Discovery

The drive to her parents’ home was a chilly one, considering she rode her other vintage piece of hardware—a turquoise and white 1951 Indian Chopper. Slowly she navigated the bike through the streets of Pacific Heights, or as the natives referred to it, Pissy Heights. She pulled into the nearly nonexistent driveway of Kash and Leslie’s resplendent 1895 Victorian home, then into the garage on the lower level. Just in time. As quickly as the suns had shown, the clouds had moved in and drizzle was covering the street.

As the coffee brewed and spread its mouth-watering aroma, Elaine walked around admiring her handiwork as a renovation specialist in architecture. Her company, The Three R’s, represented the “reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic” of renovation. She had taken Great Grandmother Bennett’s home and used the disciplines of restoration, reconstruction and rehabilitation in renovating the Queen Anne structure. Reflecting the personalities of her occupants, Elaine blended traditional with contemporary in the flow of the home. Many rooms reflected her mother’s preciseness, while some of the rooms showed her father’s sense of adventure from his days as an archeologist.

She started in her father’s office. The Chippendale desk he inherited from his great grandfather was messy as usual. Finding any clues would be a challenge, but deep down inside, Elaine was a closet slob, so she took to it like duck to water. The duckling paddled for a while and found nothing, so she moved next door to her mother’s study, or parlor as it was referred to by Leslie. Even as a kid, Elaine wanted to be nosy and go through her mother’s stuff, but she was always caught, and not red-handed, but just by her mother knowing that everything had a place, an exact place. Her mother could tell in a heartbeat if something was the least bit awry in her space. Either that, or Lane tattled. Elaine always preferred the latter.

This time she didn’t care if she disturbed things and didn’t return them to their exact position. Like Christmas gifts, her parents were masters at hiding things. Leaving her mother’s office complete shambles, she moved t the lower level that consisted of the garage, utility and mechanical rooms. When she found nothing there, she advanced floor by floor, room by room until she was in the attic. Even the close space of the attic was neat and devoid of clutter.

Exhausted, she leaned against the paneled wainscot. Remembering the attic during renovation, she recalled the hidden storage behind the wainscot was to remain intact. She found the panel and gently encouraged it to pivot. Pulling free her flashlight, she illuminated the area. There she found boxes and an old cedar chest. Dragging the chest out, she broke the lock and opened it. She knew immediately the contents belonged to her mother, and there would be hell to pay for breaking the lock and invading her mother’s space. Tough shit, she thought. The leather bound journals were dated, starting with September of 1947.

Read Act 2: 1947 Chinatown »

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