Life does not always progress in a straight line~ So nor does our story.
It has it's detours ~ flashbacks and projections.
How many of us spend more time in the past and future, than in our own
waking, breathing hours?
We left off as Elvira and Sophia Skattergood rushed from Delancey Street
to catch the train from Philadelphia north to Bucks County.
It is there that Elvira feels her niece is sure to find a fitting Suitor.
One who will make her forget Cecil Spedden,
who for reasons only known to she, is as
horrifyingly unsuitable as can be.
Poor Sophia knows only of her own broken heart.
~But for now~
Many, many years have passed~ but the events that have transpired still
have ramifications that reach into the future.
Now, another makes that same journey ~ to that same destination,
albeit now just an hour or so drive.
She is innocent of her connection to the affairs of the past ~
but in time will discover that fate,
destiny, or the Universe's inexplicable, ironic trajectory has lead her
right to where she was meant to be.
Daphne has moved from England~ with her Boxer Ophelia and her Morris Minor Traveler, affectionally called Matilda.
Looking for a new home, she has arranged to meet a realtor at an old house listed
for sale in the Philadelphia Inquirer's country property section.
Being a historian, she is most interested in finding an older home,
one that might need some care.
She has come to America to write a book about her countrymen
who stayed loyal to the crown during the revolution.
Somehow, she has lost her way trying to follow the directions
given to her over the phone by the realtor from Yardley.
Spotting two men on a cottage porch she pulls over.
"Pardon me, do you know where I might find West Acres Farm?"
"You are there~at least what was West Acres Farm," said the one man
who had a very colorful sense of fashion.
"It has been divided up for some time now ~ this was the schoolhouse
the Skattergood's had built for the neighborhood.
And the large barn you passed down the lane~
the one with all those crazy triangular shaped windows
that the stupid architect from Trenton put in~ was the dairy.
"We just bought this as our weekend place to get out of the city, and..."
"Jack, she just asked for directions, not a history lesson and your critique
of the modern adaptation of rural barns!"
The other man stepped forward ~ ending Jack's discourse.
"Hi, I am John Jones, and that's my long winded friend Jack James,
we have known each other since grade school roll call ~
Jack said " now who is giving a history lesson?
And I am not long winded ~I am simply thorough."
"How do you do, I am Daphne Dalyrmple and this is Ophelia." she said
"I was to meet a Mrs. Fuller to see a property for sale ~
she called it West Acres Farm,
so you can see why I am a bit confused."
"She must be showing you the Skattergood house," John said
"It has been empty for years now ~ since Miss Elvira passed on back in 60.
It was too much for us to take on ~ this place is enough of a wreck."
"Especially since we only get out here on weekends.
We grew up here, but now we are New Yorkers.
John is in banking, and I am a decorator."
"Maybe you will need help with the old manse?" Jack offered.
"Well I don't really even know what...." Daphne hesitated.
"Come on in and take a look." John said
"We are having a slight disagreement with the direction of our renovation.
And besides, Alice Fuller will have to pass by here to get to the house,
I'll keep watch."
It was apparent that the house was missing any means of getting up to the porch,
so she, with John's assistance, scaled the ladder placed there and
proceeded to tour the cottage.
"As you can see from the samples I have brought ~ I am going for an updated look ~
where as John wants your typical staid Bucks County gentry look." said Jack.
"I just think that perhaps things might get a little... well maybe a little loud?"
exclaimed John, with a pleading look towards Daphne.
"You Brits ~ I can tell with your accent," said Jack
"You Brits have such great taste,
what do you think?"
"Well, I never would have expected such a ... um, can I see the rest please?"
"Well here is the kitchen ~ which needs to be totally torn out."
"Oh, and if you look out the back, through that grove of pines
you can see the Skattergood house ~ don't be discouraged!"
They continued the tour through to the bath.
" I keep telling Jack" said John, "There is nothing wrong with these fixtures..."
"No nothing... if you are a midget"
They passed through to the study ~
" I want to take this wall down and create a sauna."
Jack proclaimed, much to John's dismay.
"Jack, all I wanted was a simple country retreat,
not a modern showplace!"
"Daphne, don't you agree?" he added
Luckily for Daphne, who had no wish to take sides,
there was the loud screeching of car brakes
that brought them all to the window.
An extremely large white Cadillac pulled up in front.
"Dottie Dinklemeyer ~ renegade realtor." John muttered,
barely disguising his disgust.
"Hi boys! ~is this the poor girl who is interested in that old dump down the road?"
asked the woman exiting the Cadillac.
"Hi honey ~ I am Dottie Dinklemeyer ~ and I have a great brand spanking new
split level for you over on Morningside Drive!"
Before Daphne could respond, she was repelled by the wave of cigarette
smoke that Dottie expelled, even at a distance.
That, coupled with her low gravelly voice
did not make the best first impression.
Even Ophelia, who was a discerning judge of character,
showed her displeasure by emitting a long, low growl.
"Dottie, Miss Dalyrmple is working with Alice Fuller,
so how did you know she was looking
at the Skattergood place?" asked John
"Oh, I have my sources," she chuckled in a sinister manner.
"Besides, you know Alice will never show her any of my new properties
that have finally been built in this one~horse town."
"Yes, said Jack, " you mean those ugly boxes built over in that swamp land,
that's also a flood plain, no Alice wouldn't."
"Mind your own business ~ you... you fruitcake!" Dottie retorted
"You may have pulled the wool over the eyes of these slow on
the uptake Quaker neighbors of yours~
but I know what gives ~ in this... this flophouse~
love shack you've got going here~
roommates ~ my foot!"
"Now Dottie," John said, trying to calm her down.
"Begone, before somebody drops a house on you!" Jack added.
Dottie's mouth opened ~ as if to reply, but at that point
Ophelia broke into a full bark,
as if to emphasize the feelings of the three.
Dottie quickly got into her car ~ glancing up at the sky~
as if there was a distinct possibility that someone might
drop a house on her.
She peeled away with the same screeching of tires that brought her to them.
"You had to make that Dorothy comment didn't you?"
John said to Jack wearily.
"It was actually Glinda, the good witch who said that."
Jack replied winking at Daphne.
Daphne smiled, and thought to herself, I have met someone
who will be a life long friend.
But, what she said out loud, as Dottie's car careened around
the corner and out of sight, was~
"And such a smell of sulphur!"
Which brought wide smiles to both her companions faces.
Suddenly Alice Fuller came walking around Matilda.
"You must be Miss Dalrymple," she said.
" I have been looking for you, perhaps we can take your car
up to the house ~ I have left mine there."
Jack and John would loved to have come along,
but as John reminded Jack-
"We have tickets for the opening of Man of La Mancha tonight!"
They gave their regrets and waved good bye to their new friends.
Daphne,Ophelia and Alice Fuller drove in Matilda,
up to what had been the
main driveway to the Skattergood house.
Know since 1792 as "West Acres Farm."
"Oh my," was all Daphne could say.
"Yes dear, I know." Alice offered
"It has seen much better days."
"I'll take it."
Daphne said quietly.
And Ophelia softly purred, as only she could do.
Will the unhappiness of the past be left there?