I visited my mother this evening and she told me a story. Probably 90-some years ago (she is 97 now), her family had a family friend named Harvey. Harvey had an adult adopted son named Harry. The two of them “favored” my mother and her sister Laura. Harvey would bring his big horse around and give the little girls rides, which they adored. On occasion, one of them would give the girls a car-ride to school as they were walking along the dusty, hilly road. The girls enjoyed giving Harvey small gifts of mail pouch tobacco birthdays and Christmas.
She can’t remember when exactly, but as an adult my mother learned more about this story. Harvey had a daughter who had defied him in marriage. He never spoke to her again and he never acknowledged her daughter- his little grand-daughter. She was the same age as my mother. In fact, they were in the same first grade class.
My mother said she always wondered why shy, withdrawn Veda would never talk to her. When she learned the story many years later she was horrified to imagine Veda watching her own Grandfather giving affection and favors to the DeLashmutt girls but not a look in her direction.
And, my mother said, “This was a small town, and everybody knew everything.” Of course they did.
Ninety-some years later my mother is brooding over what she could have done differently for poor Veda. I say, the guilty party in this story is not the innocent child riding the big horse.
(photograph credit: http://www.cylindabphotography.com/img/s/v-3/p617209653-3.jpg)