This is the sixth annual Growing4Life Christmas Story. It is my small gift to you, my readers, and is offered in five parts which are presented every Friday during the holiday season. If you have recently subscribed you can check out the past Christmas Stories here, should you be interested. I hope that this is a welcome break from the rest of the world for just a few minutes.
I hope this finds you well. We are settling into our new normal with baby Charlie. He loves Ned and just lights up when he comes in the room. I want you to know that we are happy to keep him for as long as you need us to. Please be in touch when things settle down and we will figure out how to get him across the country. Perhaps Ned and I could take a road trip. We have always wanted to do that. Take care.
Abby stared at the letter in her hand. The box of letters from Grandma’s attic had so far been boring accounts of daily life with an occasional memorable happening thrown in. They were filled with lists of canned fruits and vegetables, illnesses of farm animals, and neighborhood events. Most were from Grandma’s sister, Edna, in Omaha; a few were from her sister-in-law, Martha, in Canada; and then there were just a handful that were from her Grandma’s best friend from childhood, Harriet, who lived in Oregon. The biggest surprise up to this point had been a beautiful love letter penned by her grandfather, a staid and quiet man who rarely shared his feelings. At least that had been the biggest surprise until right now.
Abby looked again at the shocking letter in her hand. Her eye caught another letter tucked into the large brown envelope from which she had drawn this first one. She carefully pulled it out and unfolded it. The date was five years after the first one had been written.
I hope this finds you well. We haven’t heard from you for awhile and I am a bit worried about you. It is hard to believe Charlie is going to be six years old next spring. He has become part of our family and the girls just dote on him. It’s been fun having a boy in the family and we thank you for sharing him with us.
I do think it may be good to settle in on a plan for Charlie as we move into the future. It’s been five years and we all feel rather in limbo. Do you still plan to raise him now that things have simmered down and Felix is no longer in the picture? Each year we wait will make it harder on us and on Charlie. I guess I am just a bit confused… Will wait to hear from you.
Abby peered into the brown envelope, hoping for more letters to explain. But there were none. She then shuffled through the rest of the unread letters still in the old wooden box. She desperately wanted to solve the mystery she had just stumbled upon. But the only other letters to be found from Harriet were when she had gone away to camp one summer as a teenager.
Abby thought of her kind and cheerful grandmother who had just recently moved in with her mom due to some health issues. Did Grandma have a son out west somewhere? Or was there some other explanation? Who was Charlie?
“Mom! Preston took my doll!” a voice called Abby from the past and back to her little cottage on Willow Lane.
“Preston…!” Abby called as she pushed her chair back from the small vintage desk in front of her and went to tend to her children.
A few minutes later, with Preston, Kyle, and Maddy in front of a familiar movie and munching on goldfish crackers, Abby headed back to her desk to see if she could find out more about the mysterious Charlie. She felt a little guilty leaving the kids in front of the TV but she figured for this once it wouldn’t hurt. She didn’t do it often.
Sitting back down at her desk, she stared out the window and thought of what had just come to light. What other conclusion could be drawn but that her grandmother had had a son named Charlie? It appeared that, instead of bringing him with her when she moved east to marry Grandpa, she had left him in Oregon with her best friend, Harriet.
Had Grandma Belinda kept Charlie a secret from everyone? Or did Grandpa know about Charlie? Was Charlie still alive? If so, where was he? Did he know he had a family here in Ohio?
The many questions came like a flood, begging to be answered. Abby looked at her watch. It was time to start dinner. The questions would have to wait.
Visit this page to find all of the Growing4Life Christmas Stories.