Sunday, June 26, 2016

Bruce's Story - Chapter 29

Chapter 29

The new found wealth did not create any animosity between the couple; in fact, Amanda took complete control over it. They bought a modest house close to the college in Omaha. Sam started a course for accounting and Amanda took odd jobs around the city. Omaha was a much larger city than Florida and with her good looks and easy demeanor it was not long before she became a sales girl at a high end boutique. These were the times of unrest within in the country, but the elite in Omaha did not seem to be effected.

Sam was not home as often as Amanda would have liked, but she understood that he was a full time student and had an internship with a Financial Investment Company. There were many nights when Sam would stay at work overnight and then go straight to school. It was not uncommon for Amanda not to see him for several days at a time.

On January 5, 1968, a letter arrived in the mail addressed to Sam Patterson from the United States Defense Department. It appeared that Sam was eligible for the mandatory draft. His birth date would be eligible until he was twenty five years old unless he could prove that either he was unfit to serve or that it was a major burden on his family.

Amanda was devastated. “What constitutes unfit or a major burden?”

“Unfit means there is some medical issue that would keep me from serving and a major burden would be if I was the sole provider for my family.”

“So I should quit my job?” She asked.

“That would help,” Sam replied, “Also we could have a baby and that would make it a stronger case.”

“Sam! I am only twenty years old! I didn’t want to make the same mistake that my mother did.”

“Sweetheart, it doesn’t matter how old you are, you will never make the same mistakes as your mother. I am not you father and you are not your mother.”

They both went about their lives as they had before, hoping that Sam’s birthday would not appear at the top of the draft role.

On July 1, 1968 the role had been completed and Sam’s birthday was number 360. He was safe! But on August 1, 1968 Amanda told him they were pregnant and would be having a baby around her birthday in 1969. Sam was ecstatic!

The news did not bring Sam home any more often, but he was more attentive when he was home. He had completed his schooling by fall of 1969 and was working full time with his company.  They had so much faith in him that they sent him on the road to line up new clients. Sam was a natural born salesman and brought the company a lot of new business. He was rewarded with a trip to Maine, but he did not tell Amanda about it. He told her he was traveling.

At this point in the story Bruce interrupted Monica. “How is any of this possible? My parents were married on July 14, 1967.”

Monica replied, “Honestly I don’t know. The only thing I can figure out from all of this overlap is that our father was a first class liar and had the ability to keep two separate lives separate. He had our mothers convinced that he traveled for business and all of those ‘business’ trips were really the time he spent with his ‘other’ family. I’m not sure if I love him for that or hate him.”

Bruce shook his head, “Monica, this is a lot for me to take in right now. I need time to digest this.”

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Bruce's Story - Chapter 28

The couple continued to work at menial jobs. Sam had been offered several scholarships to attend local colleges, but between them they decided it was not feasible for Sam to attend college and Amanda to work full time. They just wouldn’t have enough to cover the rent.

October 1, 1965 two pieces of mail arrived that would forever change their world. The first one was from the United States Defense department seeking confirmation that Sam Patterson lived at that address and that he had graduated high school. Not seeing any harm in this letter they responded affirmatively on both questions.

The second piece of mail was addressed to Amanda Stevens and was from a law firm in Omaha. The firm was seeking Amanda Stevens, dob March 1, 1948, whose parents were Joseph and Emily Stevens. The letter frightened Amanda as she had never dealt with lawyers before and had no idea why they would be looking for her.  Omaha was a very long distance from the city of Florida.

Amanda wrote a letter back to the law firm explaining that she was the person they were seeking and would like to have more information from them.  Two weeks letter an official letter came from the law firm stating that they needed to meet with her immediately and if she could not come to them, they would come to her.

Jeff Halston, from the law firm of Holmes and Watson came to Florida, Nebraska to meet with Amanda. He introduced himself as Amanda opened the front door and she led him to the dingy living room, excusing the state of her home. He quickly put her at ease.

“Amanda,” Jeff began, folding his hands together, “I’m not one to beat around the bush so I am going to come out and tell you what I am here for.”

Amanda gave Sam a questioning look and turned to Jeff and said, “Thank you.”

“Let me start by asking you a few questions, if you don’t mind.” Jeff said.

Amanda nodded her acquiescence.

“You were born on March 1, 1948, right?”


“Your parents were Joseph and Emily?”


“Your brother’s name is Riley and he served in the U.S. Army?”


“Do you know the whereabouts of your brother?”

“No sir,” Amada replied.

“You have not heard from him?”

“Not since he left over four years ago.” She said.

“I am sorry to be the one to tell you this, but your brother died in combat over a year ago. Was your mother ever notified?”

Amanda took a moment to digest the news that not only was she an orphan, but that she had no other family. She looked the attorney in the eyes and responded, “If she was, she never told me; and even if she was I’m not sure it would have registered with her. Her last couple of years was very rough and she didn’t seem to comprehend much.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Jeff said, “But the good news out of all of this is that with you being the sole relative left, Riley’s death benefits and pension will come directly to you. His benefits are higher as he died in battle.”

Aghast, Amanda said, “I don’t even know how to respond to that. You tell me my brother is dead, has been dead for over a year, and that I am benefiting from that. That is a lot of information for me to take in.”

Jeff smiled and continued, “That is not the only information I am going to spring on you today Amanda.”  He sat back on the couch and folded his legs. “Do you remember when you were younger and you won all those beauty pageants?”

She smiled, “Of course I do.”

“Well I guess your mother was very smart and looked out for your future. She took half of every prize you won and place it in a trust for you that you would receive on your eighteenth birthday. That is in four months, right?”


“So on your eighteenth birthday the trust will pay you in full. Some of those funds have been accruing interest for over fifteen years. The sum total in that trust as of today is twenty three thousand, seven hundred and change.”

Amanda’s hand shot to her mouth as her eyes grew very wide. “Are you saying all the money is mine in March?”

“Yes ma’am, and we will be sending you a check within the next thirty days for all the back benefits you should have been receiving from your brother’s life insurance and benefits. You can expect a check for that first disbursement to be approximately fifteen thousand dollars and then you will be receiving a regular disbursement every month for two hundred fifty dollars.”

Amanda could not believe her ears. She had never handled money of those great sums and was completely overwhelmed.

Jeff got up to leave and as Amanda showed him the door he said, “It was very nice to meet you and if you have any questions please feel free to contact me at any time.”

After he left Sam and Amanda hugged in a daze. She finally said, “Now we will have enough money for you to go to college and we will have enough left over to buy a house.”

Sam responded, “Mands, I don’t want to take all your money. You should keep some in a safe place just in case. It does give us a safety net for me to go to school so I can get a better job, but I am going to see if I can get scholarships as well.”

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Bruces' Story - Chapter 27b

Sam smiled a huge smile and kissed Amanda on the cheek. “Great, give me your phone number and I will call you next week.”

The two of them were together almost every day during that summer. Even though they both had jobs; Sam was the dishwasher at the local diner and Amanda worked at the local hotel doing odd jobs, they worked their schedules out around each other.  Emily had taken a turn for the worse and had lost all concept of reality. Amanda was worried, but did not have the mental, emotional or physical capabilities to handle it. She watched in silence as her mother slipped away.

In September, the beginning of their senior year, Sam had decided he no longer wanted to play football; he did not want to waste his time when he would rather have been with Amanda.  Amanda felt the same way and by the middle of their senior year he asked her to marry him.

Amanda was scared and exuberant at the same time. She was almost seventeen and really had no idea about life or her future. On the other hand she was in love with Sam and could not imagine her life without him.  She wasn’t sure if her mother was aware enough to handle this change; but she knew she had to do it.

On March 1, 1965 Sam Patterson and Amanda Stevens went to the Florida city hall and got married by the justice of the peace.  They decided not to tell anyone at school as they were graduating in three months.

Sam moved into Amanda’s house; Emily did not even seem to notice. Between their two after school jobs they managed to put enough together to keep the rent paid and food on the table, but just barely.

In July, Emily passed away in her sleep. Amanda did not know what to think or feel; her mother had not been a large presence in her life for quite a while.  She wasn’t even sure if her father was still alive and had no idea where to find Riley or if he was alive.

They arranged a simple burial; there was no one to attend a funeral, and filed the proper paperwork with the county.  Now the two orphans needed each other more than ever.

Sunday Journal June 12

I am now 56 (well I have been for almost 4 months now!) and I have finally realized that I just can't do what I used to do.  The past tow weeks have been constant - I worked 11 days in a row many of them 14 hours or more.  It has taken me three days to even feel normal again.

But on the bright side - I do feel normal again and hopefully will continue as planned

Happy week!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sunday Journal June 5 2016

Have been working non stop since last Monday and am currently assisting with a physical inventory that is running 24/7

Great experience  - - - will be happy to get home!

Happy week!