Thursday, June 21, 2012
Cassandra's New Baby
Cassandra's New Baby
“Will our new baby be here today, Mama?”
Cassandra Rossi has having a difficult time understanding why her baby was taking so long to be born. Unfortunately she heard her mama talking to Diana Taylor about her suspicions at the very first sign of her pregnancy. Over eight months was a long time for a little girl to wait for the birth of her brother or sister.
“I don't know Cassandra but I don't think it will be too much longer. Come sit down and eat your oatmeal, I put butter and cream on top for you.”
Lucinda's pregnancy had been so different this time around. She felt bigger and more uncomfortable. Maybe she had just forgotten since it had been close to seven years since her last experience. She looked at Cassandra and remembered when she was born. She remembered how nervous Paul was about holding his daughter. He was used to being around children because he grew up in an orphanage but he was never around the babies, especially when they were this tiny. Those were happy days. Lucinda thought they would go on forever. She still felt sadness when she thought of her life with Paul. It seemed so long ago that she was having a hard time picturing his face.
“You are lost in thought this morning.” came the booming voice of her husband, Nick.
“I guess I am. I was thinking back to when this little missy was born. Nice memories but sad too.”
Nick squeezed his wife's hand. He understood how Lucinda felt about her first husband, Paul. Nick didn't resent the fact that he was still a part of her life if only in memory. They had grown up together in the orphanage and had been best friends until his murder several years ago. He helped to keep Cassandra's memories of her Papa Paul alive too. Nick would be forever grateful to the man he never knew for bringing this amazing child into the world.
“Other than nostalgic, how are you feeling?”
“Like Wally Wallace's prize cow! I'm getting as impatient as Cassandra to hold this little squirt in my arms.”
Cassandra giggled. “You don't look like a cow, Mama.”
“Maybe we should get her a bale of hay and a cow bell,” laughed Nick.
“Quiet you two. It's bad enough to feel this way, I don't need your teasing me too.” Lucinda's laugh turned to a grimace.
“Are you alright?” Nick jumped out of his chair.
“I'm fine, I think I just had a labor pain.” with that another followed and then again and again.
“Cassandra, run down to Kenny's house and ask him to get Doc Julie. Darn it, we need better phone service in this town.”
“Watch your language Nick. You're going to be a papa very soon and I don't want you teaching our children words like that.”
“It could have been a lot worse,” said Nick
“I know and I might be using some choice ones myself before the day is out.” Lucinda said as she doubled over in pain.
Doc Julie arrived along with Caroline, within a half hour.
“Lucinda I don't think we have time to get you to the hospital. I do believe this little Rossi is about to arrive.”
“You and Josie Blackburn certainly don't waste any time delivering your babies,” said Caroline who had her own little one only two months before.
Nick took Cassandra by the hand and walked out into the yard. He didn't want her to be frightened for her mother if Lucinda let out a scream. His wife was a trooper though and suffered silently. As much as she would like to have yelped and used some of those colorful words she and Nick talked about, she didn't want to frighten Cassandra either. It wasn't long until Caroline walked out of the house and said come meet Daniel Nicola Rossi.
“It's a boy!” shouted Nick and Cassandra in unison as they ran into the house to meet the newest member of the family.
Daniel wasn't concerned with being silent.
Cassandra looked down at her little brother and said. “Doesn't he like us Mama? He is crying so hard.”
“I think he likes us just fine. Little babies cry. You did the same thing when you were born and you like us, don't you?”
“Yes Mama, I like you a lot. Hello Danny, I'm your sister and my name is Cassandra. I'm going to help Mama take care of you. She said I could fetch your diapers and help with your bath.”
Little Danny's crying stopped. “You have helped your mama already, Cassandra. Your brother must like the sound of your voice because he isn't crying anymore,” said Caroline.
The anticipation was high for the Independence Day parade. Lou Rossi would be marching in the parade and carrying the United States flag. He and Anna had become United States citizens and were celebrating the birthday of their new country.
Babies were in abundance at the parade. It was early enough in the day that it wasn't too hot for them. Anna Rossi was enjoying being a grandmother to Daniel. She was a frequent visitor to Nick and Lucinda's home. Lou had more fun with the older children although he enjoyed watching his wife with the littlest Rossi.
The day was a happy one with picnics in the afternoon and fireworks after dark. The talk was about the circus coming to town the following week. This was the first time the troupe would be setting up the big top in Camden Corners. Mayor Horton had been instrumental in their decision to stop in the village this year.
The circus train pulled into town on schedule. Practically the whole town came out to welcome them to Camden Corners.
Billy and Butch Duesenberry remembered seeing circuses setting up before. It was one of the rare times in their former lives that they enjoyed being on their own. Circus people were always friendly to them and never shooed them away. They were always allowed to watch the circus performances from behind the curtain.
“Pa, may Butch and I watch them set up the big tent after we finish our chores this morning?” said Billy who always remembered to ask permission before he and Butch set out for any adventure.
“If your beds are made and your clothes put away you may go just as soon as you help Grandma Alma with the dishes from breakfast.” said Will.
“Let the boys go, Will. I'll help Alma with the dishes.” said Melvin Tanner, Alma's new husband.
Billy and Butch finished their breakfast in record time. They kissed their mother and grandmother goodbye and were off down the street stopping by Kenny Bentley's on the way. Kenny was waiting for them on the porch and yelled goodbye to his family inside.
Billy and Butch had been adopted by Will and Kate Duesenberry the previous year. The boys were not related to each other but had been the only family either had ever known. Neither boy could remember their mothers or if they were ever part of a family. They had both been abandoned at some time in their young lives. They jumped off a train in Camden Corners after being caught stowing away. Will and Kate happened along just at that moment. Will was the vicar of the local church and a confirmed bachelor until he met Kate his housekeeper's granddaughter. They married, adopted Billy and Butch and were expecting a baby at the end of the month.
Kenny had never seen a circus before and was fascinated with the elephants. The elephant handler was always happy to show his visitors around. He found that boys usually wanted to help walk the animals and he was glad to share his workload.
Butch's favorite were the clowns. He sought them out and happened upon one clown who they called Chuckles. Chuckles loved the circus himself and loved to talk. Butch happened upon him as he was practicing his act. Chuckles was glad to have an audience and loved the sound of the boy's laughter as he performed his silly tricks. He showed Butch some of his magic tricks and even taught him one or two.
Butch was a chatterbox and today was no exception. He told Chuckles all about his and Billy's life before they came to Camden Corners and were adopted. Chuckles listened to every detail because he had been a homeless boy too. He told Butch how lucky he was to have found people to take him in and love him because Chuckles never did find a home until he joined the circus when he was 15 years old. As Butch and Chuckles talked, they didn't notice Anton Hamlin lurking in the background taking in every word that came out of Butch's mouth.
After saying goodbye to Chuckles, Butch went off to find Billy and Kenny. He knew Billy would be where the elephants were and walked to that area with Anton following discreetly behind him. Anton took one look at Billy and a plan was forming in his mind.
Anton Hamlin was a trapeze artist. He had been performing for 25 years and was not as quick and agile as he once was. He was a conniver who knew eventually one of his schemes would pay off and he would be able to retire in luxury. He was interested in Butch's history and knew there had to be money in there someplace. Once he saw Billy he knew he was about to strike it rich. He needed Marzetta to go along with his plan. She wanted the good life too and best of all, she wanted Anton.
“Marzetta, drop whatever it is you are doing. I want you to listen carefully. There is a young boy out there that could be your son. I want you to tell him you are his long lost mother. Tell him your precious baby was stolen from his crib when he was just a few months old. You have been looking for him all these years. He looks to be about 12 years old. See if you can figure out his age and give him a date he was born. From the story Butch told. The kid wouldn't have any idea when his birthday is.”
“Anton, how can I be his mother? I have never had a kid.”
“I know that, stupid. You are just going to tell him that you are his mother and then we will be able to get money out of his folks. They will want to keep him and will gladly pay us what we ask. Don't you see? It's a perfect plan.”
“Don't call me stupid Anton. I'm not stupid. I'm just as smart as you are.”
“Yeah, alright. You aren't stupid. Just do what I say.”
“But Anton. I can't be that kid's mother. I'm not a married lady.”
Anton was getting frustrated. He wanted to shake this idiot woman. He could taste the money this scheme would bring his way but he'd have to deal with Marzetta and it wasn't going to be easy.”
“I'll tell you what. If you can pull this off, I'll marry you.”
“Anton do you mean it? We can get married. I'll do anything you say.”
After going over the plan again and again with Marzetta, Anton thought she was convinced this kid was really her son. She wasn't too bright but she was a fairly decent actress and the kid was a dead ringer for her. He sent her on her way with his fingers crossed.
Marzetta leisurely strolled over to the elephant stall. She never did like those smelly, wrinkled things. They frightened her but she would just have to fight her fear. Anton was going to marry her and that was all she cared about.
She spotted him. Anton was right he looked like he could have been her son. What was the name Anton told her to call him? She couldn't remember. Oh well, she thought Philippe was a wonderful name. Yes, her son would be called Philippe.
Billy was still making friends with the baby elephant when he suddenly felt someone grab him and squeeze him tightly yelling “Phillipe! Phillipe! My long lost son. I have finally found you.”
Anton was cringing in the corner. She was laying it on a little too thick. She needed more practice.
“Billy! That lady looks just like you.” shouted Butch.