How I met my….
The comings and goings always confused her. A child was suppose to be seen and not heard. This child just didn’t understand that…not even a little bit. She was born on that summer night in the back room of the Aunties house screaming with lusty indifference to the effect on those around her. It never did change. They had named her Anna, after the her Mother’s mother, Annali and Helen. Anna Helen was blue eyed and golden headed from the beginning.
The first time Oona saw her she was only 2 month old. Mr. Eriksson had set off to find someone to take care of Anna within days of her birth. The love of his life was not acceptable even in a place like this. When they placed the crystal chandeliers and and velvet furniture in the parlor of their new home they knew it was not enough to hide the where and why of their life. In the west you lived in a very small world. It may be a long ride on a train but news traveled fast and the news of the Aunties arrival was there before they were. The loss of a madam, even in a respectable place like the one they came from, was noted by everyone. The purchase of a train ticket told of their destination and a screaming baby drew attention.
He had fallen in love with May one summer night. The lonely man had found company in another parlor. He never talked to her or even gave her much thought until she was a young lady. She was not sent away like so many others. She had been raised to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Some care had been taken to make sure May had the manners that would appeal to a rich man’s sensibilities.
When Mr. Eriksson found out she was to have a baby, he moved them all to a house in his new town. Men with much to lose had been left without a dime in their pocket so Anna and her family could make their escape…a fair trade the trio thought…for respectability.
So it was that Anna and Oona began their lives together with the Aunties watching to make sure the she did not fail in her assigned job. Mr. Eriksson kept his reputation as an upstanding citizen and the town let the women alone. In time they would become part of the group of larger group of women that gathered there from gold mining towns and railroad crossings. A society was formed…they all understood each other perfectly well. By the time that Anna Helen was a young woman, a sort of starched respectability surrounded there gatherings. Of course the money they brought with them allowed them to buy the the bank and the local pharmacy. The towns people had no other choice but to turn a blind eye. Power backed by wealth coupled with Oona’s presence at the Lutheran Church every Sunday and the Aunties generosity to Father Curtis, left no doubt that the past was buried very deep.
The difference was very evident to Anna Helen. When the people came to the Auntie’s house music played. Oona, on the other hand, served tea to church women and Mr. Eriksson kept his distance. He loved the beautiful Auntie May and shared a bed with her when he could. But Anna’s mother slept alone, learning to keep up appearances and gaining more power each day.
Mr. Eriksson doted on Anna and spoiled her. She learned very soon that Mama ruled the white house with the big front lawn, Papa did what Mama said and it was all a lie!
Anna watched as she grew, all the while observing the good and bad on both sides of the street. No one ever told her, but one day when she was about 10 years old she knew. She was defiant for a very good reason. She liked being seen and she needed to be heard.
to be continued…