Surprise, Surprise

July 31, 1896
Elizabeth Bassett

Someone forgot to tell me or perhaps it was supposed to be a surprise. When I came home from my paper route I was greeted by a young woman at the door. She was pretty and pregnant, very pregnant.

“Hi. I’m Sylvia.” She said sweetly as I came inside.

“I’m Elizabeth. I guess that ring means we are sisters.” I replied.

“Something like that. David has told me all about you, I feel as if I know you.”

“God, I hope he left some things out.”

We both laughed.

“When are you due?” I asked.

She smiled and rubbed her obnoxious belly.

“Any day now.” She said.

“I take it you can hardly wait?”

“I’ve waited long enough, I think. Nine months do not pass as quickly as you might think.”

“So what’s the consensus, girl or boy?”

“Well, my mother and David are convinced it is a boy, your mother and I think it is a girl. Cast your vote and we can have a consensus.”

She giggled a little.

“One of each.” I said.

She groaned.

“This way I’ll be half right no matter what.” I said.

“And if you are totally right, I will hunt you down.” She replied with a devious smile.

I took off my hat, suddenly remembering I looked more like a boy than a girl.

“I should change into something more appropriate.” I said.

“Yes, for a moment I thought you might have been Robert.”

“You have yet to meet him still?” I asked while heading to my room.

“I only just met your mother this morning. I still have to meet your father even.”

“I’m shocked.” I replied loudly from my room so she could still hear me.

“I was a little nervous about not meeting them before the wedding, but David said they would never understand about our little surprise package.”

“Were you showing all ready?”

“Enough so, my mother knew.”

“That must have been interesting.”

“You have odd interests.” She giggled. “Mother nearly skinned me alive.”

“I can imagine. My mother would be much the same if not worse.”

I slipped into a comfortable dress and made my way back out to the main room to join Sylvia. We sat down on the sofa.

“Your mother was not worried about hurting the baby?”

Sylvia giggled some more and blushed a delightful pink.

“She wasn’t hitting my stomach.” She said with a wink.

It was my turn to laugh.

“I assume David and Mother went out?”

“Yes, your mother insisted she needed to shop for a few things and David insisted on going with her. I think he was worried she might spend more than she should.”

“Mother is used to spending without limits.” I nodded.

“Must be nice.”

“It was while it lasted. Now things are different.”

“The depression?”

“Father is an imported and ever since the McKinley tariff the business has been less profitable but things have gotten worse since the banking mess and the devaluation of the dollar.”

She smiled. For a moment I wondered what she was thinking.

“David said you were smart. I have had few friends I could have a conversation about such things with.”

“I generally don’t venture into politics at home, father does not approve, but knowing you are scientist I just assumed you would not mind.”

“Quite so. We should keep in touch.”

“I would love to. Are you staying here long?”

“David is going back to Florida after the baby is born, but I am going to stay with your parents for a few months until he can arrange a proper home for us.”

“Your parents could not help out?”

“They could, they just don’t want to.”


“It’s all right. They will get over it eventually.”

“Like the first time they see their grandchild.” I said.

“Probably.” She agreed.

“I will give you the address from Carrington Manor, that is where I stay at college. You can write me there anytime and I heard a rumor they may have a telephone installed over the summer so we could possibly talk on it sometime while you are here.”

“You attend Primrose College, correct?”


“I’ve heard of them. I understand they allow men in some classes?”

“This coming year will be the first time, but yes, they will be.”

“Aren’t you worried about that?”

‘Why should I be?”

“Well, I mean what if you get in trouble during class?”

“Me get in trouble?” I gave her my best innocent look.

She laughed.

“Okay, he did tell you all about me.” I said.

We both laughed and that was when the door opened to reveal mother and David. I jumped up and gave him a big. It has been over a year since I had last seen him.

“I see you’ve met my wife.” He said.

“Yes, and I’ve filled her in on the parts of your childhood you left out.” I said.
David’s face went a little pale for a moment as he looked to Sylvia, who played along with a serious look of disapproval on her face. Of course it could not last she ended up laughing again.
A moment later she was clutching her belly, and while our smiles did not fade, the laughter did.

“Oh my God, the baby is coming!”

1 comment:

Paul said...

Ashley, this is a first.
Warm hugs,