Excerpt for 4 Yard Sales Where Dreams Come True by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

4 Yard Sales Where Dreams Come True

Copyright 2019 J.T. Evergreen

Published by J.T. Evergreen

at Smashwords

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Table of Contents


The Trunk

The Doll

The Pendant

The Magic Fairy Tale Book

About J.T. Evergreen

Other books by J.T. Evergreen

Connect with J.T. Evergreen


Many thanks to Khris Lawrentz for his tireless proofreading.

The Trunk

Paula opened the garage door and hauled the trunk out onto the driveway. “Let’s get rid of this.”

Her mother, Mildred, wasn’t sure.

“Why not for heaven’s sake?”

“I don’t know, it was your father’s…”

“…piece of junk. Mother, he’s gone. I miss him too, but there’s no reason to keep this. There’s nothing but junk inside.”

Mildred sighed. “I suppose.”

“How much should we ask for it?”

“I have no idea.”

“Twenty bucks?”

“Twenty seems so little.”

“We’ll be lucky to get five.”

“Ok, twenty. I hope no one buys it.”

Paula wrote out the price tag, tied it to the lock of the trunk and dragged the trunk out onto the front yard.

It was yard sale day and the weather was perfect. She opened the driveway gate and placed the large yard sale sign she had made on the edge of the road.

By noon, visitors and sales were vigorous but the trunk sat alone and untouched. Paula thought about slashing the price to five dollars just to get rid of it but decided to wait until three, when she would mark down everything remaining.

It was almost two o’clock when she heard a voice behind her, “May I open this trunk?”

She turned and came face-to-face with the tallest most attractive middle-aged man she had ever seen, “Yes, of course. But everything in the trunk has to go with it. Is that understood?”

“I take it you’re not fond of the contents.”

“My father was a collector … of everything. It drove us crazy.”

“Elmer, right?”

“Yes, did you know him?”

“Quite well.”

“I don’t understand. I’ve never seen you before.”

“It was a long time ago. Twenty dollars? I’d like to buy it.”

“Sure, but why?”

“Here,” he handed Paula a crisp twenty dollar bill.

“Thank you. But I’m still curious why you want this thing.”

“Well, now that the trunk belongs to me, I guess I can tell you.”

“Yes, please do. Wait. Let me call mother. I think she’d…”

“No, don’t. She may find it too painful.”

“Too painful? I don’t understand. What’s your name?”

“Clark. Clark Kent.”

“You’re kidding?”

“No, I’m not,” he broke into a beautiful grin.

“So, what is it with you and this trunk?”

“Love letters.”

“Love letters? I still don’t understand.”

“In the trunk.”

“There are no love letters in here.”

“Yes, there are. Elmer told me where he put them.”

“Love letters from whom, to whom?”

“Love letters from me to Elmer, your father.”

Paula’s jaw dropped slightly as she stared in disbelief at this beautiful stranger.

“There’s a false bottom. The letters are in there.”

“Wait a minute. Are you telling me that you and my father were…?”

“Lovers? Perhaps. You must be Paula?”


“He loved you a great deal. He wrote about you quite often. I feel like I know you very well – almost like a sister.” Clark smiled. “I hope you don’t mind?”

“No, of course not, but how? When?”

“It was a very long time ago. I see the braces are gone. You have beautiful teeth.”

“Yes. Thank you. I hated them.”

“I know. You thought they made you look so ugly.”

“I did. That’s amazing.”

“What’s amazing?”

“That you know.”

“I know a great deal about you and your mother. Your life really.”

“Just through letters?”

“There are hundreds of them. Elmer played with words in a way that made me laugh and a few times made me cry. I’m thinking of writing a book based on his letters.”

“You’re not.”

“I am. Weren’t you aware of what a great writer he was?”

“No, I wasn’t. But you only saw him once.”

“We were together only a few days. He saved my life.”

“Saved your life? How? How did you meet him? Where did you meet him?”

“I was sixteen and living on the streets of San Francisco. My father kicked me out of the house the night I told him and my stepmom I was gay. I was fifteen.”

“Oh, my God. That’s terrible.”

“You have no idea.”

“I am so sorry.”

“No need. It was a long time ago. Because of Elmer, I learned to understand and forgive them, and let them go. It was one of the treasures he gave to me. I stopped going to school and sold myself to stay alive. A friend … are you crying?”

“I can’t believe what I’m hearing. How could anyone…”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“It does matter, but how was my father involved?”

“A friend told me about a guy who was in town for a few days on business. I called him. It was your father.”

“It must have been Thanksgiving? Must be twenty years ago.”

“Yes, it was. It turned out to be the most wonderful Thanksgiving I had ever had. Elmer was so generous and caring I could hardly believe he was real.”

“I remember. He was supposed to be home, then extended his stay for business reasons. It wasn’t like him to do something like that.”

“I hope you’re not disappointed. He was a very giving man, a very selfless man.”

“No, I’m not disappointed. How could I be? I’m just surprised. Overwhelmed is a better word. And you never saw him after that?”

“No, it was the only time, but he wanted me off the streets and insisted I go back to school. He supported me financially and emotionally until I was able to take care of myself. If it hadn’t been for him, I have no idea where I’d be today.”

“That sounds like him. Did you know about his illness?”

“Yes. In one of his last letters he told me of his forgetfulness and the prognosis that dementia was inevitable. He told me not to write again and mentioned where he was placing the letters I had written to him.”

“The trunk.”

“Yes. Letting go of him was probably the most painful thing I’ve ever had to do as I imagine it was for you and your mother. He wrote several more times, describing the decline. At the end of each letter, he always said not to reply. I wept such bitter tears over those letters. I replied to his letters anyway but never sent them. It helped in a small way.”

“It was awful watching him disappear from our lives. The day he passed, his memory returned for a few hours and then he was gone.”

“Thank you for telling me that. I always wondered.”

“How did you know about the yard sale?”

“I come to town occasionally on business and was perusing the newspaper. I recognized the address in the classifieds. Kind of popped right off the page. I had intended to stop by so many times and ask for the trunk, but feared your reaction to such a request. The yard sale was like a gift from heaven. And, for what it’s worth, I’m not certain Elmer was in love with me. He just wanted to help.”

“Hi, Mom.”

“Well, it looks like you’ve sold the trunk after all. Young man, I hope you get better use out of it than we did.”

“Mom, do you know this man?”

“No, I’m afraid I don’t. Should I? Paula, what is it? Have you been crying?”

“This is Clark Kent.”

“Hello, Mildred.”

“Oh, my living stars. Oh, dear God in heaven.” She moved forward and took his hands, “Clark, I can’t believe it’s you. Oh, my dear boy, I am so happy you’re here.” She stood on tiptoes and kissed his cheek.

“Mother? You know about him?”

“Yes, of course I know.”

“But you never said anything?”

“Sorry to disappoint you, my dear.”

“Why not?”

“Because it was none of your business. Clark, won’t you please come inside. I have so many questions.”

“Of course, Mildred. I’d love to.”

“Elmer told me everything about you. He loved you like the son we never had. I hope you’ll become part of our family.”

“I’m so surprised. I hardly know what to say.”

“Can I come to?”

“Yes, but mind your manners.”

“When did I ever do that?”

“She’s always been a handful.”

“I know,” Clark laughed. “Elmer used to write about her all the time.”

“Yeah, well I’d like to see those letters.”

“Play your cards right, Paula, and I might show them to you someday. And keep your hands off of that trunk. It belongs to me now.”

“Clark Kent. Are you sure that’s your real name?”

The End

The Doll

Marge Benson circled and underlined the last of three yard sales in the newspaper. It was a block yard sale which meant there would be lots of goodies and hopefully a treasure or two. She folded the newspaper, drank the last of her coffee and placed the empty cup in the sink.

“Okay, girls, let’s go.”

“Mom, do we have to?”

“Clarise isn’t available to babysit so you're stuck with your mother. I know this is cruel and unusual punishment but there’s nothing to be done about it. Where’s your sister?”

“She’s next door, hiding.”

“From you or me?”

“From you and your yard sales. Don’t you have enough dolls?”

“It’s my hobby ... the one thing I enjoy doing besides keeping you and your sister out of trouble. Someday you’ll have babies of your own and you’ll be begging me for a few of them.”

“But you won’t let us have them, right?”

“Right. Okay, here’s a promise. Let’s do the three yards sales without any more complaining, and I’ll do anything you want the rest of the day.”

“Really . . . anything?”

“Really. Well, almost anything? Now come on. No more dawdling.”

Marge and her twin daughters, Tracey and Olivia, pulled up in front of the Lackner residence. “Last one, girls. And then I’m yours for the rest of day.”

“More junk,” Olivia announced as she closed the station wagon door.

“No, no, sweetheart. There’s history here and hopefully a treasure that will pay for your college education. Oh, look. There’s a clothes rack over there. If you find anything you like, I’ll buy it.”

“Oh, gee, Mom. Thanks.” Olivia and Tracey wandered off to the clothes racks and began sorting through the women’s clothing, trying on hats and dresses mixed with much laughter.

Marge had high hopes as she scanned the yard; then headed for the table with children’s toys. The other two yard sales had slim pickings. She had come away empty handed.

There were two tables filled with an assortment of stuffed animals, toys, a few rag dolls along with more modern dolls which were no longer wanted. She was about to turn away when she saw a doll sitting in a shoe box under one of the tables. It was slightly hunched over as if it were napping. As she retrieved the box, she wondered if it was even for sale. Placing the shoe box on the table top, she gently lifted the doll into a sitting position. Her breath caught when she saw the porcelain face. It was obviously vintage and in mint condition. She picked it up and examined it more closely. The clothing was old and somewhat soiled but the head, hands, and feet were perfect. The stuffing of the arms and legs was a little weak but that could easily be repaired. This was the treasure she had been looking for.

A gentle voice from behind surprised her. “You have someone in mind for this doll?”

Marge turned and smiled; “Good morning. No, it’s for me.”

“For you?” The woman smiled with surprise.

“Yes, I collect these vintage beauties and refurbish them. They don’t make dolls like this anymore.”

“Indeed, they do not. I brought this with me from Germany.”

“Is that so? How very interesting. It’s probably quite valuable. Why are you selling it?”

“I don’t know. I guess I wanted someone who will care for it as I have. It sounds like you’re the person. I’m Fredda Lackner.”

“Oh, Fredda, I’m so pleased to meet you. I’m Marge Benson and I’ll buy her. But I’d also like to hear a little history of the doll if you don’t mind.”

“Oh, yes, indeed, there is a history. And I would be pleased to share it with you, but I must warn you … there is sadness in the story.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, but I’d still like to hear it.”

“Very well, come sit with me. I have tea or coffee and Stollen in the tent over there.”

“Oh, yum, German coffee cake.”

“You’ve had it before?”

“There’s a German Deli where I used to live. They had all sorts of wonderful things.”

Fredda poured tea and placed a plate of Stollen on the table.

“Are you sure you want to tell me? I have a feeling this doll holds many dear memories for you.”

“Yes it does, but so many years have passed, it’s not painful anymore. And I do want you to know about the doll and who it belonged to.

“Yes, please tell me.” She pulled a small notebook from her shoulder bag and opened it. “I make little cards for all the dolls I own with any history I can find.”

Fredda smiled, “What a lovely idea.” She sipped her tea and settled back. “Let me begin by telling you the doll belonged to my little girl whose name was Greta. She was lost to me when she was three and a half.”

“I’m so sorry. How did she die?”

“Oh, she didn’t die. She was taken from me by her father.”

“Why, for heaven’s sake? Fredda, that’s terrible.”

“I wanted a divorce. I caught him once too often being unfaithful. I wanted to put an end to it.”

“Did you try and find them?”

“Oh, yes, I tried for years and spent a fortune, but eventually I gave up. There seemed to be no hope of ever seeing her again.”

“How could something like that happen in this day and age?”

“My husband was intelligent and a very smart lawyer. He found a way. After seven years I had the legal right to have him declared dead so I could move on with my life.”

“And you obviously did move on.”

“I was very fortunate to have Gustav who supported me through the worst. When I was finally legally free, he asked me to marry him. Of course, I had already fallen in love with him. Without his love, I don’t know how I would have survived the loss.”

“And the doll was all you had left.”

“Yes, it was.”

“I don’t know how you can part with it. I wouldn’t be able to.”

“I’m convinced Greta survived and grew into an adult woman. She would be forty-one now and probably has a family of her own somewhere. The doll was no longer important to me. I just decided to let it go. And voila, you came along and seem like the perfect person to have and care for it.”

“Well, you got that right. I’ll have her looking like new in no time. “

“Mom, here are some things we want. Can we leave now?”

“Hi, girls. Fredda, these are my daughters, Tracey and Olivia.”

“Oh, how beautiful and identical twins. I’ll bet you girls have a good time fooling people.”

“Me, mostly. I’ll be ready to go in a few minutes.”

“Here, young ladies, have some Stollen and tea.” Fredda beamed with pleasure in serving the girls.

Marge closed her notebook and placed it in her shoulder bag, “Fredda, thank you so much. This history of the doll will make it that much more interesting. I’m going to finish this piece of Stollen and then we’ll be on our way. I promised the girls I’d do anything they wanted for the rest of the day.”

“What a lovely idea. They grow so quickly. Enjoy every moment with them as long as you can.”

“So, what have you girls got in mind?”

“The Mall!” Tracey and Olivia laughed as they answered in unison.

“The Mall it is. Now, Fredda, how much do I owe for this treasure?”

“Absolutely nothing … it’s yours.”

“No, you can’t do that.”

“Yes, I can. Just knowing it will be cared for is enough.”

Marge held the doll up and smiled. “She is so beautiful.”

“So, Mom, what will you name her?” Tracy looked at Fredda, “She has names for all of her dolls.”

“I don’t know,” she looked thoughtfully at the doll, touched her face with her fingertips. “How about . . . Hedwig. That’s a good German name.”

The color drained from Fredda’s face.

“Fredda, what is it?”

Fredda hesitated, “That was Greta’s name for the doll. What made you think of it?”

“I don’t know, it just came to me. Oh, Fredda, I’m so sorry. I would never have used it if I had known. I should have asked you what Greta called it.”

“It’s all right. It was just a little bit of a shock,” she laughed good-naturedly. “That’s very interesting. When I first saw you I thought you looked German. Do you know your parent's lineage? Are they German by any chance?”

“My father is German. I never knew my mother.”

“I am sorry…” Fredda hesitated

Marge looked at her new friend and waited for her to finish.

“…may I ask what your maiden name is?”

“Yes, of course, it’s Karstens.”

“Oh, my God!” Fredda’s hand flew to her open mouth, her eyes stared in unbelief at Marge.

“Fredda, for heaven’s sake, what is it?”

“Karstens is the name of my husband, the one who took Greta from me.”

“That’s incredible.”

“And your father’s name?”

“Elmer Charles.” Marge sat down as the pieces of an unexpected puzzle began to fall into place.

“And what did your father do for a living?” Fredda held her breath.”

“He was a . . . oh, my God. He was a lawyer.”

“No, no, it’s probably a coincidence. Where does your father live?”

“He passed away a few years ago.”

Fredda’s mind began to whirl, looking for an explanation. Then her face brightened. “My Greta had a …”

“Had a what, Fredda?”

“… a birthmark.”

“Where?” Marge sat up.

Fredda slowly placed her hand on her right breast. “It was in the shape …”

“…of a star?”

Tears welled in her eyes as she nodded.

Marge opened her blouse, lowered her bra strap, exposing her right breast.

“Greta.” Fredda barely whispered as she looked up into Marge’s eyes. “My little girl. My little Greta,” she whispered through her fingers. “I can’t believe this.”

Tracy and Olivia sat wide-eyed at the table, “Mom, what’s going on?”

Marge stared at Fredda. “Are you absolutely sure the mark is the same?”

Fredda nodded slowly as the joy of realization spread across her face.

Marge sank back into her chair as she buttoned her blouse. Then she began to laugh. “Oh, my God!” she shouted and looked at her daughters, “This woman is my mother, your grandmother.”

Marge leaned forward and took Fredda’s hands and held them tight in her own. “Mother. I never thought I would say those words. Mother, Mother, Mother.” She could not stop laughing. “And these are your grandchildren.

Fredda nodded and whispered, “I know.”

A young woman ran into the tent. “What’s going on? Mom, are you okay?”

“Marge, this is my daughter, Grace, your sister.”

“My sister?” Grace was confused, “Mother, what are you talking about?”

“This is Greta.”

“What?” Grace could only stare at Marge.

“You had a daughter after me?”

“Yes, and two sons. You have brothers and a sister and aunts and uncles.”

“Oh, my God, Glenn will not believe this.”

“Glenn?” Fredda wasn’t sure who Marge was referring to.

“My husband.”

“Why don’t you call him and have him come here. We’ll have a little celebration.”

“Yes, of course, I’ll call him right now.”

“I don’t want you to get out of my sight for a minute.” She turned to Grace, “Honey, call your father and tell him what’s happened. Have him bring home some things for a celebration.”

Marge began to laugh. “Do you realize what this means?”

Fredda nodded, “You have a family and I have my daughter back.”

“If you had not kept this doll, we …”

“I know.”

Marge whispered, “Thank you, Mother. A thousand times, thank you.”

“I suppose that means the Mall is out?” Olivia grossed.

“No, no.” Fredda stood up. “We will go to the Mall … all of us. Afterward, we can all come back here for a little celebration.”

Marge got up and embraced Fredda, “Yes, all of us. How very perfect. You and I have so much to talk about, I can hardly wait.”

“I know. Neither can I. But, in the meantime these young ladies need some Mall time. Come on . . . let’s go.”

The End

The Pendant

Karl Malone woke with a start and sat up in bed, breathing hard, his pajamas were soaking wet. He threw the bedcovers off and put his legs over the side of the bed. The clock on his nightstand glowed 2:15.

The hall light came on. “Dad?”

“It’s ok, Sweetie.”

“Nightmare again?”

“Yeah. Did I wake Sonny?”

“Yes, but I told him to stay in bed. He’s worried, and so am I. Can I get you anything?”

“No, I’m all right. Just going to sit here awhile. You go back to bed.”

“Call me if you need anything.”

“I will. Thanks, Kathy.”

He rubbed the back of his neck and put his head in his hands. ‘What in the world is she trying to tell me?’

He hadn’t told anyone the truth of the matter because it was so strange. His dreams had been of Hilda, his late wife. It was the same dream over and over. ‘Find it.’ She kept telling him, ‘Find it.’

‘Find what?’ He couldn’t imagine what she was referring to if it really was Hilda trying to communicate with him. But why? She was gone and beginning a new life somewhere else. What was so important she needed to cut through the veil?

He shook his head, got up and exchanged his pajamas for dry ones. As he lay down he whispered, “What is it, Hilda. What do you want me to find?” He closed his eyes and felt the comfort of his wife near him as he drifted off to sleep. “I’ll always love you, my friend.”

Then he heard her again. He wasn’t asleep this time. He strained to hear every word, “It’s been stolen, my dearest. You must find it.”

“I don’t know what you are referring to but I will search. I promise you. I will search.”

The day had already broken when he opened his eyes. He climbed out of bed and headed for the shower muttering to himself, “I will find it, Hilda. I will find it.”

“Mornin’ … yum, pancakes. And with raisins. Raisin faces. Who did that?”

“I did.” Sonny, his seven-year-old grandson, laughed and ran into the arms of his grandfather.

“What a shame to eat those beautiful faces.”

“I can make more.”

“You’re a very talented artist. You know that, don’t you?”

Sonny giggled and went to his chair as Kathy laid the first plate of pancakes on the table.

“I heard you last night. Who were you talking to?”

“I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking.”

“Dad, would you mind telling me what’s going on?”

“It’s probably nothing. Just a mixed up dream.”

“Please tell me anyway.” She poured coffee into Karl’s cup and paused a moment, staring at him.

“It’s your mother.”


“The dreams. I know this sounds crazy but she keeps coming to me and telling me to find it.”

“Find what?”

“I don’t know, but in the last dream, she said it had been stolen. You’ve gone through all her things. Was anything missing?”

“Dad, I wouldn’t know if something had been stolen. Wait a minute. There was something odd.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, when I cleaned out her dresser I noticed that the lock on her jewelry case had been broken as if a screwdriver or some object had been wedged in and the lock was forced open.”

“Was anything missing?”

“I don’t know. The contents didn’t seem to be disturbed. Perhaps she lost the key and forced it herself.”

“No, she didn’t lose it. She kept it on that charm bracelet she always wore.”

Kathy got up from the table and hurried out of the kitchen. When she returned she laid the charm bracelet next to Karl’s plate. “You’re right. Here it is.”

“She said it was stolen so it must mean a piece of jewelry was taken. I can’t think of anything else. But why? Nothing she had was that expensive. We need to go through the box and see if we can figure out which piece is missing, if any.”

“Then someone got into the house if that’s the case.”

“I never lock the doors. Maybe it was one of the neighbor kids who saw we were away.”

“Let’s go through the jewelry box when I get back.”

“Where you headed?

“The Beckway’s are having a yard and garage sale. I want to get there early. They always have such good stuff. Would you watch Sonny? I won’t be long.”

“I think we’ll tag along. Haven’t seen Greg since he did the plumbing repairs.”

“Was he in the house alone?”

“No, I’ve always been here. It’s not Greg. Why would he do such a thing? It has to be some neighborhood kid.”

“You’re probably right. And in case you’re interested, Gloria will be at the yard sale.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Kathy laughed, “Mom told me you had eyes for Gloria.”

Karl smiled, “Did she really say that?”

“She did. She said you could window shop all you wanted to as long as you took your meals at home.”

Karl laughed out loud. “That sounds like your mother all right.”

Kathy left Karl and Sonny to fend for themselves when they arrived at the Beckway’s. Karl was content to follow Sonny wherever he wanted to go. They were rummaging around in the garage when a familiar voice got Karl’s attention, “Morning, Karl.”

“Gloria, how nice to see you again.” His voice trailed off as he stared at a pendant around Gloria’s neck.

“Oh, you noticed. Isn’t it lovely?”

“Yes, it is.”

“Greg found it at an antique store downtown.”

“Did he really? How nice. It’s not an antique by the way.”

“It’s not? Greg told me it was.”

“No, I gave one just like it to Hilda on our anniversary. Is there an inscription inside?”

“I didn’t know it opened.”

“Yes, you just have to turn it slightly and it pops open.”

“Well, let’s see.” She removed it from around her neck and handed it to Karl.

“You seem to know all about this. You open it.”

Karl opened the pendant, then looked up. “Gloria, this is my wife’s pendant.”


He turned the pendant so Gloria could read the inscription, “To my darling wife, Hilda.”

She looked at Karl. “I don’t understand.”

“I’m certain you don’t, Gloria. Greg stole this from Hilda’s jewelry case the day he was over to do plumbing in our bathroom.”

“Karl, I don’t know what to say.”

“There is something else inscribed which I didn’t do. I’d like to have the pendant back if that’s ok.”

“Well, of course, it’s okay. My God, I hope you don’t think I had anything to do with this?”

“I know you didn’t. That never crossed my mind.”

I can hardly believe Greg would do such a thing.”

“I can. Gloria, look around. You have more yard sales than anyone else in the neighborhood. Where did all this stuff come from?”

“I don’t know, I never thought about it. Greg seemed to have a handle on the situation.”

“I’m afraid Greg is a professional thief. If I were you, I’d get a good lawyer.”

“A good divorce lawyer is more like it.”

“Be careful, Gloria. He’s no dummy. Don’t get even … get everything.”

Gloria rested her hand on Karl’s arm. “Karl, I can’t thank you enough.”

“By the way, if you ever find yourself on your own again, let me know. I’d love to take you to lunch.”

“I will. I definitely will.”

“What was her reaction when you showed her the inscription?”

“The word flummoxed pretty well covers it.” Karl grinned. “But look at this. There’s a number inscribed on the inside. I didn’t do that. I wonder what it means.”

Sonny was standing between Karl’s legs with his arms on the kitchen table. He reached for the pendant and laughed.

“What’s so funny my fine feathered friend?” Karl let Sonny have the pendant. He kissed the top of his grandson’s head.

Sonny looked up into his grandfather’s face. “It’s a box number.”

Kathy looked at her son, “What do you mean, a box number?”

“Like they have in a bank.” He ran his fingers along the inscribed number.

“How do you know this?”

“Grandma did it.”

“Where were you and Grandma when this happened?” Karl looked at Kathy.

“That Jewelry store downtown.”

“He must mean Fabians Jeweler’s.”


Kathy turned to Sonny, “Before you were at the jewelry store, do you remember where you were?”

Sonny smiled and nodded his head.

“Are you going to tell us where you were?”

“The bank.”

“The bank?”

“The first bank.”

“The First National Bank?”

Sonny nodded.

“Thank you, Sonny,” Karl hugged his grandson.

“Yes, Mr. Malone, I opened the safety deposit box account for your wife. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your name is on the application. Do you have some kind of identification? A driver’s license will do. And you’ll need the key.”

“Oh, my God, the key. Kathy, did you see a key anywhere?”

“No, I didn’t”

“We can have the box drilled open but there’s some paperwork that needs to be filled out.”

“Wait a minute.” Kathy smiled and looked at her son.

“Mrs. Cline, would you show my son what a safety deposit box key looks like.”

“Yes, of course. Here you go.”

“Sonny, have you ever seen a key like this?”

Sonny smiled and nodded.

“Do you know where it is?”

Sonny reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring with a dozen keys. He handed to his mother.

Kathy fumbled through the keys, selected one and held it up.

“That’s the one. Follow me.”

“Come on, Sonny. I’ll give the keys back in just a minute.

Mrs. Cline laid the box on the table, “You folks take your time.”

“You open it, Dad. I’m too nervous.”

Karl lifted the lid and laid it back. He picked up a hand full of papers and laid them on the table.

Karl began spreading the papers and then stopped, “Oh, my God.” Tears welled in his eyes and spilled over on his cheeks.

“Dad, what is it?”

Karl handed her one packet of papers. “This is some sort of pardon and it’s from the President of the United States.” Kathy looked up at her father. “Dad, what does this mean?”

Karl was so overcome with emotion he just shook his head. Kathy opened the document. “This pardon is for a Gunther Frederick Geffert.” She looked up, “Dad?”

“I’m Gunther Geffert.”

An hour later, “We’ll be closing soon. Do you require more time?” She looked at Karl, “Is everything all right?”

“Everything is fine, Mrs. Cline. There was just some good news in the box. Here, you can replace the box.”

“Can I have my keys back?”

“Yes, Sonny, here they are. You take good care of them. They are very important.

Sonny smiled and fingered his collection.

Kathy poured coffee into two cups and sat down at the kitchen table. She folded her hands and waited.

“I was seventeen when I decided to kill the town bully. It was premeditated and I didn’t lie about it at the trial. I was sentenced to the penitentiary for sixty years. The van slid off of the highway during a snowstorm and I escaped. I ran and ran and ran. I was so frightened of losing my life in a cell I just kept on running. I lied and cheated and stole just to survive. I finally got a break at the hardware store I worked at for so long. Gus Mathews never asked me any questions. Before I left him years later I asked him why. All he said was that he knew there was goodness somewhere inside of me.”

“And Mom?”

“I met her a few years later and fell in love and then there was you.” Karl looked up and smiled at his daughter.

“Did she know?”

“Obviously she did but never said anything to me. Look at all these letters from Jackie Kennedy. Your mom petitioned for clemency with the First Lady and her husband granted it.”

“What about this envelope? It hasn’t been opened.”

“You read what’s inside. That’s your mother’s writing.”

“My dearest Karl. I did this for you but decided not to tell you. You would have been ashamed and it probably would have ruined our perfect marriage. You’re free now to live your heart’s desire. Forever love, Hilda.”

“Dad, are you going to change your name back?”

“No, he’s long gone. I’ll keep the one I have now and have a lawyer make it legal. Your mother was so right. I would have been ashamed if she had told me.”

Sonny turned eight and was learning to ride his new bicycle.

“Good morning, Karl.”

“Gloria. How nice to see you again.”

“Well, it’s done.”

“So I’ve heard. How did it go?”

“I got the divorce lawyer you recommended and then I confronted Greg. I simply told him I knew everything and if he didn’t give me an uncontested divorce immediately I’d put him in jail for a very long time.”

“And what did he say?”

“He took it calmly and agreed. He asked how I found out. I mentioned the pendant and he never said another word. The divorce is final, he’s gone and I have everything, thanks to you. I’m a free woman again.”

“Actually you should thank Hilda.”

“How so?”

“Come on. Let’s have lunch and I’ll tell you everything.”

“Do you think Hilda would approve?”

“Gloria, she would insist.”

“She was quite a woman.”

“She was indeed.”

“I hope I’m not jumping from the frying pan into the fire.”

“Not exactly, but there was a moment.”

“Are you going to tell me?”

“I certainly will.”

Gloria smiled, “Did I ever mention you have a beautiful face? You must have been a knock out when you were younger.”

“Gloria, you have no idea the trouble I got into.”

“So, what you’re saying is that you have a past.”

“Yes, I do and it will probably shock you.”

“As long as it doesn’t bore me. I’ve had enough of that.”

“It won’t. Where would you like to eat?”

“Somewhere al fresco.”

“I know just the place. Hey, I’m babysitting. Can Sonny come along?”

“Yes, by all means. I think I’ll feel a little safer with him around.” They laughed.

The End

The Magic Fairy Tale Book

My name is Chad Martin. Yesterday I experienced what appeared to be a normal event, a yard sale, until I realized how extraordinary it had been, the lingering effect of which would influence the rest of my life.

It was Saturday morning as I stepped onto the front porch of my cottage with Charlie, my golden retriever, and took a deep breath. It was a perfect day for a long, leisurely puppy walk, and it was also a perfect day for a yard sale. It seemed everyone in the neighborhood was having one.

As we strolled down Evergreen Avenue we stopped first at the Clausing’s and chatted with Margaret and Myra Lee for a few moments. The items they had on display were hand-crafted and quite beautiful but were of little interest to me. I did take a sample, maybe two, of the chocolate chip cookies they offered to entice would-be buyers.

After that, Charlie and I paused at a few more sales and spoke with neighbors before continuing our walk. Most of the stuff being offered – forgive me, most of the junk being offered – was of little or no interest to me, but I did enjoy watching my neighbors interact with one another while searching for that treasure no one ever found.

On our return trip to the cottage, we passed the Liebemacher residence. I was surprised to see old man Liebemacher outside arranging a table filled with books. I had met Morris a few times and found him pleasant but reclusive. Neighborhood gossip had him born and raised in that old gabled house, married, had several children and was now quite elderly and apparently alone. The children hereabouts described him as a magician who cast evil spells on anyone trespassing on his property, especially children. I laughed to myself at the thought and decided to have a look at what Morris had to offer. “Good morning, Morris.”

“Ah, and a good morning to you, young Mr. Martin, and, Charlie. Hi, Charlie,” he put his hand out and received an affectionate lick. “It promised to be such a lovely day, I thought I’d put some of these old books out and hopefully have interested folks take them off of my hands. I have more inside so you just help yourself and let me know if you have any questions.” He turned and climbed the porch stairs.

“Thanks, Morris, I will definitely holler.” My initial impression of this collection centered on the quality of the books. They were old but well cared for, many were leather bound with gold leaf edging the pages. I wondered why he was letting them go. He probably had come face-to-face with his own mortality and decided it was time to down-size his belongings.

I found the majority of the books were either metaphysical or mystical in nature. I had minored in religious science in college and had previously come in contact with the writings of a few author’s represented in this collection.

I had no intentions of purchasing anything on my round-the-block trip with Charlie, having purposely left my wallet at home so temptation could not overrule my intent. Obviously, that was not working very well as I began setting certain volumes aside to add to my book collection.

I paused the moment I saw the book entitled The Magic of Fairy Tales. The gold filigree on the leather-bound volume glittered in the morning sunlight. It appeared to be brand new until I saw the date of manufacture on the flyleaf. Incredibly, this volume was several hundred years old.

I heard Morris carefully coming down the porch stairs; his arms loaded with more books.

“Morris, wait. Let me help.”

“Oh, thank you. You are most kind. I guess I took more than I could handle. Ah, I see you’ve found several books of interest to you.”

“Yes, I have but I’ll have to come back for them. I didn’t bring any money with me.”

“No, no. You take them now and bring your money another time. I’ve put slips of paper in each one stating their value.”

“Thank you, Morris. That’s good of you. I’ll be sure to get the money to you as soon as possible. But it’s this book, The Magic of Fairy Tales that I find most interesting.”

“Yes, isn’t it a beauty?”

“I looked at the flyleaf and found it hard to believe this book is several hundred years old.”

“Yes, I know. I had the same reaction when I found it.” Morris chuckled, “I decided that’s the magic of this book; it never seems to grow old. Have you looked inside?”

“No, I was about to when you came down the stairs.”

“Well, prepare yourself for even more surprises.”

There was no price slip inside the cover so I laid it aside, assuming it was not ready for the sale. I finished sorting through all the volumes and paused at the stack of books I wanted. There were so many, I wondered how I would get them home.

Morris spotted my dilemma. “There are sacks on the porch. Take what you need.”

“Thank you.” I took two large bags and carefully packed my books into them. Charlie was anxious to be on our way so I thanked Morris and told him I’d be back before the end of the day, and began walking home.

Around two in the afternoon I had tabulated what I owed Morris, wrote a check and headed back to his home. As I approached his house from across the street, I got the impression something was very different. For one thing, Morris had removed all the books and the table from the front yard. I wondered if he had sold the entire lot.

As I crossed the street, the differences became even more apparent. The porch furniture and hanging plants were gone. I mused that he had done very well with his yard sale. People seemed to be buying everything.

I walked up onto the porch and knocked on the front door. When Morris did not answer, I walked along the porch and gazed into one of the windows. I was taken aback when I saw the room was empty. I looked into the other windows and found the same thing, the house was empty. I was so befuddled, I walked down the stairs and out onto the public sidewalk, turned, and stared at the house. I hadn’t been gone that long for this to happen.

I was about to walk away when a car pulled up and stopped at the curb. A young woman got out, pulled a For Sale sign from the back seat and approached me. “Good afternoon. Are you Mr. Richardson?”

“No, my name is Martin.”

“I’m sorry. I thought you might be him.”

She walked into the front yard and pushed the sign into the ground.

“Excuse me.” I had a question for the young woman.


“Do you know Morris Liebemacher?”

“Why yes, he was my grandfather.”

“Was your grandfather? I came to see him and was surprised to see the house is empty.”

“Yes, it is,” she paused. “I’m terribly sorry, but my grandfather passed away two weeks ago.”

“Oh, my God.”

“Are you all right?”

“Yes, I’m sorry. I had no idea he had passed.”

“It was very peaceful, thank goodness. What did you say your name was?”

“Martin, Chad Martin.”

“Mr. Martin, would you wait here a moment, I have something for you.”

“Yes, of course.”

She walked up the stairs and let herself into the house.

I dismissed the thought of giving her the check for the books I had taken when I realized I’d have to explain it, which would probably cause more confusion than it was worth.

When she returned, she handed me a box with my name on it. “When we cleaned out the house, I found this and put it aside. I’m so glad you came by. I’m sure Gramps wanted you to have this.”

“What is it?”

“I have no idea. It never occurred to me to open it.”

I pulled the string aside and lifted the cover of the box. It was The Magic of Fairy Tales book with a note on top. “Paid in full. You forgot this. Best wishes, Morris.” I showed the note to his granddaughter.

“Oh, I’m so glad you dropped by. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I still have all of his books and don’t know what to do with them.”

“If I were you I’d contact a museum and have one of their curators take a look. I believe they are quite valuable and should be preserved.”

“I will. Thank you for the suggestion.”

I said my farewell and began walking home, holding a treasure that almost got away from me. When I reached the corner I stopped and turned around as the impact of what had happened hit me. It was then I realized that the neighborhood kids were correct, Morris Liebemacher, after all, was a magician and probably much more.

Gratitude overwhelmed me as I realized Morris had come back from the other side of the veil for me; to make sure I got the books I wanted and needed – especially The Magic of Fairy Tales.

I smiled as I resumed my journey home, and mused, “Thank you, Morris. Thank you very much.”

I clutched the box holding The Magic of Fairy Tales, looking forward to what it had in store for me.”

The End

About the Author J.T. Evergreen

OCCUPATION - Retired from the grind. Reflecting on successes, failures, and regrets. Exploring new aspects of self, writing that book which will get me an Oscar, staying out of trouble - well, small amounts of trouble are ok. Bringing joy into people's lives with random acts of kindness - the ones who aren't expecting it are the best.

ABOUT ME - Alone in blessed singleness. Wicked sense of humor, enjoy my own company, glad I'm not young any longer. I do miss the intimacy of being in love. Enjoy the possibilities of every moment, an imagination that won't quite, a master weaver - give away everything I make, excellent portrait painter, a national treasure - though no one agrees with me, a good listener, intuitive, a good conversationalist, avoid boredom and boring people at all costs - that's a career all by itself.

INTERESTS - Intelligent conversation: hard to come by these days, metaphysics, mysticism, my pups - Charlie, Max, and Bailey, seeing the funny side of life, going to Macy's at Christmas time - kicking Santa and punching an Elf. If I had a singing voice, which I don't, I would sing all of the time, wherever I was - even in WalMart. Wouldn't that be enchanting? When I receive the Oscar for the book I'm writing, I will have some baritone sing On A Clear Day, and I will lip sync his voice. It will wow the audience.

LOVES - Color and lots of it, strawberry jam, hiking up Yosemite Falls, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, sourdough bread, only made in San Francisco. Hearst Castle, Big Sur, sea air, Adams peanut butter, chocolate milk, rainy days, canaries singing, chocolate chip cookies my mother made, Greek yogurt with honey - oh, yum. Laughter. I make it a point of doing this many times a day.

HATES - Stupidity, insensitivity, bad table manners - come on, how difficult is it to hold a fork properly - it's not a shovel for God's sake. Snow, ice, slush, freeway traffic, lima beans - what was God thinking, sleepless nights, people who are late, texting - it's a cop-out, alcohol, red meat,

FAVORITE BOOKS - The Spiritual Journey of Joel S. Goldsmith.

FAVORITE MUSIC – Joplin’s Peachrine, Ahmad Jamal - Country Tour - the absolute best jazz - never tire of it. Someone Waits for You – Carly Simons, Helen Kane singing Button Up Your Overcoat and I Want to Be Bad – I relate to the lyrics. And the Tenor who sang Springtime for Hitler in the Zero Mostel version of The Producers. No one seems to know who he is. What a voice.

FAVORITE FILMS – The Celluloid Closet, Witness for the Prosecution, It Could Happen to You, Maltese Falcon, Inherit the Wind, 12 Angry Men, Harold and Maude, Murder on the Orient Express, Hope and Glory, Sorry Wrong Number, Speed, Practical Magic, Apollo 13, Where the Red Fern Grows, The original Producers - touch me, hold me - Estelle was terrific, and Zero - what can I say.

FAVORITE QUOTES – The poetry in writing is the illusion it creates: by me. Lord Chesterfield: “Sex: the pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.” The saddest words of tongue or pen are these - It might have been - indeed they are. If you want to make a success out of old age, you better start now: my mother when I was 15. On a clear day, you really can see forever - you just have to look. I may be rancid butter, but I'm on your side of the bread. Inherit the Wind.

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

Omar Khayyam

Other books by J.T. Evergreen

Short Stories to Celebrate the New Year

Alone at the Beach 25 short stories to keep you company

Home Alone 8 Great Stories to keep you company

Born in the Twilight

Injun Summer


Short Stories for a Summer’s Day

Holiday Short Stories

With All My Love

Father Frederick Monahan

Shangri la, Stepping Stones to God

I’m Gay Mother – Get Over it

The Olde Book Shoppe

Naked Before God

The Italian Call Boy

The Silence of Healing

Death of a Pope Birth of Hope

The Best Short Stories Ever

My Love Affair with Father Tomas McTavish

Father Gibbon with Sister Mary Magda in development

I get choked up when I re-read some of my stories.

I’m told that’s a sign of being a good writer.

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Here’s a collection of tunes to send you on your way. Cheers, JT , , , , , ,

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