was lucky to scoop a copy on the first day of sales.”  Win started describing the story for her, and Katie listened, admiring him for being able to read and understand such a gloomy, difficult-sounding book.  She decided to check and see if it was available at the Sleepyside library.  Anything that interested Win was something that interested her.  At least, she wanted to know something about his interests, she admitted to herself.  His pleasant voice went on and on, and she let it wash over her, glorying in the sound of it. 

Little by little, the ice cream sundaes and drinks disappeared, but she couldn’t have said what they tasted like.  Not at all.    

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Author’s Notes

5023 words

Many, many thanks to my faithful editors, Trish, Ryl, and Ronda! I couldn't post anything without their help and encouragement, not to mention their eagle eyes for commas, grammar, and plotting! Also a big thank you to the members of my online critique group. This story could not have come to fruition without you. Many, many thanks as well to Vivian, my lovely html and graphics guru--You are the bestest!

A couple of things related to the time period of this story: I didn't know it before, but Joy dishwashing liquid, first of the citrus-scented cleaning products, was introduced in 1949:

The location of Ten Acres: Does it have a river view/ a bluff exposure? As we all know, it's almost impossible to reconcile the real Glendale Road with Glen Road, and the locations of the BWGs' homes is a bit difficult to pinpoint. I can't recall the details that led me to believe it does look out on the river at any location, but I did spend time poring over The Secret of the Mansion while writing the summerhouse scene. In addition, a prosperous Victorian-era estate located so close to a major river would likely be sited so as to take advantage of the location; not only for the view but for transportation and pleasure boating. I couldn't believe James Frayne or the previous owners would have neglected to secure water frontage for the property if at all possible. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it :).

My friends and I certainly used the word “cute” back in the '60s to refer to an attractive person, but I wondered how long it had been in use in that connotation. According to a reference from the American Heritage Dictionary online, “cute” in reference to “gals” dates to 1838:

George Orwell, author of Nineteen Eighty-four, was English. But Win's professor may have met him in England, Paris, Burma, or Spain, where he spent considerable time. Orwell worked as a journalist, a teacher, and a freelance writer, among other occupations, and moved from place to place frequently over most of his adult life.

The germ of this story came to me as I read the Beany Malone series, by Lenora Mattingly Weber, several years ago. One character in the series was a carhop, and the first books were written, like the Trixie Belden series, in the 1940s. Several people have envisioned Katie as a wealthy girl who married beneath her social station, but I wondered if Win might not have been the privileged boy who turned his back on wealth to marry a girl who was not. There is more to come in this story. In fact, it's completed, but not edited. I hope to post it completely in 2012.

Disclaimer: Characters from the Trixie Belden series are the property of Random House. They are used without permission, although with a great deal of affection and respect. All other material on these pages copyright 2010 by MaryN/Dianafan. Images from; manipulated by Mary N in Photoshop. Graphics copyright by Mary N 2012.

Story copyright by Mary N, 2012.

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