Umber (42 — Narrator’s List)
July 14, 2012 § 2 Comments
If, like the Narrator, you are finding it difficult to keep all the characters in this story straight, I hope this will be helpful:
I had met so many sepia-toned persons since I brought home all those photographs from the estate sale that I could no longer remember them all. I pulled out a sheet of notebook paper and a pen, and made a few notes to help me sort them out. I wrote:
“Alice and Orville Birdsall lived on a farm in Elm Creek, Nebraska.
They had three daughters: Kate, Myrna and Vera.
“Alice’s sister, whose name I don’t know, was the wife of Delbert Eakley. Their son was named Ervin. The Eakley’s lived just two miles down the road from the Birdsall’s, and the families shared a lot of the farming chores.
“Orville’s parents, Grandma and Grandpa Birdsall, lived nearby.
“Alice and her sister died of influenza in the fall of 1908, and Ervin came to live with his Uncle Orville so his cousin Vera could look after him. Vera did all the cooking, which she hated. When Ervin got older, Vera moved to Kearney to stay with her sister Kate, who by this time was married to Stanley. Kate and Stanley had a little boy named Alfred.
“While in Kearney, Vera often visited St. Agnes’ church, and began communicating with the statues of Saint Theresa, Saint Michael and various other holy persons. She met Father Hoolihan. She also met a good-looking gambler named Leroy Tibbs, who was dating a woman named Florence.
“Vera became a Catholic. Leroy and Vera eloped, much to the consternation of her strict father (Orville) and his parents (Anna and Oscar), not to mention Florence.
“Leroy’s mother Anna and his sisters, Pearl and Jewell, were not in favor of the match, and would have preferred that Leroy had married someone named Opal Barnes. Leroy’s grandmother, Lorna, was the only member of Leroy’s family who approved of Vera. In fact, Lorna wondered why Vera had gotten involved with Leroy, given his bad habits.
“Leroy and Vera had a baby boy, Jimmy, who didn’t survive. Their second child was a girl named Oleander, but Leroy called her Jimmy, too.”