Since, I'm feeling so good about this, I decided to share another chapter. I look forward to comments.
The food was delicious and much different. Slabs of bacon instead of heavy German sausages, and lightly scrambled eggs instead of greasy fried, and no potatoes. Anna had sliced tomatoes and cheese alongside the warm Brotchen. She poured everyone tall glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice before she sat to fill her plate brimming. William had put Robert in Dottie’s old wooden highchair, the one he’d painted a ring of posies around the back, and filled the tray with a little of everything from the table. Robert was overjoyed moving the food around, piling it up, and licking his fingers. His face was smeared with orange marmalade where he’d eaten the middle from the slice of bread. The air was light and talk was easy with spatterings of laughter. Only Dottie was tense and solemnly quiet. When Anna began clearing the table, Dottie rose and stepped to Granny’s wheelchair.
“Come on Granny. I’ll take you to your room. We have a lot to talk about.”
She saw the quick glance Anna gave William and the short nod he gave Granny. Yes, they had plenty to talk about.
“I’ll be down in a bit to start dinner,” Dottie threw over her shoulder as you wheeled Granny through the door.
“No need,” Anna said, “I have it all under control.”
“I bet she does,” Dottie said to Granny.
Granny’s room was spotless and smelled of rosewater. Burgundy mums stood briskly in a window vase. Granny only wanted to wash her face and hands. All the heavy cleaning had been done by Anna. Dottie got her situated in the armchair by the window and she plopped crosslegged on the bed, ready for the explanation of what she seen in the kitchen.
Yes, Anna had moved into her old bedroom, Granny told her, and made it quite her own. She’d taken down the eyelet curtains and replaced them with cream chintz that matched the rose coverlet on the bed. She had silver and ivory inlaid brushes, mirrors and combs that had belonged to Dottie’s mother laid out neatly on the bare dresser top. She didn’t like doilies, Granny said. She was trying to get Bill to let her re-do the kitchen, but that was taking some time. Even though her things were in Dottie’s room, most of Anna’s time was spent in Bill’s room once Granny went to bed. Granny could hear them whispering. She was sure that a marriage was in the planning. At least Granny thought it should. Anna was a good woman and she made Bill happy. That’s what Granny told Dottie. It didn’t make Dottie feel any better that he could be cantankerous for years with her and then be the perfect beau to a woman he hardly knew. Granny said she should be happy for him. Dottie clucked.
They talked for hours about the changes, her long strolls with Anna, about Boyd and Hawaii, about Robert and his antics, about Mary and Jim. Dottie went to fetch two lemonades and wondered where Anna and her father had gone—the house was dark and silent. Granny dozed off with her head sinking into the silk pillow Anna had made for her. Dottie lie on her back staring at the ceiling thinking of how time just kept going no matter what happened. She too, slipped off to sleep. They were both awakend by a soft tap on the doorjamb.
“Sorry to disturb you,” said Anna, “but you should both come downstairs now.”
She sniffed and dabbed her eyes with one of Williams hankies before she turned to go.
“Is there something wrong, Anna,” asked Dottie.
“I think your father wants to tell you.”
And she was gone. Dottie heard her bare feet—another William Stroebe rule broken—padding down the carpeting stairs. Dottie carried Granny down to the wheelchair and pushed her toward the kitchen where Sammy Kaye’s Sunday Serenade was on the radio. Dottie would’ve sworn that her father would be listening to a football game.
“Isn’t there a football game on Father?”
“Please sit down my dear. We were listening to the Giants and Dodgers game, but there was a news broadcast cut in, so we switched over to NBC to see if they had anything. Nothing yet, so maybe they were mistaken.”
“Mistaken about what Bill? Asked Granny. “More war news?”
“Unfortunately, Louise. Not good news either. It just might be time for us to get in the mix over there.”
“Father, “exclaimed Dottie, “what are you talking about.”
From the NBC newsroom in New York. President Roosevelt said in a statement today that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii from the air. I’ll repeat that. President Roosevelt says that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii from the air. This bulletin has came to you from the NBC newsroom in New York.
“That’s the second announcement,” said Bill.
Anna cried openly now into the back of Williams’ head. He patted her hands on his shoulders.
“William, can there be a mistake?” asked Granny as she turned to take Dottie’s hands in her tiny, frail ones.
“If they’ve made two announcements on two different stations, I’d say it’s unlikely there’s a mistake. Dorothy Emma? Are you okay?”
Dottie stared at the radio. Things were sure different around here. The radio was on top of the refrigerator when it used to be on the windowsill. She looked at the empty windowsill. Sammy Kaye was singing again on the radio on top of the refrigerator. Her face was wet but she didn’t know why because Sammy Kaye was singing and she’d always liked Sammy Kaye. She looked at her hands that had begun to tremble and wondered why she couldn’t stop them. She looked at Granny, then she looked at Anna and noticed their faces were wet as well. It wasn’t until she looked into her father’s eyes that she understood, screamed and fainted.