Secret Closet

Surprises that are unexpected, gives me goosebumps and makes me smile. Things we forgot about, what’s your last surprise?

Housework and attic was intermixed daily for the rest of the week. Carla was able to look in all of the hanging bags, trying on the clothes she wanted to keep, being careful to keep out anything that she needed to question Craig about and what she really liked for her
wardrobe. The resale pile grew.

Carla opened the next bag causing her to gasp as she looked at the gown. “Oh how beautiful!” It was a lavishly beaded pale yellow evening gown, her hands trembling as she touched the gown, thinking there has to be a story behind this bag. “Judith, are you here with me today?” Carla whispered remembering the other time she was seeing Judith’s things and the feeling she had.

Inside the next bag was a military uniform with all the medals and swords attached, her heart was fluttering as she thought how interesting, wool this must be CA’s. There were three more bags with different military uniforms. She hung them separately in the other closet. She went to their bedroom closet thinking to herself, where are his dress
blues. There I can see a difference. She left it hanging on the closet door so Craig could see it.

From those first few bags, Carla became more careful as she looked at everything in the bags and boxes. Thinking there is a lot of history here in this closet that I have to talk to Craig about. I also need to research these things, too. She went to get her laptop, making notations and looking up the uniforms. She also started a special list of the clothing
and accessories that she found.

“Oh, the furs” Carla scrolled through her phone numbers and called Carpenter Furriers

“Bonjour, Mrs. Jones. Your furs should be ready by the first week in October. We have had to restitch the coats the thread was very old. As you requested we are embroidering your name on the linings. You have some real treasures here. We have been trying to figure out the nationality of the original furrier, but I assume you know where these actually came from in Europe.”

“Thank you Mr. Burgoyne, I hope to be able to give you a lot of information about those beautiful furs very soon. I will be looking forward to chilly winters this year. Thank you, please call when they are ready to be picked up.”

“Au re voir Mrs. Jones” Carla smiled “Au re voir.”

Helpful Talk

“Well let’s get this cleaned up and get ready for breakfast. How about if we get up a few minutes earlier and go for a morning run. I’ve missed that in the morning.” He said with a smile as he helped clean up the kitchen.

“Ok we can do that,” Carla said.

“Show me this mess you found,” he said turning off the lights and locking the door.

“Hmm, we staying upstairs tonight are we?” Carla said with a giggle.

“Yes Mrs. Jones. We are!”

“All these surprises have made me tired,” Carla said.

“Actually I understand exactly what you are saying. I think it was March when the
first treasure was discovered and it hasn’t stopped.” Craig got his laptop open “Let’s see what’s on the calendar. Ok, my next two weeks are showing free except for work appointments.”

Carla checked her laptop “My schedule is the same except for our appointment tomorrow. How about we do leftovers, hit the attic tomorrow, and work until we finish it Craig. That will give us all weekend.”

“It’s a date” Craig agreed and started to laugh, “Hope no one tries to put anything on my calendar this weekend. They’ll have a heck of a time finding the attic won’t they.”

Carla giggled, grabbing some ice cream bars “Let’s enjoy the sunset before we get started, shall we.”

“What’s your appointment tomorrow Carla,” Craig asked Carla.

“Craig it’s just my scheduled monthly appointment that I have with Dr. M, then tomorrow night we see Vanessa at 6PM.”

“Ok.” Their day was uneventful for a change.
“Carla I’m home, are you ready for our appointment?” Craig said hollered.

“Be right down Craig.” Carla came down the stairs with a smile on her face asking. “So how was your day Craig, get that big account you and Howard went out on?”

Craig held the door open for her, “Yes, you drive honey, don’t know where we’re going, but I’m sure, it’s to a happy place.”

“Craig you’re being silly, but thanks, your Carly needs that right now.” She smiled at
him and landed a kiss on his cheek, then headed out for Centerville.

6 PM on the nose Vanessa opened the door welcoming Carla and Craig. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you Craig” Vanessa offered her hand, which he shook with a smile on his face.

“You were very upset the other day when you called.” Vanessa motioned to the couch as she took a chair across from them.

“Is this pertaining to the news I’ve been hearing about the bodies at Blackston Lake and a stalking?” Vanessa questioned Craig and Carla.

“Yes, Carla is involved, Vanessa and we’re worried because she’s not sleeping well and it has affected both of us.” Craig stated. Vanessa listened intently as they talked, agreeing to have another few sessions in the next month after the funeral.

Life Goes On

“Oh Carla, I almost forgot, the phone company is coming today. They are supposed to put a jack on the patio, in the wine cellar and the boathouse. Ask if they can put a jack inside the passageway by the doors like the boathouse one. Would you like that outside the wine cellar there by the laundry area instead? Sorry I forgot to tell you Friday.”

“Howard and I are going to see a client today, till this afternoon honey.”

“I’ll handle it. Sounds like you’re already on information overload.”

“I just got the gray matter shook up a little. I’ll call you at lunch time
and let you know about dinner time I’ve got to run.” Craig held out his
arms and Carla got her big hug and kisses.

“Love you.” Carla said as she opened the door for him. Carla poured herself another cup of coffee and sat down to watch the Today show, she did some laundry, got dressed in pedal pushers and a t-shirt not knowing when the phone company would arrive. By 11 the phone company had arrived, installed all the phone jacks that where requested.

At 12:30 PM, the last load of towels was in the drier when the house phone rang. “Mrs. Jones, this is Mr. Jones, am I speaking to the lady of the house.”

Carla started to laugh, “You are.”

“What are you up to Mrs. Jones, what are you wearing Mrs. Jones,” Craig laughed.

“Oh a t-shirt,” a giggle escaped. “Pedal pushers, oh I have to go Craig, my cell phones
ringing.”

“Carla, Vanessa, I received a call from your husband over the weekend,
are you ok?”

Carla answered, “No can Craig and I see you this week some time?”

“Tomorrow night 6, ok?”

“Yes, we’ll be there.”

An hour later, Craig was having lunch at Bob Evans working on a proposal when he heard, “Craig Jones.”

Craig looked up “Hi Joey, I just took a schematic to a prospective client on the north side of Carpenter. Checking up on me?” Craig said as he shook Joey’s hand.

“No, I just ran into you. How’s it going?”

“Great Joey, surprised at first, don’t know why I thought it would be any different than working anywhere else. Actually I like this arrangement.” Craig said smiling.

“If you need anything call me Craig. Oh any word on the Smiths’ funeral arrangements Craig?” Joey asked.

Craig shook his head, “Don’t know what happened to him?”

“Me either Craig, see you later.”

Craig hit the 1 and Carla’s cell phone rang “Let’s do pizza, I am going to stop at the Corner Pizza, call in what you would like Carla. See you soon, love you.”

45 minutes later, they sat eating pizza. “Something interesting happened today Craig” Carla said.

“What? Please don’t tell me you found more jars?”

“Not exactly, I was pulling out the boxes and things on the floor in the secret closet and found a whole lot of office equipment; in addition, a couple boxed Mont Blanc fountain pens, and assorted supplies, two phones one black and one brass candlestick telephones. And a big stack of used business accounting books for the liquor and furniture stores.”

Carla went on. “I already checked it on the one auction antique site and entered it in the computer with photos. Oh Vanessa called, she can see us at 6 tomorrow night.”

“Great, did you say us?”

“Yes it was your idea and her suggestion, is that a problem Craig?”

“No. It’s probably a good idea.”

Lost Relatives

“Jonathon, please down load the pictures from the summer.” Bertha asked.

“What’s the rush Bertie?” Jonathon asked.

“Jonathon, please down load the pictures from the summer.” Bertha asked.

“What’s the rush Bertie?” Jonathon asked.

“Just do as I ask you old coot. I want to see if I’m right! I think I saw Linda Sue’s daughter Carly at Costco . . . remember the craft show?”

“Yes, which one we’ve hit everyone in the Illiana area in the past 3 months?”

“I took lots of pictures of craft items to make and I think she’s in one of those pictures from the shows by U of I?”

“Bertie we didn’t do that one. We went to Amish Acres instead, remember?”

“So please snuggums. I just gotta know Johnny.” Bertie snuggled up to him
grabbing his waist. “I’ll give you something you like.”

“Carly . . . Oh yea, she was Jim and Becca’s granddaughter. The only one to survive the fire . . . didn’t she find out driving home.”

“Yes Johnny and we could be her only living relatives!”

“You remember Carly she stayed with us for 2 years till college, think Johnny!”

“Oh yea, didn’t I call her my little doodle bug, cause she drove me nuts with the car?”

“YES.”

“Didn’t we get a card from her a few years back Johnny? Oh dumfangle, were did I put my glasses.”

Johnny started to laugh. “And you call me an old coot, Mrs. Crazy Crafty, your specs are on the top of your head again and you have another pair on the chain around your neck. Bertie don’t know how you get on so. Ok Bertie here you go I’m going to get us an ice tea while you look. Are you sure, it was her Bertie? We haven’t seen her for what close to 10
years?”

“The fact that we might be right here close to that lovely girl, all alone, I just gotta know. It’d be wonderful to see how she’s making out. Where’s the dullie to whip through these, oh dumfangle!”

“Just use these arrows Bertie to flip pages. Honestly I don’t know how you can take these pictures but not know how to do anything else electronic.” Johnny just shook his head.

Bertie and Johnny Kellog spent the next few hours closely looking at the 400 photos for their niece. “Bertie, why do you take all these craft photos?”

“For idea snuggums, I’ve got to have things to do when you go out fishing and then I sell them at the fairs. By the way how much did we make on the fairs this season Johnny?”

“I doubt we covered what you spent Bertie.” He kissed her cheek. “Where is the Champaign Fair,” Bertie asked.

Johnny shook his head. “We didn’t do Champaign. We did Nappanee, Amish Acres instead towards the end Bertie; it was in late August” Johnny held down the key to speed through the photos. “Here, now double click on the first picture there and just slowly look through these.”

“Get my phone I snapped a picture of her when I saw her at Costco this week. Now compare it to this picture. Oh Johnny, blow that up to full page; let me get my specs.”

“That’s her! It is the same girl . . . Oh, she looks just like Linda Sue! Now show me the whole picture, there stop! It was at our booth and she paid with a charge card. We need to look at all my cc things Johnny.” Bertie was beaming.

“Bertie do you mean the credit card receipts? I’ll get your duggie bag, I’m sure they’re still in there,” Johnny walked away in search of the bank bag laughing. “Bertie you need to send these to the companies to get paid you know. Nappanee Amish Acres the right envelope Bertie?”

“Yes, from the picture it looks like she bought a multi colored Doilley long scarf so that’s what the charge ticket would say, of course the name would be Carla.”

“Bertie sit down you’re making me nervous with your toe tapping, there’s a lot of receipts here.” Johnny took out his car keys and shoved them in her hand. “It’s after 2 go get me a strawberry shake and a cheese burger.”

“Okie do key, just find my doilley!”

“I’m back with your treat did you find our Carly, Johnny?”

“Mrs. Carla Jones, she’s the only one that bought your Doilley scarf during the
whole show and the date and time matches your picture date and time stamp. You’re a pretty smart cookie Mrs. Crazy Crafty!”

“Oh you’re the best snuggums! How do we find her Johnny?”

“Let me play on this computer, will see if I can find her.” Johnny put in Carla Sharp Jones
and there she was, with address and phone that was disconnected, but it was a start.

 

Surprise Evening

“Time out, no more today, tonight we eat and rest Carla, come on.” He held his hand out to her as she heard the buzz of the doorbell.

“What a surprise Craig, you were very sneaky when you went for that water. Thanks, todays perfect for pizza and salad. What’s this?” Carla unwrapped the foil package, “Brownies, hmmm.”

“That’s for later Carla, bread stick?” The rain finally had stopped and the sun was trying to peek through the clouds as Craig and Carla headed upstairs.

“Calling it a day already Craig?” Carla asked.

“Yes Mrs. Jones I have a surprise for you.” He took her hand, pushing open the French Doors, there was a faint glow in the southwest window upstairs that night and soft music playing. A gentle breeze blew in off the lake as they sat on the bedroom terrace Craig handed her a glass of champagne with a big ripe strawberry at the bottom.

“Wow, this is a surprise.”

Craig took her hand and pulled her up to stand in front of him “May I have this dance?” Craig asked and they danced.

“This negligee is beautiful Carla, but it’s in my way,” he gently took off the white robe with the big red roses on it and said, “Very pretty and how perfect for you my love.”

Dancing a little more, he handed her a red rose, stopping for a sip of champagne.

Craig twirled her around him as his hand went to her waist to bring her back to face him as they continued to dance on the terrace. He worked in some more of his very slight kisses around her neck, sliding off the shoulder straps of the silk gown . . . “You’ve got my blood simmering . . .”

Craig whispered in her ear “Ooh baby . . . See I can surprise you just like you can surprise me . . .” He picked her up and laid her on the red sheets she said “Ooh Craig . . .”

Attic

Tis the time of year to bring out the Christmas treasures and as the commercial says ‘what’s in your … attic’?  See what awaits Craig and Carla…

Sunday Carla needed a distraction from the downpour. “Let’s get the rest of the attic and closet done today.”

Craig agreed, “Sure honey let’s go.”

“Lucille said Judy never threw anything away.” Carla said as she carefully scooted one of the mirrors “Oh wow, the stacks of Vogue, Ladies Home Journal, and Harper’s Bazaar Lucille told me about.”

“Look Carla Saturday Evening Post stacked as tall as the mirrors. There are years of National Geographic and Field and Stream here, cool” Craig said.

“Craig, open it!” Carla asked “Ok” as he put it down, moving the jewel chest on that wall.

“What’s in this little chest? Oh Judith Ann saved baby clothes.” Carla had tears in her eyes “I think it’s your aunts Craig, their real old.”

“I bet those are the flowers from their funeral, pink roses?” Craig asked.

“Now where are all these letters and cards she kept? I still haven’t found the photo albums,” Carla said.

“Here’s another chest of drawers,” Craig announced, turning it to get it open. “Look Carla, here’s the letters and post cards.” Craig knocked along the wall. “Ah here we go another hiding place,” Craig pressed on the panel with his left shoulder to open it, and then he pushed the chest to get it turned around. “This is turning out to be good
exercise.” The chest was moved just enough to open a small walkway,
three dressers lined the wall.

“These drawers are all full of photo albums Carla. Here’s a chest wedged next to it,” Craig gave it a kick with his foot and it came loose but for some reason it wasn’t opened that day.

That afternoon they looked through the magazines and other things in the closet that they had found. “I can’t believe all of these clothes, they’re from all different eras. I am
willing to bet the hat and shoe boxes are full as well.”

Carla exclaimed as Craig answered with a simple “Yep, I’m willing to place a bet on that.”

Silence was present at the House on the Hill that day as they worked upstairs focusing on the things they found. Craig was sure Carla wanted to talk, but last Friday was a tough one. He was unsure if it was what happened to the Smiths or memories for Carla, he thought, she’ll tell me when she is ready to talk.

“Carla, have you heard back from Vanessa yet,” Craig inquired.

“No not yet she’ll probably call tomorrow, why do you want to go with me?”

“Sure, plus we need US time.” He went to the wine cellar and brought up some wine and champagne, and chilled it. He took out some of the strawberries in the fridge rinsed
them off and put them in the freezer. “Hope this can change the mood around here.”

Craig called in an order for her favorite veggie pizza. “Yes Mr. Jones, anything else,” the server asked as he wrote out the order balancing the phone on his shoulder. Craig asked, “Got any fresh brownies, a fresh salad and bread sticks? Oh please make it delivery.”

The server said, “We’re backed up 1 hour Mr. Jones.”

“Ok, that’s perfect.” Craig shut his phone, grabbed a couple bottles of water and
headed back up the stairs setting his watch for 1 hour.

Tears

Sometimes your  feelings turn into giggles masking tears. Suddenly the barrier you’ve put up can’t be stopped, a box of tissues disappears…

Craig heard Carla with a big laugh and giggle, then Mary Kate, laughed too. “Ok things are coming back to normal now.”

Allan smiled, “Yes sir I believe so.”

“Girls how about running over to the Stray Dog for some lunch,” Allan suggested.

“Sounds like a winner to me. Come on Carla.” Mary Kate said grabbing Carla’s hand.

“Let’s roll guys, I’m driving” Carla said.

Around 4 PM they headed back to Blackston Lake, Carla gladly handed her keys to Craig she needed his arms around her as she felt the tears finally welling up in her.

They stopped outside Michigan City, Carla cried, not just little tears. It was a break in the dam type of cry. Craig grabbed the tissue box and held her tight, “I know honey, just let it out. Want me to call Vanessa for you now to see how soon you can see her?”

“Yes,” she whispered nodding her head trying to regain her composure.

“I left a message, are you ok now?” Carla nodded her head again, she was shaking Craig put his jacket around her shoulders holding her tightly. He gently ran his fingers through her hair and down her back. “Better?”

“Yes, I’m such a mess over this whole thing, I’m sorry Craig.”

“I’ll protect you Honey no one is going to hurt you again. Let’s go home now” Craig let go of her looking at her swollen eyes as Carla nodded her head. Craig kept his right arm around her shoulder as he drove, and again Craig thought how glad he was that he had bench seats in this car. He took the long way back home through the country side, the winding path down 421 to St Rd 2 till they came to Blackston Lake, then home all the while, the only sounds was Carla’s sniffles and the rain hitting the roof.