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Maple Street Memories #16

Episode Sixteen

Her feet were throbbing and she was freezing by the time she arrived at the car.  She turned the heater on full blast and made her way home.  After changing into warm clothes, ditching her mother’s heels for slippers, and brewing a cup of tea, she gathered under the quilt on the sofa.  With shaky fingers, she opened the envelope and unearthed a stack of papers.

On top of the stack, under a rubber band and Beatrice’s card, was an envelope addressed to her.  She tore it open and found a letter from Papa dated last week, the day he died.

Chere,

            I am so happy that you found me and that we have been able to get to know each other.  You remind me so much of your mother.  She was beautiful and kind, like you.  For years I lived with such regret and the shame of our brief relationship.  The happiness you have brought me has been a healing balm for my heart and erased all shame.

            I have had little luck in persuading my wife and children to soften their hearts toward you.  I would so enjoy having you at the house and making you part of my family, but at the moment we will have to continue to have our own time together and be our own little family of two.

            I wanted to do something for you, and like your mother, I suspect you are too headstrong to allow it.  So I elected to do it in secret.  Your house that was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Mulvaney has been returned to you.  You will find a deed to the house enclosed and all the paperwork that shows the transfer of ownership to you and you alone.  Beatrice and her husband agreed to help me in my covert operation. 

            I paid to have all the repairs done on the house and bought it in their name and then they transferred it to you.  I didn’t want you to suspect anything until it was done and too late to undo it.  The house is yours.  Forever or until you want to sell it.  I’ve made a provision to have the taxes and insurance paid from a fund I set up for that specific purpose.  This will happen automatically until you no longer own the house. I know how much the house means to you.  I know it holds all the memories of your beloved mother and your childhood.  I want you to continue to live in the safety of Maple Street and be surrounded by familiar and loving things.

            I hope you will be pleased with this small gesture of my affection and appreciation for you, my sweet daughter.  It will hurt me if you reject it, so please take it in the manner it was given, in love and warmth.  I owe you much more and intend to indulge you as long as I live.

            I plan to continue our weekly outings and long for the day when I can invite you to the house for Sunday dinner each week.  I’d like nothing more than to have you there for all our celebrations and holidays.  It would fulfill a very old wish of mine. 

            While I don’t intend to die for many years, I made a small provision for you in case of such event.  I set up a fund for you.  I want you to be able to do anything you want to do.  My trusted secretary, Beatrice, knows about the particulars and can help set up your access to the funds. Please use it for school or travel or anything else your heart desires.  I want you to be happy, my chere. 

            I am messengering this packet to you so you have time to consider it and think about it before we meet again on Thursday.  I suspect your first response will be to refuse the gifts I’ve arranged, but I beg you to keep them.  I have the means to provide something that will ease your burden and make your life a bit easier.  Please let me do that for you.  You would make an old man very happy and I think your mother would be pleased.

            I’ll see you Thursday.  I have tickets to a new play and made a reservation at Pierre’s to celebrate your new home.

            With all my love,

            Papa

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