Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 11

This entry is part 11 of 19 in the series Crazy

Chapter 11

For about a year after Jim’s fathers death, Shirley Green had no transportation other than old Spot or Jim hauling her around. She had never learned to drive an automobile. She always depended on her husband to take her where she wished to go.

His old car stood in the car-port gathering dust. Jim preferred to drive: the Jeep.

Then suddenly one day Shirley Green decided she was going to learn how to drive. Getting a driver’s license in Idaho is easy, providing you answer the questions properly. A driving test was not required, which was lucky for Shirley Green.

She acquired a book of driving laws and studied it carefully. She took the written test and passed with flying colors. She received her driver’s license although she had never driven a foot.

Jim had cleaned up the old car they had taken it to town and traded it in on a brand new Buick. It had power steering and many other extras. It was painted a canary yellow.

She had waited until they got back to the ranch before she attempted to drive. Here there were wide country roads and very little traffic – a good place for a beginner. All the fenders were dented and one side badly scratched before she mastered the thing.

For miles around the neighbors had cooperated. If they saw her car coming and had time they would get completely off the road. If there was room enough they would turn around and run for their lives!

Now after about a year and no casualties she had finally learned to be a reasonably good driver. Jim had taken the car to town and had all the dents removed. That had been several weeks ago and there were no new ones. He thought she deserved a metal.

Early the next morning and Jim and Elly May were on their way to Boise. Shirley Green had insisted that they take her car. It would be much more comfortable on a long trip.

They were approaching the fork in the road where the mailboxes were located. Jim stopped and took some mail from the box. He sorted through it then tossed the pieces in the back seat. There was nothing important, just a few letters to his mother.

Just below them was the bridge where Jeb and Zeb had blew up the frog.

They sure were little devils, Jim thought. Another time when he was waiting for the mail they had been under the bridge playing in the pond of water. They didn’t have a bull frog to blow up but they had something else.

Many long legged: water skippers were there. They found it great sport to tear the legs off one side and watch them skip in circles. Jim shuddered. They should have their asses paddled.

They passed the two metal signs – DEAD HORSE GULCH and ROTTEN RANCH. Elly May pretended not to see them.

Soon the new highway would go through here. The whole Rotten tribe would be forced to move out of there. Thank God for that, Jim thought. Another thing, if the State or forest service didn’t do away with those two signs he would see that they were taken care of himself and give them a decent burial.

He glanced at his watch. It was about sixty miles to Boise. They should arrive there before ten o’clock. There would be plenty of time today to start digging into the records. The big question was where to start.

There just had to be a mix-up. She couldn’t be one of that tribe. He was sure of that.

And Elly May? She hadn’t been hard to convince. The Rotten family had done a pretty fair job themselves.

She was a girl of mystery all right, even to herself. But anyone with a lick of brains could see that she wasn’t one of that clan. At least he thought so

They were approaching the new highway. From here on in the roads would be much better. Jim slipped an arm around Elly May and she moved over close to him.

There were many questions he wanted to ask her. He hardly knew where to start. Probably at the beginning of her new life would be as good as any.

He gave her a gentle squeeze, “Sweetie,” he said. “We are going to find out who you really are and what happened to you. It might help if you answered a few questions for me.”

The big blue eyes looked up at him. “Go ahead Jim. Ask me anything you like. I will answer the best I can.”

He thought for a moment, “Let’s start with your new life which began about four years ago. Go back as far as you can. What is the first thing that you can remember?”

She snuggled closer to him. “Just any little thing? No matter what?”

He nodded. “Any little thing. As long as it is the first.”

She closed her eyes and remained silent for a few moments. Then her eyes were open and she was looking up at him.

“I was lying in bed.” she began. “1 guess I had just awakened. I must of laid there quite awhile trying to think.”

“Yes?”

“I knew there was something I must do and I couldn’t remember what it was.”

“Try hard Sweetie.”

“Then it suddenly dawned on me.”

“Yes?”

“I had to go potty.”

Jim stared straight up the road. It would have been mighty easy to burst into a fit of laughter. Instead he bit his lip and gripped the wheel tighter.

Seconds later he looked down at her. Her big blue eyes were looking straight up at him.

“Does that tell you anything?” she asked softly.

The seconds ticked by. He had asked her a simple question and she had given him a simple answer. Like an obedient child she had done her best.

Slowly a thought entered his mind. Maybe she had told him something of value. He nodded his head. “Yes Sweetie I believe it does. It tells me that you were just recovering from being mighty sick, or badly hurt. Tell me where were you when this happened?”

“I was at uncle John and aunt Nelly’s place, in Seattle.”

“Were you sick? Were you hurting anywhere?”

She shook her head. “Those first few weeks were like a bad dream. Nothing is very clear.”

Jim concentrated on his driving. There were no more questions that he could think of. He watched the landscape flash by as he reflected.

Now they were only a few miles from Boise. He glanced down at Elly May beside him. She was sound asleep.

She had answered his questions and had given him simple answers.

It is very likely she had been sick, or had been in a bad accident. Something had affected her brain to cause her to forget those fourteen years. What could it be? What ever it was, he was going to get to the bottom of this mystery.

The problem must be brain damage, but was it permanent? Would she regain her memory? Probably, but only time would tell. Would she be different if she did regain her memory? Would he want her to be different?

He glanced down at the beautiful girl asleep on his shoulder. Would he want her any different, he thought a second time.

Hell no! She was perfect just the way she was. Maybe she was just a little bit different, but he couldn’t think of any change that would be an improvement.

She stirred slightly and moved closer to him. A little white hand found its way inside his shirt and came to rest there.

Jim took another look. Was she really asleep? He leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. She moved closer. The little hand stole farther under the shirt.

The goose pimples began to rise and the animal in him awakened. If she didn’t pick the darndest times and places!

Just up ahead was a roadside rest stop. A good place to freshen up a bit before they entered the city, he thought. He pulled in by the rest rooms and shut off the motor.

He glanced down at the girl beside him. There was a smile on her face. She sure didn’t look her age when she was asleep. The expression on her face was more like that of a four year old – pure innocence. Or was it?

He removed her arm from under his shirt and set her up straight. The blue eyes opened wide.

“Oh Jim, we are stopped. Is something the matter?”

“Not a thing. Just a rest stop. We will be in Boise in a few minutes and I thought we should freshen up a bit.”

“Sounds like a good idea. I will go pottie and powder my nose. By the way have you figured out where our first stop will be?”

“No but I think that right now would be a good time to do just that. Do you have any suggestions?” He opened the door and they both slid out.

“I can’t think of any, but I am sure we will find a place to start.”

Ten minutes later they were again on the road. Elly May had put on fresh makeup and was sitting up straight beside him. “Did you have a good nap?” Jim asked.

“I sure did. I always get sleepy when I ride. I hope you forgive me.”

“There is nothing to forgive, sweetie.”

“I had the: most wonderful dream.”

“Oh yeah, want to tell me about it?”

Her face was flushed and her eyes were dancing. “Are you sure you want me to?”

“Sure go ahead.”

The little white hand once more found it’s way under his shirt giving him goose pimples once again.

“I was dreaming about you. Shall I tell you more?”

Jim swore under his breath. He had goofed again: He gave her a gentle squeeze. “Save it for tonight darling,” he grinned. Well at least he had salvaged something.

As the countryside slipped by Jim returned to the problem at hand. They were almost there and still they had come to no decision. The county court house should have a record of everyone born in this county, but they certainly wouldn’t have a record of any mixup. No one admits to anything like that.

If they could locate Doctor May he might remember something about that day or night which ever it was. This seemed to be as good a place as any to start.

He had brought along a Boise phone book. It was in the glove compartment. He opened it, took out the yellow book and handed it to Elly May. He grinned. “I just thought of something. I wonder if doctor May is still in Boise.”

Just ahead was a roadside business. He pulled in and parked. The girl was excited. “Oh Jim, I hope he is.”

The phone book was for Boise and vicinity. The first part was the city of Boise and the latter the surrounding towns.

They opened the book to the classified section in the City. The search was on.

There vas no doctor by the name of May listed in the city of Boise. They turned to the other section with the same results – no doctor May.

They turned to the white pages. “It would help if we knew his first name,” Jim muttered “Maybe he is retired. He could be any one of these.” He pointed at the long list of people by the name of May. “We could go to a phone booth and call them all. But surely there is a better way.”

“I wish I could help. Maybe we could call some doctor’ and ask.”

“Right you are. That is the answer! There is a doctor here in the city by the name of Reynolds. He is an old friend of the family.”

He opened’ the book to the Rs. He went down the line with his finger. “Here it is! C. A. Reynolds. My dad used to call him C.A. all the time. I think he is retired now. Maybe we can find him at his home. Here it is. 5407 Locust Ave.”

He glanced at his watch. Ten o’clock. The doctor should be up and around by now. He was about to receive some callers:

It had been several years since he had seen the doctor. He tried to recall what he looked like. He was tall and thin and had a black moustache.

His father and Doctor Reynolds had been very good friends. Before his father had passed away the doctor would come to the ranch every fall and together they would go Deer and Elk hunting. They had many good times together.

Jim started the Buick and once more they were on their way. Ten minutes later he pulled up in front of the Reynolds home. It was a big house in a swanky district. The doctor was in the front yard mowing his lawn.

Jim and Elly May got out of the car and walked over to where he was working.

The Doctor shut off the motor and wiped his damp forehead. He was a tall slender man that appeared to be in his early sixty’s. He was bald on top and had a bristling moustache. Jim recognized him instantly.

He spoke. “Good morning doctor. I don’t know if you remember me I am Jim Green from High Valley.”

The doctor grinned and stuck out a bony hand. “Sure I remember you. I have known you every since you were a little twerp. What brings you here so early in the morning? And who is the lovely girl with you?”

Jim shook the Doctors hand. “It’s good to see you Doc. And may I present my girl friend.” He turned to the girl. “Elly May this is Doctor Reynolds.” He was trying hard to avoid her last name. “She will soon be Mrs. Green,” he finished lamely.

Elly May smiled and held out a white hand. “It is nice to meet you, Doctor.”

Reynolds took her hand and looked down at her, “Such a pleasure,” he said, “to meet such a beautiful girl, especially so early in the morning. And I beg your pardon I don’t believe I caught your last name.”

Jim’s face was turning red. He swore under his breath. May God damn the whole Rotten family. If they liked such a fitting name why didn’t they keep it to themselves! They had no right passing it on to her: Well he was going to do something about it and damn soon!

Elly May came to the rescue. “Rooten Doctor. Elly May Rooten.”

“A pleasure indeed.” The Doctor turned to Jim. “Let’s retreat to the shade of that tree in the back yard. It is getting rather warm here in the sun.”

Under the tree was’ a table and several chairs. The trio sat down.

“Now,” said the Doctor, “what brings you here so early in the morning? I am sure that this is not just a social call. My wife hasn’t even got out of bed yet.”

Jim nodded. “You are right Doctor. There is one question we would like to ask you.”

“Well go right ahead. Shoot.”

“Do you remember a Doctor May? He was practicing here some eighteen or twenty years ago.”

“Sure I remember him – Doctor Earl May. What about him?”

“Do you know where we can find him?”

Reynolds grinned. “Not for sure. He has been dead for over ten years.”

A look of disappointment passed over the faces of the young couple. But they weren’t really surprised. Any doctor practicing twenty years ago would be along in years by now.

“There was a May hospital,” Jim continued. “Does it still exist?”

Reynolds shook his head. “No, it has been gone a long time. It wasn’t really a hospital. The old boy had a big house on Warm Springs Avenue and turned it into a maternity ward. Most everyone called it the May hospital. There is an apartment house there now.”

Jim glanced at Elly May. She was pale but there was a determined look on her face. He must keep trying. He turned to the Doctor. “How do we go about finding out who was born there on May the first eighteen years ago?”

The Doctor looked puzzled. “Perhaps it would help if I knew what you are trying to do. Are you trying to find the girl’s birth certificate?”

Jim took another quick look. at Elly May. She smiled quickly as though giving her approval.

Jim cleared his throat. “Doctor we don’t wish to bother you with the details but we believe there was a mix-up. The people that took this girl home somehow managed to get hold of the wrong one.”

The Doctor stared at Elly May for a moment. “Doesn’t she resemble the rest of her family? Or maybe I should say the people that took her home?”

Jim shook his head.“In no way.”

“Strange things happen sometimes.”

“Not that strange!” he said softly.

“And who do you think she got traded for?” the Doctor asked.

Jim shook his head. “That’s just it Doctor. We don’t have the slightest idea. All we know is she certainly doesn’t belong to that family.”

Reynolds shook his head. “There have been cases where babies have gotten mixed up. To prevent this, their footprints are taken right after their birth. However this doesn’t prove a thing if the nurse gets the mothers names turned around. We can take blood tests but if they both have the same type this will prove nothing.” The Doctor stared at the girl. “Does her parents believe they took the wrong child?”

Jim slowly shook his head. “We don’t know. They got rid of her when she was fourteen.

The Doctor scratched his head. “Just why do you wish to prove that she is not the daughter of the people that claim to be her parents?”

Jim searched for an answer. “If you could just see them you wouldn’t ask that question.”

“That bad eh?”

“That bad.”

The Doctor thought for a moment “In that case go down to the Daily Statesman news paper office and get a copy of the page that listed all the births on that day. If the ones at the May house are listed separately you will know who she might have gotten mixed up with “ He paused for a moment then slowly shook his head. “However I am going to be honest with you. I suggest that you forget the whole thing. You might stir up something that you will be sorry for – after all what is a name? And you are going to change it, aren’t you? Yes if I were you I would forget all about it.”

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