Government Girl

In the fall of 1940 Betty Ann Cory, just shy of eighteen years old, left the security of the small town where she grew up, Fairmont, Minnesota, and began attending college at Hamline University in St. Paul. She enjoyed the freedom of being away from home and experiencing the life of a college student, living on campus, going to classes and working at a local restaurant. It was an exciting time for her and she eagerly went back in the fall of 1941 for her sophomore year. The unexpected bombing of Pearl Harbor in December changed those plans and her life forever.

She tells it this way, ‘The Japanese attacked America in Hawaii, England was being bombed by Germany and Hitler vowed to rule the world and annihilate the entire Jewish race. Everything was in tremendous turmoil. Boys were rushing to enlist: Army, Navy, Marines and Air Corps, and with every able bodied male signing up, jobs were opening for women to fill. I wanted to do my part.’

Betty answered an ad to work as a Government Girl in Washington, D.C. In the fall of 1942 she boarded a train for Washington and began an entry level (AF-2) job which paid $1400/yr. She worked for the FBI as a clerk in the lab department and lived at a hotel called The Tudor Club (room and board, $40/month) where she made new friends, many of whom she stayed in contact with her entire life.

Here’s how she recalls those times, ‘We used ration book stamps for shoes, stockings, gasoline (for those who qualified for five gallons per month) and for butter. Cigarettes were available only to servicemen and we all smoked so it helped that we had friends who were in the service. We took the streetcar to work and we’d buy a weekly pass for $1.25. We also did a lot of walking. Life Magazine was introduced for ten cents a copy and Danny Kaye was popular in the movies. We all loved a young new singer named Frank Sinatra.’

She often referred to D.C. as a city of displaced persons, servicemen and government workers who came from all over the country. She said, ‘Perhaps that was why life seemed so innocent. People were friendly and non-threatening, simpler and more honest.’

What an amazing statement to make, when you think about it, given the circumstances, but Betty was known to always make the best of any given situation.

She worked for the FBI for about a year and a half before going to Denver where she was employed in a defense plant in the purchasing department for a company that made B-17’s and, later, B-29’s. It was there she got the idea of someday learning to fly. Then she went back to Washington, this time working in the coding room of the OWI, Office of War Information. She found the work very interesting, performing coding and de-coding tasks on machines, sometimes even having to do coding by hand. One of her friends from her first job, Moag, also worked for the OWI. Their friendship lasted their entire lives.

Victory in Europe Day was June 6, 1944, but it wasn’t until VJ (Victory in Japan) Day that everyone really celebrated. Betty remembered, ‘People spilled into the streets, streetcars couldn’t move, crowds were everywhere, liquor stores opened their doors, President Harry Truman stood on the balcony of the White House and told everyone that they could go home.’ She added, ‘It was an experience none would ever forget. That famous picture of the sailor on the street kissing the nurse says it all.’

After the war, Betty went home to Fairmont for the holidays. She had decided that she wanted to become a stewardess, so in the spring of 1946 she began her training with Northwest Airlines. She took her first flight on March 16, 1946. On that flight was a young pilot named Robert Bates. They fell in love and married in December of that year, but that’s another story.

Mom was one of the most caring people I’ve ever known. Her service to the country was an example of what a selfless person she was. I never thanked her for what she did during the war, and she certainly would have been embarrassed if I had. But that was then and this is now, and now I want to say, “Thanks, Mom, for everything. For back then and for the rest of your life, you were one of the best.”

Mom in DC.jpg

Taken July, 1943, in Washington DC. Mom’s first year working as a Government Girl.

Note: This is a work of non-fiction. I hope it will be the beginning of other stories about Betty.

Frozen Fingers

“Jerry, how are those matches holding up?” Steve asked, blowing on his frozen hands. “Can you get that kindling lit?”

“Shit, no,” Jerry swore. “I’ve got three left and I can’t feel my fingers. Can’t feel a damn thing.”

Those were not the words Steve wanted to hear. It was twenty degrees below zero. If they didn’t get a fire going soon, they were going to freeze to death.

Jerry fumbled lighting the match he was attempting to hold. It flared for a moment and then fell from his numb fingers into the snow, sizzled and went out. Two matches to go.

Next to them the rushing water of the Yellow Knife River cascaded over ice covered boulders on its way to Lake Superior ten miles to the east. Steve and Jerry had been on a winter hiking trip along the trail that ran high above the river when the ledge of snow they were on collapsed and they tumbled thirty feet down the steep slope into the frigid water below. In just seconds they were both not only soaked but numbingly cold. They scrambled out and found a level spot in the snow. Steve had sprained his wrist. It was up to Jerry to build the fire.

That had been fifteen minutes ago. A combination of wet stick matches and a wind swirling down the canyon walls made lighting a fire difficult. They’d built a small teepee of twigs and pine needles but getting it to light was proving next to impossible. With two matches to go, their prospects were grim.

Steve moved closer to Jerry. In a gesture of profound intimacy, he motioned to his friend, “Give me your hands.”

When Jerry balked, Steve said, “Don’t give me that macho BS.” He motioned again and said, softly, “Here, let me help.” Steve took his friend’s bare hands in his and, ignoring the pain in his wrist, drew them to his lips and blew on them, warming them with his breath.

After a minute, Jerry said, “That good. Thanks, man. They’re better. I can feel my fingers, now.”

He took the second match and struck it against the side of the match box. Nothing. It was too wet. On the second try it broke apart and fell to the snow.

The two men looked at each other. They were in their mid-thirties and had been best friend since grade school. Now it all came down to this. The sun was setting behind the pine trees lining the rim of the canyon. With the lack of sunlight the cold was settling in deep and hard.

Jerry took the last match, resolve set in his eyes. He looked at Steve. “Let’s do this.”

“Go for it, man,” Steve said.

Jerry struck the match. Both men watched, their lives hanging in the balance, as it flamed…flickered…then caught.

They quickly built a roaring fire. There was hope for them yet.

 

Limerick Day

Limerick Day

Growing up it never failed, and this year was no exception, the first day of school was always embarrassing. By that I’m referring to class introductions, where the teacher went around and had us introduce ourselves and tell something interesting about said self. Being painfully shy, it was not my finest moment.

“And so now we have this young man,” Mr. Strout said, smiling at me and rubbing his hands together in anticipation of I’m not sure what. Well, actually, I was. “Tell us your name.”

Titters wove through the classroom like a snakes through wet grass. God, I hated this, but Dad was kind of famous and I’d been taught to be polite.

“Edward Langston,” I stated, trying to speak up and not mumble like I normally did. “Ed,” I added, hoping this year in sixth grade I’d make the much anticipated move up from Eddie.

“Ed Langston”, the teacher said. (Thank you, Mr. Strout!) Then he turned to the rest of the class. “Do any of you know who Ed’s father is?” My ears turned red, my face felt like it was on fire.

Of course my best friend Mickey, class clown and goof-ball extraordinaire, had to raise his hand. “His dad is Arthur Devon Langston, the famous poet.”

Mr. Strout smiled broadly. “That’s right Mitchell.” (Mickey was the nickname he’d chosen for obvious reasons.) “Arthur Devon Langston, the famous poet and lyricist. He’s also well-known for his limericks if I’m not mistaken, isn’t that right?” Now he turned toward me. “Isn’t that right, Ed?”

I sighed inwardly. I wanted to crawl into my shirt and die. But, of course, I couldn’t. Plus, Dad always told me to, as he put it, “Do our name proud.”

“That’s right, Mr. Strout.”

Mickey chimed in. “He’s really famous. He wrote that one about the guy’s feet.” Then he stood up next to his desk and recited dramatically, “There once was an old man from St. Pete. Who walked on his hands not his feet. He lasted one day. And then had to say. ‘It’s not a feat that I’d like to repeat.'”

And the class erupted in laughter. Just shoot me, I thought to myself. Please, someone, just kill me.

In spite of that rather inauspicious beginning, sixth grade turned out to be a good year for me. I met Angie. Mick and me became even better best friends. I was able to keep a low profile and not have too much attention drawn to myself, which was always a good thing in my book. So all in all the year went well.

But then in May Mr. Strout sprung the final assignment of the year on us.

“Class,” he intoned, standing tall and proud in front of us squirrelly and anxious to be done with school eleven and twelve year olds. “Class, your last assignment for the year is a writing exercise. I want you to write a limerick.”

Groans from everyone. “Now, now, let’s calm down.” Mr. Strout held up his hands and waited for silence. He was muscular and bald, nearly six and a half feet tall with a full beard. Rumor had it he once played linebacker for Purdue or something. He really did command a presence. “And the best news is this,” he added. We all waited in anticipation, thinking that the best news was that he was just joking and we wouldn’t have to do the assignment. Of course, we were wrong. “Ed’s father, Arthur Devon Langston, has agreed to judge them and read some of his favorites for us. Won’t that be nice?”

Right then and there what had been a rather perfunctory year in sixth grade exploded into one I’d never forget. Dad was going to come to school and read our limericks? News to me. He taught English at the University so he was good in front of a class. Great, actually. He was an amateur thespian and enjoyed acting in local plays. He’d be in his element in our classroom. But, really, my father coming to school to be an ad-hoc teacher? It couldn’t get much worse. Adults like to say that it’s all about character building. “It’ll be a good learning experience,” they’ll tell you. Maybe, but when you’re eleven years old, it’s just plain embarrassing.

In the end, though, it wasn’t so bad. Dad was good with the class. Friendly. My classmates liked him. He told us that the name limerick most likely referred to the city or county by the same name in Ireland. He told us that the form first appeared in England in the early years of the eighteenth century and was popularized by Edward Lear in the nineteenth century. He understood that our attention span, not the best on a good day, was even shorter with the end of school drawing near. In short, he kept it short.

Then he went ahead and read a few of our limericks. He had a booming voice, and, like I said, he was good in front of people. The class loved him.

“This first limerick is by Angie Smith,” he said. I glanced over at Angie and she shyly smiled at me. My heart went racing.

Dad recited, “She was a dancer at club Bet Your Bippy. She was talented, hardworking and thrifty. Men hooted and hollered. She saved all their dollars. Now she lives in a big house in the country.”

He smiled at Angie, “Well done, young lady.” Angie’s ears turned red. Mine, too.

Dad continued, “Next is a charming one about a kitten. It’s by Kathy Anderson.”

He cleared his throat, then read, “Jane loved her new little kitten. It’s fur was as soft as a mitten. But when kitty peed on the floor. Jane ran for the door. With her kitten then Jane wasn’t so smitten.”

The class laughed a little. Dad smiled and said, “Very good rhyming, Kathy.” She beamed.

“Next is by Susan Warner,” he said. “I liked the imagery in this one.”

He recited, dramatically, “A fierce storm blew in late at night. The lightning made everything bright. Thunder rumbled like a train. And the sound of the rain. Gave everyone who awoke such a fright.”

He smiled at her. “Good job, Susan.” She giggled.

Dad glanced at me before saying, “This next one is by Ed Langston.”

Oh, man…I thought to myself, this can’t be good. But it turned out okay.

Dad recited, “The daredevil was named Flying Red. He walked a tightrope that others would dread. When he performed the crowds cheered. They never knew that he feared. Falling and waking up in a hospital bed.”

Dad gave me a quick smile and a nod of his head. Whew, it was over. I appreciated he didn’t say anything.

“And now I’m going to read the last limerick,” he said. “I saved it for last because, as much as I enjoyed them all, this one I really liked. It’s by Mitchell, excuse me, Mickey Johnson.”

I looked at my friend. He was grinning from ear to ear. He’d told me earlier that he’d worked, as he put it, “Really, ready hard,” on it. I hoped for the best for him.

Dad composed himself for a moment before lifting his voice dramatically, really getting into it, reciting, “My grandfather liked to drink  beer. Grandma said we had nothing to fear. Cause after he was drunk. He smelled like a skunk. And the bad guys would never come near.”

The class erupted with laughter. Dad smiled at Mr. Stout who grinned back and there was no doubt about it, the limerick writing assignment had been a hit. I’ll never forget that day. All in all it wasn’t a bad way to end sixth grade.

After his success with the class, for a number of years Dad came back to school for, as he and Mr. Strout called it, Limerick Day. He helped out with the assignment and read limericks the students wrote. Everyone loved having him there. I went on to a career in computer science and never wrote another limerick in my life. Mickey ended up teaching middle school English. He’s even had some of his poetry published.

Angie? Well Angie and I married. She became a high school guidance counselor and together we are raising two daughters and one son. We leave it to their grandfather to teach them about limericks, something he loves to do and something my kids love to write and perform.

Here’s one my ten year old daughter recently recited:

“My best friend Sue has a yellow canary. She’s a pretty bird whose name is Sherry. When she sings songs so sweet. Sue gives her a nice treat. Then Sherry’s songs become even more merry.”

You know what, after all these years, they’re fun to hear.

Lost

Randy took the map out of the Duluth Pack and looked at it, trying to decipher where they were. If it wasn’t bad enough they were lost, it was doubly irritating that they’d gotten lost while he was trying to impress Libby with his outdoor skills, limited as they were. After all, she was a biologist, comfortable being outside in nature, and he was…well, he was a software design engineer who could barely find his way around the Minneapolis Bird Sanctuary, an urban park where Libby liked to take him bird watching. But they say opposites attract, and, if that was the case, Randy and Libby were meant for each other. Still, there was the nagging fact that they were lost, and being lost in Boundary Waters Wilderness Area was no joking matter.

“Here, Randy, let me see that map.” Libby leaned over, brushing her tanned arm against his rather pale one. They’d pulled their canoe up to a tiny island in the middle of what he thought was Gunflint Lake and were sitting on a log near the shore. Unfolded, the map was good sized, three feet by four feet, but Randy still had to put his readers on to see clearly. Libby leaned in closely and pointed, “Well, here’s the problem. We missed a turn on that last portage. I’ll bet we’re on Loon Lake. Look.” She scooted even closer so their hips were touching. “We went south. Gunflint is north of us.” She looked at the tree line on the far side of what was now, apparently, Loon Lake. “See that ridge there,” she pointed. “Look here on the map. This symbol marks a high spot. See.”

Randy looked closely and then followed where she was pointing. He wanted to be a good camper, he really did. He’d always taken direction well, it was one reason why he made a good engineer. But right now he didn’t care if they were lost or not. It was just nice to be so close to Libby. Her scent, an earthiness mixed with lingering sweet sweat, was beguiling beyond words.

“Yeah. I see it now.” He shook his head, trying to get focused. “I feel like an idiot.” But getting re-focused was hard, especially with Libby sitting almost on top of him.

They’d met six months earlier in the dead of winter at the Como Park Conservatory. He’d taken his sister’s two boys for an indoor outing to get a break from the bitter Minnesota cold. Libby had done the same with her two nieces. They’d met over a stuffed dinosaurer display in the gift shop. A week later they’d gone to see a retro showing of The Big Lebowski (a movie they both loved) and had been dating ever since.

“Don’t worry about it, happens to everyone.” Libby leaned into to him, smiling, rubbing his shoulder. He picked up more of her alluring scent.

Wait a minute. Were they talking about getting lost or having sex? Randy risked at look. Libby smiled back at him. He leaned into her and put his arm around her shoulder. “Sorry about getting us lost,” he said. He was forty-three years old, the same age as Libby, and she was the first person he’d ever had these kinds of feelings for. He caressed the hair at her temples, then kissed her.

After a few minutes Libby put her hand on his chest, leaned back and grinned, “That’s nice, but maybe we should dial it back a little, hot stuff. What about being lost?”

“I thought you said you knew where we were. Loon Lake.” He grinned back at her, calming down. He picked up the map. “It looks like if we paddle that way,” he pointed to the right, to the east, “we can get back to the portage. Then we can hike in to where we, well, I,” he smiled, sheepishly, “made the wrong turn. We can take a left, hike for a quarter mile or so and get over to Gunflint.” He looked to the west, the sun was a little above the trees. “We still have daylight left.”

He was about to glance at his watch when Libby put her hand out to stop him. “Or…” she said, stretching the word out seductively. “Or, we could just make camp over there,” she pointed to a smooth patch of ground twenty feet behind them under some tall red pines, “and stay here tonight.”

Randy didn’t even have to think. In the past, a change of plans would have been traumatic given his orderly disposition. But that hadn’t been the case recently, a welcome change he attributed all to being with Libby. “I’d like that,” he said.

Out on the lake a loon called, a haunting reminder of the kind of wildness found in the Boundary Waters. They both turned to listen. Libby pointed to large black and white bird bobbing sedately far out on the lake. “Look, there it is.” A few moments later another one called.

“I read that they mate for life,” Randy said, taking Libby’s hand.

“Yeah, they do,” she said, squeezing his in return, softly caressing it. “It’s late in the summer. Their young ones are probably around here somewhere.”

“Maybe we can stay tomorrow, too,” Randy said, “Watch for them.”

“What about being lost?” Libby poked at him, joking.

“I read once that Henry David Thoreau said that just one time he’d love to be lost. I guess it was because he felt so comfortable in the woods. They were like home to him.”

“What do you think about that?” Libby asked.

He put his arm around her shoulder as they gazed out over the lake. “I think I get what he means.”

“Good,” Libby said smiling. She gave him a quick kiss before standing up and helping him to his feet. “Then let’s get the tent set up. Lost or not, we might be here a while.”

Home To Roost

Sydney wasn’t prepared for how much he missed his daughter after she went away to school but he missed her a lot. He and his wife Susan had adopted Kim when she was only six months old, a skinny, quiet baby who came to them from a crowded orphanage in Sapporo. They showered her with love and attention and the little girl thrived, growing into a strong and healthy young woman with an aptitude for science and math who graduated from their local high school with a scholarship to Cornell University.

Once close, after Kim left home Sidney felt a distance growing between them, especially after his daughter began focusing on her studies and her interest in helping to find ways to impact global warming. In short, she was not only growing up, she was growing apart from her parents; something natural, of course, and something Susan seemed to understand, but it was hard for Sidney to accept.

“We’ve got to give her space to grow, Sid,” Susan told him that first fall. “It’s something we need to do as parents.”

“I know,” Sidney halfheartedly agreed. “I’ll try.”

Susan continued, “Good.” Then she tactfully changed the subject. “How about if you and I get the gardens shipshape next spring? We can get a bunch of catalogs and figure out some pretty flowers to plant. We could even put up a bird house.”

Sidney unenthusiastically went along with Susan’s idea. Anything, he reasoned, might help.

Surprisingly, it did. That next spring they worked in the yard in the evenings and weekends, planting hardy perennials: purple cone flowers, golden black eyed Susan’s and white Shasta daisies. They planted pots of red and white and pink geraniums. They put up hanging baskets full of blue and yellow pansies. They even put in a ceramic birdbath. For Sidney, it felt good to be busy, accomplishing something worthwhile, and he had to reluctantly admit that he was missing Kim less. Plus, the gardens looked better than ever.

Finally, as a sort of a pièce de résistance, they set up a bluebird house on a post in the middle of their biggest front yard garden. They waited and waited. Unfortunately, that first year it was not successful, but the second year a bluebird pair discovered the wooden structure and built a nest. The next year they came back. Sidney was thrilled.

Watching a pair of bluebirds raising their young became one of his favorite pastimes. It didn’t begin to alleviate how much he missed his daughter, but it helped. Plus, it wasn’t like they never saw her. Kim still made it home for holidays, and they talked on the phone and sent emails, but it wasn’t the same, an issue Susan tried to point out in a gentle way.

“She’s a grown woman, now, dear,” she told him more than once. “You’d better get used to it.”

Intellectually, Sidney knew she was right, but emotionally…”It’s just hard,” he told her.

“Welcome to being a father,” she told him, being wise in the ways he wasn’t when it came to parenting.

Time marched on. Kim loved Cornell and decided to stay on and earn a master’s degree. She was very busy and her parents saw and heard from her less and less. Again, Susan understood. Sid? He still struggled.

“You need to figure this out,” she told him. “Call her more often. Text her. Whatever.” Quit moping around is what she wanted to say but didn’t. She understood. She missed Kim, too. But, unlike her husband, Susan had learned to cope. She knew her daughter was a good person who was focused on not only gaining knowledge, but planning on using that knowledge to do something worthwhile with her life – to make the world a better place. What more could a parent ask for?

That fourth spring after putting up the birdhouse Sid and Susan waited patiently for the return of the bluebirds. Their arrival was late and it concerned them.

“Where are they?” Susan wondered out loud. “Migration is so hard. Maybe something bad happened.”

“They’re tough birds,” he responded.”They’ll make it.

Truth be told, though, they both had other thoughts on their minds that spring, thinking less about bluebirds and more about their daughter, who they hadn’t heard from since February.

“I’m so busy folks,” she told the last time they’d talked. “I’m working on my master’s degree and it’s eating up all my time. Plus I’m teaching a classes. I’ll call when I have a free moment.”

But she didn’t call and that was disconcerting. What was going on with her?

This time of year to make it easier to watch the bluebird house they turned a couple of living room chairs around so they faced out into their front yard. The arrangement also gave them a nice view of their gardens. Sidney had already cut back all of last year’s perennial stalks and raked out all the leaves. Some tulips were starting to show and spring was on its way. But where were the bluebirds? More to the point, what was Kim doing?

Late one Saturday morning as they sat in their chairs Susan glanced at her husband. He had learned to accept that their daughter was growing and becoming her own person but she knew it helped when he could talk about her.

“What do you suppose Kim is up to these days?”

“I don’t know,” he sighed. “It’d be nice to hear from her. At least she could return our calls.”

“She’s probably busy finishing up her course work. Plus, remember she said that she had to write a paper for her master’s degree.”

Sidney nodded, then smiled, “I have to say, I’m really proud of her.”

“Me, too,” Susan said, grinning. “She’s a wonderful…” Then she stopped mid-sentence and pointed, excitedly, “Sid, look! One of the bluebirds is back!”

Sidney leaned forward to see better. “All right,” he exclaimed. “Finally.” He grinned, grabbed his binoculars and began watching the male bluebird, distinguished by his bright blue coloration all over except for the rusty color of his breast. “What a beautiful bird,” he marveled. “He looks great. Do you see the female around? His mate?”

“I’m looking, dear,” Susan said. But there was a slight distraction in her voice. She’d seen something, someone, that is, who was walking down the street and who had just turned into their driveway. She was walking with a purpose and carrying a backpack. “Sid, I think you should check out the trees by the driveway.” Susan’s heart was suddenly filled with joy, so much joy she thought she might burst. “You’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

“What is it? The female bluebird?” Sid put his binoculars down, turned toward the driveway and started to say, “Where…?” Then he stopped, speechless, and looked, mouth hanging open. He rubbed his eyes. Could it be? No. But, yes, it was. It wasn’t a female bluebird, but a thousand times better. “Kim! Kim’s back!” he yelled.

His voice was so loud that Kim looked up and saw her parents through the window. She smiled and waved just as Sidney bolted from his chair and ran outside to met her, Susan close behind. He grabbed his daughter in a bear hug as Susan joined in, the three of them hugging each other right in the middle of the driveway, a pair of bluebirds perched nearby on their birdhouse watching.

It was the happiest of reunions, but after a few minutes Sidney had to wonder. “How’d you get here? What’s brought you home?”

Kim stepped back and said, “I got a ride with a friend. Plus, I’ve got something to tell you both. To ask you, really.”

Susan said, “Let’s go inside. You must be starved. I’ll fix us something to eat.”

They went inside and sat at the kitchen table while Susan put together lunch. The answer was not long in coming.

Kim spoke calmly and directly, barely able to contain her excitement, “Mom and Dad, I’ve been offered a full professorship at the university.” Her parents started to congratulate her, but she held up her hand to stop them.”But there’s a contingency. They have to like the  paper I’m writing for my master’s thesis. It has to be good. Really good, and I was wondering if I could move in and live here this summer and work on it. It’d mean the world to me. I could help out around the house and yard and we could be together. Just like the old days,” she smiled.

“Of course you can, dear,” Susan said immediately, not having to think. She took Sidney’s hand. “Right?”

“Absolutely,” he said. “Stay as long as you want.” He was happy beyond words, grinning from ear to ear. Ironically, he just then happened to gaze outside at the bluebird house.”Look,” he pointed excitedly. “Not to change the subject, but look. Both the male and the female are out there”

They all stood and hurried to the window. “That’s so cool, Dad,” Kim said. “And kind of fortuitous.”

“Why’s that?”

“Well, I wanted to wait until I got here to tell you. I’ve switched my focus. I’ve been studying ornithology and the impact global warming has on bird populations in the upper Midwest. That’s what I’m writing my paper on.”

What an interesting subject, Sid thought. But what he said, as he put his arm around his daughter’s shoulder was, “As long as your happy, honey. That’s all I can about.”

Next to them, he saw Susan grin. He grinned back at her. He was finally getting it.

Kim watched the bluebirds for a moment and said, “You know, Dad, if it all works out, I might even get a grant to do more in depth analysis. If that happens, I just might be around here a lot more often.”

“That’d be wonderful, sweetheart. Perfect.”

Sidney smiled at Susan, thinking it’d be just like the bluebirds coming back every spring, staying for a while and then leaving  only to return the following year. Maybe that’s what Kim would end up doing – come home for just a while before going off on another episode of her increasingly interesting and meaningful life. If he and Susan could help her and provide a place for her to stay, that’s all he could ask for. It’d be just like having bluebirds come home to roost every spring; their home would always be there for their daughter. Like it was supposed to be.