The children slept while
Weldon and Gwen watched one horror movie after another. Bela Lugosi,
Boris Karloff, Vincent Price all paraded across the televison screen
with stories about werewolves, vampires, and monsters. When the screen
finally went empty the two spent time visiting.
“Would you like to live
here?” Weldon asked.
“What do you mean?”
Should she be surprised at this sudden and early proposal?
“I want to marry you,
raise your children, along with ours. It’s a wonderful place to grow up.
I was never happier, well, except for when Mother died. I had a pony and
here the kids could have one.
The next morning Gwen
awoke to the sound of Strauss waltzes coming from somewhere in the
house. She could smell bacon cooking and coffee, too. She draped the
sheet from the bed around her and followed her nose to the kitchen which
was actually only steps away from Weldon’s room.
“Bacon, coffee, and eggs,
too? She never ceased to be amazed by this man’s kindnesses. How had he
kept from being married until now? What was he, twenty-eight?" Aloud she
“How did you avoid being
nabbed by some gal, Chief?” The woman was interested in knowing.
“Too busy, I suppose.”
His customary answers were always short and to the point. It wasn’t a
lie. He never had time for dating, but only on occasion. Many girls of
the area had made broad attempts to catch his eye but he always was off
and gone before they could corral him.
“There’s a tub of warm
water I’ve drawn for you, after you eat. Best you hurry along, the kids
are awake, I can hear them tumbling around.After her breakfast, Gwen
sank into the warm waters of the deep tub. The Strauss music she could
still hear through the door. Surely all the sadness and ashes of her
first marriage slid away as the waters in the tub slipped across her
skin leaving little circles and rings here and there as it wanted to
rush back to its own place.
“I’m going to make it. I
know I am,” Gwen spoke aloud and only to herself.
Their lives went rushing
along after they returned to Bartlesville. Gwen divorce was granted. She
and Weldon were married and the two continued with the same routine. The
children were too young to understand all that had happened and
sometimes would ask their mother why their father couldn’t still live
with them, too.
“Don’t worry about it,”
she would tell them. He’ll be by to see you, he’s still your Dad.
“Is Weldon our Dad, too?”
They wanted to know.
“He’s your step-dad, and
it is almost the same thing.” The mother was trying to bring her
children through the transition. “We’re all a family and he will be your
“It’s okay, Mother. I
think he likes us.” The children were equally trying to make their
mother feel secure because they could see she was wrestling with this
“Of course he does. You
are part of the reason he wanted to marry me. He loves children.”
“Soon you will be having
a little brother or sister.” Gwen thought this was the time to tell her
children she was pregnant.
The excitement and
happiness of the children were all she wanted to see and the woman
believed all was well in her world.