Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Harvey Wilson Discovers Love
Harvey Wilson Discovers Love
“Helene is this really you? I can't believe you are in Camden Corners and I'm here in Albany talking to you on this telephone.”
“Margaret it is so wonderful to hear your voice. You wrote that your son, Ronnie was insisting you have a telephone put in. Believe me, you will love it. How are you Margaret? I'm still waiting for that visit you promised before I left Albany.”
“I'm still planning it dear. That is one of the reasons I called you. I thought maybe I would come this month while the weather is still warm. Are you sure your friend Millie has enough room for me? I don't want to impose.”
“Don't be silly, she has been anxious to meet you. There are so many bedrooms in this old mansion just waiting for someone to occupy them.”
“Helene, it is so lonely here without you. Ronnie left two days ago for New York City and his new job. I think he and Elaine will be very happy there but I miss them and the children terribly.”
“It's high time you visited Camden Corners then. It will take your mind off of your loneliness. I look forward to your arrival.”
Margaret Slater lived next door to Helene for over 20 years. They were the best of friends. Although Margaret was older than Helene, they formed a bond that only grew stronger when both became widows in the same year. Margaret knew the circumstances of James Robinson's birth and never once judged Helene.
Harvey Wilson was slowly becoming involved in business enterprises. He had mended his unethical practices and was welcomed back into the business community. Not everyone believed he was truly reformed but he expected it would take time before he was trusted again.
Harvey and Lou Rossi had become friends since the caper in Greensboro involving Brother Jeremiah. Lou was an expert vintner but could see his son, Nick was doing well with the Hightower Vineyard. He didn't want to dampen Nick's spirits by involving himself too much in the business. He and Anna visited Greensboro earlier in the spring. He was amazed at the amount of apple trees growing in orchards along the countryside. They had just begun to blossom at that time. When he returned to Greensboro just last week he was impressed with the amount of fruit the trees produced. There was an orchard on Harvey's property. In years past, Harvey's mother made the best apple pies in the county. She loved the orchards and Harvey couldn't bear to have them destroyed. Before he mended his greedy ways, he would sell the apples to the old Patterson Market for a generous profit. Amos Patterson took a loss on the apples when he sold them to the women of Greensboro. Harvey already decided this year he would open the orchard to anyone who wished to pick the apples. His new found generosity gave him more pleasure than his greed ever did.
Lou had enough money from the sale of the vineyards in Tuscany to purchase land to start his own orchard but Harvey offered to help finance the project and the men became business partners.
Harvey was on his way to Camden Corners from Albany when he spotted Margaret Slater on the train. He hadn't paid much attention to women since he'd had his heart broken some thirty five years ago.
Harvey was a young man when he met the lovely Mae Chambers. Mae was the sister of his old college roommate, Harrison Chambers. Harrison lived in the small farming community of Bellington. He invited Harvey to join him one October weekend. The town was celebrating the end of the summer harvest.
“There is singing in the park, games, hayrides. It is always a jolly time Harvey. I wish you would go with me. You always do nothing but study all weekend. I think you need a break. We have plenty of room in the farmhouse and Mama is the best cook in town.”
“Harrison, I really need to study this weekend. You have an easier time learning than I do. You don't have to work as hard to pass these classes.”
“It's no easier for me than it is for you my friend. I know when my brain needs some rest and relaxation. It won't kill you to take a couple of days off.”
Before Harvey knew it, he was on his way to Bellington. The two young men walked into the kitchen and that was when Harvey fell in love for the first time in his life. Mae Chambers was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. She had big blue eyes and auburn hair. When she smiled she showed a dimple in each cheek. Mae was taken with Harvey too. They were inseparable throughout the entire weekend. The night of the hayride Harvey got up the nerve to kiss her cheek. She didn't discourage him.
Every break he had from school was spent at the Chambers farm. Harrison had been right. He found it easier to study and his grades were continually improving.
Harvey graduated with honors. He and Harrison went into business together. He planned to marry Mae but he needed to get the business off the ground. Five years later, she was still waiting for a proposal.
“Soon Mae,” Harvey would tell her. “I want to be able to give you a good life. I must make more money so I feel worthy of you.”
“Harvey, I love you. I want to marry you and have your children. I don't need a big fancy house. All I need is you.”
Everything changed one Saturday afternoon. Mae and Harvey had argued that morning. He insisted he needed to work that day and wouldn't be able to see her until Sunday evening. Mae confided in her friend Gladys that she was getting tired of waiting for Harvey.
“Let's go to Greensboro for the afternoon. We can get your mind off Mr. Harvey Wilson. I heard of a new restaurant there. They serve Crepe Suzette. I'm not sure what that is exactly but doesn't it sound elegant?”
The gentleman at the next table couldn't take his eyes off Mae. He was passing through town on his way to Chicago. He was like no other man Mae had ever met. He escorted the ladies to a concert at the Greensboro auditorium followed by a stroll through the park. After an elegant dinner with champagne Mr. Curtis Fox proposed to Mae Chambers. She accepted his proposal. He accompanied her to her home. Her family was shocked to learn of her engagement. Her mama tried to discourage her from such a rash decision but she had to admit Mr. Fox was very charming. They were married in the parlor of the farm house the very next day and Mr. and Mrs. Fox left for Chicago to start their new life together without a word to Harvey Wilson.
Harvey was devastated when he learned of Mae's marriage. “Why didn't she wait for me? She knew it wouldn't be too much longer.” he lamented to Harrison.
“I warned you Harvey that my sister wouldn't wait forever. After all you hadn't proposed to her in all these years. Maybe a marriage was never meant to be.”
Soon after Mae's marriage Harvey started down the path of greed and callousness. His friendship and partnership with Harrison ended. Occasionally he would hear word that Mae had given birth to another child. He figured she had at least five by now. It broke his heart knowing she was happy without him.
He took pride in being the nastiest man in town. It wasn't until he had lost all his businesses and didn't have a friend in the world that he realized this was never the life he had dreamed of. He was ashamed of the way he treated Emma Patterson and her grandfather before her. He asked for her forgiveness and she opened her heart to him. He had gained the respect of the good people of Greensboro and Camden Corners and he owed it all to Emma. He knew he would never do anything to harm her again.
Harvey couldn't stop glancing at the lovely lady who was sitting three rows ahead and to his left. She sensed that someone was staring at her and turned around to see a nice looking gentlemen behind her. She smiled and he nodded to her. The next thing Margaret knew, the gentleman was sitting beside her.
“Do you mind if I join you? It is such a long train ride and I was hoping you would like to pass the time in conversation.”
“I'm not accustomed to speaking with strangers, sir, but if you behave yourself, I would very much like some company,” Margaret giggled.
Harvey introduced himself and said he was on his way to Camden Corners.
Margaret was anxious to hear all about the town she would be visiting. Harvey told her his favorite spot was by the lake. He had purchased some property there and was in the process of building a house. He lived in Greensboro but more and more his business ventures were taking him to Camden Corners and he felt he needed to put down some roots.
Margaret told him her son had moved to New York and although she had friends in Albany, her dearest friend moved to Camden Corners. She told him about Helene. Harvey had met Helene and knew his friend Neville was waiting for his mourning period to end before they married. Harvey understood the way Neville felt but warned him not to wait too long. He was speaking from experience.
Margaret thoroughly enjoyed Harvey and he was anxious to keep the conversation going when the train pulled into the station.
“Mrs. Slater, I hope I'm not being to forward but I would very much like to see you again.”
“I would like that too Mr. Wilson and at our age I don't think we should worry about such things as being too forward.”
Harvey laughed. He liked this woman very much. She didn't take life too seriously. She was a breath of fresh air.
Helene was waiting at the station to greet her friend. They embraced and Helene was surprised to see Harvey Wilson standing next to Margaret.
“Harvey, do you know my friend Margaret?”
Margaret explained, “We met on the train. Isn't it scandalous? Do you see what happens when everyone leaves an old lady to fend for herself?”
“You are not old besides I think it's nice that you two have met even though I do agree it is very scandalous.”
They all laughed and got into Millie's new automobile. Leo was still learning to drive it but did pretty well and was enjoying being a chauffeur for the ladies and Harvey.
“I hope you aren't letting Millie drive this thing Leo,” said Harvey chuckling. “Although I'm sure she will try.”
“I'm giving her lessons but they aren't going too well. I think she likes driving in ditches because she has found just about every one in town.”
“Margaret, you are going to love Millie. I can't wait for you to meet her. Harvey, you will come in for tea, won't you?”
“Make that a cup of coffee and you have yourself a deal. Now that I've found Mrs Slater, I don't want her to forget me.”
“Please call me Margaret. I must say, I don't think many people would forget Harvey Wilson after meeting him.”
“You will hear many things about me that I wish people would forget Margaret. I have done some things that I am not proud of. Please call me Harvey.”
“Harvey is making up for any wrongdoing of the the past. We all need forgiveness sometimes.”
Harvey wondered if there wasn't meaning behind Helene's words but it wasn't his business and he thought she was a lovely woman. In fact if he didn't know she and Neville were a duo he may have been interested himself. He wondered how long it would be proper to wait before asking to court Margaret.
“Come in, come in. Oh my goodness, I have heard so much about you Margaret and here you are. Harvey it's good to see you too. I hope you are planning to stay for lunch. Addie has whipped up a meal fit for royalty.”
“My wife loves any excuse to cook,” said Leo. “I'm testament to her good cookin'.”
Everyone laughed as Leo patted his ample belly.
“I hope we aren't overwhelming you on your first day in Camden Corners Margaret. My husband Leland and my brother Neville will be joining us along with James and my brother's daughters Melanie and Melissa. Let me show you to your room. You may want to freshen up before lunch.”
“How come you don't put me up too, Millie? I'm stuck at Mrs. Wharton's when I come to town.”
“Harvey, you are always welcome here but Mrs. Wharton needs the money. She is putting her grandson through medical school, you know. He is in his last year and there is talk he will do his residency here at Memorial. He's such a nice young man.”
“Mrs. Wharton is a wonderful landlady. As you know Neville is my neighbor but I was hoping I could find someone more exciting than he is to share a hallway with.”
“Harvey Wilson. What has come over you?” Millie looked in Margaret's direction and saw the look between the two of them. She smiled. She loved it when two lonely people found each other.