I was born Lura Grisham in 1870 to George and Elizabeth Grisham in the town of Ridgefield, Connecticut. Father studied as an engineer. Beginning with a modest inheritance he built a small railroad connecting Connecticut and the city of New York. He prospered and by 1893 he was one of the wealthiest men in America. My home from birth has been Grisham Manor. Father built it to be the finest summer home, not just in Fairfield County, but in all of Connecticut. Once complete, my mother loved it so much that it became our year round home.
New Year’s Day, 1894, is the happiest day of my life. Walter Myer and I are expecting our first child by months’ end. Our marriage is a joyous thing of love and mutual trust.
The manor house, built on twenty-eight acres atop a small hill, gave us a view of town from the veranda and dining room. The three-story Queen Anne contained sixteen rooms. Painted a pastel yellow, it exuded warmth and comfort. My room for the first twelve years of my life was on the second floor, next to my parents’ suite. Designed as a nursery, it was near their rooms and had spacious accommodations for the nanny. Aside from their magnificent master suite, my parents had hoped to fill the five other bedrooms with children. Alas, it was not to be. My birth was difficult for Mother and she was never again able to conceive.
By twelve, I was dissatisfied at being confined to the nursery and received permission to move to the third floor. I chose the modest-sized tower room. This allowed me to have a view of the town and most of the valley. Between the manor and several farms was the road from the county seat and on south to New York. I remember our old Methodist Episcopal Church, before it burnt down a few years later. It was tall, three stories plus a steeple. I could see the roof and bell tower from my window. Father once told me the spire helps people look up to the heavens. The tallest building in town, the roof was red and the walls white. I remember the old church’s first floor was built of red bricks and the other floors of wood. I couldn’t see it from my window, but there was a small parsonage on the property. When the church burnt, it was spared. During the fire, the afternoon breeze carried smoke and soot across the fields. Standing in my room, the window open, I could see ashes and smell the awful odor of fire. We suffered for weeks after when the acrid stench of the residue drifted in on afternoon breezes. It was made the worse by the turpentine and especially the linseed oil that had been used on the church floors for decades.
The new church wasn’t as tall as the old one. Except for the wooden steeple, it was built entirely of brick. Ridgefield was not much more than a village then. The Roman Catholics had a small church on the outskirts, near Bartolini’s general store. My friend Emily’s father owned the store.
The only drawback to my tower room was that I couldn’t see the carriage entry. It was impossible for me to identify the visitors without leaving my room. If I heard a coach arrive, I had to go down the stairs, walk to the front of the manor, and join Mother as she greeted the guests.
Breakfast was usually in the nook off the kitchen. Like my tower room two stories above, the small area was octagonal in shape with windows in every direction except for the doorway to the kitchen. I’m sure my father designed it so he could enjoy his morning coffee in sunshine regardless of the weather. It also gave him a chance to visit with the household staff. By this time, Father was one of the richest men in the country. However, he came from working stock and never treated the hired help as anything other than equals.
When our church was rebuilt after the fire, Father bought two Mason and Hamlin pump organs. He donated one to our church and the other to the Roman Catholic Church where many of his Irish railroad workers worshiped.
From Father I learned that many of the Irish had been enslaved in much the same manner as the Negro. “Lura, our treatment of the Negro and the Irish has been only slightly better than the way we treat the Indian.”
“What do you mean?”
“Many still believe that the Irish and the Negro are no better than work animals, and that the Indian should be wiped from the land forever.”
“Father, that’s terrible.”
“I know. We must treat everyone with respect and an open heart. We are all God’s children. You must never forget that.”
My father and mother had no other living relatives. Father was one of six children, all boys. His parents and brothers died of influenza in an epidemic when he was five. He was raised by a freed family slave and supported by the proceeds from the sale of the family’s land holdings. Mother was an only child like me. Her father, a Union officer, died fighting at Gettysburg. Her mother died the year before I was born.
Walter Myer, one of my father’s engineers, designed railway bridges. I met him when he first came to dinner. I was twenty, an age when women were considered to be on the path to spinsterhood. Just shy of six-foot-tall, he had curly, unruly dark brown hair. Not the most handsome man I’d ever met, he exuded strength and warmth. His eyes were unusual. When we met I assumed they were hazel, but that was soon dispelled when I visited Father at his office a few days later. Walter and he were talking outside. In the natural light, I could see that they were green with flecks of gold. I had never seen such eyes before.
It was what romantics refer to as love-at-first-sight. I knew that one day I would marry Walter. After that visit, I managed to find a reason to visit Father’s office two or three times a month. Neither he nor Father had the slightest inkling that I was enamored.
Walter was an excellent engineer and Father came to rely on him more as the years passed. At first an occasional dinner guest, his visits became more regular as the railroad grew. Mother was the first to realize I harbored feelings for him. One day she confronted me, “Do you love him?”
“Yes Mother, with all my heart.”
“Oh child, what shall we do? Does he know how you feel?”
I didn’t know and had to confess that I’d never been alone with him and had never had a serious conversation with the man.
“We’ll tell your father and see what he thinks.”
“Can you do it? I don’t know what to say to him.”
Mother saw my fear and understood how naïve I was in the ways of love and men. “I’ll talk with your father.”
Mother told me that when Father inquired of Walter if he perchance had any interest in me, he was taken aback. “Mr. Grisham, I’ve admired Lura for some time now.”
“Why haven’t you made your intentions known to me or Lura?”
“Sir, I was afraid that you might think I was interested in her for your fortune. Nor did I believe Lura could have any interest in me, a simple bridge builder.”
“How could you think that I would object to you courting my daughter?”
My mother told me that she and Father thought my marriage to Walter was destined for early and sure success. It wasn’t so simple for us. I knew I was in love with him, but we needed to know one another better before we took another step towards marriage. Walter’s dinner visits at Grisham Manor became a weekly occurrence. At first, he and Father would retire to Father’s office after the meal and sip brandy and smoke cigars.
Exasperated, I joined my father in his study one evening where I found it difficult to immediately address my concern. After several minutes of desultory conversation, Father said, “Lura, what’s on your mind, you seem hesitant about something.”
“Father, it appears to me that you are courting Walter.”
“What do you mean? Your mother and I have him for dinner as often as seemly.”
“True, but after dinner you and Walter retire to your study, drink brandy and enjoy your cigars until past a decent hour.” I paused, so as not to show the anger I felt. “You might consider allowing us some time together.”
Father was aghast. “I’m beyond sorry. I didn’t realize…” After an embarrassed embrace, he said, “It won’t happen again.”
After my conversation with Father, Walter and I sat on the veranda and talked. As I came to know Walter and his plans to help Father grow the railroad, the more I became sure he was the man I wanted to marry.
Winter became spring, and then summer arrived. Walter came early for Sunday dinner and we took carriage rides. The air in Connecticut in summer is filled with the sweet aroma of Indian corn and alfalfa. Our drives took us beyond town and back. On the return ride we frequently stopped at Bartolini’s General Store. Emily, the owner’s daughter and my best friend, would look at the catalogs for the latest Paris fashions, while Walter and Mr. Bartolini enjoyed a cigar and talked politics. It was on one of these rides that we first kissed. It was awkward for me. I felt as though I’d failed my first test as a woman. Walter didn’t tell me, then or ever, where he learned to kiss, but he assured me that I had a knack for it.
Time began to drag. I was afraid he would never ask me to marry him. I needn’t have worried. Walter asked Father for my hand in marriage at our 1892 Thanksgiving dinner. Mother took over when I accepted Walters’s proposal. She told me that men have no sense when it comes to women, no matter how successful they are in business or industry. “We’ll have an engagement party over the Christmas holidays. You’re not to announce the engagement until then, not even to your friends.” Walter and I agreed with the proviso that we would not wait the traditional year before marrying. Mother compromised.
“All right, but you must wait until spring. Your father and I were married on April seventeenth. It would please us if you married on our anniversary.”
Father beamed. “That will make us very happy.”
Feeling a joy I had never before experienced, I took Walter’s hands into mine, “Will that please you, husband-to-be?”
“Whatever pleases you, wife-to-be.”
It was settled. We’d marry on the seventeenth of April and all would be well.
My parents, their parents, and their parents before them were Methodist Episcopal. Walter was Catholic. After much prayer and contemplation, I told Walter and my parents that I would convert to Catholicism. All three refused to accept my decision.
The four of us, sincere Christians, were liberal in our approach to organized religion. We neglected to mention to Pastor Carter that both Walter and Emily Bartolini, who was to be my maid of honor, were Catholic. He didn’t ask. Thus we were joined together as husband and wife on my parent’s anniversary. We had a beautiful memory we could share and celebrate with my mother and father every year.
We slept that night in my bedroom. A virgin, I was terrified that I would let Walter down. As the wedding night progressed, I became positive that virginity was one other thing we had in common. Our awkwardness didn’t last long as we discovered new delights. Our child was conceived there, that very night in my childhood bedroom.
We left the next morning for New York where we enjoyed a short honeymoon. While planning our wedding, we had talked of travel to Paris, France. We had to postpone the trip because of railroad business. Walter was overseeing the completion of a new bridge connecting the tracks between Philadelphia and Chicago. He couldn’t be spared. Walter was troubled, but I assured him. “I understand. Remember I’m the daughter of a railroad man. We’ll go next year on our anniversary.” We rented a small cottage in Ridgefield. Walter began drawing plans for a home of our own to be built on the hill next to Grisham Manor.
After Walter and I wed, Mother told me that Father was ecstatic. He had hoped we would marry and that Walter would someday take over the business.
By Independence Day, I knew I was with child. Mother was the first to know. I didn’t tell her, she told me.
“How can I be?” I asked her. “We just got married.”
“Have you missed your monthly time?”
I hadn’t thought about it. My time wasn’t always regular. “I may have.”
Mother laughed. “May have? What a child you are. Tell me when the last time was.”
I had to sit and think for a few minutes before looking up in shock. “Why Mother, I do believe the last time was in April, the week before the wedding. I remember because I was so frightened that it would come upon me on the seventeenth.”
“That is three months, darling.”
“Oh, Lord, I’m with child. What should I do?”
“First, let’s go see Doctor Stevens.”
Dr. Stevens confirmed our suspicions. “Unless I’m mistaken, the baby should arrive in January.”
That evening I waited until we were in bed to tell Walter. The happiest couple in the world, we counted our blessings. We had each other, our first child would be born in six months, and next year the three of us would travel to Paris for the summer. By the time we returned, the home of our dreams would be ready for Walter Myer and family. We were blessed.
The next three months of my pregnancy progressed as expected. As our child grew, so did my wardrobe. Emily Bartolini readily agreed to be the godmother. By the middle of the seventh month, my stomach looked much like one of those Civil War observation balloons. I was having such a miserable time that Mother insisted we move to Grisham Manor until the baby arrived.
The servants were happy to have me back and I loved being with them. Each morning, I made my way to the breakfast nook to share coffee with Father. My life was perfect with Father and Mother looking after me.
One morning in October, Father didn’t come down for coffee. I asked Cook, “Have you seen Father?”
“No Missy Lura, I haven’t. I’m worried. Mister George never misses his morning coffee.”
I sent for Walter. “Something is wrong. Father hasn’t come down this morning. Please come with me to his room.”
I knocked on Father’s door, “Father, it’s me. Are you alright?” I repeated my request but there was still no response.
“Please Walter, see to Father.”
Walter knocked before turning the knob and said, “George. George, are you there?” He opened the door, stepped through, and closed the door behind him.
I know it was only a moment, but it seemed a lifetime before he came back, closing the door behind him. From the look of devastation on his face, I knew that Father was dead.
“He looks peaceful. He must have died in his sleep.” Taking me by the hand, Walter brought me to my father’s side. I fainted. Walter caught me, when I woke, he was sobbing. He was as close to my father as any son could have been.
Walter was the first to speak. “We have to tell your mother.”
“I’ll do it. You stay with him.”
I went through the sitting room that divided my parent’s bedrooms. Mother was sitting up as I entered the room. She was beaming. “Why, good morning darling. This is a pleasant surprise.” When Mother saw my face, I’m sure she knew that Father was gone. She collapsed into herself and fell back on the bedcover. Mother’s body convulsed with sobs as tears fell from her tightly closed eyes. I went to her. Taking her into my arms, I rocked her like a child. I don’t think either of us uttered a word for long minutes. Finally, she spoke. “I have to see him. Is Walter here?”
“Yes. He’s with Father.”
“Ask Walter to come help me. Before you leave, please get me a dressing gown.”
When I returned with Walter, Mother was sitting at her dressing table. She was combing out her hair with slow and deliberate strokes. Tears were visible on her cheeks. “Give me a moment to finish my hair. I don’t want to look a mess.” Once finished with putting her hair up, she slowly rose and said, “Now, I’m ready. Please walk me to Father’s room.” At the door to his room, she said, “You can leave me now, I want to be alone with your father. Walter, please go to the church and ask Pastor Carter to come.” Mother stepped into Father’s room. In the time that she lived after my father died, I never saw her cry.
We held the funeral three days later. Dignitaries from as far away as Washington, D.C. attended. It was the largest funeral I ever attended. Mother insisted that the servants sit with the family.
Several months later, I had concerns about Mother. “Walter, she is not herself. I can’t get her to talk about my father.”
“I know. She worries me as well. She isn’t eating.”
“She never wants to leave the bedroom suite. Every time I go in, she seems to be writing. When she sees or hears me, she puts whatever it is in the desk drawer. She hasn’t left the house since the funeral.”
Thanksgiving was always a time for celebration in our home. Rarely was anyone outside the family or household staff invited. Walter had been an exception. Mother always worked with the servants to decorate the house. Grisham Manor’s dining room was unique in construction and ornamentation. With Tiffany windows, ten-foot ceilings, and tooled millwork, the room sat the family and servants in comfort. A few weeks before the holiday, Earl, our butler, and Cook came to me. “Missy Lura, what should we do? Will there be a Thanksgiving dinner this year?”
“What do you mean?”
“Every holiday your mother helps Cook plan the menu, and oversees the preparation of the manor. Now she sits in her room and takes no interest in our efforts. We’re worried.”
Struggling with my own grief, I turned to Walter for help. Walter’s advice was what my father would have wanted. “We have much to be thankful for. George enjoyed a great life with people who loved him always at his side. You know how happy he was for our marriage, and how he was looking forward to the birth of his first grandchild.”
“Yes, I know all that. But what should I do about the dinner?”
“George would want us to celebrate his life and give thanks for the love that exists in this house. The servants were as much his family as anyone. We owe it to them and your father to go ahead with the dinner.”
I explained to Earl and Cook that we would proceed with the dinner. “Thanksgiving will be a celebration of Father’s life and the love he had for all of us.”
As preparations progressed, Mother seemed to emerge from her depression. She even came down from her suite and helped Cook with the menu. She asked Earl to help with the decorations. He was delighted. Soon the sound of turkeys could be heard coming from the coops, pumpkins were readied for pies, and Thanksgiving decorations began to adorn the manor. At her insistence, the current staff, as well as all the former servants and their families were invited. The size of the guest list swelled to well over thirty. Fortunately, the dining room was large enough for two banquet tables. My father had had two fancy claw foot tables made to his specifications in Boston. Each was constructed from quarter sawn oak with nine skirted leaves. Without leaves they were fifty-four inches in diameter. One he kept in the breakfast nook off the kitchen, the other was in the dining room with four leaves. On those occasions, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, where large numbers of guests were expected, both tables were set up in the dining room with all nine leaves. Each table could accommodate sixteen people.
A few days before the holiday, Mother pulled Walter aside. “Our tradition has been that George and Earl each deliver a toast. You are now the head of this family. It will be your duty to offer a toast.”
Thanksgiving Day the first heavy storm of the year swept in from the north leaving behind a foot of snow as it passed through Fairfield County. For the first time in weeks, Mother came down to breakfast full of good cheer. I hugged her, “Mother, you look radiant.”
“I am dear. Thanksgiving was your father’s favorite holiday. I intend to enjoy it to the fullest.”
“Mother, what is that fragrance? It is so lovely and seems familiar yet I can’t place it.”
Mother smiled and then closed her eyes. “It is English Fern. Your father brought it back from his last trip to England.” Before I could comment further, she turned to Walter. “Walter dearest, I have a favor to ask.”
“What can I do?”
“This storm has turned Ridgefield into a scene beautiful enough for a painting, but travel for our guests may be difficult. Would you mind helping with the sleigh? It would be such a relief for me knowing that you will get everyone here.”
“Why that’s a wonderful idea.” Turning to me, Walter said, “Lura, you should ride with me when I pick up the last group.”
I thought that would be delightful but worried about Mother.
“Don’t fret. We have plenty of help here. I remember my first sleigh ride with your father. He was so nervous, as was I. It was only the second time we were alone.”
Dinner was lovely. The aroma of Cook’s turkey, along with mincemeat and pumpkin pies filled the manor. “Walter, I never realized how many people worked for my parents over the years. I just counted, and including the children, we have over thirty for dinner. It is a good thing the dining room was designed for large parties.”
“Yes dear, it is a wonderful room and a magnificent party. I haven’t seen your mother this happy since George passed.”
Earl, as was tradition, gave a toast thanking the family, especially Mister George, for our many years of love and support. He ended with his eyes full of tears as he raised his glass, “Mister George…” He couldn’t finish. I rushed to him and held him close.
Walter stood awkwardly and said, “Thank you Earl. We all loved Mister George.” After a pause, he took his glass in hand. Raising it he slowly turned pointing at all the guests and stopped facing mother. “Elizabeth Grisham—on behalf of Lura and I, everyone here today, we share in your grief at the loss of George. We loved him and we love you. God bless you both.”
After dinner, Mother beckoned for Walter. “I’m going to sit in Father’s chair in the great room. I would like you to give me five minutes and then bring Lura and all our guests to me.”
The room was truly great. The fireplace, enclosing a roaring fire, was large enough for a tall man to stand inside with arms straight out to his sides. There were chairs and settees enough for all the adults. Once we all found a place to sit, with the children on rugs in front of the fire, Mother raised her hands signaling for quiet. “I want to thank you all for being here and sharing this wonderful day of thanksgiving with Lura, Walter, and me. Mister George would have loved this.” Many of our guests had tears in their eyes as they listened to Mother’s heartfelt words. For several minutes Mother let them chat amongst themselves about Mister George and how he was missed. Finally, she raised her hands. The room fell silent.
“’I’ve known most of you your entire lives. Your love and devotion has been a godsend, not just since Father went to his Maker, but for as long as I can recall. I want you to remember this Thanksgiving. Mister George and I had decided on a special gift for each of you this Christmas. I don’t want to wait.”
A murmur went around the room. Gifts from Mister George and Mother were commonplace. They never forgot a birthday, anniversary, or any other important date. But Christmas in November was not something anyone expected. Mother picked up a small basket and set it in her lap. “We have envelopes for all of you. Each contains a Hartford National Bank and Trust draft payable on demand. Mr. Rogers expects to see you all over the next week. Take him the draft and he will redeem it for you. For the children there are banknotes.
After Walter took our guests home and the servants had retired, we sat with Mother. She seemed excited and happy. “It was such a wonderful party. Father would have been pleased.” She smiled before continuing. “It has been a lovely day and a fine dinner. I’m sure your father was with us in spirit. I felt his presence throughout the day. We’ll be together again soon.”
Although there was still a warm fire, I felt a sudden chill. “Mother, don’t talk that way. You have many more years to enjoy here with us and your grandchildren.”
“Why Lura, you talk as if you’ll have a houseful of children. You might want to talk with Walter about that.”
“Mother, you embarrass me.”
“One of our regrets was that you never had brothers or sisters. We built this home with that in mind.” After enjoying a sip of hot cider, she said, “It is time for me to go children. Lura please help me upstairs.”
“Walter, I’ll be with Mother for a few minutes. Please wait for me. We can talk before we retire.”
Walter looked tired, but said, “I’ll be here as long as you wish my darling.”
As I entered her suite, there were tears in her eyes. “Mother what’s wrong? Are you alright?”
“Yes, these are tears of joy.” Smiling, she embraced me and held me in her arms for the longest time. The slightest hint of English Fern lingered. When she pulled away, the tears were gone. “Ah, before I forget I have a gift for you.”
“What is that?”
Mother sat at her dressing table. She picked up a small, worn box covered in faded red velvet and held it to her bosom. I knew what it contained. Father gave my mother a pendant as a wedding present. It had always been her most prized possession. The renowned jeweler, Samuel Ward Benedict, created a Black Opal pendant. A large stone, it came from Australia. At first set in gold with twenty flawless diamonds mounted in an oval around it, the stone’s effect was diminished. Mr. Benedict redid the setting in platinum, which set off the opal and the diamonds to a much higher degree. Mother opened the box and gazed upon the cherished jewel. Letting out a sigh, she took it from the box. She stared at it for a long moment before holding it to her heart. As she did, she looked at me with eyes that sparkled with joy.
“Mother, you can’t. You mustn’t. I won’t allow you.”
Holding the pendant in her left hand, as she opened her arms wide. “Come Lura, come.”
I knelt, as though a child, in front of her. She clasped her arms around me. I wept. I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad, cry or laugh. Not knowing what to say, I felt dread as my heart alternated between heavy and light. I feared that she was saying goodbye.
“Darling, your father gave me this on our wedding day. I give it to you now with the hope that someday you will give it to a daughter of your own. Please don’t cry. I want you to have all the happiness that this has brought me.” Mother gently pushed me back on my heels as she put the chain over my head.
“I will cherish this as long as I live. Thank you.” I bent forward and back into her arms as I kissed her before concealing my face against her bosom.
“Knowing that you and Walter will have a wonderful life fills me with joy. I can leave this life happy.”
“What do you mean?”
Smiling, Mother took my hands in hers and said, “I’m ready to join your father, my love.”
“You frighten me. Please don’t talk this way.”
“Don’t be frightened darling. Now, you must go to Walter.”
There was a look of serenity, a peacefulness on her face that removed the fear building in my heart.
“Is there anything you need before we retire?”
“I require nothing, but if you and Walter would come to my room in a half hour, I would love to have you tuck me in and join in my evening prayers. Can you do that for me?”
“Nothing would please me more.”
Returning to Walter I could not avoid a renewed sense of dread. “Mother is acting strangely. I’m concerned. She talks of joining my father.”
“She suffers greatly from loneliness now that George is gone. I’m of the mind that the daylong celebration has tired her. After a good night’s sleep, she should be rested and back to her old self. Just wait, you’ll see.”
Tap, tap, I knocked at the door to Mother’s room. Not a second passed before I heard, “Come children.”
Mother was in bed with the bedclothes pulled to her bosom. A single candle lit her room. She was holding the family Bible to her chest.
“I have two readings I want to share with you before we pray.” Mother began, “Darlings, this is from Proverbs 18:22. ‘Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.’” Finishing, Mother smiled and said, “You have found one another and bring joy to the Lord, and to your father and me. Always remember your love and our love for you.”
Walter said, “My love for Lura is a wonderful thing. I shall cherish her each and every day for as long as I live.”
I couldn’t help myself—tears of joy covered my cheeks as I hugged and kissed Walter. Both Walter and I bent forward kissing her cheeks. We bumped heads and the three of us laughed.
“Let me continue,” Mother said. “This is from First Corinthians. ‘And unto the married I command, let not the wife depart from her husband.’”
I had a premonition and saw that Walter shared my concern. Before I could say a word, Mother spoke. “Join me in prayer.” Her prayer completed, she told us, “Now, give your mother a kiss and leave me to rest. I love you both.” Walter reached to put out the candle, but she asked him to leave it.
As we prepared for bed, I experienced another feeling of dread. It was so strong I asked Walter, “Do you feel this sadness that overcomes my heart?”
“No daring. If your question is about your mother, I can only say that she seems more at peace than I’ve seen her since your father’s funeral.”
I would have said more, but at that moment, I felt the baby kick. It was not the first time, but it caught me by surprise. Putting my hand to my turkey size stomach, I felt it again, only stronger. All thoughts of my parents flew from my mind.
“Walter, the baby!”
Walter regarded me with concern but as he looked into my face, he said that nothing was wrong, quite the opposite, something was truly wondrous.
“The baby is kicking. Here, put your hand on my stomach. Do you feel it?”
Walter’s face erupted into a smile of joy.
I woke with a chill unlike anything I could remember. The time was 4:00 a.m. Walter appeared unaware of the cold as he slept with his blanket down to his waist. Not wanting to wake him, I slipped from our bed and walked to the window. To my surprise, the room was quite warm. The snow was several feet deep for as far as I could see. All was normal, but what had caused me to experience such a chill gnawed at my mind. Pulling my nightgown close, I slipped out onto the veranda. As a child I had loved the strong nature of winter on a quiet winter night or morning, the way I could almost feel the clear, clean crisp air as it wrapped me in an invisible coat of exhilaration. It made me feel alive. This time was different. The cold was oppressive. It weighed me down with fright.
Returning to bed, despite pulling warm covers to my neck, I shivered violently enough that Walter was disturbed. “Lura, are you alright?”
I wasn’t. Mumbling something unintelligible, I pulled his strong arm around me and pretended to sleep.
The following morning my world forever changed.