Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 12

This entry is part 12 of 19 in the series Crazy

Chapter 12

It was almost noon when they left the Doctor’s house. They were both hungry. Jim drove to a restaurant in Garden City where ordered a meal

His mind was confused. He had asked the Doctor for advice and he had given it. What he had to say made sense alright, but, on the other hand, there was Elly May to think about. She would go through the rest of her life not knowing who she really belonged to. She had been through enough already and he couldn’t let her down.

He glanced up at her and saw her staring straight at him. Her face was pale; her eyes were bright. It seemed as though her lower jaw was thrust out just a bit. The childish look was gone. Her voice was Low and husky. “What do you think Jim?”

He stared at her. He was not talking to a child now. He thought for a moment. It was her life why not let her decide?’

“Do you think we should take the Doctor’s advice?”

She reached under the table and found his hands She gripped them tight. “Jim, Sweetie, we started out to do something let’s not quit now.”

Slowly he nodded his head. No one likes a quitter. “You are right Sweetie. You are so right.”

The grip on his hands relaxed a trifle. “We will not hurt anyone, Jim. And it means so much to me.”

He nodded. “I know exactly how you feel. We will finish our dinner then damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”

Elly May giggled, “Where in the world did you get an expression like that?”

Jim’s face colored,“Darned if I know. Read it somewhere I guess.”

They finished dinner. Their next stop would be the newspaper office. He checked the address in the telephone book and they were on their way. Ten minutes later he parked the Buick in front of The Idaho Statesman. They got out and went in.

On one of the desks was a sign which read: Information. They stepped up to it and the girl looked up at them. “May I help you?”

Jim nodded. “I hope so. Can you get us a copy of the page listing all the birth’s here in Boise on May the first eighteen years ago?”

On the first?”

Jim nodded.

The girl was figuring on a piece of paper. “Yes we can make you a copy. Give me your name and address plus one dollar plus postage and I will mail you one.

Jim took out his billfold and took out a ten dollar bill.

He laid it down in front of the girl. He put on his best smile.

“Lady.” he said. “We are from a long ways out of town. We would sure like to get the information this afternoon. It would save us a big long trip. I know it will cost more you are welcome to the ten.”

The girl eyed the bill then picked it up. “It will be done if I have to do it myself. Come back about two O’clock. It will be ready for you.”

Boise Idaho is known as City Of Trees. Many of the streets are named after the species that grows there and most of the town is shaded by the many varieties. It is a truly beautiful city.

Jim had been here many times and knew the town quite well. He drove to the Julia Davis park and stopped in the shade of some big poplar trees. It was getting quite warm. The mercury had climbed into the upper eighties. He looked Elly May. She looked quite comfortable in her white blouse and short blue skirt.

He slipped an arm around her shoulders. “We have about an hour to kill,” he told her. “Would you mind answering a few more questions?”

“Sure why not?”

“Tell me about when Seth came to the house. What did he do? What did he say?”

Elly May leaned back in the seat and closed her eyes.

“I was in my room making my bed. There was a loud knocking on the door and your mother went to see who was there . They talked for a moment then your mother called me. She looked scared. She said that my father and two brothers were here. I guess it was stupid of me but I opened the door and stepped outside. I was expecting to see a loving father and two sweet brothers. Oh Jim, it was awful! They looked like something out of a comic strip. It was scary. I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Then Seth, as you called him, said, “We came to take you home, Elly May.”

UI didn’t know what to say, but I think I told him that I would come down when I was ready.

Then the two boys, Clyde and Oswald, grabbed hold of my arms and started dragging me toward the truck. I could hear your mother shouting at them. I kicked them on the shins and bit one of them on the hand and broke loose. I ran into the house and your mother slammed the door and locked it. Then she ran to your room and came out with a big gun with two barrels.

We pulled the curtains almost shut. They were open just enough where we could watch. I was terribly scared. Then you came walking across the yard. Your mother raised the window a bit and we could hear you talking. We could see one of them coming up behind you with a knife in his hand. Your mother pushed the gun out the open window. I heard her say. “I’ll kill the bastard!””

Then things happened so fast. The man charged and I screamed. Then It was all over. Your mother took the gun back to your room.”

Jim had listened with great interest. This was one part of the story he had not heard. His mother knew how to use the old twelve gage shotgun and if his life depended on it she would not have hesitated to pull the trigger.

He had hoped that Seth might have said something that would give them an idea why they wanted her home all of a sudden.

Four long years she had been in Seattle and he hadn’t as much as wrote her a letter. It sure wasn’t fatherly love that had prompted him. That was for sure!

Seth had another reason for wanting her home. What was it? They would have cut him to pieces to get her away from there.

Why?

Did it have something to do with her loss of memory? Did the girl know something they were afraid of? Maybe they thought she might suddenly remember and start talking.

And maybe it was this other thing – her true identify. Did they know and had been keeping it a secret for fourteen years?

Had there been some sort of blackmail going on and they had kept her hid out in Seattle these last four years?

Jim shook his head. Nothing seemed to make any sense.

Also there was Uncle John and Aunt Nelly. Where did they fit into the picture? Why had they taken care of the girl all this time? Maybe she could answer some of these questions.

He slipped an arm around her shoulders. “Tell me about your Uncle John and Aunt Nelly. Who are they? Is she a sister to Martha?”

Elly May nodded, “They are half sisters. They have different fathers I believe.”

“And your Uncle John, what does he do for a living?”

“Oh didn’t I tell you? He is a doctor.”

Jim sat silent for a moment, letting this sink in. So Uncle John was a Doctor. Things seemed to make a little more sense. Perhaps this was the reason she had been sent to Seattle. She had probably been under his care these last four years.

“Did you ever ask Uncle John or Aunt NeIly what happened to you?”

The girl nodded. “Yes lots of times. However it has been a long time since I brought up the subject. I sort of gave up getting an answer.”

“Do they have any children?”

“No. I guess they can’t have any.”

“By the way I don’t believe you told me his last name.”

“Andersen. Doctor John Anderson. He is a big Danish man.”

The picture seemed to be clearing up a little. There was one thing for certain. Doctor Andersen knew a lot of the answers.

He drew the girl close and kissed her gently. It was time to go to the newspaper office.

They picked up the ten dollar page and went in search of more shade. Jim drove to Ann Morrison Park and located a shady spot with table and some benches. He parked the car then picked up the phone book a pen and some paper.

There was no one else around. He laid the copy on the table and looked it over. It wasn’t too plain but it could be read. There were a lot of newcomers that day at Saint Luke’s hospital. There was a long list and another at St. Marys. Then there it was.

May hospital.

There was quite a list, ten in all. The last one read: To Mr. and Mrs. Seth Rotten of Payette, a girl.

There was one thing for certain and that is they had the right paper and the girl was born on May the first. If there had been a mix-up it probably happened on that day. At least it would be with someone born on that day and with someone listed here.

That day on May the first there were ten babies in all. The score was even: five boys and five girls.

Jim grinned. “To begin with we might just as well cross out all the boys. I understand that the first thing a mother hears ‘It’s a boy!’ or ‘It’s a girl!’ They sure wouldn’t mistake you for a boy.”

“Thanks.”

He took the pencil and paper and copied the names and the address of the parents of the baby girls. All of them had a Boise address. This seemed to be a point in their favor.

He opened the phone book. He wondered how many of them were listed here. He started thumbing through the pages.

Only one of the four was listed. A Chester Brown on Grove St.

“Well, we have one to check out,” he remarked. “Do you have any suggestions how we should go about it?”

“Why don’t we drive over there and take a look around. Maybe someone will be there that we can talk to. We have to do something.”

There was a city map in the phone book. Jim looked it over. The address was only a few blocks from where they were.

Five minutes later he pulled up in front of a big two-story house. It was old and had evidently been turned into an apartment. Several youngsters were playing in the yard and every one of them were black.

He put the car in gear and pulled away from the curb. Come to think of it this section of town had been black as far back as he could remember.

Elly May giggled. “I guess we can cross that one out. One down and three to go.”

Jim drove a couple blocks and pulled in to the curb. The paper that he had wrote the names on was lying on the seat between them. He glanced down at it. Next on the list was a W. A. Saunders. The address was 3220 Elm Street. They weren’t listed in the telephone directory but they could still be there. Every one doesn’t have a telephone or they could also have an unlisted number.

Once more he turned to the map. He studied it for a moment then put the car in motion. He smiled at the girl beside him.

“They aren’t listed but maybe we can find out something. At least we will give it a try.”

A few minutes later he stopped the Buick in front of the house on Elm Street. A box for the local newspaper was nailed to a tree. On it was the printed name Alfred Adams.

For a moment they sat staring at the house. A young boy was in the yard playing with a dog. He came walking up to the car.

“My daddy ain’t home,” he said. “What do you want?”

Jim looked the boy over. “Is your name Adams?”

The boy nodded. “Right Fred Adams.”

“Is your mother here?”

“Right’ But we don’t like peddlers. What are you selling?”

Jim laughed. “We aren’t selling anything, but we would sure like to talk to your mother for a minute.”

The boy looked them over. “I guess it will be alright. I’ll tell her that you are here.” He ran to the house and disappeared through the open doorway.

Jim turned to the girl beside him. “I Just figured how to get the information from her. Might have to tell a few white lies.”

Elly May nodded. “You do the talking I will listen.”

The lady greeted them at the door. There was a suspicious look on her face. “What is it that you want?”

Jim put on his best smile. “My name is Jim Green and I am from. High Valley. This is a dear friend Elly May Rooten.”

The lady was very stern. “What can I do for you?”

Jim sighed. “I hope we are not bothering you but this is very important to us. We are looking for an old friend of the family. We understand he lived here several years ago. His name was Saunders. Did you know him? Maybe we have the wrong place.”

The lady relaxed a bit. “And maybe not. We bought this place from a fellow by that name. It was about ten years ago.”

Jim gave her a gracious smile. “Do you recall if they had a daughter? Let’s see, she would have been about eight years old then.”

The woman frowned, “Yes I guess one of them. was about that age. There were three of them. They were as alike as three peas in a pod. If they had been the same age they could of passed for triplets. They all had that pink hair and hazel eyes. And as freckled as a turkey egg.

Jim looked up at the woman and smiled. “I’m sorry we bothered you mam, but this couldn’t be the family we are looking for.”

Once more the Buick was in motion. Elly May giggled, “Two down and two to go. Guess I had better see who is next.”

She picked up the pencil and paper and drew a line through the first two. For a minute she sat there staring at the names.

“Who is next?” Jim asked.

The girl didn’t answer. Jim looked over at her there was a strange look on her face. He pulled the Buick over to the curb and stopped. “What’s the matter Sweetie? You are as white as a ghost.”

Elly May pointed at the names on the piece of paper. Her voice was just above a whisper. “Jim, you wrote these. Take a look at them! Look close, I may be seeing things?”

He took the paper from her hand. He was a sloppy writer at the best. And he had wrote these down in a hurry, but he could read them alright.

The next name on the list was… Good lord! No wonder the girl was excited.

The next name was S.T. Batten, but the way he had made the B it looked more like an R. Also the a looked more like an o. Good Lord, what he had written down had looked like – S.T. Rotten!

Elly May was really excited. “Can’t you see Jim? Doesn’t that name look like Rotten to you?”

He was stunned, “It sure as Hell does and I wrote it myself! He was as excited as the girl. “And I think you have just discovered how it happened. Lots of people are sloppy writers including myself. Now if I write those names where they look alike a Doctor or a nurse could do the same thing. Did you ever notice a Doctor’s handwriting? I have never seen one yet that I could read.”

“I know what you mean. When Uncle John writes out a prescription I often wonder how the druggist can make it out. Oh Jim darling, I think we have stumbled on to the key to the answer. Now we must contact the Battens.”

Jim nodded. “Right you are. But also we must be very careful. Remember what the Doctor said? We could stir up a hornet’s nest.”

“Yes Jim, we will be careful not to hurt anyone.”

He took another look at the paper. “I wonder how they keep the new born babies from getting mixed up. I presume they hang a tag around the kids neck that says, ‘Brown Smith’ or whatever their last name might be. They can’t write down the kid’s first name if it hasn’t been named yet.”

Elly May nodded, “Here is another way to look at it. Suppose those four babies were in a crib. They have a hand-written tag around their neck or on the crib put there by the nurse on duty. Then the shift changes with different nurse

She glances at the names and takes the babies to their mothers. Oh Darling it could happen so easily.”

Jim nodded. “It certainly could.” He opened the phone book to the city map once more. “Well I’ll be darned!” he muttered. “The Batten home is in the same district as the Reynolds mansion. It won’t be hard to find.” He kissed the girl on the cheek. “Are you ready?”

“What are’ we waiting for?”

Jim switched on the motor and yanked the car in gear. The Battens weren’t listed in the phone book but again that didn’t mean they had moved. They could have an unlisted number.

Jim was watching the house numbers. They were getting close. “Sure a nice district, “ he murmured.

Elly May giggled, “At least they don’t live up Dead Horse Gulch!”

Jim laughed. The girl had a sense of humor.

The houses here were well kept. This part of the city had been developed some twenty years ago. The trees were large and the shrubbery was well taken care of. Flowers were blooming everywhere.

Jim glanced at his watch. It was three o’clock. The sun was bearing down. Close to a hundred. He thought. The sidewalks were empty and there was very little traffic.

Just ahead of them was the house they were looking for.

It was quite large and built on a corner lot. It was constructed of brick and stone having large planters full of flowers under a huge picture window. From where they were parked they could get a partial view of the back yard. There was a large swimming pool also a tennis court. Who ever built this place must of been in the chips, Jim thought.

There was no mailbox in sight and no name on the door. There was only one way to find out who lived there. He gave Elly May a reassuring hug and slipped out of the car.

He walked up to the front door and rang the doorbell. No one answered. He tried once more and still no answer. He walked around to the back of the place but no one was there.

He started back to the car. Just across the street a woman was just getting out of her car. She opened the back door and started removing soma groceries. Jim walked over to her.

The woman looked up and smiled

Jim grinned back at her. “Good afternoon. I was looking for the people that live across the street. I rang the bell but no one answered. I guess there is nobody home.”

The woman laid her groceries on the hood of the car.

“He is probably working, and very likely she is playing golf.”

Jim glanced at the house across the street. “Can you tell me do the Battens still live over on the corner? It’s been a long time since I have been here.”

The woman shook her head. “1 don’t know anyone by the name of Batten. Their name is Rogers, Melvin Rogers. He has a furniture store over on Fairview.”

“Have you lived here for quite awhile?” Jim asked.

“We’ve only been here for about a year. The people next door have been here for quite awhile. Maybe you should talk to them.”

Jim thanked her and walked back to the car. Elly May was fanning herself with the phone book. He opened the door and climbed in.

“Any luck?” the girl asked.

Jim shook his head. “No one home Some people by the name of Rogers lives there who has a furniture store over on Fairview.”

“What do you suggest now?”

“It’s only a few blocks over to the Reynolds mansion. Maybe the Doctor knows something about the Battens.”

Elly May shook her head, “No Jim. Let’s not go there. Remember what he told us? Forget the whole thing.”

Jim ran his finger around and under the collar of his shirt. He took out a soiled handkerchief and mopped his damp forehead. As he turned to the girl, there was a twinkle in his eye. “I’ve just come up with a great idea Sweetie.”

“Tell me darling.”

“It’s hotter than Hell and I think we need a break. Right now a cold beer would taste mighty fine. What do you think?”

“Lead the way,” she said.

Series NavigationJust a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 11Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 13

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