Well, ma'am, I lived next door to this house, over there in that one for eleven years, and I used to run errands for Mrs. Grogan, who lived here, and shoveled the snow off her sidewalk. I haven't lived here since 1956, when we moved away. I spoke with the pastor of that little Methodist Church a few blocks down, this morning. Oh, and I spoke with Glenda Ann Shelton this morning. She's an old school friend of mine and recommended you to me."
"Hmmm. Well, we'll give it a try. That'll be fifty dollars up front. I can't give credit. You'll get a clean towel and washcloth twice a week, breakfast every day at 6:30 -7:00. Other meals, you get on your own. No late nights, no parties. You'll have a room key, but you'll need to be in by midnight, or make other arrangements for the night. Those are the house rules. Understand?"
"Yes, ma'am! You won't have to worry about me." I smiled at her. It pleased me to see her smile back at me.
"My mother inherited this place from my grandma, and my mother is not well herself, so she set up the rules and I am managing it for her. My children help me, and Katy is the youngest. The others are in school right now."
Looking down at her hand, I saw the simple gold band on her finger. She noticed my glance and answered the question I had not asked of her.
"He's in the Marines, serving in Vietnam right now." Her eyes misted up, but she smiled and went on. "Wouldn't you like to see the room?"
"Oh, yes, I would, thanks." I picked up the small bag I was carrying and accompanied her to the stairway.
As I climbed the stairs, I realized I had never been anywhere past the living room in this house. It was a wonderful old house, and I knew I was going to have an interesting time over the next few weeks. Little did I realize how it would turn out.
(To be continued)