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Authors: Terri DuLong

Farewell to Cedar Key

BOOK: Farewell to Cedar Key
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Also by Terri DuLong
 
 
Spinning Forward
 
“A Cedar Key Christmas”
in Holiday Magic
 
Casting About
 
Sunrise on Cedar Key
 
Postcards from Cedar Key
 
Secrets on Cedar Key
 
 
 
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation
Farewell to Cedar Key
T
ERRI
D
U
L
ONG
KENSINGTON BOOKS
www.kensingtonbooks.com
All copyrighted material within is Attributor Protected.
With love for Susan DuLong Hanlon
I'm proud of the daughter you are—
and the woman you've become.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Research is always involved with my stories. When I choose a particular topic to write about, I could easily do a Google search to obtain my information, but I much prefer to seek out people to speak with personally. So I owe a huge debt of gratitude to those of you who were willing to give me your time.
When I did a book signing at A Good Yarn in Sarasota, Florida, I had the pleasure of meeting William Fitzery, who is a member of the shop knitting group. I was in awe of the magnificent knitting projects he had completed, and he was my inspiration to include some male knitters in this story. Thank you for answering all of my questions.
When I attended Stitches in Atlanta, Georgia, I also had the pleasure of meeting master knitter and designer Charles Gandy. He is the author of knitting instruction books, and he was willing to share his lifelong knitting history with me, which in turn sparked my imagination and allowed me to create the character of Gabe Brunell. Thank you so much for planting that seed.
One of my fans, Linda Douglas White, had shared a story with me about her friend, Linda Knight, who happens to be a blind knitter. I was so intrigued on hearing this, I decided to also create a character who was blind and knitted beautifully. Thanks to both of you for allowing my creativity to develop Lily.
In the process of researching knitters who were blind and visiting the American Federation of the Blind Web site, I was fortunate to make a connection with Debra Williamson, who is also a blind knitter. I deeply appreciate all of the information you shared with me about Braille and converting text documents.
I feel uterine cancer in women is a subject not discussed nearly enough. Therefore, I knew my story would have a character with that diagnosis. I was fortunate to meet KG, who was willing to share her positive story with me. Thank you so much for the wealth of information that enabled me to share Shelby's story.
When I was in training to become an RN, I did my psychiatric rotation at Danvers State Hospital in Danvers, Massachusetts. Years later, after the facility closed, I was browsing the Internet to gain more information and connected with Jerry Carroll. Both of us had a profound interest in the history of the structure, and we formed a friendship. Most of the structure is now gone and replaced with luxury condos, and Jerry proves truth is stranger than fiction, because he now resides there. Thank you for all of the updated information.
A huge thank-you to my friend Patricia Smith Zraidi for opening your home and your heart to me when I was in Paris last year. My first experience of sharing a cultural dinner of tajine with you and your family is something I'll always remember and something I tried to capture in my story.
Merci mille fois
for that wonderful evening.
Thank you to Ellen Johnson, owner of Serendipity Needleworks, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for offering to design the Healing Cowl for my story.
This year marks my fiftieth high school reunion. Some of us had lost touch over the years, but Facebook reconnected us. Female bonding becomes more precious as the years go by, and one of my classmates, Ellen Tuttle Kennedy, named our group Sisters of '64, which was the inspiration for Sisters of '68 in my story. So to all of my “sisters,” thank you for being in my life: Alice Ouelette Jordan, Val Wright Tollo, Linda Kompa Hayes, Alma Pretanik Steele, Deborah Broyer Green, Laura Jackson Ridley, Patricia Bishop Rozumek, and Donna Sherman Reid. I love you all!
Thank you to Kensington for allowing me to share my stories with readers and always making that journey so smooth. And a huge thanks to my editor, Alicia Condon. You're a joy to work with, and I deeply appreciate all of your suggestions and input.
Last, but not least, to all of my wonderful readers, thank you for your loyalty and support! Your interest in my books makes the difficult times so much easier.
1
“Y
ou want me to wear
what?
” I gripped the phone to my ear with one hand while I filled my coffee mug with the other. “Mom, come on. This isn't a film shoot for
Gone with the Wind,
and besides, I don't own a fancy
frock
.” Frock? Who even used that term to describe a dress anymore?
I heard an exasperated sigh come across the line. “Josephine Shelby Sullivan, why do you always have to give me such a difficult time? Besides which, I'm not feeling that well.”
My mother was really pushing my buttons now. She knew that I had changed my given name to
Josie
the day I began first grade. For three months I had refused to answer to Josephine, causing my mother to finally give in. It was only when she was upset with me that she reverted back to my given name.
“I'm not trying to be difficult, but at thirty-five I think I can be depended on to wear something appropriate for your photo shoot.”
My mother was a
New York Times
best-selling author of romance novels. The name Shelby Sullivan was known throughout the world, and while I was proud of her accomplishments over the years, that fact didn't smooth our sometimes rocky relationship. She always meant well, and she was kind and giving, but she was also a control freak and drama queen. I used to wonder if it was because of her writing. If maybe the friction between us was due to the fact that I didn't allow her to manipulate me the way she did her characters.
“Look, Mom, I'll be at your house tomorrow at three. I won't be late. I'll wear that new aqua sundress I bought when you and I went shopping last month. It'll be fine. Now, please, stop worrying and just relax. And why are you not feeling well? What's wrong?”
I heard another sigh come across the line. “Nothing, nothing. Just a little tummy twinge. Okay. Oh, and Orli? Does she have something nice to wear? You know how important this photo shoot is. My publisher is thrilled that such a prominent magazine wants to do a feature article about me with my daughter and granddaughter.”
“Yes, I know. And I know you're excited and nervous, but both Orli and I will be there at three . . . appropriately attired. Now go have a glass of sweet tea, relax, and feel better.”
“Right. I'll do just that. Oh, but Josie . . . do you think perhaps I should have bought a few parasols that the three of us could hold for the photos? I thought maybe . . .”
“No! Definitely not! No parasols. Bye, Mom,” I said, disconnecting our call before she could come up with any other ideas.
Now it was my turn to let out a deep sigh before taking a sip of my coffee. I shook my head and then headed outside to the patio.
I curled up on the lounge and looked at the garden, which was now in full bloom with autumn flowers. Clusters of orange, purple, red, and yellow were arranged along the side of the yard. The rosebushes at the far end were vibrant with color, years after my grandmother had planted them. When she passed away a year after Orli was born, my mother inherited the house. I had been living in a small apartment downtown at the time. My parents lived on the tip of the island, near the airport, in the house where I had been raised. And although I tried to resist, not wanting to feel indebted to my mother, she had insisted that as a single parent raising a baby on her own, I should move into my grandmother's house. Which I did. It had been the smart thing to do. With three bedrooms, two baths, and a good-size family room and kitchen, it was ideal for me and my daughter. Plus, it had a lovely patio and garden, which had been the venue for many of Orli's birthday parties growing up. The location on Second Street also put us within walking distance of school and downtown.
Birthday,
I thought. It was hard to believe that in three months my daughter would be turning sixteen. I had only been nineteen when I gave birth to her three days after Christmas. And here she was turning Sweet Sixteen soon, which made me realize I had better start thinking about a celebration for her.
“Are you out back?” I heard my best friend holler as she came around the side of the house.
“Yeah, I am,” I said, and looked up to see Mallory walking toward the patio. “What's up?”
She lowered herself into the lounge beside me, reached across, and took a sip from my coffee mug. I was used to Mallory doing things like this. We had shared pretty much everything from the time we were in our mothers' wombs—even a birthday, five hours apart. Our mothers remained best friends to this day, and I guess it was only natural that Mallory and I would do the same. As young children we shared ice cream, candy, and toys. That evolved to sharing clothes, makeup, and ideas when we hit our teen years.
“Did you hear about poor Chloe? I just stopped at Yarning Together, and Dora told me Chloe had a nasty fall down the stairs at her apartment last evening.”
I sat up straighter in my lounge. “No. My gosh, is she okay?”
“She broke her arm and is in a cast. Good thing that Berkley was home. She heard noise in the hallway and rushed out of her apartment to see Chloe at the bottom of the stairs. Berkley's the one that drove her to the emergency room at North Florida. They didn't get back till after midnight. Chloe's on something for the pain.”
“Geez, that could have been much more serious than a broken arm, so I guess she was lucky.”
I watched as Mallory took the last sip of my coffee. “Right. The problem is, Dora has nobody to work the shop with her.”
“Hmm, true.” Chloe and Dora were partners in the ownership of our local yarn shop downtown. “That does present a problem. With the triplets in day care, I wonder if Monica could help her out.”
“Well, that would kind of defeat the purpose of day care. Monica is able to catch up on housework and laundry when the kids are gone those few hours each week.”
“I guess you're right. She has her hands full. I know Chloe won't be able to knit.... Oh, God! I can't even imagine not having both of my hands for knitting, but when she feels up to it, maybe she could still go to the shop and assist with sales.”
“Possibly, but . . .”
I looked up when I heard Mallory hesitate. I knew that pause had something to do with me. “But what?” I asked, not sure I wanted to hear the answer.
“Well . . . ah . . . since you're out of work at the moment . . . I was thinking maybe you could go in and help Dora out.”
“Me?” Yes, I was an addicted knitter. And yes, I had been knitting since I was a child and could probably be considered an expert knitter. But help to run a yarn shop? I didn't think so. When I'd graduated the year before as a registered nurse and took my first position at the Urgent Care Center in Gainesville, I'd hoped the days of part-time jobs were behind me. But unfortunately, due to the economy and being the newest employee, I had lost my job the previous week.
“Sure, you,” Mallory said. “You'd be helping Dora out, and hey, you said you'd have to start looking for a new job, right?”
“I meant a new job in
nursing
. You didn't mention this to Dora, did you?” When she remained silent, I said, “Oh, Mallory. You did. You told Dora that maybe I could help her out, didn't you?”
She stood up, and I saw a sheepish grin on her face. “Well, it was only a suggestion. Nothing is carved in stone. I just told her that maybe she should give you a call.”
As if on cue, I heard the phone in the kitchen ringing.
“Thanks, Mallory,” I said, jumping up to answer it.
“Oh, Josie, it's Dora,” I heard after I said hello.
Mallory had followed me inside and was leaning against the counter, chewing on her thumbnail.
“Dora. How are you?” I asked as I shot my friend a menacing look.
“I'm fine, but did you hear about poor Chloe? She had a nasty tumble down the stairs last night at her place, broke her right arm.”
“I'm so sorry to hear that,” I said, and I did mean it. I braced myself for what I knew was coming.
“She's going to be in a cast for six to eight weeks while it heals. I'm afraid that means she won't be able to help customers with any knitting problems. Poor thing won't even be able to knit the projects she's working on. Now Marin can help out in a pinch, but she's pretty busy with the needlepoint shop and her classes. So . . . I was wondering . . . I heard that you got laid off from the clinic, and I'm sorry about that. But . . . I was wondering if you'd be willing to help me out for a while until Chloe can come back. Of course I would pay you, and we'd work out a schedule that will be good for you.”
I let out a deep breath. How could I say no to Miss Dora? I'd known her all my life, and she was one of the sweetest and kindest women I'd ever met. She needed my help, and that's what we did on this island. We helped each other. So of course, I said yes.
 
Later that evening, I was curled up on the sofa working on a cranberry top I was knitting for myself when Orli walked into the family room.
“Hey, sweetie,” I said, glancing up. When did my daughter grow to be so tall? I'd bet anything she was less than an inch away from my five feet seven inches. She had always been a pretty child, but now she had morphed into an extremely attractive young lady. Long, dark wavy hair was pulled back into a ponytail, and just a touch of lip gloss was all she needed to add to her natural beauty. I was quite proud of my daughter. Not just because I had raised her pretty much on my own, but because in addition to being fun and pleasant, she had developed the valuable traits of compassion, insight, and kindness. Yes, I was proud of my daughter and the young adult she was becoming.
“What's going on?” I asked.
“I was going to go over to Laura's house for a while. We're working on a science project together.”
“Sure. What time will you be home?”
“By nine,” she said, leaning over to kiss my cheek before patting her cat, Clovelly, who was napping beside me.
“Okay, that's fine. Don't forget. We have to be at Grandma's house tomorrow afternoon at three for that magazine photo shoot.”
Orli laughed. “I don't think Grandma would let me forget. She's left four messages on my cell.”
I smiled and heard the door close behind her. Yup, that was my mother.
BOOK: Farewell to Cedar Key
2.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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