“I can’t believe it’s another hour before Trixie will get here from work,” Jim Frayne muttered as he prowled around the den at the Manor House. “I really want to show her the swing I had Lester add to the porch at Ten Acres.”
“Talking to yourself is not a good sign, big brother,” Honey noted from the doorway. “Or at least that’s what Dr. Miller tells me.”
A smile broke across Jim’s face. “Well, I guess a shrink would know, sis.” Plopping down in a chair flanking the fireplace, he asked, “What are you up to?”
“About five-foot-eight,” Honey giggled. “Actually, I’m heading to the hospital to meet Brian for dinner. What are you doing?”
Jim laid his head back and looked to his sister. “Waiting for Trix to get home so we can go to dinner, too,” he sighed.
“Is something bothering you, Jim?” his sister asked concerned.
“I don’t know. I just feel restless and anxious like there is a storm brewing,” Jim replied, rubbing his hands over his face.
Honey moved closer to the chair. “Jim, if there is one thing that I’ve learned since my abduction,” she paused to take several deep breaths. “Is that a person needs to trust their gut. I felt there was something wrong in Ithaca but I just didn’t know what.”
Jim stood and moved quickly to his sister’s side to give her a gentle hug. “You’ve made amazing progress in a short amount of time, sis. Don’t try to second guess yourself about what happened. I’m here for you. We’re all here for you,” he assured her. “Now, you better get going before Brian decides to eat in the cafeteria,” he teased.
“You’re the best brother a girl could ever have,” she said, placing a kiss on his cheek and then hurrying out the door. “See you guys later,” she called.
Jim moved restlessly around the den, looking for something to capture his interest while he waited. Passing near the bookcase, his hand reached out and selected one of the photo albums that he and Trixie had found in the summerhouse.
Plopping down in a chair, he began to carefully turn through the pages. A smile played on his face as he looked at photos of his Uncle Jim and Aunt Nell as a young couple. As he moved to turn the next page, he noticed that it felt thicker and stiffer than the prior ones.
He toyed with the corner of the page only to realize that it was actually two pages stuck together. Carefully, he pried the pages apart.
Shocked at the pictures before him, he stared at the two pages of four photographs facing him.
One was of a man in a football uniform from around 1900. Under the photo was written, ‘John Russell Frayne, Sr., Princeton Footballer’. Next to it was a wedding photo of the same man and a tall, beautiful light-haired woman. Below this photo was written, ‘John and Frances Frayne nee Phillips, May 5, 1903’.
“Wow,” Jim murmured, running his finger over the two pictures. “My great-great-grandparents.”
On the opposite page, a young couple flanked by John and Frances was on the top of the page. The young man was tall and handsome. His face held many of the features from both his parents. The young woman was tall and slim with medium-dark hair. His great-grandfather held a toddler of about four and the young woman held a baby cradled in her arms. ‘John and Frances Frayne, John, Jr. and Lillie Frayne, James Winthrop, 4 years, and John Winthrop, 2 months.
“Uncle James and my grandfather,” Jim whispered. “How did we miss these?” he wondered.
Excited by his find, Jim carefully checked each page of the album to see if there were other pages stuck together. He had almost reached the end of the book when he discovered another set of pages. Slowly he separated them.
“Oh, my,” he muttered, stunned.
These two pages held four photos. On the left side, two young men stood hamming it up for the camera with their arms slung over each other’s shoulders. One of the men wore a dark, three piece suit with a fedora shading his grinning face. The other had on the uniform of a U.S. Army Lieutenant. His face was visible below the visor of his peaked cap. The crooked grin and face that held it made Jim feel as if he was looking in a mirror. Underneath was scribbled in a shaky hand, ‘James and John – July 1946’.
Below it was a photo of the uniformed man and woman on a porch swing. Jim recognized the front of Ten Acres before it burned. The man, now a major, smiled proudly with his hand on the woman’s obviously very pregnant belly. ‘John, Ruth and ? – April 1953’.
On the next page, Jim’s grandparents were formally seated holding a newborn baby boy who could only be Winthrop Wilson Frayne. The bottom picture was a less formal shot of the small family playing in the floor on a blanket covered with the alphabet.
A tear over-flowed Jim’s eye and streaked down his cheek as he slowly ran his finger over the photos as if he could link up and touch the people in them.
“Dad,” he whispered hoarsely, tears running down his face. “I miss you and Mom so much.” He sat and stared at the pages for several minutes, remembering the good times with his parents. “I wish there were more.”
A sudden thought of the other albums crossed Jim’s mind. He gently placed the open album on the desk and looked through the others that he and Trixie had found. Disappointment settled over him as he returned the books to the shelf with no further photographs found.
Taking a seat at the desk, Jim pulled the album close, jarring the computer mouse.
On a whim, Jim opened a search engine, typed in Major John Winthrop Frayne and watched as the screen filled.
The End….for now
CWE #3: A picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures speak differently to different people. The one above spoke quite clearly to Jo. Thank you Joycey and Jenny for the edits. xoxoxoxoxo
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