“I can’t believe any of this Aaron,” I said. “I’ll check on Mandy, then I’ll try to reach Dr. Davis. I’m sure he must have examined Uncle Charles, and got busy at the hospital before he had a chance to call me with his assessment.”
“Okay good.”Aaron agreed. ” I’ll get my briefcase and pull the paperwork. I’ll grab the attorney’s information and give him a call. I love you, Andrea,” Aaron said. “We’ll be okay, I promise. Do you want to plan on meeting back here in time for dinner? I haven’t even seen my daughter yet. ”
“Love you too Aaron. Mandy and I will meet you here.”
Mandy was in her room playing with the dolls. “Where’s Cindy honey? She was supposed to stay with you. Are you alright?” I asked.
“The cook came and got her. She needed help in the kitchen. I didn’t want to go Mommy.”
“You’ve been really quiet all day,” I said. “Are you sad about something?” I put my arms around my little girl and held her close.
“Everybody here, even all the dolls want Amanda, not me. I want to go home Mommy. I want to play with dolls that don’t talk to me.”
“Honey,” What do the dolls and the housekeepers here say to you that upsets you so much? I know they miss Amanda, and everyone wants her to come back, but is there something else?”
“They say we don’t belong here, and they wish someone would burn that schoolhouse down.”
“Okay honey,” I said. “Mommy’s got to make a phone call, then we’ll meet Daddy for dinner.”
“Aaron, you look pale. Did you reach the attorney?”
“What attorney? There is no such law firm. Apparently, they kept their email and phone numbers just long enough to carry out their scam.” I’ve put some calls in Andrea, but at this moment, I have no idea who owns this place.” Aaron quit talking as one of the housekeepers brought me a message. “Well, Aaron,” I said as I read the message. “The hospital has no doctor on staff by the name of Davis.”
Aaron shook his head in disbelief. “I doubt we’re in any danger or anything tonight, and there’s nothing more we can do until tomorrow.” Let’s eat some dinner, then we’ll go up to our rooms and develop a strategy for tomorrow.”
“Okay,” I said. I knew I sounded as tired as I felt. “Mandy is staying in our room tonight.”
As I tried to go to sleep, my thoughts went from Aunt Bea, to Uncle Charles, to the children. What, in God’s name happened here? What part were we supposed to play?
I woke up before Mandy and Aaron, and knowing they were both exhausted, I let them sleep. I dressed, and headed downstairs for coffee. I felt like I needed some fresh air, but subconsciously, I wanted to go see the school.
As I got closer, I found it hard to believe that it had only been two years since there had been students here. It was in bad need of a paint job, and other repairs. The inside didn’t look much better. The desks were still in a row, and there were some books scattered around. The writing on the blackboard said “Even a thread of hope is still hope.”
The obligatory picture of George Washington hung on the wall, and there was a photogragh in a nice frame on the teacher’s desk. I felt tears sting my eyes as I realized it was a picture of all the students. How bright and happy they all looked. I realized I didn’t know anything about who taught them. That’s interesting, I thought. She looks like the lady who was to tutor Mandy. Why would she not have mentioned that she taught the kids in the school? It’s Tuesday, I thought…she is supposed to be here at 9:00.
All the children loved their school, and life on the Estate was far beyond what any of them had experienced in their young lives. They had been together three years. They lived together, played with each other, and went to school together. They became a close knit group. Each child had a challenge to overcome. They helped one another with love and empathy, and were each other’s biggest encourager and protector.
They all loved their benefactor, Mr. Sanders, and he cherished them. He had only set out to give his Granddaughter Amanda school chums, but it had evolved. It wasn’t that he chose from a group and decided who was the most deserving. Charles Sanders believed the good Lord brought the children to him.
Charles knew without a doubt who he wanted to teach these extraordinary children. Ms. James was the right person to help these special children learn and grow.
Such is the way things were on that day. The children were especially excited. They hardly ever left the estate, and none of them had ever been to the zoo. The cook had packed a picnic of fried chicken, potato salad, and chocolate cake…Best of all, they got to ride on a bus. They had studied all of the animals for weeks, and now they were going to see them.