A novel by Karen Lockhart
Copyright© 2017 Karen Lockhart
When we got to work in the morning, I started looking for driving schools for Wendy. I found out she had to be sixteen to get a learner's permit, so I had to dig into her fabricated history.
The good news was that I emailed the Registry of Motor Vehicles for the study book for a permit in Wendy's name. Now, we only had her word for her age and birthday; which Wendy had told us was in January, 2000.
The Registry asks for a birth certificate to get a driver's license. A driver's license is considered a universal form of identity, so you must have that piece of paper.
Shoot! I wonder if Pete Smith could help us out? I'd have Ellen ask him. Maybe she'll bat her eyes at him like Mae West.
Mae West, a smile like a chipmunk, and a body like a truck driver, this truck driver excluded.
Pete was going to call Ellen that day. When she came back inside I'd mention it to her. In the meantime, back to searching out driving schools.
During lunch, we switched on the news station on the radio. I was just coming in with lunch when I heard the announcer say the front page of the Herald newspaper had paid off. Evidently, Lynn Police had received several phone calls saying they knew who that was. One caller said he was a notorious drug Tsar who was presumed dead! This was going to be interesting! I pulled up the local television station on my laptop, and there was Vinny's face staring back at me!
A woman reporter in a too tight dress was standing in front of the Federal Court house in Boston saying a year long mystery may be solved. Of course, most of what she said was fertilizer, but it was Vinny.
Now the Rhode Island mob would be looking for him along with every police department in the state. I had just enough time to tell Ellen about my brain storm regarding Wendy, when her cell started playing the oldies song “My Boyfriend's Back”. I knew this ring meant Pete was calling.
After fifteen minutes or so, I heard Ellen mention Wendy, and how would we go about getting her a birth certificate. She kept saying, “But Pete, I know that,” and things like, “She can't even get a GED without a birth certificate,” and finally, “Without a GED, she can't even work a job at McDonald's, Pete!” Then finally, “Pete, I love you, I'll show my appreciation later, honey, thank you.”
When she turned around, I could tell by the watermelon grin that Pete came through. “Well,” I said, “Tell me, I'm dying to hear it.”
“Pete said he knew of a little town hall in Western Massachusetts that had a fire, destroying most of their records in 2006. They had no funding at the time for off-site electronic record keeping.”
Ellen took a deep breath, “All we need to do is ask for a certified birth certificate. Since there is no record, whatever we tell them will be believed.”
Now I was excited, and asked Ellen for the town's name and Wendy and I would head out there the following day.
“Pete said the town is East Devon, out in the Berkshires, near Great Barrington. It's about a four hour drive each way.”
“Ellen, did he say the best way to get there?” I asked, “I've got GPS, but out there it gets confused.”
When I said that Ellen looked at me with a funny expression. “Your GPS gets confused? No, forget I asked. Pete said due west on Route 90, the Massaschusetts Turnpike that is. Get off at Exit 2 head south and check your GPS or road map, the Town Hall is easy to find.”
“Ellen, today is Wednesday; going out there on Thursday should have less traffic than a Friday. What do you think?” I asked in a soft voice, hoping Wendy wouldn't hear.
“Ginny, I agree, leave first thing in the morning. You'll hit commuter traffic, but maybe Wendy will bring you luck. But leave her in the car, if she's not there, no-one can ask her questions.”
I looked at Ellen with approval, “My dear, are you sure your ancestors weren't of the Romany?”
That got me a quizzical look from her.
“Ellen, Gypsies. They prefer to be called Romany these days.”
I went over to my desk where Wendy was hard at work playing a computer game. I looked over her shoulder to see what it was. To my surprise, she was playing Spider Solitaire, my favorite.
“I hate to break up a winning hand, but first thing in the morning, you and I are taking a trip to almost Pittsfield.”
“Okay Aunt Ginny, I'd love to keep you company. What's out there?”
I smiled at that, “A birth certificate with your name on it.”
I went on to tell her what Pete had said about the records fire, and it was a little town with prehistoric record keeping. This tiny town had a handful of multi-millionaires, and a bunch of locals, whose ancestors settled the town about the time of the Revolutionary War.
Wendy hardly slept and she was up and ready to go at 6am. Getting on the Turnpike wasn't that bad and by 7 o'clock we were heading West on route 90. With two girls on board, we kept stopping for either food or bathroom breaks.
Around 9.30 we came to Exit Two. Good thing the State Police were paying attention to the cars heading East towards Boston, or they might have noticed we were making very good time! I took the south ramp, found a place to pullover and entered the our destination in my dashboard GPS. I was surprised to see the East Devon Town Hall was only four miles away.
Wendy was alright with staying in the car, listening to CD's. I went inside, found the Town Clerk, and sang her my tale of woe. My niece had lost her certificate while moving. And now, back in Massachusetts, she needed a birth certificate.
The Town Clerk nodded, and asked her birth date. When I said January 15, 2000, she groaned, telling me about the fire, and the loss of all the birth records.
She walked off, returning in 5 minutes with a ledger book. Wendy's statistics were written down in a jiffy. The Clerk smiled at me and said she needed $20 for an attested certificate. In another fifteen minutes I was in the CRV with Wendy heading home.
I wish we had thought of this with me. It was a lot easier and cheaper than the route I took. On the ride home, Wendy was a little chatter-box, every fourth topic was what kind of car she should get.
Just like a teen, no permit or license, and we're on the topic of cars; not used cars, mind you, but brand spanking new little sporty cars. Being fresh, I suggested a Mini Cooper S convertible. Bad move; she squealed, and said, “Oh thank you Aunt Ginny.”
For the rest of the ride I explained that I was being sarcastic. By the second rest area, I was explaining sarcasm. Somehow I think she already knew this, and was having me on. This was her way at getting back at me. No, I was sure she knew, I kept catching her looking at me and smiling.
We actually made it back before Ellen closed up the office, but not by much! I was glad we stopped at the Roy Rogers for fried chicken.
Ellen didn't have to ask how we made out, the expression on Wendy's face told it all.
We got to the condo before her, unlocked and turned on some lights. Wendy kept staring at her new life. When Ellen walked in, after reading Wendy's birth certificate, she looked at me and asked why we didn't go this route with me.
At this Wendy's ears perked up, and looking at me asked, “What did Aunt Ellen mean by that?”
Oh damn, I looked at Ellen, who said, “She would learn sooner or later Gin.”
“I would learn what?” Wendy asked, “If Ginny is not your real name, what is it?”
I took a deep breath, and said “Eugene.”
To be continued.
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