Chapter One: Connecting
As soon as I saw her picture I was hooked. For many, or should I say most men, the plain looking woman staring back at them from the computer screen would have been passed by immediately in the search for a more classic beauty to be found elsewhere on the dating website I was skimming through.
East Herkimer, New York, a town in the central part of New York State located just off the Thruway. A sleepy place that isn't much different today than it was back in 1973, when this story took place.
It looked like every insect that was attracted to light was buzzing around the bare bulb that was supposed to illuminate the area around the door of the motel room - Room 9 in this case.
I walked into my Civil War history class on the first day of the fall semester. I enrolled in this class as a crip credit. My Dad was a Civil War buff and I spent my entire life hearing about the various battles, participants, what should have been done, stupid mistakes that were made, and endless trivia.
There is something about heat that only we northern Celts can fully appreciate. I hadn't been abroad since my childhood, and the minute I stepped off the plane I was consumed by a bright heat rising from the Cretan rocks that forced me to slow down and take in the quiet beauty of the place.
Sixty two year old Wallace Stone wasn't from Saratoga Springs, he was just passing through on business. When after dinner he walked through the park and stopped near the little stage where an angry young man was singing angry songs, mercifully without benefit of amplification.
Most of the couple dozen or so folks who were around the performer listening didn't seem much more interested than Wallace was, but the salesman didn't care about them.
"Told you I'd come visit you tonight," Arthur Preston whispered as he slid under the sheet and slid next to his granddaughter Lisa, and although the single bed made for cramped quarters, as Lisa's grandfather moved against the skinny teen the snug fit suited the frisky senior citizen just fine.
"What if Mom or Dad come in?" Lisa asked as he felt her grandfather's hand on her shoulder.
"They won't," he assured his granddaughter, who made no move to stop his hand as it came off of her shoulder and moved toward her breast.
It had been about an hour since the card game in the kitchen had broken up, and I noticed that we didn't play as long as we used to. Maybe that was because the other two players were getting older, although my mother is only 50 and her brother Butch is just a couple years older.
1971 had me as a freshman in college a couple thousand miles away from home. I was often lonely, homesick and not very cautious when it came to looking for affection. Fortunately for me I lived a very charmed life and was very lucky, so most of my "indiscretions" had happy endings.
When Lyle Quigley went to the grocery store that afternoon in June, he was expecting to pick up a few things he wife asked him to pick up and get back to enjoy the peaceful solitude of his house while the wife was at work.
This is a complete story, although there is a sequel possible if reader interest is there.
To the rest of our family, Grandma Rose was - let's be charitable and use the word "eccentric". In the words of my mother, my father's mother was a "nuttier than a fruitcake" and often suggested that she be put in a rubber room somewhere.