Sunset Inn Book – First Three Pages (2019)

 

SUNSET INN  

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Wish you were here!

Your friend, 

Elizabeth-Extended

-1-

Center Lovell 1957

The summer of 1952 with grandmother ended on a bad note. Elizabeth’s clothes thrown in the trunk of a car, and her uncle’s booming voice. “Dammit to hell, you’re coming with me.”

Elizabeth gripped the steering wheel. Driving two-miles from her uncle’s marina to grandmother’s farmhouse brought back unsettling memories. Sweat rolled down her face, she pulled over, and closed her eyes.

Early morning on the gravel lakefront road, grandmother had driven me to my cleaning job at Aunt Dot and Uncle Gus’s lodge. She had fumed about me slacking off on farmyard chores. “You’re nothin’ but a lazy good-for-nothin’ kid.” Not her favorite 13-year-old grandchild, and she had been in a vile mood,but…I had asked,“Gee whiz, grandma, why don’t you like me?” Grandmother reacted. She slammed on the brakes, and slapped me, repeatedly. I cringed away from the blows. My heart pounding, I flung the car door open, jumped out and ran. Grandmother stepped on the gas and chased after me, coming closer. I didn’t look back, I ran faster and made it to the lodge. Uncle Gus found me sobbing, crouched on the kitchen floor. After a string of swear words, he yelled, “What in god’s name happened to you?”

Elizabeth shook the images out of her head, and wiped her face. She drove the last mile and parked in the driveway. The Colonial house and the adjacent two-story hen house had weathered. Her grandmother fell on hard times after she sold the beachfront resort, Sunset Inn. Elizabeth rubbed a hand across her forehead. Uppermost in her mind, if grandmother’s mood took a dive too, she’d have to deal with her, alone.  

Earlier, when she called Elizabeth, she sounded her straight to the point, old self. “Heard you’re here for the summer before nursing school. Stop by, I’m home.”  Elizabeth managed a brief, “Sure, grandma.” Not asking why after so many years?

She stepped out of the car, thankful the scent of pine trees hadn’t changed. She straightened up, smoothed long brown hair away from her face, set Cat-Eye sunglasses on top of her head, and walked to the front door.

Gray-haired, plump, grandmother greeted her as if nothing had ever happened between them. “Look at you all grown up. It’s been a long time.”

No hug or hand shake, she turned and walked through the living room.  Elizabeth followed. A stark contrast to the sun-filled day, dark, overstuffed Victorian furniture and embroidered pillows cluttered the room. Knickknacks and books filled the side tables. A Hammond organ took up the far wall.

Grandmother’s voice trailed behind her. “I want you to know sometimes when people get old they do things they’re sorry for.”

Elizabeth paused mid-step. She held her tongue. If she made a remark the visit would not end well. Grandmother’s off-hand sorry (for scaring the living daylights out of me) had to be enough.

She made her way to the dining room and stood in front of grandmother seated on a velvet-cushioned chair at the oak table. She cleared her throat, “Nice to see you too.”

Grandmother pulled up her flowered housedress to the knees. “Now, take a look at my legs. Tell me what you think.”

Elizabeth bent down and slid a hand over her swollen legs. “How long have they been like this?”

“A few months.” She pointed to The 1951 Family Physicianbook on the table. “That says it’s the way my heart pumps.”

“We could ask Dad. He takes a water pill for blood pressure.”

“I don’t want anyone, especially family, to know. You find out for me, seeing as you’re going to be a nurse.”

Elizabeth smiled, amazed she asked for help, which never happened before.

She put her hand on grandmother’s shoulder. “Okay, I’ll find out for you.”

Grandmother didn’t resist the touch. She looked up at Elizabeth. “Well, good! Now, I’ve got more to say, Elizabeth. First, I’ll make some tea, and I baked those brownies you liked so much. Never know though, maybe you don’t eat them anymore since you’re a model. Karl sent me the picture of you on a billboard. You were always a pretty girl.”

Elizabeth’s eyes widened. The compliment and warm welcome a first. She followed grandmother into the kitchen. “Thanks. Nice you and Dad keep in touch.”

“Sit down. I’ve got to get something.” She turned on the stove burner under the teakettle, and disappeared into a small office off the dining room.

Grandmother came back with a folded white lace handkerchief in her hand.

“I remember that in your jewelry box years ago. You grabbed it from me.”

 

Beginning of page four…

“Ah ha, now you’re older. I’m not living much longer. I’m giving you your grandfather’s gold pocket watch. Don’t tell anyone in the family what you find out about what’s in it.”  Grandmother put the watch into Elizabeth’s outstretched hand.

She unwrapped it, and put an attached note on the table. “It’s beautiful.” She ran a finger over the floral engraved case, opened the latch, and stared at the sepia photo of a young woman. “Who is this?

“That’s for you to find out. Your grandfather died, and I got the watch in his belongings from the hospital. I don’t know why, we were divorced two years.”

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7 Responses to Sunset Inn Book – First Three Pages (2019)

  1. A beautiful, hopeful post, Chryssa. I love those children’s books. My brothers and I used to read them as kids. We had to split The Book House books between us when we became adults. Good luck with your book 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • C.E.Robinson says:

      Thanks Diana for your read and comment! This was one book chapter beginning that has been changed completely. You know how that goes! The new book title is Sunset Inn, fiction based on real events. The beginning chapter starts in 1945 the end of WWII when I was five-year-old. That first chapter my inquiry about a grandfather who was a renowned German trumpeter, and my want to learn German. That did not go well. Also have changed to the third person referring to the main character (me) as Elizabeth (middle name). Having fun with imaginative dialogue and embellished events. Who can remember everything in childhood? I retained the Book House books reference in another chapter. So happy you know about them and have the books. I still browse through them today! Chryssa/Elizabeth

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I know how things can change…a lot! Writing is such an amazing journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Léa says:

    I’ve never heard of the Book House books so shall have to do a search on those. Despite Elizabeth’s past with her grandmother, this gift and trust (health issues) must have been welcome, even if awkward. I look forward to reading more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • C.E.Robinson says:

      Thanks so much, Léa! I’ve edited the structure it a bit more. Need to upload it. Those are real scenes (exact words) with grandmother. When she found out from Dad that I was really going to be a nurse, her attitude toward me changed. 📚 Christine

      Liked by 1 person

      • Léa says:

        Thank you Christine. I enjoyed reading it and it is easy to believe they were real. I’m glad you were able to have a more positive relationship with your grandmother, even if it came later in life and not from childhood.

        Liked by 1 person

    • C.E.Robinson says:

      My Book House books were a series of 12 popular in 1943. Mom got our set in 1949 for $6.90. Educational stories for graduated ages. I loved reading the stories in all the books! 📚 Christine

      Liked by 1 person

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