Mama and Papa
Past and Present
By Trish Hubschman
I was having a dream. It was a nice dream.
Daniel and I were getting married. We were in the parlor of Papa’s house. Papa was performing the ceremony. Mama stood beside him. Phillip was on the other side of Daniel. He was the Best Man. Ursula, Mama’s housemaid and cook, was my Maid of Honor. Ursula was seven months along with child.
My eyes flew open. The pillow beneath my head was wet. I was crying. I did not know why. My dream had not been upsetting. I was here now in the 21ST Century and was marrying Drake in a few weeks. I had everything I wanted.
"What’s wrong?" Drake asked. He lay beside me in bed. I hadn’t meant to wake him. He reached out and stroke my hair. I told him about the dream.
"What does that mean?" I asked.
Drake smiled. "I think you miss your family."
I shook my head and started to object. Yes, I missed them, but I know this was right. Being in this future time period. Marrying this brilliant and very wonderful eye surgeon. "What happened to Mama and Papa and Philip and Daniel too, I mean, after I left them to return here?"
Drake shook his head. "I have no idea, but we can try and find out. Do some Internet research."
I smiled. I was starting to learn. What was that phrase he used. Yes, how to navigate the computer and the Internet. "Yes, yes, let us please do that." Tomorrow is Saturday. If we have nothing else planned, and I hoped we didn’t, I was eager to find out about my family.
I tidied up the kitchen the next morning after breakfast, then went upstairs to take a shower.
Drake went into his home office to start the search for my family. I was excited about what he would come up with.
As I stood under the hot spray in the walk-in shower, I found myself smiling. I loved indoor plumbing and hot water! When I finished, I got out and wrapped a thick, soft towel around myself and went into the bedroom to get dressed. I stepped into jeans and pulled a t-shirt over my head. On my feet I had these things called flip-flops. I giggled. If mama could see me now, I thought, suddenly being hit with a jab of sadness. That’s what I wanted. Mama to be here for my wedding with Drake.
Maybe, maybe, somehow, who knew. I wouldn’t let go of the hope inside me.
Picking up my purse from the dresser, I slid the strap on my shoulder and left the room. Drake’s sister, Allison, was responsible for my new wardrobe, handbags and shoes too. We needed her help, so we had taken her into our confidence about me. Whether she believed the tale or not, I have no idea, but she didn’t ask questions and took me shopping. She was so nice. She was going to be my maid of honor at the wedding in the park. I was grateful to her.
I stood in the doorway to Drake’s home office. He looked up. "I think I found Philip," he said.
The first words that escaped my lips were, "that was fast."
"I ran a check on military records for the Civil War," he said.
I shook my head. "No, Philip was not a soldier."
Drake raised one shoulder. "Well, if I have the right Philip, this one was a lieutenant in the army."
A smile drew to my lips. That did sound like a nice rank. "Tell me more?," I said.
Drake sighed. "He was caught when he was on a secret mission and executed," he went on. I gasped. My hand flew to my mouth. Drake ripped a paper off the printer and got to his feet moving to the door where I stood. He handed me the paper. "A picture of him. It’s pretty clear. Take a look and let me know. I have to go upstairs and get dressed so we can hit the road."
"Where are we going?" I asked as he passed me out the door.
"Connecticut. Be back in a flash."
I heard his footsteps on the stairs. I stared down at the paper in my hand. My brother’s handsome face stared back at me. Tears slip down my cheeks.
Without thinking about it, I moved across the room and sat down at Drake’s desk. I proceeded to read the article that was still on Drake’s screen.
"He was a hero!" I announced to Drake and Allison. She was in the backseat. I was happy she was coming to Connecticut with us. "He was working on the Underground Railroad helping people get to freedom." I was so proud of my brother, but sad that he was taken from the world so early. "He was captured coming back over the border to start the journey North with more people. He was hanged." My eyes went downward, a tear trickled down my chest. "There was nobody left in the family to produce future generations."
Drake took his right hand off the steering wheel and covered mine on his lap. I felt him squeeze my hand.
"That’s some story," Allison said. "There’s a timeframe gap though," she noted.
I glanced over my shoulder. What did that mean? I looked at Drake in the driver’s seat.
“There’s a dozen years between the last time you were at your parents’ house and the time your brother died,” Drake explained. He was correct. I hadn’t noticed that, but again, what did it mean.
Allison jumped in. “Perhaps your brother had gotten married and had children before the war started.”
I felt a surge of excitement. Maybe Philip had left some family heirs after all. Maybe I had some nieces and nephews. “Yes, yes, it’s possible. How do we find out for sure?” I asked. “In 1850, Philip didn’t have a lady friend, that I know of, but perhaps he had a secret romance going with someone.” That last thought excited me.”
“I’ll see what I can dig up,” Allison said. She was the computer mastermind on this journey.
We arrived in Fairfield before lunchtime, so we decided to stop for something to eat before going to wherever Drake was planning to take us. As we sat at the table in a café, we continued our conversation.
“What about Daniel Andrews?” I asked. “Did he exist? Does he exist?’ I added. I needed to know.
Drake glanced at his sister. “Is there anyone In our family history by that name?” he asked.
Allison tapped her index finger against her chin. “Mmm, possibly. Who was he? A little background would help.”
Drake answered. “He was a good friend of Margaret’s.”
That wasn’t enough information and both Drake and I knew it. “He worked in Papa’s stables. He drove me back to Boston in the carriage,” I added.
Allison shook her head. “We have no relatives in Connecticut. Our family’s originally from the West. Our grandfather came to Boston to teach at Harvard.”
“What was Grandpa’s grandfather’s name?” Drake asked his sister.
"You know, I did a family tree about ten years ago in college, but I don’t remember. Let me see what I can find out.” Allison reached down to her purse on the floor and came back up with a portable screen. She tapped her finger onto it, then smiled.
“We’re waiting,” Drake said.
Allison giggled. “Sorry, it’s just that Daniel Andrews is the spitting image of you Drake. He’s very, very handsome.”
I wanted to jump for joy. That was it! That was it!
“What does it say there?” Drake pressed, pointing to the iPad on the table.
Allison was quick to reply. “Mr. Andrews struck it rich in the California Gold Rush.” Allison was jubilant. I was dumbstruck. My mouth fell open.
“Did he marry and have children?” Drake asked.
Allison shrugged. “It doesn’t say in this article, but I can keep looking. Is that a general question you’re asking, Drake, or is it important?”
Drake pushed back his chair and got up. “If he didn’t have kids, then possibly Margaret isn’t supposed to be here, and you and I were never born.” He tossed some bills on the table. “Let’s go."
“Now we’re going to see if we can find where you grew up," Drake said, pulling out of the parking spot at the café. “Keep Your eyes open, Marg. Let me know if anything looks familiar.”
I already knew that nothing bore any resemblance to my home in this town one hundred and sixty years ago. I know I shouldn’t have been surprised by that, but it saddened me. “I’ll do that,” I replied. Deep down inside, I hoped, and maybe it would come true, that Papa’s home still stood on that wonderful rolling vast land of two decades ago.
We turned a corner. “I think this is the street,” Drake announced. He then pulled into a Walmart shopping center.
I’m not sure how to explain the emotions that ran through me. I was dumbstruck, horrified, depressed. This couldn’t be it! “Where is Mama and Papa?” I shot. I think I was crying.
I felt Allison’s hand on my shoulder. She was trying to reassure me, to calm me down. Drake’s hand gripped my left wrist. "Do you want to go inside, sweetheart? We can find the manager. Maybe he can shed some light on things.” I waved my hand in the general direction of the store. I was disgusted. “Papa was one of the richest men in the county. He deserved something.”
“She’s right, Drake,” Allison said from behind me. “I was just thinking about Historical Societies. Could her parents’ house be in one?”
My head flashed around to her. “That’s it, yes. Maybe we’ll find them if we keep looking in the right place."
Allison reeled off an address she got off her portable screen thing. Drake started the car, and we were driving again.
“Someone lived in the house until about ten or fifteen years ago,” Mrs. Shuster, the lady at the Historical Society, told us. “No living heirs could be found after the homeowners’ passing. The County was considering tearing the place down, but we got wind of it and grabbed it,” she said. The four of us were walking toward a large dwelling. It may or may not have been Papa’s house. “It was built in 1801,” she added, climbing three steps onto a porch. She was still talking when she inserted a key into an ornate doorknob that definitely wasn’t from Papa’s house. “We’ve had to tear out upgrades and downsize the place. That costs money and takes time,” she added.
She swung the door open and we all went inside. I looked around me, the walls, the very high ceiling. Yes, it resembled Papa’s house, but it was also very different. I was home! I wanted to twirl around. I wanted to run upstairs and see my old bedroom.
Drake was talking to Mrs. Shuster. “What about the family graveyard?” he asked.
Mrs. Shuster gestured toward the rear of the house. “The stones have been moved here. They’re outside in back. I can’t say for certain if the coffins were relocated.” She laughed. “I don’t think it matters. Walmart has had its share of ghosts haunting it in the past.” She laughed. No one else did. Her cell phone rang. She dug into the deep pocket of her long matronly skirt, like Mama wore, and pulled it out. “I have to take this. If you’ll excuse me.” She darted out the front door.”
Looks like Allison already slipped out on us, Drake teased. He took my arm. “Shall we go see what she’s up to outside?”
I nodded. Seeing the upstairs would have to wait. The graveyard was more important.
Allison was in the second row of stones. “I found them!” she said. “Your parents, your brother, and his wife.”
Drake and I joined her. I dropped down to my knees. Mama and papa were buried side by side. Philip was the next one over. The name on the stone beside his surprised me, Ursula.
“She was Mama’s housemaid. She shouldn’t be in here.”
Drake nodded and pointed. “Look at the last name on the stone, Marg. Philip must have married Ursula.”
I shook my head. “But he couldn’t ’have,” I protested. “She was with child, someone else’s. Then it hit me, but it couldn’t be. But why not, I silently asked myself. I was with child now too. “I don’t know what to say,” I whispered. I was trying to figure things out in my head. “If Ursula was carrying Mama and Papa’s grandchild and Philip wed her, then he left heirs before going off to War?”
Drake put his hand on my shoulder. “That’s the way it looks, sweetheart, and there’s more.”
My gaze shot upward in his direction. “What more? Good, I hope.”
He nodded. “There’s also no Margaret buried here.”
“That’s because I wasn’t there.” I pointed to Mama’s headstone.” I’m here.” I pointed to Drake.
A broad smile crossed his face. “Exactly!” he said. “Welcome back to the future. I hope you plan on staying with us for a while.”
In spite of myself, I giggled, even though tears were threatening to pour down my cheeks. I looked at the headstones in front of me again. I would feel sad that Mama and Papa couldn’t be with me, especially for my wedding.
MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND HER WORK…
JUST PUBLISHED: the prequel to the Tracy Gayle mystery series
by Trish Hubschman
Available in e-book and print from Amazon and Smashwords.
Details, cover image, link to a free text sample, and purchasing links: https://www.dldbooks.com/hubschman/
Tidalwave’s tour bus bursts into flames while the band is relaxing on the beach. The band’s leader, Danny Tide, hires private detective Tracy Gayle to do some discreet investigation into the matter. She’s joining the band on tour as security chief. The arsonist is discovered, but much deeper, more dangerous things come to light as well: an assault, an attempted murder, and then two murders. Tracy is faced with far more than she bargained for, and her stint with the band goes further than just that summer tour. She is fully determined to protect America’s favorite rock and roll heartthrob, and they become the best of friends along the way.
About the Author
Trish Hubschman and her husband, Kevin, along with their dog, Henry, recently moved to Northern Pennsylvania. They formerly lived on Long Island, New York. Trish is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a Bachelor’s degree in English-Writing. She is the author of the popular Tracy Gayle mystery series, Stiff Competition and Ratings Game. Tidalwave is the eagerly awaited prequel to the series. For more information about Trish’s three books, please visit her website, linked to above.
See her on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14473430.Trish_Hubschman
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