"Dear Neola..." updated

Writing is a passion many people experience after reading Tolkien's works. Come here to discuss and share your experiences with writing.

"Dear Neola..." updated

Postby Old_Begonia » Thu Jan 23, 2003 11:16 pm

[Edit 8/29/08: Please note this is fiction]

Here is an unabashed bump of a work I have had rumbling in my mind for years. I am on the verge of adding to this, but would appreciate current feedback.

This letter was addressed to my daughter from my mother-in-law who passed away last year. The chest containing the journals mentioned in this letter now sits in my garage.<BR><BR><i>Dear Neola<BR><BR>a memoir<BR><BR><BR>My Dear Katie,<BR> Since I had my eighty-second birthday last week I’ve been thinking it is time I write my will. You might think I’m a little late but I think I’m a little early. Both my parents and grandparents all lived well into their nineties and I‘m in no hurry to move on. To me, it seems a bit ahead of the game, but you never know what will happen next. I have to laugh. There was a man visited the home a while back who said he would only charge a hundred dollars to write up a proper last will and testament! And he said it like it was a real bargain. Well, that’s for folks as has somewhat to leave behind and none of us a the home have two blankets to rub together. It’s only sad because I have so little to leave. You’re getting the only valuable thing I have: my great-great-grandmother AmberLynne O’Gogherdy’s memoirs. Well, they may not really be valuable, but they are at least interesting.<BR> I’m leaving it to you because it isn’t the sort of thing you can leave to a son and he’d never read it anyway. Besides, he’s too much like my mother. I think, of my five grandchildren, you will most enjoy it and know what to do with it. The boys would never read it. And they wouldn’t understand it if they did. If I give it to Ginger she will either never get around to reading it, or, if she did read it she might take offense and burn it. She’s like her father that way.<BR> You’ve probably never heard any stories about this grandma. She was one of those closet skeletons people talk about. Or don’t talk about (ha-ha!). Quite a caution and no mistake if you believe what she wrote, and I do. Her memoirs are something else as they say. What a life! I think, in some ways it’s a different world. Sadly, in other ways, nothing has changed at all. I won’t give anything away, but when MY mother read them she wanted to burn them. She only didn’t because they weren’t hers. Instead she waited until she was on her deathbed before she even told me about them and where they were hidden. So much happened after she was gone, it was a year or more before I remembered to go and look for them. Imagine my surprise when I found there was a note addressed to me! It seems Great-Grandma considered as how my mother had turned out to be quite a prissy little snob and wouldn’t even give her the time of day, literally. Mother was not happy about it but what could she do? So she read some of it, and was so horrified she almost destroyed it. But with all of her faults mother was a strong believer in honoring one’s parents so she just hid it real good. Then she waited until it wouldn’t embarrass her personally and passed it on like a hot potato. After I read it I began to understand how things stood with them a little better. When you think about how things were back then you realize they it was a big thing just to leave them. Today it’s different. People will not be shocked I don’t think, though maybe they should be. <BR> You could publish it, if you like. It‘s real interesting reading, though it will take a lot of work I suppose before you could publish it. It’s not a real memoir as a person might think. It’s a collection of journals written over many years. It takes a long time to sift through and find the next entry sometimes. I guess she kept several books handy and just wrote whenever she had a moment to jot something down. And there are long periods of time that are skipped. I think there must be some books missing, but mother was very clear that she was giving me everything, and I believe her.<BR> If you decide to publish I hope that you will share any profits with your siblings as I have nothing else to leave them. But it’s up to you since you will do all the work.<BR> I’ve sent it, for safe keeping, to an old friend of mine, Anna Stahl. She used to live in Flambeau but she moved and lives over in Spearfish. I’ll put her address and phone number at the bottom of this letter. All you have to do is call her and drive over and use the word “Gefiltefish”. She’ll laugh. (Don’t bother to ask her about it. You had to have been there.) She will hand it over without any questions. Take the pick-up because there’s a whole chest of books. I know she will keep it safe. If, by some chance, she passes on before I do, she has told me she will leave it to her son Iver in Belle Forche. But Anna is several years younger than me, in fact I used to teach her at Sunday school back in Huron.<BR> Anyway, I hope it won’t be too soon that you’re reading it, because by then I’ll be dead! (ha-ha!) At least I have something really special to leave to you when I’m gone. Remember that, Katie. When you get old you see the world a little differently. Well, quite a bit different, really. I’m not so much worried about having for myself anymore. It’s just good to have something to give. Do yourself a favor: to avoid the regrets I’m having, plan to leave some things behind, special things for special people.<BR> And so, I leave you with that thought: you are very special to me. I’m not telling tales out of school when I say that you have always been my favorite grandchild. I think everyone has guessed it. We almost came into your parents’ household together. You were only two months old when Dave died so suddenly and your parents took me in. Those were dark days for me, and you were my light and my saving grace. You needed me when I was only a burden to everyone else. By the time the twins came along I was too depressed to care. Being an only child, and having only one child, I’m afraid I was just too overwhelmed with the all the bustle of such a busy home. Then your other grandmother moved in just before she died and I felt more useless than ever. Well, I’m getting off the track a little. I hope you enjoy reading it and have someone to pass it on to when you are old.<BR>Remember Gramma loves you. Say your prayers and be good. <BR>The Lord bless you.<BR>Love,<BR>Gramms
Last edited by Old_Begonia on Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Old_Begonia
"Old"...hmpf, if they only knew...


 
Posts: 2391
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2002 8:00 pm
Location: West of the West
Top

Postby the mouth of sauron » Fri Jan 24, 2003 2:26 am

O_B I am so choked up with emotions... that to me would be a gift to be trausered forever. <BR><BR>No price could be put on writings of this nature... no momey in the world can give you the look into the past that these memoirs would provide... <BR><BR>I have some letters writen to my mother from her mum and I have those, but to have something going so far back into the family... all those thoughts and ideas... your daughter has become very rich in history indeed.<BR><BR>Thank you for sharing this with us.<BR>Davey.
User avatar
the mouth of sauron
Mariner


 
Posts: 7993
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2000 1:00 am
Location: Australia
Top

Postby Alaklainiel » Sat Jan 25, 2003 8:01 pm

WOW!! *tears* that is very beautiful! Yes, there isno price you could ever put on that. That is a true treasure! Once again, very beautiful indeed!
User avatar
Alaklainiel
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 415
Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2002 2:52 pm
Top

Postby KBrandybuck » Tue Jan 28, 2003 5:29 pm

Old Begonia, now you have me wondering what's in the memoirs!! Don't leave us hanging. <BR><BR>Or should I just say Gefiltefish and I can read them myself?<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>
User avatar
KBrandybuck
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 3213
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2002 10:22 pm
Top

Postby Old_Begonia » Tue Jan 28, 2003 7:20 pm

It's going to take some time to sort through them all, so excerpts will come slowly and probably not in chronological order. I should be able to post a little something this weekend.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>OOC--this is by way of introducing a story I started some fifteen years ago. Bits and pieces are lying around the 'garage' in my head, and on various and sundry floppys. I posted here in an effor to give myself the kick in the butt I'm going to need to get serious about my writing, "I've put this off for far too long." Now that I have your attention I'll have to produce. And for MoS and Alaklainiel, I only wish I actually had these things already written. It's really gratifying that you liked what I've put forth so far. For what it's worth, the story will be semi-autobiographical, (they do say to <i>write what you know</i>).
User avatar
Old_Begonia
"Old"...hmpf, if they only knew...


 
Posts: 2391
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2002 8:00 pm
Location: West of the West
Top

Postby Old_Begonia » Tue Feb 18, 2003 9:06 pm

It’s been a little busy here of late, so it’s taken me awhile to choose what to share from these journals. Many of the earlier ones just seem to be almost the work of a child. More like a young girl’s diary, but with some notable exceptions; entries mention family members and friends, particularly one Captain Breetsma, who doted on her and looked in on her family from time to time. Amber-Lynne confessed to her diary more than once that she expected to be told one day that he was her real father by an unfortunate liason. But then he passed away and no one said anything. But his memory was still dear to her. She lived near the plantation of a wealthy French family, (I gather it was in French Indo-China, now Vietnam), and was the special friend of the master’s daughter, Clarissa. Clarissa seems to have suffered from poor health, which made exercise of any kind extremely difficult and absolutely necessary. Amber-Lynne’s friendship was used to encourage Clarissa to engage as much as she could. She was apparently a frequent and welcome visitor to the plantation, Le Château d’Lyon, or Lion House, as she sometimes refers to it. There she learned riding, fencing, archery and shooting among other things, at which AmberLynne seems to have excelled while poor Clarissa waned ever weaker. She died when the girls where both fourteen. I shall try to find that passage again and relate it here. It was quite sad and, as Amber-Lynne was so young the brevity of the passage is poignant and telling. Otherwise the diary records all the trials of a young heart, (and a short but sweet courtship by local gallant, age twelve). The last pages of one of the earlier ones date from late June, 1845, and make some allusion to her impending wedding day, still some time off. The nuptials never took place however. Later journals do not mention ‘James’, her intended. Though she does at times allude to being widowed, I suspect this may have been a ruse. I’ve read and re-read these entries several times. Some sentences don’t make sense to me, but I will put them down as they appear. Hopefully, later passages will tie up any loose ends.<BR><BR><BR>June 14, 1847—Dear diary, my dearest friend in all the world. I write these words now more truly than ever, over these tear stained leaves. For there is no one to whom I can turn with this awful news. What can I say? There is nothing to be said. Can I say that I always knew? For surely I did. Surely I remember when I first came here. I certainly remember that I was not always here, that there was a time before. There was a dark, bad time before, and then I was here and all has been well and good ever since. <BR>Mother is not mother. Brother is not brother. All whom I have held dear are not my own, they are borrowed. This I knew, yet believed there was some earthly connexion. They have all loved me full willingly, and without the bond of blood to bind but only Christ’s own Blood. For, as Christians they took me in, offering so much more than a cup of water.<BR>Water. <BR>Mothernotmymother, (shall I ever call her else?), has bidden me try to remember the time before. For love of her I shall obey and tred that dark and fearful path. I remember water, the sea. And sun. I remember that I could not walk. That someone was very angry with me. It was a man. Could this be my father? I do not want to think it, but my heart tells me it was he. I had done something unspeakably wrong and for punishment was being made to stay on a beach where no one was. I see the man walking away, into the surf, there is a small boat waiting. We came ashore in it. I know that I mustn’t cry, crying is why I am being left. I want to follow, but I cannot walk. Something is wrong with my leg. I look down now and know that if I lift my skirt and petticoat I will see scars. They do not bother me, but I know they are there. I know there are other scars. Mothernotmymother knows they are there, (who better? Who bathed me? Who dressed me? Who taught me ‘these are called scars?), though she has otherwise never spoken of them. <BR>I look down then and see that there is no dress, no dainty petticoat, only my own spindly legs below the remnants of a castoff shred of once-white petticoat. I do not remember ever wearing anything else. To my knowledge I was born in that piece of petticoat. Somehow, I have it in my mind that I thought my life bound up with it. That when the last threads of it became undone my life would end. Perhaps that was not far from true, for surely that life ended and Mothernotmymother has told me there was nothing left of it when I was brought here, wrapped in a blanket, naked, filthy and broken. <BR>I am on the beach. The sun feels unbearably hot. My skin burns. I know there are trees behind me, but I cannot walk to them. I try to sit, but that hurts too much. I lay down and shade my eyes with my arm. The little boat has taken the man, he is my father, out to a ship. I am alone. I can cry now because he won’t hear me. As I lay there on the sand, I wonder when he will come back for me. I am very weak. I have much pain. [Here there is another sentence but it is blurred, presumably by tears.]<BR><BR>June 18th, 1847--I am numb now. I sit and write, but I am not here. I am outside myself, across the room, looking at this limp and wretched soul, scribbling away. I am undone. I am not Lady Amber-Lynne. I am not Amber-Lynne. I am not anybody. All that I know of myself is a ruse. There is no record of my birth. I was baptized to be sure, and that would do for the marriage certificate , but who was baptized? What was baptized? A stray, a cast-off, unwanted piece of flesh. Useless, unworthy even of a crust of bread. By my own father. What could I have done to warrant such a punishment? To my mind now I know that nothing I could have done would have deserved to be abandoned, and worse. (Yes, there is worse, my friend, but I cannot write of it now, not even to you dearest diary.) But to my child mind, I want still to make amends, I want him to return and to forgive me. Where is my mother? I had a mother, surely. But I have wandered down many and many a dark hallway of the past and of her there is not the faintest whisper of memory. Perhaps the man who left me was not my father? Perhaps I was stolen from the cradle? But to what purpose? No. I will not paint another ruse. Better the most damned truth than another pretty lie.<BR><BR>June 25, 1847—Dear diary, I am a little more at peace today. The wedding will go forward as planned. All see me now as the blushing bride. Little do they know the source of my trepidation. How if James should find out? Or his family? She who raised me, (why can I not call her Mother now?), wept with me when she first revealed all she knows of my finding. I suppose it was right that I should know before I bind myself to James. Now I am faced with the burden of deciding whether to tell him. But, dearest diary, there is no decision to be made. He must simply never know. The ruse has been sufficient until now and, with God’s grace it will be sufficient ‘til the end. I shall speak no more of this.
User avatar
Old_Begonia
"Old"...hmpf, if they only knew...


 
Posts: 2391
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2002 8:00 pm
Location: West of the West
Top

Postby LalaithUrwen » Tue Feb 18, 2003 10:06 pm

O_B, It sounds very good! And, very sad! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-crying.gif"border=0><BR><BR>I especially like the format you're going with--the letter first, then the journal excerpts. Will you tie them together with scenes from Katie's (?) life? Sort of a switching between the two, or did you have something else in mind?<BR><BR>Lalaith <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>
User avatar
LalaithUrwen
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 3738
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 6:06 pm
Location: Beautiful Ohio
Top

Postby Eyriel » Wed Feb 26, 2003 11:02 pm

Wow! Old_Begonia, you certainly have quite a God-given gift! I love this kind of historical writing, and you do it splendidly. I'm looking forward to reading more. <BR><BR>
User avatar
Eyriel
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1283
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2002 7:31 pm
Top

Postby HONEYELF » Tue Apr 29, 2003 10:01 pm

Hullo,<BR><BR>This is really intriguing! When will there be more? Very well written, too!<BR><BR>HoneyElf
User avatar
HONEYELF
Rider of the Mark
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2003 11:31 pm
Top

Postby Iavas_Saar » Thu Jul 31, 2003 5:24 pm

This is wonderful! I am <i>so</i> intrigued! Old_B, please keep at this work, it has a huge potential, and you have an excellent style. It <i>feels</i> like an accomplished piece of writing already, not at all like most amateur efforts. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>
User avatar
Iavas_Saar
Mariner


 
Posts: 9145
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2001 7:39 pm
Top

Postby Old_Begonia » Thu Jul 31, 2003 11:29 pm

<i>This has been a long time coming. I searched and searched and finally came up with a section I think you’ll like. It’s dated several years after the earlier ones. And its tone is quite different. You can tell she’s older and has been through a lot. I mean this lady traveled a lot! It has a bit of a twist at the end of this part. I had to edit it for TORC, but by this time in her life she had acquired quite a vocabulary. In fact, some sections are written in languages I’ve yet to decipher. She must have been quite the linguist, for it seems she picked up not only spoken language, but the writing of them as well. I’ve had a friend look at some of it, she says part of it is Sanskrit, but sort of pigeon-Sanskrit, so it’s really hard to understand. But I guess she spent time in a harem! How she got there and how she got away is hard to figure, because that’s the part she didn’t write in English. But right after that it takes up in French. Again, it’s sort of phonetic, so it’s not easy to be sure of what she’s getting at sometimes. But this part was written in English. She mentions Hangtown, later Placerville, a gold rush town famous for its vigilante justice. </i><BR><BR>March 15, 1853-It was like watching a play. I will try to write all I remember.<BR>Gunshots exploded through the crisp night air. I heard my voice shriek, “I was six years old, you _____! I was a child!” <BR>I fired the pistol again and the old man on the ground groaned in agony. His clothing hung as on a skeleton, disheveled from long homelessness and dissipation, he was as good as dead. But I did not kill him. Not yet. As he lay helpless on the dusty street, bullets in both shoulders, both legs and two in his gut, his eyes searched my face wonderingly. I paused to reload. <BR>“I hate you! You ______! You ruined me! You ruined my life!”, spitting out an epithet with each deliberate movement. I loaded a single cartridge. Bringing blinding rage in check, I raised my arm, the gun at point blank range. My eyes narrowed. As I drew a bead on his forehead I could see he was sweating, huge silver drops that glistened in the moonlight. Good, I thought. His eyes widened in a death-like stare, yet he wasn’t dead. Slowly his gaze focused on the raging, red-haired woman before him. I was elegantly dressed in delicate silks, the latest fashion. It must have seemed strange in that dusty ‘boomtown’ that was little more than a huddle of shacks and tents stranded in a cleft of the mountains. He stared as if he didn‘t recognize me. His breath came in the shallow puff of a sick, old man in pain and terror.<BR>“Who...who...are...you?”, he gasped, wincing with the effort.<BR>I stepped back, dumbfounded, and lowered the gun. I had played this scene in my head so many times, I thought I had covered every possibility. I had thought he would beg, hoped it really. Or lie and claim to be someone else, but I knew this was him. He might even try to say he was sorry, more lies. Of all the things I had imagined him saying, I never expected this. <BR>“Who am I?”, my voice was little more than a whisper. A wave of nausea swept over me as the implications became clear. “Do you mean you have [abused] so many six year old girls and left them for dead that you don’t even remember your own daughter?” I gaped at him, incredulous. “You bloody ______.” It was a statement rather than an accusation.<BR>The old man’s face was a study in wonder. “Oh, for God’s sake. Amber-Lynn,” he gasped.<BR>“So, you do remember.” At least he wasn’t going to lie about that.<BR>“I. . .don’t kill me. Please, Amber.” He looked at me reproachfully.<BR>The begging. This I had expected. I couldn’t help giving him an evil grin. I had an answer for him. The pistol was still in my hand at my side. She cocked it.<BR>“Please, help me, Amber-Lynn. You don’t want to go to hell do you? You’ve done an awful thing here...”<BR>“Hell?” This wasn’t new either. Obey your father, or you’ll burn forever. I just looked at him. “I’ve been there”. My voice was deadly calm, and smooth as cool buttermilk. “Now I’m back. I’ve done an awful thing? You [abused] me and then left me alone and naked on that godforsaken island. I was almost dead when they found me.” I raised the pistol and drew a bead again.<BR>My father moaned and said, “Please, don’t, I’m already hurtin’ pretty bad here. I’m gonna to die soon anyway. Please, let be. Amber-Lynn, don’t,” he saw the resolution in my eyes, “have pity, Amber, I’m an old man. Leave me to die in peace.”<BR>“Pity? Peace? I swear I don’t know what you mean. How much pity did you show me? Or any of the others? I cried, I begged, I pleaded. I did everything you told me to do. I was a good little girl. You just used me and threw me away like a piece of garbage. No. No peace. And no pity.” My hand was perfectly steady as I squeezed off the round.<BR>A small dark smudge appeared between his eyes, but the dirt beneath his head was suddenly glistening with bloody gray muck. His face froze in wide eyed, vacant disbelief. It didn’t matter. He was dead. I lowered my arm at last and heaved a slow, liberating, cleansing sigh. For all these years I had tracked him, across continents and oceans, following a bloody trail of victims. Little blonde girls, all [abused], beaten to death. Now, at last, he was dead. That knowledge didn’t bring the flood of tears I had expected. I felt nothing. I was numb. I breathed deeply and wondered at how really remarkable nothing can feel.<BR>Well, the deed was done. Done. Victory at last. Now what?<BR>“Peace,” I said, tossing the gun toward the stiffening corpse, “maybe now I can think about peace.” I turned to walk away and realized we were not alone in the street. Not alone at all but surrounded on all sides by men, and a few women, in every imaginable stage of drunkenness. They stared silently at me and at what I had done. I wondered how much of our conversation they’d heard.<BR>Hangtown was not a place given over to the niceties of the law, but even here cold-blooded execution of an unarmed man was not exactly commonplace. I had hoped, when I’d realized I would catch up with him here that folks would see things my way. These miners were known to take a dim view of murder. That some of these might also be guilty of some similar crime only just now occurred to me: How would I fare at the hands of my father’s peers? Would they turn on me? Execute me as I had him? Did it matter? <BR>As you know, I had faced down large groups of men before, but always with a weapon of some kind: a gun or a sword, sometimes with just my wits and the seething, incredibly powerful rage that was often my only companion. But I had just cast away my only weapon and my anger was assuaged. I felt suddenly naked and defenseless again, a feeling I could not and would not abide. Summoning a dignity I little guessed and did not understand I lifted my chin just enough to show I was neither ashamed nor sorry for what I’d done. Slowly I moved toward the ring of witnesses, eyes front as though not concerned with the opinions of the people around me. And I wasn’t. I really didn’t care what these people thought, or did. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. He was finally dead, and nothing else in my world mattered. <BR>Whether they agreed with me or were simply too stunned or drunk to stop me I never knew, but they parted and let me pass. I walked numbly toward the hotel. <BR>I was nearly there before I realized someone was following me. At first I thought I must be mistaken, but though the footsteps were very quiet on the wood sidewalk, they matched mine step for step. Whoever it was didn’t want to be noticed. It was almost a relief to pull my mind away from the events of the last few minutes to concentrate on this new situation. Who was following me? And why? A few steps before the safety of the hotel lobby a hand grabbed my shoulder. I tried to run but my feet wouldn’t move, as if they were stuck in mud, very thick mud and my legs couldn’t move at all. I tried to turn to look at whoever was behind me but found the more I turned the whole street turned. It was spinning and spinning, the hand on my shoulder was rocking me harder and harder. My other shoulder was hard up against the storefront which was altogether too soft for a storefront. A voice called. It was a woman’s voice, but the hand, I’d thought it was a man's. I tried to look at the hand. My eyes wouldn’t focus and I felt ill again. The voice called once more, so softly and sweetly, “AmberLynne, it’s all right, stop crying. Wake up.”<BR>Suddenly my arms and legs felt like lead, or huge lumps of clay. I couldn’t move at all for a moment, though it seemed the whole world was moving around me. With a tremendous effort I tried to open my eyes. Only one responded at first. I raised my eyebrows to try and help the other open, everything seemed dark and foggy. I succeeded in getting them both open only to shut them tight against the piercing light of the swaying kerosene lamp.<BR>“AmberLynne, wake up,” that soft voice again, so sweet, so concerned. Then I knew it had happened again, dearest diary. I went through with the whole thing, it was all over and done, I had triumphed, but it was just a dream: he’s still out there. The _____ is still out there, maybe even right now enticing some little girl with promises of candy or castles or anything he thinks she wants, then he’ll take her to some lonely place and. . .<BR>Dearest diary I know I shrieked again and cried out NO! Poor Colleen. She is so young and sweet. I don’t normally care so much about lying to people, but it’s been an unhappy chance that has me painting such a gaudy picture for this little darling. I’ve had to explain the nightmares and other things. I told her a very sad tale of losing my beloved fiancé on the eve of our wedding. She thinks I dream of him falling down the stairs and breaking his neck. I told her all the weapons were his too. But I have to be careful. That sweet little mind is like a steel trap,<BR>The words of the dream must have lingered in my mind, for I said, ‘Who are you?’ out loud. <BR>“It’s Colleen, you goose. Wake up!” She had awakened me as quickly as she could. She chattered on in an effort to comfort me. Sometimes I wish she would be quiet and leave me in peace.
[Edited 8/29/08 to change Kate to Colleen]
Last edited by Old_Begonia on Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
Old_Begonia
"Old"...hmpf, if they only knew...


 
Posts: 2391
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2002 8:00 pm
Location: West of the West
Top

Postby Iavas_Saar » Fri Aug 01, 2003 10:14 am

<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-shocked.gif"border=0> Superb!! You paint such a vivid picture!<BR><BR>I have a question, is the Katie who receives the journal named after the Kate <i>in</i> the journal?
User avatar
Iavas_Saar
Mariner


 
Posts: 9145
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2001 7:39 pm
Top

Postby Old_Begonia » Fri Aug 01, 2003 10:17 am

Yes, I believe she was. There does seem to be some connexion, but it remains vague. I'll definitely include whatever I find. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>
User avatar
Old_Begonia
"Old"...hmpf, if they only knew...


 
Posts: 2391
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2002 8:00 pm
Location: West of the West
Top

Postby LadyCoralie » Fri Aug 01, 2003 3:35 pm

Wow Begonia...this is incredible. It is a compelling read mate.<BR><BR>So is this put together from diaries you found and then reworked?
User avatar
LadyCoralie
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 3191
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2001 5:23 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia
Top

Postby Old_Begonia » Fri Aug 01, 2003 4:59 pm

It is fiction. But yes, that's the idea.
User avatar
Old_Begonia
"Old"...hmpf, if they only knew...


 
Posts: 2391
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2002 8:00 pm
Location: West of the West
Top

Postby Old_Begonia » Thu Sep 25, 2003 5:25 pm

July 1, 1847-The best intentions dashed. Mothernotmymother has told all. I understand that she thought it best, but she might have informed or consulted me. James knows. I gather that his family has known for some time, probably since the beginning that I was not my mother’s child, that I was adopted. But now they know all. God bless her honest heart, I am sure it is for the best. How very difficult it would have been to deceive one whom I love so dearly. And as a pastor’s wife I must always walk uprightly and in God’s holy light. So, we go forward. I have not spoken to James since he was told. She who raised me visited his family last Sunday eve, over in Hartstown while she was staying with her friend Mrs. Appleby. James knows. He is a loving and good man, called to God’s holy ministry, ordained to preach the gospel. I should count it a privilege to be his bride, no matter whose daughter I was, but as I am nobody’s daughter I feel like Cinderella who has been found by Prince Charming. How very fortunate to be loved by such a man. It’s only hard because we shall have to wait for so long. California is such a long ways a way, but it seems the need is great there. I had hoped he might find a place in England but that is too much to ask, I suppose. I should very much like to see England some day. <BR>I am much more at ease with my situation now. My days at the DuMont house are pleasant and little Michelle is such a dear child, it is a pleasure to watch over and teach her. Such a bright and loving child. She knows her letters already, she speaks perfect French of course but also perfect English. The only problem is she does not know she speaks two languages and sometimes the words come tumbling out in such a fashion as to bewilder the mind! Yet she always manages to make herself clear, perhaps the more so as she has the vocabulary of two languages at her disposal! And she is very tender to all she meets. She loves to sit in the garden near the roses. Yesterday the new gardener was there , a coarse looking fellow, very dark from the sun, though he wore a large hat that shadowed his face deeply. But he seemed to know what he was about with the roses and to enjoy his work. She was quite fascinated by the scene of all the rose bushes on one side being so full of blooms and lovely to see, and all those he had pruned which looked so barren and sad, with the blooms laying on the ground to be bundled up and taken away. He had pruned the rose bushes rather severely. This distressed Michelle to think of all those roses that would soon fade. Nothing would do but we had to bring them all into the house and find bowls and pitchers for them all. And she insisted that some must be placed in my room and in Mademoiselle Celine’s room and in the kitchen, and even the butler’s pantry. We, the other servants and I, all shared the joke and let her place them where she would, though once she was laid down for her nap we rearranged things more suitably. She’s just the merriest soul and brings a smile wherever she goes. I do hope that if and when God shall see fit to allow me to bear a child, she shall be as sweet and delightful as little Michelle. <BR>James will visit tomorrow, our first since he has had the news of my past. I hope it does not shake him too much. I hope that he can see how greatly this will enable me to speak to even the most downtrodden, not holding myself better than any, but with a humble knowledge of my own worth, I shall be able to work side by side with him to reap the Harvest of Souls in whatsoever fields God has called us to work.<BR><BR>July 16, 1847--Dear diary, it has been two weeks and more since I have written. Things have befallen which a fortnight ago would have been unthinkable. (O, how often I have found the ‘unthinkable’ is exactly what does come to pass!) and I have ought to report which raises a very serious question, and one I have not fully considered heretofore: who are you? To whom do I write? At first, and for long, this habit was merely an exercise for Mothernotmymother to gauge my progress in my lessons. Those lessons are a distant memory now, and Mothernotmymother has not looked on my writing for many a year. As time progressed I found I could confide all my secrets here, foolish childhood wondering and more serious questions of God and His universe, and long habit brings me ever back to pour out my heart to this one listening ear. I am compelled to write, but now I have such to record as must not be read or known by any now living. To posterity then? But I have now no particular hope or expectation of motherhood. A path opens before me now which will not allow or afford such lofty goals and to where it shall lead in the end, I dare not contemplate. Yet, I must believe that someone, sometime will read this, and I pray they will not judge too harshly if I can but put myself wholly onto the page. Still, it would be foolish to suppose and assume these pages will be completely private, and so I must engage in a little subterfuge. I will explain myself anon. <BR>Until now, I have made no secret of these journals, and they are casually stored on a shelf in my room. However, matters begin to unfold which may make this practice unwise, though perhaps less wise would be a change of habit just now. <BR>Now.<BR>I see that I have used this word many times today. Today, now. This is such a different world today, now, than it was just a short time ago. How existence and the course of one’s life may be forever altered by a single event!<BR>I will here set down, as nearly as I can remember, the events of these last days. (My thoughts tumble and whirl so, a part of my hope is that I shall be able to lay hold of them once they are confined to the page, and plan soberly for the future. My face flushes, my breath comes short and my stomach churns at the thought of what I must write. But I must write!)<BR>When last I wrote I was beginning to remember my youth. That I am a foundling-child adopted by the most loving Christian parents a child could hope to have. A foundling, once abused and discarded by a man I fervently believe was my most unnatural natural father. Who my mother may be and where, I have not the least notion. My world reeled with these memories. I was set to marry James, his family had apparently known somewhat of my history and accepted me for him in despite of my unknown origins. But James…James, the one who said so often how he could not contemplate the world without me, James has proven less able to practice that unconditional love he preaches. I have become bitter, and shall become more so I am sure. God, in His wisdom, has created me, crushed me, cruelly used me and discarded me no less than my father: James will not have me. O, but that is the least of my burdens!<BR>As I look at the calendar on the wall I see that it has indeed been just 15 days since that fateful night. 15 days. It is amazing to me that so much can have happened in so short a time.<BR>It was 15 days ago I walked along the boardwalk near the harbor with James, who had come to unburden himself with respect to his feelings for me. He said he had not known of my past before, or even suspected, and that had he known he would never have put himself forward. He feels that a preacher’s wife must be of the highest quality and because so much is unknown about me, I cannot fill this role for him and his future constituents, his parents approval notwithstanding. I knew not whether to be more astonished at this pronouncement or at the one who pronounced it. Here was the dear lover who had declaimed in the most passionate terms that his calling were too much to bear but he had a strong and loving bride, a helper meet to his needs. Here was the fine preacher who rode out every Saturday to share my half-holidays in study with me. Here he was looking on my face, most disgusted by what he saw. Yet I am not different than I was. Indeed, for his sake, I had taken much more care with my hair and dress, to be presentable in the modest fashion I knew well pleased him. But he saw none of that. He saw the foundling child. The fatherless cast-off. And here was the fine figure of manhood walking away, leaving me alone on the beach. I shall always hate the sound of the ocean. It is ever fated to signal death and separation for me.<BR>That was Saturday and I had taken my half-holiday from caring for little Michelle . I had left her in the care of Mademoiselle Celine, the housekeeper, as has been the custom since I came here. It was nearing the dinner hour and I was expected at the house, but I could not turn my feet homeward. The sun was still high and I wandered alone on the dunes. It was there Mr. Bowman found me. I had sat some while in tears, trying to find my way to thanking God for this terrible fate. He came up to me, very much out of breath and said that I must come immediately, something had happened to Mmslle Michelle. I thought perhaps she had been taken ill, but he said no, she had been taken. ‘Taken?!’ says I, ‘Yes, taken!’ says he. He knew no more but that I was wanted immediately, so we went. The house was all astir, doors and windows all open and ajar, every closet and pantry was searched and searched again, everyone calling everywhere, ‘MICHELLE!!’ But there was no response. The child had vanished. She had been in her bed, napping in the afternoon, but when it was time for her to be got ready for dinner, she was gone. Her window, which had been ajar, was open, but it could not be determined whether she might have opened it and wandered off or if an intruder may have come and stolen her. Mssr. DuMont was away, and Madam DuMont was hysterical, striking the servants and screeching at Mr. Bowman to call the constable and the doctor and every other authority she could name. As Dr. Humprhies is a particular friend of mine and lives close at hand I offered to fetch him. But on my way…on my way…O reader…I trod the path I have trod so many times in friendship to his door, in innocence and bliss then, childishly believing the world a safe and happy place. O how we can deceive ourselves. I know, who should know better? how unsafe and unhappy a world this is. I walked briskly along in urgent prayer, wondering if James might still be about who might be able to calm Madam DuMont and minister God’s peace to her. But the path was obstructed. The sun was setting and I could not see clearly until I had nearly tripped on what lay there. It was Michelle. Or rather, Michelle’s body. She, mercifully, had gone home to Paradise. But her tattered remains lay there, bleeding and broken. Her chemise was gone and she lay there naked in the dwindling light. I should have called out. I should have screamed. I should have run. But I could do nothing but stand rigid and stare. It was horrible to think and see and know that poor little Michelle was dead, her empty eyes still stared into the gray twilight, her pretty face, framed with silken blonde curls, swollen with many blows, her bloodied mouth open in a silent scream. But more horrible still was to know who had done this. <u>I knew!</u> I knew as I knelt beside her and saw her wounds. I knew as I looked at her left leg, broken in just exactly the same place mine had been broken. And I knew as I looked and saw marks on her body which, if she had lived and they had been allowed to mend, would have yielded scars identical to my own. I knelt and stared and cried. Not for Michelle. I cried for me. Why could I not be dead? Why had I lived? What cruel joke was God playing, to leave me broken in this broken world? And to bring me to this place, to see this sight. Why? I wept angry, bitter tears until at last Mr. Bowman again found me, and with me poor Michelle. All have thought my tears were for her. I have made no effort to disabuse them of this notion. <BR>I have told no one what I know: my father is near at hand and he it was who did this. Mothernotmymother, who would also guess the truth, did not see Michelle, and for pity's sake no one has spoken of how she was found. That she was taken and killed is all that is generally known. Even her mother knows not the truth, it would kill her, I believe. <BR>I have spoken to Constable Roberts. I tried to tell him, but something held me back. I confess I have eavesdropped and heard what was not meant for my ears, but I begin to have an answer to my question: why? Why am I here? Why was I spared? It seems that Michelle and I are not so singular as one could wish and suppose. The constable was aware of several other such cases, all similarly kept quiet, but all with much the same details: small blonde girls, snatched from their beds at mid day, and brutally murdered. In my heart of hearts I began to understand my path. I began to see a pattern that had not emerged before. <BR> <BR><BR><i>I hope to be able to add to this soon. It accounts for my absence from TORC.
User avatar
Old_Begonia
"Old"...hmpf, if they only knew...


 
Posts: 2391
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2002 8:00 pm
Location: West of the West
Top

Postby Eyriel » Thu Sep 25, 2003 8:03 pm

Wow...this keeps getting better and better! I'm very intrigued and can't wait to read more. This is excellent!
User avatar
Eyriel
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1283
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2002 7:31 pm
Top

Postby Old_Begonia » Thu Sep 25, 2003 8:29 pm

Thanks Eyriel! I hope to work on it this weekend.
User avatar
Old_Begonia
"Old"...hmpf, if they only knew...


 
Posts: 2391
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2002 8:00 pm
Location: West of the West
Top

Postby adanadhel » Fri Sep 26, 2003 2:07 pm

What a great story so far! The feelings are presented so vividly. Thank you O_B for sharing this on TORC! Best of luck as you continue to work on this.
User avatar
adanadhel
Shield Bearer
 
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2003 7:03 pm
Top

Postby prmiller » Mon Oct 06, 2003 5:54 pm

I can understand how one could be lured into believing in this<BR>as art-proceeding-from-life. There are elements of Everyman/<BR>Everysoul in this that are echoes of the stories I hear, really,<BR>truly hear, from the lips of people treated horribly by others.<BR><BR>My days lurking here, unlike the silent visitors one sees in<BR>a physical gathering of friends, cannot be witnessed by others.<BR>Therefore, I want to post that I have been here, have been <BR>reading and have been doing much thinking about these <BR>themes.<BR><BR>I give much thanks to God to watch a piece of literature emerge<BR>from your heart within this place. Please, do keep writing.<BR><BR>I am counter-inspired.
User avatar
prmiller
I am Parm: Servant of Eru, Bard of Imladris

 
Posts: 7230
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2002 8:04 am
Location: Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
Top

Postby Old_Begonia » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:36 pm

I know there's a lot here, and thank you to anyone with the patience to start at the beginning.

I'm on the verge of adding to this in the next week or two and would appreciate any fresh feedback particularly with respect to any continuity flaws.

Thanks!
"And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen."

There is something profound about standing AT sea level.
Image
User avatar
Old_Begonia
"Old"...hmpf, if they only knew...


 
Posts: 2391
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2002 8:00 pm
Location: West of the West
Top

Re: "Dear Neola..." updated

Postby Old_Begonia » Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:39 am

Good grief. Almost seven years! I can't believe I've left this hanging for so long!

If this is your first time reading here, start with the very first entry, then read this, it sort of follows on and tells how I actually acquired the chest.

As it had been well over a decade since Gramms wrote that letter I knew I’d have a time locating Anna in South Dakota from my home in California. I tried the number on the letter first, but it was disconnected. I looked up the address on Google Earth. The place looked abandoned on Street View. I tried Facebook but there are pages of “Anna Stahl”s and none of them look like they might be the right one. Then I realized Anna, being at least an octogenarian, is probably not on Facebook, duh. I tried a few internet searches, but gave up. I’m no McGee when it comes to online searches, and I didn’t want to have to pay to get this information.

Then I remembered seeing an old address book, tucked in the bottom drawer of her night stand. What had become of it? On the off chance he’d remember, I asked Dad about it. “Of course! You don’t throw THOSE away!” Okay, well I wouldn’t but he’d tossed out so much else of her stuff, I figured it was ten to one odds it was gone. Anyway, he pulled it out of a desk drawer. “I want it back”, he grumped at me as he handed over the tattered old book, as if I was plotting to copyright it or something.

I sat down at the kitchen table and began to examine my grandmother’s “address book”. There were ragged pages sticking out here and there. The whole thing was held together with a fresh Christmas ribbon, white with little candy canes on it. The front cover was gone but the spine and back were still intact and I could just make out the pink flower pattern on the soiled and worn silk binding. The book seemed remarkably heavy for its size.

Then I turned my attention to the content. The names were not in any particular order and some just had addresses with no phone numbers, and some that had phone numbers had the exchange written out, like, “Broadway 3-1983”. She must have had only this one address book since forever, but there didn’t seem to be any recent entries. Many of the names had a capital letter D by them. Pouring over the names I saw many that I knew, or had heard of, great-aunts and uncles, and distant cousins.

D…deceased? Is that what it meant? Then I came across a name that quite startled me. “Amber Cameron”, it had a D. I wondered if this could be the ancestor whose journals I was to inherit. It does not seem likely, as she died in 1919. The address was in San Francisco. As Gramms had said, no one talked about this grandmother, much, so while I knew she existed, I knew nothing about her. I began to think this might have been my great-grandmother’s address book.

The reason the book was so heavy was because there were quite a few postcards, letters, and photographs tucked in among the decrepit pages. I found one from Avril Rogers, addressed to my great-grandmother, postmarked January 3, 1912: “Charlotte Doeg, Beadle, SD”. That’s all, just the name and the city.

Anyway, after looking through almost all of it I found a scrap of paper torn from a Sunday church bulletin. It was the address and phone number to West Side Calvary Community Church in Sioux Falls.

I called and the woman who answered recognized the name, Anna Stahl, but did not know anything about her. I wondered privately if we were talking about the right Anna Stahl. She took my number and promised to ask around. After a couple of weeks and an exchange of several calls, she had a lead. Anna had not been to church for a long while because she was living at Easy Acres Retirement Home. She gave me the number and I thanked her for all her trouble.

I called Easy Acres, but they said Anna had had a stroke and was in hospice care. The attendant gave me the address and phone number.

I called American Hospice House and asked to speak with Anna Stahl. Dotty, the worker who answered the phone said Mrs. Stahl was not able to use the phone, I would have to come in and speak to her directly. “The best time to come is usually late forenoon.” I decided to use up some frequent flier miles. It took me two stops and a plane change, but I got there the next day.

American Hospice House was easy to find and I was soon escorted into a restful, quiet, private room that was humming and hissing with monitors and oxygen. Anna, alert but frail, dressed and coifed for the day sat in a recliner by the window. She was as comfortable as a person could be, considering she was very ill.

“Good morning!” I realized I would need to do most of the talking, and I tried to keep my questions simple. “I am Nancy Becker. I am very glad to meet you.” She eyed me carefully. I could sense great lucidity trapped in a body that was not cooperating. “I am the granddaughter of Verna Schulz. Verna Doeg-Schulz. Do you remember her?”

She nodded, her eyes widened. She really did remember her. Then, she lowered her eyes, and frowned a little.

“Yes, she passed away. Last year. You knew that, didn’t you?”

She nodded again, slowly.

“Gramms, I mean, Verna, told me a little about you. She left me a letter.” I had it with me and took it out now to show her. “She mentions she had taught you in Sunday school back in Huron.” Anna smiled a little and continued to nod, waiting for me to come to the point. “She also says you have a trunk full of books that belong to her. Said you were keeping them for her. Do you remember that? Her eyes widened again. Yes, she nodded, very slowly, a little suspicious. I felt like a spy, trying to get someone to give something up. “She says, in the letter, here,” I pointed to the words, “that I should tell you that she says ‘gefiltefish’.” This felt very weird, like some kind of code. I looked at her and she was smiling, very broadly, her eyes crinkled in delight, then she started to wheeze and laugh. “Does that mean anything to…”

I never finished the sentence. And I never found out what it meant either. She started to choke and cough, her face was contorted…in laughter. She clutched her side and wheezed and coughed, the monitors went berserk. I didn’t know what to do, then two nurses came in and started checking things.

“You should probably leave,” said one while she was administering something in the IV. I left, went out into the hallway. I could still hear monitors beeping like crazy. They were talking to her, trying to get her to calm down but the wheezing just went on. A guy went in, then they brought her out, bed and all, she still looked like she was laughing, she pointed to me, tears streaming from her eyes. They took her away. She died that night. God, died of laughter at the word ‘gefiltefish’. Some joke.
I had planned to return to California the next day but, with Anna’s sudden death, I decided to stay for the funeral, hoping to meet her son, Iver. Though they were estranged he had been paying the bills for that private room. He’s an architect and lives in New York now.

He knew I’d been visiting shortly before his mother died and wanted to hear what had happened. I showed him the letter, and asked if he knew about the gefiltefish joke. No, he had no more idea than I did, but he did not seem surprised. Apparently Anna was a bit of an odd duck and nothing about her surprised him. He knew about the trunk, it was in storage right there in Sioux Falls and I was welcome to it. He kindly offered to have it shipped to my home in California, but warned me it was quite large and I should make room if I planned to store it at home.

The chest arrived yesterday and now sits in the garage. I had been expecting a quaint ladies humpback trunk, with pretty paper lining. Instead, I have an ugly, iron bound monstrosity. It looks like a strong box from a stagecoach, actually, but there are no markings on it. It’s not as big as I thought it would be, but it’s so heavy, and there are several dozen books in there, everything from bound ledger books to paper notebooks that might have been used by a school child. (a lot of those). I’m going to need time, and a game plan. Wish me luck!
"And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen."

There is something profound about standing AT sea level.
Image
User avatar
Old_Begonia
"Old"...hmpf, if they only knew...


 
Posts: 2391
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2002 8:00 pm
Location: West of the West
Top


Return to Writing: The Scriptorium of Imladris

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests