in my own words...
I must say that I couldn't have asked for a
better family. The Albanys were one of the most prominent families in
Simpson Valley. Father was a banker and Mother stayed at home with
me. She could have worked if she had wanted to because we always had Mrs.
Primrose around to help out. She was our housekeeper and she was almost
like a second mother to me. Mrs. Primrose could have taken care of me and
the house while Mother was at work, but times were different and a woman's only
job was to be a wife and mother. Not much has really changed, but at least
we can vote now. It wasn't like that when I was growing up. One of
the biggest fights I think I ever heard between my parents was when one night
Mother was going to a suffragist meeting. He said that women didn't know
enough to vote. I think Mother set him straight because she went to the
meeting and I never heard him mention it again.
Spring dances, fall dances, church picnics....it
was all very nice and lovely. It was rather boring, too. I wanted a
career. I wanted to do something with my life. A young girl thinking
those thoughts in that day and age was almost blasphemous. My father
refused to even consider letting me attend college. I told him I wanted to
be a teacher because of my love of English and Literature, but he insisted that
I was to attend finishing school and become a young lady so I would be a proper
wife and mother one day. Mrs. Primrose would laugh when I'd roll my eyes
while he went into one of his long monologues about a young girl's proper place
in society. At least I managed to convince him to let me come visit my
aunt Betty and uncle Louis in Albanyville one summer after I had graduated high
Albanyville was the place where my father grew
up. He used to tell me stories when I was little about his great great
great grandfather, give or take a great or two. Quinton Albany had been
the founder of Albanyville way back in 1802. It was just a little spot of
nothing back then, he would tell me, but Quinton was there to make sure that
that town would grow. I think if Quinton could see Albanyville today, he'd
be a happy man. It was a good sized city with booming industry and
wonderful people. Of course, it wasn't near as big as Chicago, but it had
almost everything Chicago did, but without all the crime and dirt. It was
almost perfect. Because of Quinton, the Albanys were naturally the most prominent
family in town. Uncle Louis was even the mayor.
I spent a lot of time at the university in
Albanyville that summer. Usually I was in the library reading Dickinson.
I had always loved her work. It was there that I met Simon. He was
working at the circulation desk and we found a common love of poetry. He
spent a lot of time together in the library and when he asked me to a dance on
campus, I quickly said "yes". Little did I know how that dance
was going to change my life.
I saw Charles almost from the moment we walked
in. He was standing by the punch bowl and was looking more than a little
uncomfortable. I didn't know what it was about him, but I couldn't keep my
eyes off of him. I felt bad for Simon, but suddenly I just felt like I was
at that dance with the wrong person. A few days later, I ran into Charles
on campus and we started talking and found a mutual interest in music and the
arts. We would sit under the trees for hours and talk. Simon took it
really well when I told him I was in love with Charles and couldn't see him any
more. Charles and I married the following spring. My parents were
really happy that I'd found such a respectable man to marry. After the
wedding, my dreams of becoming a teacher just became a memory. Suddenly, I
had turned into my mother.
One by one, the children came and as I had Mrs.
Primrose as a child, they had Hannah. Charles was working hard to make his
family's business a success and as it grew, we started to see less and
less of him. Don't get me wrong, he loves me and our children very
much. It's just that he's always seemed so driven to succeed. I'm
not one to just sit around and knit, so I had to pick up hobbies to keep myself
busy. I started volunteering at Albanyville General Hospital and began
working on various fund raisers for them. I always seem to be the one
hosting an afternoon tea for the doctor's wives or organizing a bake sale for
the foundling's home.
Now that our sons are grown, I only have our
little Maggie to raise, but she's almost an adult herself. Well, at least
she likes to think she is. I still have all the children living under one
roof, but I know that won't last forever. Reginald seems to be getting
very serious about his girlfriend Jillian and I just know that they'll get
married. I'm not sure that I'm ready to be a grandmother, though.
Father has been dead for several years now and I
keep trying to get Mother to come live with us, but she's such an independent
soul. I guess I actually wound up just like he wanted me to. A good
wife, a good mother, a prominent lady in the community, and utterly bored.
Well, at least I have my stories on the radio during the day. I can live
some of the excitement I miss in real life through Hazel Barbour on One Man's
Family. Just don't bother me while it's on.