Bill Todd -- Tim and Sharon
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 Chapter 11


    Three days after the funeral, when Tim was back with Howie in their room, he was planning to return to normal. Normality got delayed when he came out the front door of his house and saw an attractive blonde lady, probably in her thirties, standing outside the fence. With middle heels, an expensive tan coat and a leather brief case, she looked official. However, as she seemed ready to speak to him, she had the slightly raffish air of one who was used to busting into places without being invited. Tim assumed that she was a reporter, but, seemingly, a rather interesting one. In a voice that was insistent without being unpleasantly harsh, she called out, “Are you Tim Hastings?”

When he answered, a little reluctantly, and came to the fence, she said, “Hi. I’m Julie, your father’s girl friend or main fuck, or whatever you want to call it.”

She smiled as she spoke, and, when Tim uttered a few unrelated monosyllables, she said, “If you’re going up that way, I’ll walk with you for a little bit.”

Jumping over the fence to join her, he replied, “My sister found out that there was someone, but I had no idea…..”

“I’m the cheap and trashy type, but I’m not a gold-digger. I don’t want to dispute your inheritance, or anything like that.”

“That seems to be pretty well settled. Sharon and I are put on allowances for the rest of our lives, which is okay.”

“Your old man said he was going to divorce his wife and marry me, but they all say that. He also said he was leaving me money. But, if he hasn’t, that’s okay. I’ll snare some other lawyer.”

“That’s interesting. I haven’t seen the will yet, just the trust agreement. Sharon found out that she’s getting a nice lady for her guardian, but the lawyer hasn’t seemed anxious to tell her a lot.”

“If I have been left money, he’ll be embarrassed. He’ll be asking himself who this Julie Wanamaker is and why she’s being left anything. But he’ll know in his heart.”

“We won’t be resentful. In fact, considering how our father felt about us, we were surprised to come out with as much as we have.”

“I have no shame. If you tell me who the lawyer is, I’ll bounce around and ask him if I’ve been left anything.”

“Okay. I have a class now, but maybe we could meet tonight.”

“Sure. Tell me where and when.”

   Tim just barely managed to concentrate on the foundations of mathematics. The instructor was presenting Cantor’s ‘diagonal’ proof that there are more real numbers than rational numbers. A thrilling moment in the history of mathematics, but he found himself less than thrilled. Meredith, sitting next to him, didn’t look thrilled at all. She was dutifully scribbling in her notebook, but Tim suspected that she was writing poetry or fiction. He would, as usual, teach her what she might miss. However, when the class ended, he blurted out what had happened. She responded,

“This is uncanny, Tim. First, your mother’s best woman friend, then her lover, and now your father’s girl friend.”

“I know. There’s also some similarity between Doris and this lady. A certain earthiness and directness.”

“Well, your parents were evidently so busy hiding things that it might have been a relief for each to be with someone who was open and direct.”

“It’s attractive in both. But I’m sure that any lawyer would tell me to have nothing whatever to do with Julie Wanamaker. For one thing, she claims to be cheap and trashy.”

Meredith, laughing, replied, “I don’t think anyone who claims that really would be cheap and trashy. But she might be honest.”

“I did believe her when she said she’d be satisfied with whatever she might be left.”

“I’ll give you some anti-lawyer advice, Tim. This is your one chance to find out a great deal about your father.”

     Julie and Tim arrived outside the pizza place almost simultaneously. She said, “I’ll give you the upshot right off. I get a half million in cash, and that’s it. You and your sister presumably get the house and everything else. So I’m a happy girl!”

“I guess I’m a happy boy. The house is worth a lot. I wonder if we can sell it and pocket the cash.”

"Probably. But you’ll have to ask the lawyer.”

     Once inside at a corner table, Julie explained, “I’m a legal secretary at Hutchins and Wheeler, so I knew about your father’s firm. This man, Lloyd Henderson, was a law partner of your father, and he wouldn’t talk to me at all until I’d produced a purse full of IDs. But I didn’t tell him where I worked for reasons I’ll tell you later. Anyhow, he started muttering about the tragedy of it all, as if I were responsible.”

“Maybe he thinks that too much sex produces dangerous driving.”

“Very likely. After quite a bit of that, he did admit that there was a bequest to me. He bumbled some more, and couldn’t find the papers. Then he took a phone call. I just sat there smiling until he got organized. Then, finally, he got to the money, but warned me not to try to contest the will. As I left, he said the money transfer would take some time. I‘m sure it will. As much time as they can make it take.”

     After they had ordered antipasto and pepperoni pizza, Julie asked, “Didn’t you say you knew about me, Tim?”

“I didn’t directly. But my sister, Sharon, has been talking with our mother’s best friend. It seems that my mother thought that there were several women.”

“He was a one-at-a-time man. He couldn’t handle unnecessary multiplicity or confusion. But he’d promise a woman more than he could deliver, and so things would break up. Then he’d find a new woman, ending up with me.”

“It turns out that my mother was planning to leave him shortly. So he could have married you.”

“I don’t think he realized that. If he had, he probably wouldn’t have told me.”

“She was apparently waiting for Sharon to turn eighteen. Mother’s parents would also have been upset, but they were much older and died a few years ago. So the way was open.”

Julie nodded and replied, “Ron would never have cared what his own parents thought.”

“They died in a car accident many years ago, even before my parents met.”


“I never knew them, of course.”

“Did Ron talk about them?”

 “Very little. His father was a doctor in Ohio.”

“Okay, Tim, I’m glad you’re sitting down. The fact is, his parents, your grandparents, are, so far as I know, alive and well in eastern Kentucky. They’re hillbillies, and he was ashamed of them. I knew that he’d cut ties long ago, but I didn’t know that he’d claimed them to be dead.”

There was silence. Tim couldn’t decide whether to believe Julie. But there had always been a sense of mystery. Finally, he said, “I knew he was a very ambitious man. I suppose it’s better to have dead parents than the wrong parents.”

“Did you ever notice little bits of a hillbilly speech in Ron? Just very slight.”

“I don’t think so.”

“For example, he always said ‘chimbley’ instead of ‘chimney’. He’d also change people’s names around until they sounded right to him, particularly ethnic names. Hillbillies do that.”

“No. But I do remember his saying that someone got ‘stomped.’ That sounded odd.”

“But natural for him. He was a smart nerdy kid who got stomped almost every day in his home town.”

“Does that mean getting kicked a lot?”

“I wondered exactly what had happened, and he was reluctant to say, even years afterward. But it came out one night when he’d had too much to drink. The other boys would grab him, take down his pants, and knock him down. Then, when he tried to get up, they’d kick him in the rear and knock him flat again. Finally, they’d stand around him and piss on him. He was alternately raging and crying when he told me.”

“So that’s where the bitterness and unpleasantness came from.”

“Particularly when he was with people who hadn’t grown up being stomped in a hillbilly town.”

“I guess he must not have been unpleasant to you.”

“No. He was rather sweet. But I come from West Virginia hillbillies, so he could feel superior there. I did go to college, but I make about sixty a year, which wasn’t much by his lights. So that was okay. And, then, he liked the cheap and trashy bit.”

“You sound altogether too respectable and articulate to be very cheap and trashy.”

“I can turn it on and off. Should I switch to my West Virginia coal town accent?”

“Perhaps a little later. My mother wasn’t exactly an aristocrat, just solidly middle class.”

“But very definitely upper middle class. He thought she was way above him socially, and I suppose she was. That seemed to be a main reason for marrying her. But, at the same time, he resented her. Probably you and your sister as well.”

“There was certainly resentment. But I still resent being resented. There’s always an explanation of everything, but it may not make things any better.”

“Not for you. It wasn’t a problem for me, except that I had to deal with all the anger addressed to the world. And his parents, just for being what they were.”

“They couldn’t help that, could they?”

“According to Ron, they could have done what he later did, and given him a better start. Which may have been true. When I met them, I thought that his father was a fairly smart man.”

“How did you meet them?”

“Ron decided to re-establish contact with his parents. He took me with him to visit, introducing me as his wife. He seemed to think I could lubricate things, and, of course, I could talk cooking and things like that with his mother. That part was okay.”

“But the rest?”

“I don’t think he remembered what that culture was really like. He had to sit with his father and watch dumb TV shows for hours. In retrospect, I realized that his father had no idea what to say to him. So, when we left, after no meaningful communication, Ron decided that it had been a mistake to go back.”

“And that was the end of it?”

“Yes. I suppose I’ve got to inform them of his death, still posing as the wife.”

“I guess so.”

“Are you going to visit your grandparents posing as my son?”


“I wouldn’t if I were you. What’s your sister like?”

“Smart, attractive, and vibrant. She can talk with anyone.”

“Well, if she wants to go, let me know.”

When the pizza came, they spoke of other things. Julie was curious about Tim’s college activities, and he ended with a humorous account of his football doings. As they left the premises with an exchange of phone numbers, Tim said,

“I’m sure my sister will want to meet you.”

“Any time.”

Bill Todd -- Tim and Sharon
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