“What was that?” Aaron asked as Aunt Bea made her sudden, but dramatic exit. The rather eccentric lady was certainly the polar opposite of my Mother, who had been proper in demeanor, and dressed the part. Mother was beige and Aunt Beatrice was…multicolored.
“We need to discuss this Aaron. I mean moving clear across the country is a huge undertaking. We don’t know what will be expected of us. We haven’t even met the gentleman who, from the sound of it, needs quite a bit of care. The attorney’s letter said Aunt Bea is ill as well, which is the reason she can no longer be responsible for Uncle Charles.” I knew I was rambling.
Aaron came to sit on the footstool next to the chair I was seated in. “I think we both know it’s a done deal Andrea,” He said. “Besides, your Aunt Bea and Uncle Charles are the only extended family we have now. Don’t you think getting to know them would be good for Mandy? After all she doesn’t have any living Grandparents.”
Just then, the housekeeper came into the drawing room carrying a silver tray with an envelope on it. She handed it to me without a word. She then knelt beside Mandy, who was still busy playing, and stroked her long, blond, curls. “I’m so happy Abby Ann found you.” She said. She was smiling as she left the room.
Inside the envelope was a letter from Aunt Bea’s attorney. It was brief and to the point, just as my Aunt had been.
It stated that if we agreed to allow Miss Beatrice Sanders and Mr. Charles Sanders to continue to live here until their death, we would receive the title to the house and grounds. We were to receive a stipend that would be more than enough to maintain the property and care for my Aunt and Uncle indefinitely. He also said he would be here in person the following day with all the necessary paperwork for the agreement and transfer of ownership.
“Welcome home my loves,”I said. “Let’s take a look around.”
“Guess what Mommy, Andy came back, but he’s a doll now.” Aaron and I both looked back toward the dollhouse. I recognized the Abby Ann doll, and next to her was a little boy doll. “Where are you finding all these playthings?” Aaron asked.
“They found me Daddy.” She explained.” They want me to stay here and not go away anymore.”
Aaron looked at me and smiled. We were both thinking that our daughter had quite an imagination.
We had very little time to explore before lunch, so we decided to take a short walk and enjoy some fresh air. The grounds were beautiful. Everywhere we looked there were flowers, hedges, and trees. Inside the circular driveway, there was a small pond with a fountain in the center. A short distance beyond a row of well manicured hedges, was a small area surrounded by a wrought-iron fence.
“I wonder what’s over there,” I said. “It looks so pretty and peaceful.”
“I know,”Mandy said, “It’s where they make dolls.”
“Come on you silly goose,” Aaron chided, “let’s go find the dining room, l’m starving.”
We had just seated ourselves, when we heard a humming sound followed by a loud crash. Aaron jumped up and started for the door, when for the 2nd time that day, Aunt Bea almost ran him down. He flattened himself against the wall and she managed to get by him. “Goodness,” she said as she tried to straighten her hat with one hand, while steering with the other. She came to a stop, got off her electric wheel chair, walked over to the head of the table, and sat down. She picked up the little bell, and rang to signal the kitchen we were ready to be served.
She looked festive, and with a big smile on her face, she asked us to join hands, after which she said grace.