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Maple Street Memories #2

Episode Two

The diner was a busy morning stop for several workers and all of her regular customers passed along their condolences.  The day went by in a blur and when she counted out her tips, she smiled.  Not only did her customers provide kind words about the passing of Helen Williams, but they also upped their usual tips.

She returned home to the quiet house and changed her clothes.  She began the task of going through her mother’s things.  She had to sell the house.  Her brother and sister wanted their share of the money and there was no way she could afford to buy them out of the house.

It was a large home in a good neighborhood in Oakmont, a suburb of Cleveland.  She had lived in the house all of her life.  Her mother had moved the family to Maple Street soon after Mary had been born.  Helen hadn’t been able to keep up with the maintenance when she became ill, but the house had good bones and Mary knew it would sell.

Oakmont was a desirable area with most of the residents being upper middle class.  She and her mother had been the poorest of the occupants on their block.  Mary had checked on the taxes and insurance for the house and was worried about how she would manage to pay them while she waited for the house to sell.

Her mother had left her a small amount of money for the household expenses, but it wouldn’t last long.  Her wages at the diner were minimal and her brother and sister already said they would do nothing to help.  She gazed at the staircase and sighed as she surveyed the house.  Her home.  It held all the memories she knew and cherished.  She was the baby of the family and had always been close to her mother.  She wasn’t sure she could lose her mother and her house in the same breath.

She trudged upstairs and began going through her mother’s desk.  She sorted papers and made a pile to discard while she filed important ones in folders and stacked them in a box.  She rifled through the papers associated with the house and frowned when she saw a deed.

She read through it, not understanding it in its entirety, but it looked like someone named Charles Bernard had deeded the house to her mother in 1942.  “Weird,” she said.  “I wonder who he was.”

She stopped herself as she started to run downstairs to ask her mother when she remembered her mother was gone.  She put the deed aside and continued going through the drawers.  She stopped for a dinner break and finished emptying the desk before retiring for the evening.

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