Chapter 15

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Jeannie

The morning light woke me up before my alarm went off. I had wanted to get up early enough to make breakfast for my sisters who had stayed behind with Mom. Erick had told me to use up whatever I could in the fridge before it spoiled. Homemade breakfast would be a slight better meal than fast food again.

After a quick shower and washing my hair good, I dressed and began preparing a frittata. There were eggs in the fridge along with cheese. I found bulk breakfast sausage in the freezer and slid it into the microwave to thaw. The pantry gave me canned asparagus and whole kernel corn. Within fifteen minutes, I had closed the oven door and began to clean the kitchen from my mess.

It would be an hour before I could pull the dish out and take it to the nursing home. I used that time to make the bed, finish brushing my hair and getting ready to leave. Then I had half an hour to kill. Not a good thing.

I took the time left to wander through the house. Pictures on the wall showed the family from last year all the way back to when I was a child. One wall had all of us when we were about ten years old. In today's world, the pictures all looked yellow-grey and our clothes helped to date us. Mine had corduroy jacket and pants with bell bottoms. How I hated that picture.

Knicknacks covered every surface. There was hand blown glass from Jamestown village, a railroad spike from where my dad had been raised, and small plastic eggs for whatever reason she deemed them necessary to put on the shelf. I never really considered my mother a hoarder, but she did tend to keep nearly everything. Generally, I chalked her ways to being raised in the Depression and not having much money when they first got married and had children. It was not easy being a farmer with three children. Mom had to stretch every penny to feed and cloth them. She reused sandwich bags over and over. All leftovers found a new purpose even if it was only to feed the dog and cat.

I ran my hand over the dresser in what I had called the Granny Room. It was the room that held most of the things from my maternal grandmother. Her grandchildren had called her Granny so the name of the room seemed appropriate. I had explored this room many times over the year. The top drawer on the right held several small items. I opened it and picked up a small jewelry box. Granny's earrings were in them. They sparkled in the morning light. Two sets of gold hoops was all she ever wore, or at least during my lifetime. I smiled. When I was little, I had loved playing with them in her ears. They had fascinated me.

In the drawer were small pieces of my hair barrettes that I had worn as a toddler, scraps of fabric from who knew what, and paperwork with my not so talented crayon drawings on them. I was about to close the drawer when I noticed a box I had never seen before. It was wooden with no designs on it. About three inches high and four inches long, it piqued my interest.

Dust was a thin layer on it as though it hadn't been moved in years. I frowned as I thought back to the last time I had rummaged through the old things. It had been about six years or more.

Opening it, I found a faded picture with half of it torn away. It wasn't cut away. The edges were literally ripped as though someone had angrily had done the deed. I peered closely at the one person left in the picture. Granny. Liza xxxxxx.

She didn't look much different from when I remembered her though from the coloring of the picture, it had been taken several years before I had been born. Granny's hair was the same style I always knew - a short cut with tight curls. The woman in the picture had mostly dark red hair with streaks of white around the face. She wore a dark dress and seemed to be sitting on a small couch of some type.

Something at the bottom of the picture caught my eye. I held the picture fragment close to my eyes. A hand. There was a hand on top of Granny's. A man's hand.

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