Start at the beginning of the story - The House - or read the last chapter - Anna's Decision - before you continue on.
Sept 21, 1979
It's been a whirlwind few weeks. I've met a new friend and started one of those great possibilities I had considered. It is serendipitous how things turn out when we least expect it.
I was sitting on the back lawn at the factory enjoying a beautiful fall day. I had my travel blanket to ward off a chill, a good book, and a thermos of tea. I was perfectly relaxed and going about my day. Suddenly, a strange young woman plopped down on my blanket and started talking.
She was definitely not from our town. She was dressed in men's clothing - complete with vest and tie. I had seen the outfit in a recent movie "Annie Hall" and it looked as though she had stepped from the screen into my life. Her hair was long and a bit unruly, but she didn't seem to care. I took like to her instantly.
"Hi I'm Zoe! I saw you sitting here and decided we would have to friends. I knew I would find someone today with my love of books and here you are. Right on!" she leaned back, grinning, and took a handful of nuts I had sitting beside me.
She was easy to talk to and by the end of my lunch hour, we were fast friends. She had moved from the "big city" to a place where "life could be enjoyed!" and said she knew she would find her life here the moment the bus pulled in. It was so refreshing to be with someone who took life for all it was worth and didn't worry about where it was leading her.
Over the next few days, we met up regularly and talked about everything. Zoe said she had a bit of money set aside for "her big start" and that she had plans to open a shop. I was thrilled by that and admitted my secret plans for someone along the same lines. She told me she knew that and she was here to help me "loosen up a bit and put it on the line". She certainly has a way with words.
She's not wrong though, I needed someone to help me put it all into motion. Within a week, we had gone to the bank to make sure we had enough money to start a business and were looking at rental sites for our shop. Together, we came up with the idea for our shop. Zoe said she was always finding neat knickknacks and wanted to be able to share them with the world. I had always loved books and wanted to be surrounded by them as much as I could. By combining our loves and talents, we came up with "Books and Ends" - a bookstore that sold like minded souvenirs. Even the bank manager, Mr Flaherty, loved the idea. However, it helps he was once my father's dearest friend.
We found the perfect location in a lovely brick storefront. If everything works out right, we should be open after Thanksgiving in time for Christmas sales. For the first time, I feel like I have a life that is mine and I'm where I am meant to be. What could be greater?