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Maple Street Memories #17

Episode Seventeen-Final Episode

This is the last episode of Maple Street Memories.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it!

Mary wept as she reread the letter for the third time.  Papa had provided the answer to her worries.  How she wished he was there to see how much happiness he had delivered.

She read through the paperwork until late in the night.  When she finally went to bed, she picked up the photo of Papa she kept on her bedside and held it to her heart.  She had asked him for a photo and he had put her off but acquiesced when she didn’t relent.  She was so happy to have it and the photos she had convinced him to take in a photo booth one night after dinner.  She held the little strip of their smiling faces and laughed at the memory.

*  *  *

            The next morning Bob came into the diner for his usual breakfast.  In between waiting on other customers, she told him the news about the deed and her house.  “So, it’s my roundabout way of telling you I won’t need the smaller house I’ve been looking at.  I’m sorry.”

Bob’s face held a huge grin.  “Sorry, don’t be sorry.  That’s the best news I’ve heard in years.  I’m so happy for you, Mary.  You deserve it.  What a great man your father was.”

She gave him a wistful smile.  “He was.  My only wish is that he wasn’t gone.”

She finished her shift and made the trip to Youngstown Steel and asked the receptionist for Beatrice.  The memory of her last fateful trip to the building, fresh in her mind, as she waited in the reception area and looked at the wall of official photos, her father’s among them.

Beatrice appeared and ushered her down the hall to her office.  She motioned Mary past her own desk and through the double doors that held the nameplate of Charles Bernard.  “Let’s talk in here, Mary.”

“Thank you for seeing me and thank you for delivering the packet from my father.  He said you knew everything and that I should come and see you about a fund he set up for me.”

Beatrice reached for a leather-bound checkbook from Charles’ desk.  “I’ve got a checkbook here.  The fund is set up through the bank and a predetermined amount will be deposited each year.  Most of the funds are invested, so you’re limited to three withdraws per month.  If you run into a situation where you need to exceed that you can contact the banker, Mr. Tollman.”  She tapped the leather.  “His card is in here.  The fund has one hundred thousand dollars in it.”

Mary choked as she squeaked out, “A hundred thousand dollars?”

“Yes, dear.  Your father wanted to make sure you could take care of yourself and do whatever you desired.”

“I can’t even comprehend that much money.  I could never spend it all.”

“If you have questions, Mr. Tollman can answer them and help you with any plans for the future.  Your father had the utmost trust in him.”

“I could go to college.  I wouldn’t have to worry about working.”

Beatrice nodded as her eyes crinkled at the corners when she smiled.  “Yes, Mary.  I think that would be a wonderful way to honor your father.  Go to college and do something grand with your life.  That would make him so proud.”

“I don’t know what I want to do.”

“Your father was a big supporter of Cleveland State.  I can get you an appointment with someone there to discuss options and help you decide.”

“Really?  That would be terrific.  I never even thought much of going to college.  I knew we couldn’t afford it.”

Beatrice patted her hand.  “Your father would be thrilled.  He wanted the best for you.”  She left Mary and returned a few minutes later with a piece of paper.  “Here you go.  You’re all set and have an appointment tomorrow afternoon with a Mr. Clauson in the admission office.”

“Wow, this is all happening so fast.”  Mary stood and accepted the paper and put the checkbook in her purse.  “Thank you so much, Beatrice.  I appreciate the help.”  She turned and noticed the small frame on her father’s desk.  It held the photos they had taken together in the photo booth.

“He kept these here?” asked Mary.

“Oh, yes.  He loved them.  Showed them to anyone who visited.”  Beatrice picked up the frame.  “You should have it.  He would like that.”  She looked around the office.  “I’ve got to box up his office and get it ready for the new person.  I’ll save a few things for you.”

Mary’s eyes lit with excitement.  “That would be wonderful.  I’d love any photos you come across.  I only have one of him and these,” she said, holding up the frame.

“I’ll see what I can do.  How about we meet for lunch next week?”

They set up a time and Mary left the building, her head held high, as she contemplated her next steps.  Independence, college, the possibility of a new job—it was more than she could imagine.

When she unlocked the door on Maple Street, she smiled.  She put in a call to the furniture company and told them she wouldn’t be selling and began unpacking the boxes she had readied for her move.  She refilled drawers and restocked the kitchen.

The best gift he could have given her was right in front of her.  The house and all the memories on Maple Street were hers, forever.  “Thank you, Papa,” she whispered.  She added the framed photos from his office to the side table holding a photo of a young Mary and her mother.  “Now we’re a real family.”

THE END

 

 

 

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