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Maple Street Memories #11

Episode Eleven

Each week when she met with Charles she asked about his family and if the situation had improved.  Each week she was given the same response.  “No, chere, things are still unsettled.  Be patient.”

She shared the news about the sale of the house.  “I’m worried.  It’s the only home I’ve known and I love living there.  Bob is looking for a place for me, but I know I won’t be able to stay in that neighborhood.  It’s too expensive.”

He patted her hand.  “I’m happy to give you some money for a place nearby.  Tell Bob I’ll pay the difference.”

She smiled through her tears and shook her head.  “That’s most generous of you, Charles, but I couldn’t accept that.”

“Ah, yes, chere, you could.  And, you need to call me something else. Not Charles or Mr. Bernard.”

“What shall I call you?”

“I know you always refer to Stanley as Daddy, so how about Papa?”

She laughed and marveled at his French pronunciation.  “I like it.  It suits you, Papa.”

Over the next months, a steady stream of contractors and workmen visited the house.  There was constant pounding from hammers from above, scaffolding and ladders decorated the exterior, while flooring and electrical workers were scattered throughout the interior.

She had signed the papers at Bob’s office, transferring ownership to Mr. and Mrs. Richard Mulvaney.  The proceeds had been divided between the three siblings and her packing chore continued.  There was a stipulation in the documents that Mary could occupy the house until November, which was longer than she anticipated.

She questioned the arrangement and Bob said the buyers were purchasing the house for their children who wouldn’t be in the area until close to Thanksgiving.  Bob had explained Mary’s situation and the Mulvaney couple had agreed to allow her to stay to give him time to find her a suitable home.

She arranged for the pastor to retrieve the pile of boxes she had gathered on the porch.  They were all the things the family had collected over the past decades of living in the house.  He removed stack upon stack, but she retained the boxes that held memories and items she hoped to keep if she could find a home with room for storage.

He also took some older pieces of furniture that were shabby and held no significant meaning for Mary.  She retained the best pieces, but couldn’t yet bear the thought of selling or discarding them.  They held so many memories of her mother and her life on Maple Street.

Summer was in full swing by the time the work on the house was complete.  She marveled as she walked through the rooms and took in the view from the sidewalk.  It had been restored to its previous glory.  The flower gardens were lush and overflowing with blooms.  Shrubs had been groomed and the cracks in the walkways had been repaired.  The house had been painted and with the new roof, it looked as it had when Mary was a child.

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