(Please scroll down to begin the Installment story in four parts. Posted previously below)
It seemed to be a long time since John had been to New York. As he was on the
tractor one spring day he realized how lucky he was to have found a family he had
known nothing about. He was amazed at the sequence of events that led him to his
great grandfather's twin brother. Since he left New York in October he had talked
to Elizabeth two or three times. He was also keeping in touch with Charlie's family
considering they lived less than two hours away from him. He and Mark developed a
close friendship even though their backgrounds were entirely opposite. John was so
proud of the fact that the trip was so successful and yet he was constantly bothered by
the unanswered question. Why did Delmo and Dominic part ways never to be in touch
John knew he wanted the answer to this nagging question, but he had no idea where
to start or how to start. Sara was sympathetic but did not have ideas to help, so she
simply remained supportive. The twins, James and Veronica were growing so fast and
were involved in every extracurricular activity at school. With the twins activities and the
farm work John saw years fly by and nothing surfaced to help with the mystery. He had
tried to look up on the computer ancestry websites a few times. Unfortunately, always
reached a stumbling block because of money. He could not afford the prices expected,
so he stopped in frustration.
Many years later when John and Sara's twins graduated from high school and
college, Sara came home with a letter from Elizabeth. Throughout the years Elizabeth
had written off and on, but she had eventually remarried and corresponded less and
less as the years had gone by. Surprised to receive a letter from her concerned John
and Sara a little. John opened the letter with reservation, but was pleasantly surprised
to find out they, Elizabeth, Carl, her husband, and the kids were coming for a visit.
Throughout the years the Verruchi's from Peabody had made it to New York two times
in order to visit and keep connections alive, but the New York relatives had never
ventured to Missouri. Elizabeth had explained that Gina was playing in a jazz band in
the city and was questioned about the history of her saxophone. This had brought up
the unanswered question of Delmo and Dominic so they decided to visit the home of
John and Sara were so excited with the news they immediately started planning.
They discussed the food preparations and the site seeing opportunities. John wanted
to make sure their visit was comparable to their hospitality when he and his family
were in New York. Weeks of planning was exciting for the farm couple who rarely had
visitors. Most of their families lived close by. Two days before the New York family
were to arrive, John and Sara were rearranging the guest room to accommodate the
sleeping arrangements. As John and Sara moved the bed they noticed a rip in the area
rug. Naturally it needed to be replaced, So John rolled it up. As John was rolling the
rug, it caught on the corner of the base board and dislodged it a little. As John went
to pull the rug off, a piece of the base board broke off. John was not concerned. He
had kept leftover materials in the basement after they had added on many years back.
After measuring and cutting the exact size needed, he returned to the bedroom and
knelt down to start nailing it on. Suddenly Sara told John to stop and got down to take a
closer look. She and John noticed a cut in the wall making a perfect rectangle in the dry
wall. This was the first time they had ever seen this wall bare. They had not remodeled
this room and never removed the base board. John gave the rectangle a little tap on
one side and the wall piece moved ever so slightly. Getting a screw driver to pry it
open took a little effort and time. When the rectangular piece of wall was removed John
placed his hand in the opening. He felt around and pulled out a tin box the size of a
cigar box. So excited and intrigued he and Sara sat down in the middle of the room to
examine the box.
The box contained about ten envelopes with nothing written on the outside. They
had not been mailed or even addressed. Slowly, as to be assured of not damaging
them, John opened the top envelope. The date was December 25, 1923, Dear Delmo
written at the top! John gasped and started reading the letter to sara.
Dear Brother Delmo,
Each day has been hard for me in this country and especially hard because you are
not with me. Where did you go? I miss you often and hope that you are safe. When
we entered this country on that day three years ago, I was so grateful to have you with
me to share in the excitement. I knew you felt it also. We left the boat and stood in
the long line to enter the United States of America. We signed the book together with
such pride. After Mama and Papa had died we both knew America was our destiny.
But, what happened? As I walked out of the building, the crowd was so enormous and
everyone was fighting to get on the ferry. Rushing to be one of the firsts to get on, I ran
and ran. As the ferry departed for the mainland, I realized you were not there. I waited
and waited for days at the place where they unloaded the ferry, but you never came.
Sadly, I had to move on but it has been the hardest thing I have ever done.