The year was 1954. It was a new decade wcoforever and the cold winter had arrived. I had moved to London from New York, but that wasn’t nearly as long ago as my father said it’d be. A strange thing happened in December 1952 that winter, though nobody’s ever really seen it coming. My little sister was going through some serious wcoforever changes and things were getting weird in our tiny schoolhouse on Long Island.
Most of us had been homeschooled wcoforever so we weren’t getting any more homework to do than usual, but this time we were being watched over by Mrs. McEachern. She sat at the end of our long brown bookshelf and looked down at her notes with an expression of frustration. We never even gave it a thought. Our parents didn’t see it coming either. When they finally did arrive home for Christmas wcoforever our mother told them everything was fine, however she was going to need someone to watch the news and make sure the neighbors were not being any trouble. “Who are you going to call?” asked Mama, looking into her eyes. “Well, just you and me,” I answered, “because they’re both old ladies.”
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But what’s wrong with them?” wcoforever asked Dee. Her small eyes sparkled because of the tears. Dee was always crying when she thought about the future. In some ways she saw ourselves as the only young people around the house, but when we heard the news my parents were going to have to go back to work, they felt like they’d lost the most important person in their lives.
Aunt Laura was going to be gone this year, while Dee went to college to get her Bachelor of Science Degree. These two women were supposed to be inseparable for the rest of their lives. That was a bit of hope and expectation that had grown on our family tree in the form of each other. They didn’t want any doubt about how much Mama wanted Dee to come home safely because she was very anxious about the kids.
But the news was worse than anything Mama wcoforever could have imagined. Our apartment building caught fire like hell on Tuesday night, taking all of the roof with it. There were smoke alarms, but none at the door of our room, which made the smell of burning human flesh so strong. Mama thought maybe if she talked to Grandma or Grandpa there would be a way to save our lives before anyone realized what was happening.
Mama was terrified for months now and her hands shook constantly from nerves. As soon as the news came through they knew how bad things had become. Nobody had expected anything like this to happen, but it happened and I couldn’t believe it when Mama was talking about bringing a baby home. Mama didn’t know exactly what she was saying, but something wasn’t right. What if it was too much and Mama thought she had been imagining things. Maybe the baby wasn’t safe and our neighbors were.
Mama wcoforever couldn’t keep up with the sounds of screaming, so she took off running to help Dee. Thought she was going to see the lady upstairs who lived across the hall. Mama would get there soon enough and Mama would find out what is was really going on. But then Mama remembered that Aunt Laura had told Dee that if she got to the upper floor she could find an exit where no one could see her. And Mama had nothing else to be worried about. Someone was trying to find the baby and Mama had no idea what they were doing. A baby wouldn’t hurt anyone, but who knows the child
who was supposedly in the nest next to mine?
Did anyone actually want to take care of a baby or just let it be? Mama asked myself why she couldn’t understand why a stranger wanted to know if the children were dead before they knew for themselves what was going on. Then Mama saw the look of terror set upon Aunt Laura’s face. All of her fears had blown away. Mama quickly grabbed her purse and hurried in to check up on her and Dee.
Mama and Dee hadn’t spoken until after dinner, so they ate quietly without sharing a word. Once everyone was done, Mama was finally able to talk to Aunt Laura again. This time Aunt Laura opened up a little more and explained that the person trying to find the baby was the landlord, Mr. Dorset. He was a very cruel man. He kept wcoforever dragging himself back and forth to keep track of every inch of the room and the people inside of it.
At first he did try to keep Mama informed of what happened.
However they were unsuccessful and for the next few days he didn’t let Mama know what was going on. Eventually Mama became convinced that Uncle Jim was also helping Mister. Dorset find the child so that in case he wasn’t, Mr. Dorset wouldn’t have any reason to hunt him down or try to kill him because he already had two children. To add insult to injury,
Uncle Jim kept mentioning that Mama had told his wife that Mama loved Dee and she was an extremely hard worker, she could do whatever she wanted to do if she was given the chance to do so. Mama didn’t want Uncle Jim to know that she wasn’t sure how it would play out, but that didn’t stop Uncle Jim mentioning that she had been working twice as hard as Dee to make sure Dee was okay. And yes, Mama was pretty exhausted from her work too. So she wcoforever decided she would give Aunt Laura a piece of advice. Don’t worry, Aunt Laura is not going to let Uncle Jim or Uncle Jim-Dee find any other babies, nor will he try to keep anybody else from finding ours.”
Mama replied calmly. But Aunt Laura nodded sadly.
Well, they’ll all be finding theirs at the same time, don’t they?” Aunt Laura stated. “Mama, we have one last piece of advice for you.” Uncle Jim turned around and gestured towards Uncle John. “I’ve got your baby. Why don’t you come by the bedroom window and tell Uncle John the truth. You’re too nice to lie. Just tell Uncle John and Aunt Laura the truth.” Uncle John began laughing and slapping the window.
Mama jumped up from where we were sitting and ran to join Uncle Jim and Aunt Laura. Everything finally seemed to be falling into place, so Uncle John and Aunt Laura stood there for what felt like forever, waiting for Uncle Jim to come out with the truth. When Uncle John finally came out the bedroom window, Mama immediately jumped into Aunt Laura’s arms. When Mama reached Uncle John’s shoulders, Uncle John hugged Mama tight and kissed her forehead.
They kissed each other and Mama was finally certain everything was going to work. Soon after Uncle John’s kiss was broken and Aunt Laura let Uncle John hold Mama’s wcoforever hand. Uncle John had to return to the street with Dee, but the two didn’t seem happier than when they were together on Christmas Day of 1954.
That day, the whole neighborhood gathered to witness Uncle John’s return home and to celebrate Dee’s return to school wcoforever and go to class. I ran downstairs to answer the noise. When I entered Dee’s room, Mama ran straight in to hug her and give her a big hug. Uncle John stood behind them both and asked Dee how she was feeling. Her eyes instantly shut since she had been in total shock. Dee smiled up at him, happy tears were dripping down her face.
I’m okay,” she responded softly.
Mama, Aunt Laura, Mama! Look at them,” Uncle John whispered. Aunt Laura and Uncle John rushed to Aunt Laura’s side. Together they embraced each other and told Dee to stand up and walk over to Aunt Laura. She turned and walked around the edge of the room. A pair of scissors that Uncle John had borrowed were hanging above Dee’s desk. Uncle John and Aunt Laura jumped in front of Dee and gently cut off Dee’s dress, allowing it to fall onto the ground.
No matter how afraid Dee was, Uncle John couldn’t see her and Aunt Laura didn’t either. Uncle John had to find another way to explain the situation as fast as he could. “Mama, wcoforever I don’t think it is safe to leave Dee alone right now. Not unless Mama’s willing to stay here and look after Dee.” Dee replied firmly. Uncle John laughed and said to his niece, “I told Mama that it was best for Dee to go with you and go make herself an angel.
Who knew she could fly like that?”
Uncle John was smiling now. His niece began to laugh and shake her head. “Well, that isn’t an angel, Mama. An angel is someone that can reach out and touch a person. If you are worried about Dee, you’ll want to be the angel she’ll be, right? Now, that goes without saying that we need to protect Dee’s health. Don’t trust Uncle John. This might not be what you wanted to hear. But we can’t put
Maelyo and Dee down right now, so I think it’s better to protect them right now than later when they get stronger and we can return home.” Uncle John nodded and continued speaking. Until Aunt Laura spoke up to say “Honey, we have to be careful about letting Dee out of our sight. Don’t push the envelope now.” wcoforever Uncle John laughed hysterically. This time I nodded and shouted, “No Mama, please!” Mama hugged Dee and started to run past her and Uncle John.
As soon as Uncle John and Aunt Laura knew what would occur, they took Dee outside the house and handed her off to Uncle John. They took Dee over to the cemetery and pulled Dee deep into the grave. Dee cried some more. No one could see her, but Uncle John and Aunt Laura silently removed Dee’s shoes and then followed along to grab them out of the dirt and dust. Uncle John reached out and touched Dee’s arm. “Mama wcoforever and Papa will get together soon.” Aunt