Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Epilogue Part 3 The Beginning

The Merryweather

June 21, 1973. “Tracy, did you think this day would ever come?”
I knew the day would come, but I never dreamed we would be ready for our opening. We have the journals to thank for keeping us on schedule.”
You are so right there. The whole town has been reading every word of the journals. I think everyone has felt a real connection to the past and to the generations who lived in Camden Corners before us. It was a whole different way of life back then. I envy the way everyone cared for their neighbors.”
Do you remember how everyone told us we were foolish to try to renovate this place? Now that people have read the journals, they are supporting us wholeheartedly. I can't believe Steve is on our side now. He is the one who persuaded the Town Council to give us a tax break on the old mansion.”
Walking through The Merryweather was like walking back in time. Every square inch of the place was sparkling. Tracy and Holly had worked day and night to clean, repair, paint and polish the whole house. Each second floor suite was decorated in an authentic 1900s theme and bore the family name of a resident of Camden Corners. The Crowley, The Mackenzie, The Burke, to name just a few. Thanks to donations from the townsfolk, the third floor spa and exercise area was completed in time for the opening. Walking through the front doors, the focal point was a grand staircase to the second floor with a massive crystal chandelier in the center. Beautiful reconditioned early 19th century tables and chairs were placed in the lobby. The display cases holding the open journals and donated mementos from days gone by had been carefully placed along the walls. Copies of Tony Marino's photographs were displayed in ornate frames. The carpeting felt like velvet underfoot. There was one large dining room and three smaller ones for more casual meetings or parties. Outside, the theme was more modern with two pools, a playground area for the children and tennis courts. Seating and small tables adorned the porch that surrounded the house where views of the lake on one side, grapevines on the another and the ski resort on a third could be enjoyed.
Tracy, I think we have done everything we can to get ready for the reception tonight. I think I'll take a walk around town to clear my head, would you care to join me?”
I think that is a wonderful idea, Holly. If I stay in here one minute longer I'm going to rearrange the candle decoration on the piano for the tenth time.”
The girls walked down the long sidewalk to Main Street. They were silent as they took note of the town as though it was the first time they'd seen it. People seemed to be walking more after reading the journals. It had always been a friendly town but now the folks went out of their way to greet each other. They walked by the old firehouse where Iris Taylor fell asleep on the dogs pallet and woke up to a new family. Diana's bakery was still functioning as a bakery after changing hands dozens of times. The Burkes Candy shop no longer made fresh candy but had it delivered from a factory. The Antique Shop filled three other old shops. Jennifer Crowley and Andrea Fulbright were the new owners and history buffs. Along with antiques, customers could get information on any and all of the residents of Camden Corners through the years. The Hardware store had closed its doors in the fall of 1970. There was a new large hardware store that offered prices the smaller one just couldn't compete with. Pringles Christmas shop was still open although the aroma of peppermint and gingerbread was no longer a constant reminder of Christmas. O'Sullivan's was still owned by the Burkes and Mackenzies. Marinos was still an Italian restaurant but the spinach lasagne was never as tasty as when Eduardo and Mamma Rossi were in competition to make the best. Philip Clarke's book store still had some precious rare books in the back room. The Camden Corners Chronicle moved from the Quilt Shop many years ago and was located just west of town. It was now a daily newspaper with national as well as local news. The Quilt Shop returned to its quilt days along with sewing machines, dress patterns and fabric. It was operated by Cindy Hightower who had developed a talent for quilting and taught classes two days a week.
Look Holly, there is the gazebo where Jamison Bentley first kissed Caroline Watson. What a wonderful romance that was.”
People certainly suffered in silence in those days. I would have kissed him back that very first time. Instead Caroline was alone for 20 years.”
The romance of Neville and Helene was a pretty sad one too. I'm awfully glad they finally ended up together.”
What about Nettie and Oscar? I can't imagine why Nettie didn't marry someone while she lived in Greensboro.”
She must have been waiting for her soul mate.”
Did they have soul mates back then?”
Probably not.”
Speaking of soul mates, here comes yours.”
Hi Steve.”
Hello girls. I thought you would be pacing the floors of The Merryweather and here you are strolling down Main Street. It's really a nice little town, isn't it?”
That it is.”
Did I ever tell you girls that I'm proud of you and you were right about The Merryweather. It is just what Camden Corners needed. Now that the project is complete, maybe I can convince you to marry me.”
What do you think, Tracy? Should I marry this guy?”
The next generation of Camden Corners residents has to begin somewhere. It might as well be with the two of you.”
I just happen to know of a lovely place to hold the wedding reception.”

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