The Girl Most Likely To ... - Part 43

The Girl Most Likely To ... - Part 43
by Barbara Lynn Terry

Chapter 1 - Melanie and her mother.

As they left Glenn's Eatery, Marilyn said she wanted to go home, and then take a road trip to Wayne County to get all of their things. She said while she was there, she would call for a truck to bring their furniture to the new house.

As they drove in to the drive way leading to the house, they saw a green pickup truck by the front door. It was Melanie's uncle Jerry, well, really Gerald, but everybody just called him Jerry.

"Jerry, what are you doing here?"

"I Had to ask where you lived at the truck stop. I brought your personal things from the house, and I have arranged for your furniture to be brought up. This way you don't have to make that long trip."

"Would you like to stay for the fireworks tonight? You won't make it back until early morning. So, I thought I would make something for us to nibble on while we're watching the fireworks."

"Sounds great, sis."

"Hello, uncle Jerry," Melanie said, hugging him.

"Hello, and who is this beautiful young lady?"

"You know exactly who I am, uncle Jerry."

"You can't be Melanie, you're too tall."

"Oh! Uncle Jerry, I swear."

"Well, ladies, let's get your things in the house, and you can give me the grand tour."

They made five trips back and forth to get all the things from Jerry's pickup. Jerry had brought their clothes, kitchen table, coffee maker, the food from the refrigerator (that was in two chests with dry ice), the food from the cupboards, all of the bedding so it was here when the beds arrived. He brought all their family pictures that Marilyn had on her fireplace mantle, and he brought the photo albums, too. He brought something else, too; a girls mountain bike for Melanie.

"Oh! Uncle Jerry, this is just divine. How did you know I like pink?"

"That was easy. You're a girl. Aren't you?"

"Oh! Uncle Jerry. Mother, now I can ride in to town on my own and not bother you while your doing your photo shop. Besides, with this bicycle, I can visit my sisters any time now."

"Only when there is no snow on the ground. I know they plow these roads very good, but you can still fall off of your bike by going over a patch of ice that is hidden under the snow."

"Yes, you're right mother. But, is it all right if I go by Tommy's and ask him to drive me?"

"I don't see why not."

"Tommy?" Jerry queried. "Is this your boyfriend, Mel?"

"No, uncle Jerry, he has a wonderful girlfriend, but this is the house we are buying from Tommy's dad."

"I see. So, what do you all do around here for excitement?"

"We sit and watch the birds and the bees, Jerry."

"Sounds fascinating. I bet that is an all year round thing."

"Yes, we love imagining the robins here at the beginning of the new year." There was laughter and giggles."

"Okay, who are you, and what have you done with my sister, Marilyn?"

"I'm right here, Gerald."

"But, where is that melancholy sister of mine that cried herself to sleep every night, and looked at Mel's pictures in the day time?"

"She got real happy, because her daughter sent her a mother/daughter card with an very heart warming message."

"Do you have it with you?" Marilyn got her purse, and took out the card and gave it to Jerry.

"A mother is a person who is her daughter's best friend, a daughter is a mother's best friend, they share things together, and laugh at the silly things life comes up with. There is no fulfillment in a mother without a daughter, and there is no fulfillment in a daughter without a mother. The two need each other as the crops need the rain, and with these two best friends, let it rain, let it rain, let it rain."

"This is beautiful. Mel, you sent this to your mother?"

"Yes, uncle Jerry. See, for three years I did nothing but wish mother would come up and at least tell me she wasn't coming any more. But, she came and told me I was welcome back home, because daddy wasn't with us any more."

"Yes, he had a heart attack that caused him to have a stroke. He died in the hospital. You're free now, Mel. Welcome home."

"Thank you, uncle Jerry." Melanie hugged her uncle with all she had, and the tears just came. "I am so happy." Jerry held her, like he did when she was little.

Jerry kissed the top of Melanie's head, like he did many years ago. Melanie had very fond memories of her uncle Jerry, her mother's only brother and only sibling. He placed his forefinger under Melanie's chin, and raised her head.

"Everything is going to be just fine, midget, just fine. By the way, do you think I could see this place you were in?"

"You mean the home. Yes, of course. We can go now, if you like."

"Sounds good to me."

They all went outside and got in the truck. Jerry drove them to the home, and when they went inside, Jerry couldn't believe what he was seeing. There was no fighting, no swearing or cussing and everybody seemed to be having a good time.

"Excuse me, sisters, I would like to introduce someone. This is my uncle Jerry. He came up here to bring our personal things from our old house."

All the girls, and Madelline, too, greeted Jerry with a warm welcome.

"Uncle Jerry is going to move here, and live near us."

"I am? When was this decided?"

"Just now, uncle Jerry." All the girls and the two women giggled.

"So, you want me to move up here, and live near you. Is that what you want, sis?"

"It would be nice, Jerry."

"Well, I guess I am out voted...again." There were more giggles.

"Mom, may I show my uncle around the house?"

"Yes, you may. Let me go upstairs and see if any of the girls are changing. If they are I need to warn them there will be a man on the floor."

"No guys are allowed upstairs?"

"No, uncle Jerry. That is where our rooms are. But I am living with mom, now, and I will still be going to school on the grounds for the rest of the year. Then next semester I will be going to Pine Meadows senior high. Then, when I graduate from there, we will have a graduation party here for all of the graduates. The reason I suggested we live here, is because I can help my sisters, and they can help me. See, uncle Jerry, we are permitted to come and go as we please here. There are no restrictions, save for one. That is to always be a lady at all times. We don't consider this an institution, uncle Jerry. We consider this our home."

"Melanie, you may go up and show your uncle your room. Your bed is still there for you, should you decide you want to end your extended visit. You also have to take part in your therapy programs, too, starting Monday, again. Melanie, you know the rules and you have been very good in following them. Daddy amended your therapy slightly, to include living with your mother. It isn't the same here without you, Melanie."

"That's for sure," Sharon stated firmly, in mock indignation.

"Come uncle Jerry and I will show you my room."

They went upstairs, and Melanie showed her uncle Jerry where she slept when she was at the home. Her bed was immaculately made, and her half of the room looked like it had been cleaned.

"I wonder who cleaned my half of the room," Melanie said, surprised that her half of the room was dust and dirt free. "Anyway, that bed is mine, and this is where I studied when I was in my room. We could study anywhere in the house, but we have our own computer desks to put our laptops on, if we have them, and it is also a place to study."

"It looks nice. I noticed you called the woman downstairs, mom. Why is that?"

"Her name is Madelline, but we call her mom because she has been a really good mother to all of us. See, there is one house father and we call him daddy, the woman he works with is Jan. She wanted us to call her that, so that is what we call her. When the girls get up in the morning, daddy is in the office reading the reports from mom and Hazel our night house mother. The girls go down to take their showers and get dressed. By the time they are done, breakfast is ready and we all sit in the dining room. Each girl takes turns saying grace. We had a new girl come a about two weeks ago, and she said the most original grace I have ever heard. See, uncle Jerry, we have problems, and before they become issues, we seek help from each other. We can talk to daddy, Jan, mom, Hazel and even Ms. Wells, our superintendent. We have a good home here, uncle Jerry. I have a better one with mother, but if we have to live here, then we make sure this is a home and not just a house with people in it. Let me show you our recreation room."

They went down in the basement, and the rec room was underneath the living room. As they walked in, Melanie started explaining about the equipment that was there.

"Uncle Jerry, all of the exercise equipment you see here was bought by us girls for the girls. Even the staff comes down and uses these machines from time to time. When we are left to ourselves, we make sure we behave, so we don't lose the generous privileges that we have."

"Where did you get the money for all of this?"

"Every summer at the town's founding jamboree, we have a bake sale. Our pastries have won jamboree awards, uncle Jerry. Even though I am living with mother, I am going to be with my sisters helping with the baking here, and at the bake sale at the jamboree. Every girl in this house is a sister to each other. It is one for and all for one. So, if I happen to say I am going for a bike ride, this is where I will be, unless I say I am going in to town."

"This is a very big house. I counted fifteen rooms upstairs with two beds each. What is the sixteenth room used for?"

"That is for Hazel, our night mother. She does the sewing that needs to be done, and stays near us in case we have a night mare or can't sleep and need to talk. All of the staff here has been more like parents than state employees. Officially, this is a state institution, but it isn't run like one. Ms. Wells, our super, doesn't interfere with how the house parents treat us, as long as it is decent. Any house mother or even daddy can authorize a home visit, and they can also extend that home visit indefinitely.

"What made me sad was, mother never wrote, or came up to see me, or even called me on the phone. But, when she came in the other day when we were having lunch, I was like totally surprised. Since then, I have been living with her.

"When you said you had our personal items from the house, and arranged for our furniture to be delivered, I was like, wow. Maybe someday, mother and I can sit down and talk about why things happened the way they did."

"I think she would rather forget those days and start fresh. Listen, Angel, if it will make everybody feel better for me to live here, I will. I can transfer jobs easy enough."

"That would be so cool, uncle Jerry. You have to meet Naomi. She is a deputy sheriff here in Pine Meadows county. She doesn't act like a cop does, though. She acts more like a sister, and we even made her an honorary sister of the home. She is really cool."

"I think I will move up here. Your description intrigues me."

"Uncle Jerry, everything 'intrigues' you." Melanie giggled. "Let's got back upstairs."

As they came in the living room, they saw everybody sitting around listening to Marilyn tell everybody of some of the antics Melanie did when she was younger. Melanie just stood there by her uncle and listened. Then she got a really bright idea.

"Mom, did you tell them about the time you chased me all the way down the alley when I was like three years old?"

"I was just getting to that."

"What happened, Mel?" Sharon asked.

"Well, the back gate to our yard was open, so being the inquisitive three year old that I was, I decided to investigate the world beyond our yard. Mom was calling for me, and then she got frantic when she saw the back gate open. She ran down the alley and scooped me up in her arms. She was actually crying and hugging me, because I didn't get run over."

"You still remember that?"

"Yes, Sharon, I do."

Sharon knew better than to ask what happened if her mother loved her so much, that she put Melanie in the home. None of the girls asked any of the other girls why they were there, unless the girl wanted to talk about it. The only exception was Rachel. All the girls knew why she was there, but, they weren't ready for who she really was and how she acted that first day at the home.

Marilyn looked around and saw Melanie and Jerry standing there.

"So, brother of mine, are you moving up here, so we can be close to each other and share holidays and birthdays?"

"Yes, I think I will."

Marilyn and Jerry were the only two children their parents had. Their father had passed away to alcohol poisoning, and their mother was in a nursing home. The few times they had visited, their mother seemed to be off in another world. They would make the trip though, to go and see her. After all, she was their mother. But Marilyn and Jerry were all each other had, really, and they needed each other as badly as Melanie needed her mother. So, Gerald "Jerry" Anderson, decided to move near his sister and niece.

"I will call the moving company and tell them to move my furniture and things up here, too. Now, about a house. Where will I stay, until I can find a house or apartment?"

"Jerry, there are a lot of properties in Pine Meadows county for rent to own. I will ask Naomi if she knows of a nice place near us."

"Who is Naomi?"

"She is an angel; a person who helps others and doesn't ask for anything in return. She is the trainer for the Pine Meadows County Sheriff's Department, but she also does patrols, too."

"In other words she is a sheriff's deputy."

"Yes, but without the ego most officers have. She is also an honorary sister of the Pine Meadows Home For Adolescent Girls. The place were are in right now."

"Uncle Jerry? Electing someone an honorary sister is something we don't do lightly. The person has to be someone very special, and does things to help the girls that live here."

"Sir, we elected Naomi and one of the friends of one of the girls honorary sisters, because they showed us just what it means to be a sister and what the word help means. After you have lived here a few days, you will see that here in Pine Meadows, we have a slogan. 'It takes a village'. Everybody that lives here takes that slogan very seriously.

"Young lady, my name is Jerry Anderson, but you may call me Jerry."

"Thank you. Mr. Anderson. Anderson? Melanie's mother is your sister?"

"Yes, Sharon, I am. Anderson was the last name I was given when I was born. Roberts is my married name."

"Oh, ok. Thank you for clearing that up."

"We should be going, Mel, Jerry. It is almost dinner time for the girls. Besides, this way you can meet Naomi, and see for yourself what kind of a person she is."

"Sharon, is it? It was nice to meet you. I'm sure we will be back as Melanie visits her friends more and more. Mel, you didn't tell them the nice present you got."

"Oh, uhm, yes. My uncle Jerry bought me a twenty four inch, Schwinn Solution mountain bike. Uncle Jerry knew just what color to get it in, too. Pink."

"Oh, girlfriend, you just have to show us. Now you can ride over here to see us, without bothering anybody for a ride."

"Yes, Connie, but mother says I can't ride it in the snow. She's afraid I will slip on a patch of ice under the snow."

"Mrs. Roberts, you needn't worry. These roads are plowed very good, and Melanie and some of the girls have walked in to town on a cold day in the winter. It is good exercise, and the brisk, cold air is just what we need now and again. So riding her bike here in the winter isn't any more dangerous than walking from here in to town."

"You're right, Connie. I am sorry, Mel, but I just got you back and I don't want to lose you to some stupid accident." There were awwws from all the girls.

"Am I in time for dinner," Naomi asked coming in the house."

"Naomi!" All the girls exclaimed. When Jerry Anderson saw just how much these girls loved this officer of the law, he got a whole new respect for ... well ... cops.

"Mel, you, your mom, your uncle and Naomi are invited for dinner. Tonight is something very special. We are having a baked chicken dinner complete with corn on cob, rice, milk for us, coffee for the adults, and tea for anyone who wants it. For dessert, we are having strawberry shortcake."

"Thank you, Maddy. We will be only too happy to accept your invitation."

"Do you have dinners like this all the time?" Jerry asked.

"No, but sometimes we think the girls will like something different. So we prepare a meal that we know they will like. After the chicken is rinsed thoroughly, we place it in the oven for one hour, and it comes out with the skin crisp, and the fat under the skin almost all gone."

"But that is the best part of the chicken," Jerry said, to the giggles of the girls.

"Spoken like a true man," Marilyn quipped. The girls giggled again.

"All right ladies, and gentleman, it is time to get your hands washed for dinner. It will be served in just a few minutes."

"Yes, mom," The chorus from the girls sang out.

The girls washed their hands, as did Jerry, and everybody took their places, with the guests interspersed between the girls.

Jerry was kind of awe struck when he saw the food being placed on the lazy susans.

After everybody had their servings, the girls talked and Jerry listened to the cheerful banter of these teenage girls in an institution, but not letting it bother them. They carried on as though this were a college sorority, and he was their honored guest.



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