Shadows at the Spring Show

BOOK: Shadows at the Spring Show
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Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

About the Author

For everyone who is part of the adoption triangle, with special thanks to Adoptive Single Parents of New Jersey, Concerned Persons for Adoption, Welcome House, World Association for Children and Parents (WACAP), and Spence-Chapin, who provided support and encouragement and helped my children come home. And especially for Diane Veith, Maureen Reichardt, Elizabeth Park, and all the others who traveled the journey with me.

For Sarah Knight, an editor with savvy and understanding.

And for my husband, Bob Thomas, who has always believed in me, with love and thanks that cannot be measured.

Chapter 1

Anatomy: Osteology. Plate I of Cranium.
1808 steel engraving showing skulls of different anthropological groups: Georgian; Turk; Negro; Calmuck
Caribs. Engraved by B. Tanner and published by Abraham Rees in
The Cyclopedia,
Universal Dictionary of Arts, Science and Literature,
1819–20. 8 x 11 inches. Price: $85.

The antiques show was dark and hot, jammed with people and oak furniture and tables covered with crystal and china. Maggie forced her way through the throng of customers and dealers. People pressed closer and closer. She could hardly breathe. And then there was light—bright, glaring light—piercing through the roof that was slowly crumbling on top of them.

Maggie emerged from beneath the mound of blankets pulled over her head. The clock radio next to her bed read 6:03
Her throat was dry. She was sweating.

If she allowed herself more sleep, she’d fall back into the nightmare. She pushed back the hair that had escaped her long braid and focused on her bedroom. Her heart was still pounding. But everything was as it should be: brass bed, yellow, sprigged wallpaper, framed, hand-colored Curtis engravings of
flowers, reading chair. A single ray of sunlight was shining through the Victorian, pressed-glass perfume bottles on top of her mahogany bureau, making dancing patterns on the wall. Winslow Homer, her very much stay-at-home cat, was curled in his usual place at the foot of her bed.

She’d been spending too much time organizing the antiques show. That was obvious. The final meeting was at nine this morning.

She swung her legs over the side of the bed. A shower, and then a Diet Pepsi. There was no reason to worry. She’d planned well. Her subconscious must be working overtime.

“Thank you for being here on such
a beautiful May Saturday and for volunteering to help with the first Our World Our Children Antiques Show. If it weren’t for prospective parent and antique-print dealer Maggie Summer, who suggested this wonderful fund-raiser to support children waiting for families, we wouldn’t be here today. Let’s all give her a big round of applause.”

OWOC Agency director Carole Drummond, trimly dressed in a gray pantsuit, led the clapping. Maggie, who wore a long, flowered challis skirt and soft green V-necked top, stood in the back of the room near the table where refreshments were set out. Hal Hanson, the twenty-year-old currently living with the Drummonds, handed her a cup of coffee, but she shook her head. She’d already caffeinated herself this morning. As he took the coffee back, she noticed his arms were mottled by old scars. Hal had a history of problems, she’d heard. Needle tracks? Self-mutilation? Whatever the marks were, they were healed. The problem was in the past.

Parents and prospective parents filled the room as Maggie wondered for the 453rd time why she’d suggested the agency sponsor an antiques show as a fund-raiser. Of course, then the board had asked her to run the show, and, of course, doing so had taken up most of her past five months. Never again would
she complain that an antiques show promoter had not done his or her job well. In the twelve years she’d been an antique-print dealer she’d never appreciated how hard it was for a manager to pull a show together.

“We’ll be opening just one week from today.” Carole Drummond, a Korean-American in her late thirties, was tall, slim, and an advertisement for the joys of adoption. She’d arrived home to her adoptive parents when she was just four months old. By the time she was six months old she’d probably had those parents organized and scheduled and was changing her own diapers. Carole was the perfect director for a nonprofit organization. Somewhere along the line she’d also found time to include marriage and motherhood on her agenda. She had four children: two biological and two adopted, all between the ages of six and thirteen.

Plus now Hal lived with her. He’d been adopted ten years ago but lost his parents in a tragic fire last winter. How Carole found the time to see whatever hairdresser kept her sleek black hair in place, much less manage her agency and her family and work with social services organizations in Asia, Europe, and Latin America, was a mystery.

Carole was Maggie’s new role model. Volunteering to run the antiques show had given her a chance to watch Carole in action.

“Thank you to everyone who’s collected ads for the show program. I understand from Holly and Rob Sloane”—Carole gestured toward a plump, smiling woman in her fifties and a taller, slimmer man with graying hair who were seated in the second row—“that seventy-nine local businesses, services, and individuals have bought ads, and The Gentle Reader bookshop, Orchids and Others florist, and Gourmet Goodies have donated wonderful packages we can raffle off at the end of the show.”

Holly and Rob had adopted eleven children of assorted heritages, in addition to the three they’d had biologically. Most of the additions to their family had arrived as troubled teenagers. Holly and Rob were poster parents for OWOC, a couple who could supply love, discipline, and a steady home base and support
their sons and daughters through the stressful teen and young-adult years. They were the agency experts on troubled older children, the couple who led support groups for other parents. Somehow they’d found time to do a spectacular job for the antiques show, too.

Carole continued, “Thanks to Maggie’s help, Somerset College is donating the use of its new Whitcomb Gymnasium.”

How did people manage when they had children? Maggie had trouble balancing the demands of her antique-print business and her teaching career at the college. She’d hoped working on this show would help her decide whether adoption—single-parent adoption, unless her personal situation changed—was right for her. And while she was deciding, her efforts would be helping children who needed homes. It was a win/win situation. And she enjoyed working with the adoptive parents and agency personnel. They knew what they wanted to do with their lives and were doing it. Most had full- or part-time jobs, but they managed to put their families first. And put finding families for homeless children a close second.

It had been a good spring. She’d learned a lot about adoption, and a lot about herself.

But right now she was totally exhausted, months behind on matting prints for her business, and after this meeting she’d have to spend the weekend grading final papers and exams. Thank goodness they were
papers and exams.

It’s a good thing I’m not a mother. Yet, Maggie thought. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, and I’ll be reading freshman papers on the causes of the Civil War.

At least school would be over in a few days, and this show would be over next weekend. She’d reluctantly canceled out of exhibiting at two other antiques shows this spring, and her bank balance was missing those contributions. But despite those losses, she’d resisted signing on to teach the summer semester. She needed time for herself, her antique-print business, and for the man in her life.

Will. Wonderful, steady Will. He’d readily agreed to bring his eighteenth- and nineteenth-century fireplace and kitchen equipment from Buffalo to New Jersey for the antiques show. And it hadn’t been hard to talk him into arriving two days early to help set up walls and tables for the booths, and stay a day after the show to ensure that everything in the gym was in order before she officially declared the show over.

And a success, Maggie thought to herself. After all this work, it had to be a success. Although if the show
a success, then the agency would want it to be an annual event. That was just too much to think about today. But she was keeping notes on everything, just in case. Notes she could hand off to whoever ran a future show. Running an antiques show was a onetime deal so far as she was concerned.

“I’m going to ask Maggie to let us know who is doing what, and when, so we’ll all be up-to-date.”

Maggie rose and smiled, notebook in hand. This was the easy part. Most parents of OWOC children and prospective parents had volunteered to help, and Carole had divided them into committees months ago. If only coordinating the participation of college officials and dealers had been as easy.

BOOK: Shadows at the Spring Show
4.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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