Good Morning Ted and Jody:
That pineapple whatchamacallit made it, finally. With temperatures in the low to mid 30s yesterday it started to rain. Temperatures overnight rose to 50 degrees, winds picked up to 10 to 20 MPH, and we got at least an inch-and-a-half of rain from yesterday noon to 8 A.M. this morning. Needless to say, the snow is all gone. Ironically with the increase in temperatures and participation in the form of rain our “normal” winter is back. Indeed, the blueberry plants on the front porch have that reddish new grown color and could bloom any day (Last year they bloomed twice and the weather killed them off then they finally bloomed a third time for real in the “real” spring and produced a few quarts or berries).
The vanishing snow reminds me of an “incident” with my father’s sense of humor. On one of my visits out here in the 80s, Dad and mom picked us up at the airport in Eugene. It is a good drive over to the coast and their home in Coos Bay from there; so, on the way home we stopped for pie and coffee about half way. As we were enjoying our break, Dad said “You know, Ed, you were a rotten kid. Every winter I could never find my tools. Then the spring came and there they were strewn across to back yard you had left them.” I sort of chuckled and didn’t quite know what to do. But he continued. ”But I owe you an apology for thinking ill of you. For you went off to college and every winter I could never find my tools until the snow melted in the Spring and there they were strewn across to back yard she had left them. You know you had a rotten sister.” But he wasn’t finished. “But, I owe your sister an apology for thinking ill of her too. For she too went off to college and every winter I could never find my tools until the snow melted in the Spring and there they were strewn across to back yard.” He paused at that point and then concluded “You know, I have a rotten wife.”
A few days later we were to have dinner with my folks and my sister and her husband, Peter. Peter was running late, some discipline issue at the school where he was vice-principle. While we were waiting we ordered antipasto and coffee. My sister, (Ronda), my wife and my Mother and I were sitting there each of us picking what we thought was the good stuff out of the antipasto when Dad went into a repeat of his winter lament from a few days before (MY sister was a new audience for him with this one). “You know, Ed, you were a rotten kid.” At this point my sister was animated and shaking her head in agreement and saying “Yes, you got that right.” Then Dad Continued. “Every winter I could never find my tools. Then the spring came and there they were strewn across to back yard you had left them.” My sister still enjoying what she thought must be my discomfort, pointing at me and nodding her head and making low happy chortling sounds. So, Dad went on. “But I owe you an apology for thinking ill of you. For you went off to college and every winter I could never find my tools until the snow melted in the Spring and there they were strewn across to back yard she had left them. You know you had a rotten sister.” At this point my sister came off her seat, dropping the choice cheese morsel she had just picked from the antipasto platter and in a loud indignant voice protested her innocence. Ronda was so upset that she never head the ending of the story. But then, she never quite got Dad’s humor.
Funny what a little melting snow reminds one of these many years later.
I am attaching the next installment of the Amanda Sage,
I do hope this finds you healthy, warm and happy (dry would be asking too much if you lived out here).
Warmest regards, Ed
041 Interview with Marion Wythe
Fiction in 1247 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
When Special Agent Fleishman got back to Edith Gunderson’s office he found her, Mr. Murphy and Jeremy Eastman writing on three white boards with more than a dozen colored markers. “Hello, what have we got?”
Edith Gunderson held up a finger as if telling him to wait a moment as she finished an entry on the board upon which she was writing. “We think we have found the source of the Late Judge’s large deposits. Mr. Murphy noticed that the last four digits of the patents seemed to correspond to the numbers Judge Belemany had entered in his account ledger. Indeed, Mr. Murphy’s data allowed him to trace those back to the patents. He even obtained electronic confirmations of the source. My, my, but those royalties really paid off.” Pointing to the board Mr. Murphy was writing on. “That’s the record of how the patents added to his fortune.”
Pointing to the board she was working on Special Agent Fleishman asked. “What about the board you are working on?”
“Well, this is the probable source of his royalty money, the people he cheated by making sure they did not have the future they needed to make the discoveries and apply for the patents themselves.” Edith Gunderson picked up a yard stick and pointed to a four-digit number on one row on the white board. “This for instance represents the patent in the late Judge Belemany’s papers with” she moved the end of the yard stick to the second entry which was a name “David Anderson”, moving the pointer further “who was almost adopted by Amos and Mary Sheahan. Thus, the name in which the patent was issued—David Sheahan.”
Special Agent Fleishman asked “So, why did the adoption not go through?”
Edith Gunderson looked at Special Agent Fleishman and said. “I know of no reason, but at the adoption hearing, the Sheahan’s backed out. No reason given.” With that she pulled the file from the stack, opened it and showed it to Special Agent Fleishman. “See,’ she said, with her finger on the disposition line ‘applicants withdrew application.’ Notice, it signed ‘Franklin Belemany, FCJ,’ family court judge.”
“I suspect a visit to the Sheahans is in order.” Said Special Agent Fleishman.
“I’m way ahead of you on this one. I see them at Four O’clock today.” Replied Edith Gunderson. “I have also had Millie call and make an appointment for Jeremy to talk to Marion Wythe this afternoon at Three.”
Special Agent Fleishman asked. “Why Jeremy?” Then he realized, gave a hand sign of recognition, “they probably think you were in on the blackmail the Judge pulled on them.”
Edith Gunderson nodded her head and said. “I,m not at all sure I can face them. It was almost 20 years ago; but, the feeling would still be raw for them and they are very raw for me at this point. When this is all over I’ll go see her and try to apologize to her.”
Special Agent Fleishman asked “Her, what about him?”
Edith Gunderson looked down and replied softly, “He passed, last May. Congestive heart failure.”
Jeremy Eastman said, “I’m off. I’ll come back here after I have talked to Mrs. Wythe.”
Edith Gunderson waved and softly said, “Be gentle, Jeremy. Be gentle.”
When Mrs. Wythe opened the door at Three O’clock
Jeremy Eastman handed her his student ID card.
Marion Wythe asked. “What’s this?”
“I’m a student at the university in journalism. I have been assigned to interview individuals from cases in which we suspect the late Judge Belemany handled inappropriately or even illegally.” Said Jeremy Eastman.
Marion Wythe started to close the door. Jeremy Eastman stuck his foot in the door and said “Could I have my identification card back, please.”
Marion Wythe was caught off guard by the request. “Um, oh, yes, by all means. I just don’t think talking to the press is a good idea for the late Mr. Wythe’s sake.” She handed the card back.” George was and remains respected in the community and the church. Besides, I read the judge that threatened us so we would not adopt that darling boy died last month. What good would it do to talk now?”
“First, nothing we talk about will appear in any newspaper, news cast or even pod cast. It would all be confidential. On background as we say in the trade. Your and your late husband’s names will never be associated with the late Judge unless you decide to call a press conference. And, if you do, please invite me.” Said, Jeremy Eastman.
“Then why do you want to talk to me?” Asked Marion Wythe.
“Simply put, the Judge tried to kill a woman who could link him to you and several others who the Judge talked out of adoptions. We are trying to get a handle on how much a threat to the Judge and his illegal behavior his former victims were both in reality and in the Judge’s mind.” Jeremy Eastman explained.
Well, the Judge was in no danger from us.” Said Marion Wythe. “While George was alive, we very seldom talked about it. But when we did George made it clear that keeping our reputation and good name was the most important thing. He always said when we talked about it ‘what good would it be for a child to have parents who were regarded poorly in the community and church. Let people who can give them a good name adopt them.’”
“What about now, Mam? What do you think?” Asked Jeremy Eastman.
“I was married to Geroge Wythe for 27 years.” Said Marion Wythe, “Just as Jesus Christ was his lord and master, George was and remains mine. He did not want our name ruined, I will not ruin it in his death.” Marion Wythe paused for a moment and then asked. “You said he tried to kill a woman who could of led to us. Who was that?”
“A Caseworker at Child Protective Services, Edith Gunderson.” Replied Jeremy Eastman.
“But she was in on it with that crooked Judge.” Said Marion Wythe.
“No, she wasn’t. She thought the placement was a great one. You and George brought Patrick Sullivan out of his depression over his parents being murdered in that drive by shooting. She said the boy positively blossomed in your care. She was surprised that you backed out. She had no idea why. When she learned, just the other day, she was filled with guilt and remorse that she was not there to put a stop to the man’s evil ways. She almost resigned. She may still. No, Edith Gunderson was struck with grief when she learned the Judge was a bad guy.”
“Maybe so, but it is difficult to swallow that only the Judge knew about our childhood sealed records.” Replied Marion Wythe. “He had to have lots of help.”
“But, my main question is If I came seeking information about what the Judge said to you to cause you to withdraw your application for adopting Patrick Sullivan what would you say to me?” Asked Jeremy Eastman.
“Nothing, young man. Nothing.” Replied Marion Wythe. “Now, I think it is time for you to leave.”
Thank you for your time, Mrs. Wythe. I will honor your privacy and you will not hear further about this matter from me or the group looking into the late Judge’s misbehavior. I cannot thank you enough for your time and the memories I know you did not want to dredge up.”