Lysander And The Sadness Chapter 5 When The White Raven Flies

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Chapter 5"Lysander! You hafta come with me," Kathryn, his mother, her face streaked with tears, mumbled in despair. "Something terrible has happened. We're gonna to be OK. I know we are. I promise, my dear little boy- I promise you," she repeated while searching in her purse for a Kleenex to wipe her bleary eyes. She finds a wrinkled used one at the bottom, wipes some tears away from both eyes, then looks at all of the of the mascara residue on it. "Shit, now I look terrible, just hideous, " as she peers into the mirror from her compact. " Not you, my sweet boy. Mommy's makeup is smeared and all messed up now." It was ten AM and a hall monitor had pulled Lysander Urquhart from his class, and walked him back to the front office, just before the teacher was to give everyone the results of the American history test from last week. He was sure that he had gotten a good grade, probably an A. He has always received a A grade on his American history tests and quizzes. "Let's go outside to the car," she said just as she pushed open the big door and the bright morning sun caught them in their eyes. Lysander stopped momentarily and shielded his eyes with his history book. "Where the hell are they? I can't find a damn thing. Here they are," she exclaimed as she unfolded her sunglasses and started enjoying the muted results the glasses offered. He skipped down the steps, two at a time. Kathryn looked into the bright sun, searching  for her car, difficult to find easily in the glaring San Diego, early summer sun when most of the cars in the school parking lot were black. She pauses, looks back in her purse and there again at the bottom is the key to their seven year old Ford sedan.

Sitting in the car, there was a moment of silence. "How come you got me out of class, Mom?" he asked. " What happened that is so terrible. Is it Daddy? Did something happen to Daddy?" he inquired thinking the worse. Kathryn had been finally able to stop crying when they gotten into the car,  but now she burst into tears again, not able to answer Lysander quickly. There was a box of Kleenex on the back seat and Lysander hurriedly jumped up on his knees, reached over the seat and retrieved it, passing the box to his mother, trying to be of some help. He thought," Did I make her start crying again? I didn't mean to."

She looked into his now sad eyes and knew what he was thinking, "You are not the reason I am crying so much, Lysander, " she pleaded. "Mom, could you not call me Lysander? I am Sander. Just like Daddy is. I like Sander, OK?"  he reasoned. " I know you are going to be eleven later this summer and that you now like Sander, like your Daddy, for your name, " she responded in an understanding tone. "I am Sander forever. Daddy calls me Sander. How come you don't, Mom?, " he quizzed.

Kathryn immediately burst into tears once more, reached for the box and yanked out four tissues quickly. Sander was bewildered. She had just told him it was not his fault, and there she was, bawling like a baby again. He did not understand. It had to be something about his Daddy, that is the only answer for her crying so much. She didn't seem to cry much more than anyone else's  Mom, except for today. "Move over here and sit closer to me, Sander. I want to tell you something extremely important. " she said thinking to herself that she had to be strong for Lysander. She owed her husband that. She caressed his face in her hands, those long lashes and those big green eyes, the same as his father had, looking back at her. " Your Daddy is gone. His plane went down in the fog. He dove in the cold water and saved his buddy that was with him. He did not come back up. They searched for hours, until it became night. " Sander just sat there with a blank stare. He was calm and quiet. He did not cry, pound his fists into the seats or get angry. He reacted exactly like his father would have done in the same situation. Kathryn found herself wishing she had him do some of those things, after all, he was her son, but he was his Daddy's boy and it was obvious.. It was more apparent now than ever in all of his ten years, at this moment. He said quietly and in disbelief, " But the J2 Duck was now all changed so it wouldn't crash anymore." Those words of his left Kathryn feeling more empty than she had been before the accident. A little boy believed so strongly.

"Is there anything you want?, " she asked gently. " I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I gotta have some milk too. Can we go home now, Mom? ", his little body, calm and almost lifeless. His eyes now staring out the window as she put the Ford in gear, backed out of the space in the parking lot and turned out into the street in front of the school. She pointed it towards home and that sandwich. She would make him the best damn sandwich he had ever had. She was going to open that last jar of his favorite apricot preserves she was saving for a special occasion. This seemed like a special occasion. He sat quietly on the drive home, touching each finger of his left hand to each fingertip of the right hand, all the while quietly counting and not looking in any particular direction. She had seen him doing this often when he was nervous and uncomfortable.

Sander stayed home from school for the rest of the week and the next. The following week, Kathryn was busy handling all of the Coast Guard's requests, the memorial details, writing letters to family and friends and attending a meeting with the commanding officer at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station San Diego, all while trying to keep her emotions together. She was not sure if she would be successful in the long run. She was not sleeping well,  living off three packs of cigarettes, too much black coffee and practically no food to speak of except for a piece or two of morning toast. She wanted her husband's older sister from Compass Point to come up and stay for a while, look after Sander, while she tried to pull herself together. Mo said she could not leave the hotel, and they would talk about what should be done later. Mo and she had never been very close, but then again Mo was not one of the warmest of people to deal with about crisis issues. She pulled up to the  guard house, as she had done so many times before, the sharply dressed sentry asked her name, checked the lists on his clipboard and pointed her towards the main office,then saluted crisply. The minute she had said her name, a softness crept into his eyes. She knew he wanted to say something about Lysander, for he was well loved and respected on the base by everyone. She was to be escorted for the luncheon in the officer's dining room by a freshly scrubbed young officer. he introduced himself as Ensign Baumann. The table was clear to the back corner of the room, somewhat shielded from the rest of the tables. The room was full of military men as was usual, and most all turned and their eyes followed this strikingly beautiful woman as she followed the Ensign as he weaved through to the table. He then gestured as the right one. Not all of the men in the dining room recognized her as the Master Chief's widow.  A few other important officials, some from Washington D.C., were at the table as an important looking officer pulled out the chair and she sat slowly down. They had all stood up in unison and remained mast-high tall until she was seated comfortably. She was presented with the menu as introductions were made. She smiled and acknowledged each as his name was offered to be polite. She would never remember these men's names. She looked at the menu, and as she did, Capt. Hastings,the Coast Guard Air Station commanding officer, spoke up," Mrs. Urquhart. The staff has mentioned that the swordfish is fresh, was caught down the coast by Ensenada and is quite delicious." She smiled and thanked him. She acknowledged to the waiter she would have the swordfish and a simple salad. During the meal she had three cups of coffee, but did not finish her meal. As luncheon progressed and conversations about her husband continued, she seemed to finally relax. She asked if she could smoke and all at once four fancy gold lighters appeared which resulted in some laughing and relaxed smiles. Several told detailed stories of how special her husband, Master Chief Urquhart, was to everyone connected to the development and advancement of the Grumman JF-2 Duck amphibious aircraft, a plane that was part of the inventory on the USS Saratoga. He was piloting that aircraft that day during maneuvers and testing off Point Loma outside San Diego Bay. Captain Knorr from the 5 TH Coast Guard District in Washington, D.C. was very determined to make it known that the decision for her husband being chosen to be part of Commander "Archie" Stone's team to develop the JF-2 Duck to a high level support and reconnaissance aircraft for the Coast Guard was a significant achievement in his career. He went into detail about the fact that Commander Stone was the most famous aviator in Coast Guard history, held many flight records and was himself  awarded numerous important medals including the Medal of Honor. He also was quite clear that Sander was being considered to be also awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his deeds that day. The craft had been recovered by a special salvage crew based in Long Beach from the sea four days later and it was slowly brought back to the San Diego Air Station hangar for inspection. A team of military aircraft experts had gone thoroughly over the plane for three days, and it was determined that it was mechanical error and not pilot error that caused the accidental crash, offered Captain Knorr. Kathryn started looking in her purse again for a Kleenex as she did that day when she gave Sander the news, as Captain Knorr gave her the investigation team results. It had not sunk in about the potential awarding of the medal as yet;  his reputation was a much more important issue to her for her son's future when stories are told about his father that day off Point Loma.

Some weeks had gone by, weeks that, day by day, were torture to Kathryn. Daily life had gotten so difficult, and her habit of too many cigarettes and black coffee had not changed. She had started drinking some of Lysander's whiskey from his shelf in the kitchen at night when Sander was asleep, then trying to cover it up with too much mouthwash and by chewing two pieces of Double Mint gum. Soon she was making trips to the liquor store, telling the owner, Mr. Mooney, it was just for the many old friends that kept stopping by the house to offer condolences. Maybe the new drinking was just a way to be close to him again. Several times she had already stood for what like seemed like hours in his part of the closet, smelling his clothes, running her hands over his uniform coats.  Her best girl friend Phyllis had urged her to have her mother come and stay, as it was surely obvious that Mo would not be coming any time soon from Compass Point. Her mother Viola did come to live with her and Sander, over Asa's vehement protests. Ada Insley Orvar Egberg was a very successful man. He owned one of the most in demand civil engineering firms on all of the west coast, based in South San Francisco. Their family home was a sprawling estate in Palo Alto with horse stables,an indoor swimming pool, elegant and well groomed gardens, rolling manicured lawns, and a drive way that would rival any east coast mansion. The Georgian style house had eight bedrooms, six bathrooms, servants quarters, and had an immense ballroom to accommodate  the many society, charity and political gatherings that were held there during the year. Her father was a stern man, not at all warm and gentle. Those were the traits of her mother. He ruled with an iron fist and was not at all pleased when his only child announced that she was marrying an ordinary enlisted Marine sergeant. "I am now eighteen father, and I love this man," she announced sternly while stamping her foot. "I will disown you. A Marine!  And an enlisted man at that! You will marry a man of my choosing and none other. He will be a man of education, breeding and from the proper stock. Do you understand me, Kathryn? " he bellowed. She knew her mother would not let him cast her from their lives, no matter how much he fumed and protested. All she had to do was call him Orvar, and he would quiet down. Her husband disliked that name with a fervent passion. Kathryn and Lysander Urquhart were married in a simple ceremony at his base at North Island Naval Station chapel. None of her family or friends were in attendance. Mo, his sister, and some of his marine buddies were there. They all went out to a downtown Chinese restaurant to celebrate. Their wedding night was at The US Grant Hotel and kathryn couldn't have been happier.

The passing of time would dictate a change in her father. He seemed to soften as the years went by.  He saw the progress of his son in law becoming more involved in the development of the Navy's new aircraft carriers. However, when Lysander decided to leave the Marines, where he had become proficient as a carpenter repairing the damaged carrier-based biplanes, then enlist in the Coast Guard, Asa Egberg was completely sure that not only was this still the wrong man for his daughter, but that he was a total flake and a complete failure, as he had predicted when his daughter had brought him home to meet the family. Even after Lysander Jr. was born in 1929, Kathryn saw little that was changed with her father. She was sure he would become proud of their family and especially of his only grandson, but his demeanor appeared set in stone. Her attempts to please her father had been a complete failure. She was conditioned to his temperament and his often disagreeable attitudes; however, her efforts were not successful. Kathryn sometimes thought it was so very hopeless,  becoming completely desperate. She could only find solace in her mother's excitement and joy at Lysander's arrival in their world.

About a month later, Sander saw his mother getting more and more sad. She slept during the day and no longer got up to fix him breakfast before school. Phyllis and her son Keith, Sander's friend, would come and take him to school and return to pick him up after class. He would run into the house to say hello, and her bedroom door would still be closed. Kathryn would finally get up about six pm and would fix him a simple dinner, maybe a grilled cheese sandwich or reheat some left over spaghetti Phyllis had kindly left in the ice box. Much of the time she didn't speak or ask him about his day in school. She also continued to drank whiskey more than ever before.

"Master Lysander! Over here, Master Lysander." Sander had just gotten out of school, was standing on the front steps scanning all the cars, looking for Phyllis' maroon Plymouth coupe with the dent in the right  front fender, when he heard his grandfather's chauffeur Charles calling to him. "Master Lysander, your grandfather has sent me to pick you up from school today,"  Charles said in his professional manner. Sander liked Charles. Whenever he and his mother visited the mansion, sometimes he would go beyond the main house to the huge garage where all of his grandfather's cars were kept and talk about them with Charles. Charles would tell him stories about the different models that his grandfather owned, while he polished some chrome or was brushing the upholstery. He liked the fact that Charles had installed a very elegant varnished board, marked clearly with little white and black porcelain signs for each car and a brass hook below with the keys for that car, hanging in perfect order, so he would know where each car was parked in the garage.

"How come you are here today at my school, Charles?" "Master Lysander, Marta and I have come to collect you. You are to come and live at the big house with your grandmother and grandfather. We have a long journey back to Palo Alto and we must get started as soon as possible. I have taken the liberty of gathering some of your clothing and personal items. I hope you will not mind my bold intrusion into your sleeping quarters. I am under instructions from your grandfather. "  "Hello Lysander," said Marta from the big back seat, where she was all but invisible. She was a petite, somewhat conservative dresser. A youngish woman, who was a personal assistant to Mr. Egberg. " We will have a nice talk while Charles drives us north on Highway One. It is quite picturesque with the Pacific Ocean on the left and the rolling hills and countryside on the right to enjoy." He liked riding in the big black La Salle limousine that had been especially built for Mr. Egberg. He got seated comfortably by the window and was wondering about his mother. He would ask Marta about her, but not now. He was enjoying looking out of the window, like Marta has stated. "We will stop when you choose to and get some dinner. Please let me know when you get hungry, Lysander. Charles stopped on the way here and purchased some bottles of your favorite Pepsi Cola and they are in the boot, chilling on dry ice, if you want to have one." Marta said in her soft Norwegian accent. "I had him make sure to gather your lovely black treasure box and that wonderful album of aeroplanes that you have compiled so thoroughly. I so enjoyed you showing me them, last we spoke. I am sure you have added some recent new photographs and drawings to it. You are so very talented, Lysander. One day you must go to university and become an illustrator." Lysander remembered that she told him the same thing when he showed her his album once before. It was nice of her to remember that fact. " I told Charles that you kept the little silver key with you at all times, the one that opens your black treasure box, when he asked how you would be able to open it. So feel comfortable knowing they are both safe in the boot as well, " she reassured him. Charles was from England and his manner of speaking was very proper and educated and direct. Mr. Egberg preferred to have people work for him that came from Europe, especially his home country of Norway. "Only these people have the learned the strong work ethic that I need and know their place in the employ of a properly run household," he often would was heard to boast.

"Lysander," Marta said gently waking him from his nap on the seat where he had drifted off while looking out at the rows of crops and farm stands along the way. He had been vividly dreaming of flying with his Daddy in the Grumman Duck JF-2 while he landed smoothly in San Diego Bay, the splash and huge spray of refreshing sea water feeling cold and clean on his face. " Wake up, dear boy. Charles has suggested we stop in this little town at the Andersen Valley Inn and have some dinner before we continue home. He has said they are famous for their split pea soup. The owners are from the old country, from Denmark, so I am sure their soup is quite good." "I am hungry. My stomach is growling back at me," Sander responded rubbing his eyes.  "She laughed out loud and said,"I have not heard that said before, but I know what you mean."May I take your order. Yes you may, my dear. By the way,what is your name,? " asked Charles of their waitress, even though she had a little hand painted name tag on her blue and white uniform. "Yes sir, name's Susan, " she replied with a welcoming smile. She was a buxom older woman and not very tall. It was obvious by her demeanor that she loved her job. Charles had asked what our choices were, then we all ordered our food from Susan. Charles ordered Swedish meatballs, boiled potatoes with creamed green peas and a pot of hot Earl Grey tea with lemon. Marta asked for a small cup of split pea soup. Within a short time, Susan brought all of the plates. Marta was nervously smoking one of several cigarettes while she ate, watching Sander enjoy two bowls of split pea soup, and a big glass of cold milk. "Are you full, Lysander, or is there something else you would like?," she asked gently. Marta took her job seriously and wanted to make sure good reports of her handling of Lysander's needs got back to Mr. Egberg. Charles had finished his meal, was having a second cup of tea and reading the newspaper. " Can I have some pie?, " he inquired. "I'll call Susan over and you can ask what kind they have, " she answered eagerly, wanting to please him. "Well honey, what kind of pie would you like. Our baker Olga here at Andersen's makes most wonderful desserts. Her pies are world famous, just like our split pea soup is," she questioned as she informed. "Can I get a piece of chocolate cream pie,......um, a big glass of cherry Pepsi Cola. Not too much ice, please?, " he said with the big grin of a ten year old. "Of course, honey. But I'll have to make that a cherry Coca Cola.  Is that is OK with you? " Charles looked up from his paper and said,"Please serve the young gentleman whatever he chooses, madam, if it is offered on your menu, please. We have had a sumptuous meal so far, quite acceptable. It will be much appreciated. Marta, is there anything else that you would care to order?", he asked in his proper British manner. "I am fine for now, Charles. It is very kind of you to ask. The soup was marvelous," she said. "Sir, can I bring you another pot of tea?", Susan added, her cheeks rosy from the welcomed praise. Charles had gone back to reading his newspaper, looked up momentarily, smiled, then nodded yes."And that will be all. You may bring the bill, if you please," he responded realizing they had a long drive ahead.

The bill had been paid, and everyone was sated and happy. Charles has gone over the car and seemed exasperated at the amount of road dirt on the black shiny paint. He did take time to retrieve some cleaning rags and a solution to clean all of the windows thoroughly, while Marta and Lysander talked about some of the gift shop items they had seen. Marta told him she was familiar with the same kind of hand carved wooden Scandinavian nut crackers the shop had for sale. She said they were just the kind she knew from her childhood. Charles finished polishing the windows, rinsed and dried his hands, put his tailored black jacket on and the big La Salle finally pulled out onto the highway heading north. It was a long and dark drive back to Palo Alto. The massive car turned up the long drive in Palo Alto finally at four am in the morning. Sander had been asleep for hours, as had Marta, in the roomy back seat of the huge luxury automobile, both covered with cashmere car robes made just for the La Salle. Charles was a professional, but he was extremely tired and had used all of his many mental exercises to maintain his being awake and sharply aware on the trip up Highway One. The last two hours were especially tiring, the roads were treacherous in the dark, curving and winding, coming from Santa Cruz. It reminded him of his days in France in WWI when he was the staff driver for an important British general of the Royal Flying Corps. They would often travel at night which was extremely dangerous, and he would be wrestling the huge Peugeot touring car over impassable muddy roads, rock strewn bridges and make shift pathways with the lights off, all the while dodging livestock and invisible, centuries old stone walls. This trip of 500 miles up the picturesque California coast some 20 plus years later was quite a bit easier, to be sure. Upon arrival in Palo Alto in the early morning hours, the household staff immediately filed out of the house, having stayed up, waiting for their arrival, out to the car as it pulled to a stop. The smell of the overworked engine was evident to all. Marta said to Sims, the butler, not to wake Lysander , but to carry him gently up to bed and she would come along to tuck him in. She motioned for the others to retrieve his things from the boot, especially his black treasure box and the precious album of aeroplanes, as she likes to put it.

"Where is my Mommy? Where is she," Sander demanded as he bounded into the huge white kitchen. Hanna, the cook answered,"Master Lysander. Don't you want some breakfast? You must be hungry this day," she answered in her thick Norwegian accent. "I have prepared fresh hot bread with caraway seeds. I have some lovely sausage I made here and strawberry preserves I also have made myself from our garden last summer. Can I get some of these for you? If not, I can make you some lovely oatmeal, if you like. Carline, our milk cow, has presented me with some fresh milk that I got from her at five am, " she said, dodging the original question about his mother. For a moment he answered, "OK. I am hungry. I want some sausage. Can you toast the bread too?, "  " Wait a minute, I want to see my Mommy. Is she still asleep? She has been sleeping a lot ." Hanna stuttered with her words and said,"  Marta can tell you where your mother is today, Lysander. She will be coming down any moment. It is only seven am and you all were very late coming in so early this morning. Now sit right down here please, Master Lysander. This is your napkin. I'll toast the bread for you right now. Do you want one or two pieces with your sausage?, she asked, seeing that he had calmed down and was waiting for Marta to give him the news about his mother. "I'd like two pieces. Your bread is really good, Hanna. I don't have this bread anywhere else.And a big glass of milk too please." " Would you like some fresh orange juice? I squeezed it just a short time ago. Bjorn brought in a big basket from our trees this morning, " she added, smiling at pleasing her breakfast guest. "Yes. That sounds good too. I like O. J. That's what my Daddy called orange juice. He called it O. J. I'll have some O.J., " he answered recalling a fond memory about his Daddy.

He was mopping up the last drops of Hanna's strawberry preserves from the plate with his finger where he had just finished the sausage and three pieces of toast. Hanna had toasted him an extra piece, knowing he would eat it. She liked to see a boy eat with gusto. She was the oldest and on the little farm in a remote Norwegian village where she grew up, she did all of the cooking in the family. Her sisters were much to young, but helped her nevertheless.. It reminded her of fixing a hearty breakfast for her four brothers before they started to work with their father on the farm, milking the dairy cattle, the goats and the other chores for their day. "There you are, Lysander, " Marta said cheerfully as she entered the kitchen. She had been practicing putting on her best face. Marta had not been able to sleep after they had arrived. Mr. Egberg had given her the job of telling Lysander, not he or Mrs. Egberg, which Marta thought was the proper thing to do. After all, they were the grandparents of this poor child, yet she was given the duty to pass on this tough personal family information. She was Mr. Egberg's loyal employee and did was asked of her, no questions asked. He knew she would so it, and do it well. Marta thought in this situation that it was wrong. One day when she was younger, she had hoped to have a wonderful son like Lysander, but entering into Mr. Egberg's service, she had agreed to stay unmarried and, in exchange, all her needs would be provided for her for the rest of her life. "Hanna, please send in some coffee, you know how I like it, to my office. I'll take it in there." Lysander, are you through with your breakfast?, she  asked directly and with an expressionless practiced face."Come with me to my office and we will have a little chat." He thought to himself,"Here we go again. Is there something wrong with my Mommy? This is much worse. No one is crying and carrying on. I hope my Mommy is OK. I hope she is safe and all right."

" Have a seat beside me, Lysander and get comfortable," Marta said in a businesslike manner as she folded leg legs and settled into the burgundy leather loveseat facing the big picture window in her office. The morning sun from the east was streaming through the fancy wooden blinds. He waited what seemed like an eternity while she put some milk and one sugar cube in her coffee cup. She was still silent. She nervously stirred the dainty purple floral bone china cup over and over with a very small silver spoon.. Sander was not getting any more comfortable as she had asked him to be.

"Master Lysander. I have been asked by your grandfather to inform you that your mother has gone away for an extended stay. She is at a wonderful place in the country, close to the ocean and the mountains. The air is clean and the sunshine is pleasant for her. She has her own private bungalow with all of her things that she likes to have around her. She will want for nothing." she noticed him getting all wound up and about to blurt out. Marta wanted to keep on talking and finish before she lost her nerve and started to cry in front of him. "Before you ask me, I do not know when you will see her again. It may be a few weeks or it may be a much longer time-perhaps several months. As you know, better than most, she took your father's accident quite hard. Not eating, and smoking too many cigarettes, plus sleeping all the time, have taken their toll," she said coldly, as she lit one herself nervously. Marta continued while smoking," She was obviously becoming more and more nervous while being very unhappy.Your grandfather believes that your care was also suffering as a result." He wondered what else she was going to tell him. He was now getting really scared and started to cry openly.

"I am so sorry, Lysander," she said quietly when she saw his tears. She reached into a drawer of her desk and gave him two Kleenex. He wiped his eyes, blew his nose and tossed them in the leather waste basket beside her desk. Marta slowly sat upright and moved to her desk chair, put her arms on the polished top, opened the cigarette box and lit another cigarette with the silver matching lighter that sat next to the box. She looked squarely at Sander and said in a firm and businesslike tone," Lysander. Your grandfather has recommended that you .....um, I mean. Because of your mother's situation. Her living at this country facility has deemed it necessary," Marta is speaking and not at all comfortable. She feels she is scaring the little boy more than she has already. She finds her composure and looks him in the eyes again,"Lysander. You will be living at a wonderful place with children your age for some time. They have lots of land and orchards and gardens. You will live in a big room with all boys your age. I will come and visit you every weekend." She let out a big sigh, not knowing she was going to drive the one hundred miles every week to see him. His grandparents were going to be in Europe for four months,traveling all around. Mr.Egberg did not ask her to visit, but he is so very insensitive to do this to his own grandson, the son of his only daughter, that she thought it was the best she could do. She knew that Charles would want to come too, but he will be on the trip with Mr. and Mrs. Egberg.

She handed Sander the whole box of Kleenex as at this point he was sobbing profusely and she was sure that the others could hear him and become concerned about him. None had been made aware of the task she had had to perform that morning. She sat back down beside him and took him into her arms, put his head on her chest and let him sob quietly. For that moment Lysander was her own little boy. He raised his head and with red, swollen eyes he asked,"Where is this place I have to go to? How come I just can't stay here with you and Charles and grandma?," his eyes and his voice, cracking into a whimper again, pleaded.

"St. Catherine's Lutheran Home for Boys and Girls is about two or three hours drive  from here, in Sonoma County. It may be farther, I have not been there. You can be assured, Lysander, that I will be coming to visit you on the week ends. Charles will be traveling with your grandparents on their trip to Europe and Scandinavia. I will just drive one of the cars from the garage. The trip is for business and to visit the family, I believe. I am to stay here and be ready to use Western Union if there are any important issues to address, either at the firm or here in Palo Alto. I will also be giving them any news about you and your mother." "Is this home a nice place? Is it close to my Mommy? When do I have to go? Is the food any good there? Couldn't you take me to see her when you come to see me? What car are you going to drive?, " he rattled off in succession. "Wait a moment and let me answer for you," she said with a quick smile. It is the first time the room has had a lighter air  since they first sat down. She knew that he had a thousand thoughts running around in his head at that moment. She reflected to herself and wanted some time to gather the next moves and a to make sure she answered his queries the best way she could."Let's take a break. How about I take you back to the kitchen. It is Monday and I know that Hanna always bakes Norwegian cinnamon kanelkake to have with coffee. We all love it, especially those that come from our homeland. Hanna is legendary here with her kanelkake cake and all of our staff can't wait until Mondays. If you haven't had it, we must get you some with a big glass of milk. Would you like that, Lysander?," she inquired, hoping to get his mind distracted to give her some time to regroup. She glanced at the antique grandmothers clock hanging on the wall just inside her office door, and noted that it was almost ten am. "Let's come back here after lunch, at about one thirty or so and we can get all of your questions answered. Hanna can give you some of her cake and some milk. After that, you can go outside and play with the dogs, go visit Bjorn at the gardens or just explore. Please do not go to the garages, since Charles is not here to supervise or answer any questions you may have. Does that sound OK to you?"

The next morning Lysander was ready to go. Marta came into the kitchen and was about fifteen minutes late. They were to leave at nine am. She had allowed him to pick the car she would drive when they had met after lunch to answer his questions the day before. She promised to stay with him for as long as it took when they got to the Home. She wanted him to be as comfortable as possible, although she knew that was an unlikely thing to happen. That morning she had been unable to sleep well again and was thinking to herself," This dear little boy had had his world turned completely upside down in just a short few months. His father was taken from him in a tragic accident and there was not even a body for a proper church burial. Instead there was a plain marker shaped like all the rest, as is the military practice, with appropriate markings, at the Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery overlooking San Diego Bay and, oddly enough, within sight of the location of his aircraft accident. She considered the worse thing he had to deal with. His mother's difficulty at coping with the tragedy was followed by his cold-hearted grandfather's decisions to locate her abruptly, and with Lysander not being able to say goodbye. In the same wave of the hand, he was being banished to some unknown remote place with complete strangers, people he did not know and he was going to feel totally alone. He would miss his room, his playmates, familiar surroundings, Keith and all of his other friends. What about his history class. He liked the teacher and he made good grades. What kind of school would he be going to. A Lutheran school? No familiar surroundings to give a person some solace She was sure it would scar him for life. She knew that this happy and inquisitive youngster, who always liked school may be headed for some days and years that he may not be able to handle. The least she could do was to visit him as often as possible. She felt so useless,wishing there was more she could do for him.

His one suitcase with his treasure box and album were stowed in the rumble seat. Lysander had picked the 1935 Packard Twelve Roadster as Marta had agreed to let him do. It was a rich cream color with red wire wheels and a flying chrome lady with flowing hair ornament on the top of the radiator that sparkled as you drove along. These were the words that Lysander used to describe the massively beautiful motor car. Some of that was probably Charles' words being paraphrased by a ten year old. "I don't know if I can drive this big car, Lysander," she said when it was brought around by the mechanic, Henrik. He gave her some tips in his strong Dutch voice and assured her that it "was driving like a droom". She thought to herself knowing that he meant dream," I hope so. I surely do no want it to drive like a nightmare!" They warmed up the car as Henrik looked on. The look on Marta's face was one of uncertainty and the one on Sander's was one of wonder, a look that he was sure he that if she could not make it to their destination, he could most surely take over and drive this lovely car himself. She eased it into gear, the big wheels started to make a solid sound rolling over the gravel and they were on their way out the drive. Henrik looked at them leaving, took off his dark blue sweat stained cap, smiled in their direction, fully expecting her to turn around and bring the big Packard back to the garage. She had it up to about twenty miles an hour quickly, for the drive was about one half mile to the road and Lysander glanced over to his right. Flying lazily along with them was an extremely large white crow. "Marta, do you see that?, he asked pointing at the bird flying beside the Packard. "Please Lysander, I must make every move with extreme caution until I master driving this car. You have given me such a task," she responded uneasily. The bird continued to follow as they turned onto the highway and headed north. He thought about it for a moment and since birds being one of his favorite subjects to study, he was sure this was a very rare white raven, and not a crow as he had at first considered. He wished he had a chance to look it up in the Encyclopedia Britannica to make sure he was right. As soon as he could go to a library, that was what he planned to do. Then he noticed that there were no other birds around. That was odd, because there were always dozens of sea gulls, flapping their wings, squawking, making a mess and looking around for food. In fact, there were no other birds at all. None on the ground, flying about or anywhere one could see. He glanced over at Marta and her face was sternly focused on the road. This little woman was doing quite well, wrestling the huge steering wheel, and it looked like she would get them to their destination safely.

The ride to the St. Catherine's Home was a quiet one for both of them. Marta was making sure that she was maneuvering the big roadster along the picturesque highway properly, while Sander was quiet and self absorbed. She had to ask him if he needed a rest room break when they got into Marin County across the Golden Gate Bridge. Right after crossing the bridge, he abruptly announced that the bridge was the world's longest suspension bridge and it was 4200 feet in length, construction was started in 1933 and cost $35 million. She loved that about his nature. He wanted to learn. He would do great things some day, she often thought. "Yes, Marta, I do have to go. Please stop when you can." They soon were driving through Sausalito and she pulled into the gravel drive of a small, old fashioned diner that had a welcoming feel to it. The big red sign above the door, paint peeling, spelled out "Lou's Diner". " I will get us a seat inside. I see that the outhouse is out behind the restaurant. I will ask the waitress for a hot cloth for your hands when you return". She found a small open booth. It had a well worn red leather seat and she sat down. There was a counter of about ten stools facing the hubbub of activity the one cook was creating, and four booths in front of the windows facing the road. Sander came in and sat down. "The menu is up on the chalk board over the counter.The lunch special is Boston baked beans and wieners. I think I am going to have the chicken salad sandwich." The smiling waitress came over and said, "What can I get you and your son, ma'am?" Marta was startled, but did not correct her. Sander was looking about and didn't seem to notice. I would like a chicken salad sandwich on white toast....and a cup of coffee with cream please. Lysander?," she said, looking towards him. "Huh? Oh, sorry. Beans and wieners. Do you have Pepsi, maam?, " he asked. "No, young man, we have Coca Cola. Is that OK? " " Sure. Thank you, Ma'am." Marta did not finish her sandwich, managed to drink three cups of coffee and smoke several cigarettes, still reeling from the events of the last days. Sander finished his beans and wieners,then had a jelly doughnut and some milk. The waitress made note that Lou, the cook and the owner, got up at four am every morning to make the doughnuts and the pies that they sold and that they were famous all over Marin County. " Some people drive all the way over the bridge for our food," she boasted proudly.

Back on the road, Sander fell asleep almost immediately with the drone of the big engine vibrating through the car and the rumble of the tires on the highway. The trip took much longer than Marta had calculated, but then she drove below the speed limit generally, which often demanded she shift into second gear on some of the winding and narrow roads in rural Sonoma County. She felt that they were very close and pulled off onto the dirt shoulder and looked at her directions. Sander awoke and said,"We there yet?" "Just about. I believe it is just ahead to the right. See that large old gray building with lots of windows,  surrounded by the small trees? I believe that is it. I will know as soon as I drive a little way up this road. It has big stone pillars and an iron archway at the front over the road with the name in fancy ironwork on it." she said. They turned in and Sander started to become very scared. What if he could never leave this place. It looked awfully big, just like a prison in the movies. She stopped the car in front of the stone steps that led up to the front door. Some children were filing past in single file, with a military straight, stern woman leading them. "Some of the kids furtively glanced his way, but quickly looked straight ahead again as if they would be punished for being different,"  Sander thought as he saw them go by.

"You must be Marta Ringstad. I asked my assistant to watch for you and to tell me immediately upon your arrival." "Yes, I am Marta." "I am Mrs. Cowpens. I am the assistant director here. I was in attendance at the original meeting with Mr. Egberg and Mr. Wonsley, our director. Mr. Wonsley asked me to pass on his regrets that he could not meet you upon arrival but he is busy with a maintenance issue with our water well. Evidently the pump is malfunctioning. "That is very kind of him, Mrs. Cowpens. This is Lysander. Mr. Egberg's grandson who will be spending some time here with you." Sander scuffed his feet, looked down at the gravel, then up at the straight laced woman and growled," How do you do," feeling so scared he started to tremble. This is June Bea, one of our older young women here. A gangly girl of perhaps thirteen with shaggy straight brown hair stepped forward and grabbed his hand. " Say your goodbyes to this fine young lady. She will take you and your suit case up to your new home to meet Mrs. Dovers and the other children you will get to know," commanded Mrs. Cowpens. Marta shook Sander's hand and held it firmly for a minute. She wanted to pick him up and hold him and kiss him one last time before she left, she felt so sad. "Good bye," he said as big tears started rolling down his cheeks. He did not look back as her trailed June Bea up the stone steps and disappeared through the big doors.

Marta climbed into the car, pushed the starter and the engine roared to life. She looked at the gauge and made a mental note,"Got to get some gasoline before heading back. I remember  passing a Flying A station on the way here just a short drive down the highway." After driving about two miles,  she slammed on the brakes, and the Packard slid onto the dirt shoulder sending up a thick cloud. She sat there stunned. Glancing to her right, she noticed a big cow with soft brown eyes looking back at her through the wire fence. It was as if the cow was saying," You should have not driven Lysander here."Marta then burst into tears and sat sobbing for what seemed like a half an hour. In reality it was only about five minutes. She blew her nose with her handkerchief from her purse, wiped her face and adjusted her makeup. She took out and lit a cigarette, made a promise that she was going to figure something out for Lysander. She stabbed the accelerator and roared onto the pavement with new confidence, the massive piece of machinery picked up speed quickly, and she headed south. All the way home she was deep in thought, trying to work out how she was going to make it up to this little boy and all that he has had to endure in such a short time. At one point, she thought she saw a rather large white crow flying alongside with the Packard. She seemed to remember Lysander talking about such a bird on their trip north. "It just must be someone's pet," she thought and discounted the sighting. She drove much faster on the return trip, it made her feel powerful for a change. Her ability to drive the big car had improved. She smoked, thought and drove, not stopping until arriving back at the house. Sims met her after she had parked the car in the garage and was walking towards her office. He asked her if she wanted some supper, "Hanna saved some of her wonderful pot roast and stewed tomatoes for you, my dear."  One look at her face and he just slowly turned and walked away. It was best if he did not talk to her just now after her ordeal that day. The staff had all been discussing about what a difficult thing Mr. Egberg had asked Marta to do and  Sims mentioned that he didn't think she would ever be the same again. They were worried about how Lysander would fare living in that strange new place. He had no familiar friends and even though the surroundings were beautiful and serene, how does a little boy deal with all that had befell him in such a short time? This was the topic of conversation at meal times for many days after  he left.

 

 

 

 

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