She stood and looked around. It was certainly all familiar but it was, in a new way, now daunting. Elaine, 'Lanie', Evers was looking at her Mom's house with new eyes. There were the neat piles of magazines and newspapers that it was her Mom's habit to save, for odd reasons of her own. There was all the old furniture that Lanie had grown up with, many of them like familiar old friends.
The thought that crossed her already tired mind was that it all needed to be gotten rid of.
Her Mom, Annie's habits of keeping things had never really bothered her completely. She didn't believe that Annie Sears was truly a 'hoarder' but did recognize that her Mom kept a lot of things. She kept them in piles that she monitored time and again, in piles that were familiar to her.
It was only that she was seeing it all differently today. Today it wasn't a matter any longer of Mom's 'things' or 'treasures' or such, today it was a matter of things that she, Lanie, now had to deal with.
Enough time had elapsed after Annie Sears' death for Lanie to feel up to the task of dealing with the house and all now. After an initial perusal, with those 'different eyes', she'd followed up the suggestion of an acquaintance and had contacted a man named Cal Winters, who had come and looked the place over.
He made an offer, substantial from Lanie's point of view, of over $7,000 for the old things in the house. Lanie realized that just having the offer made her feel better about the house and the task that was now before her.
They'd made another appointment for this Cal Winters to visit today with a contract for Lanie to sign off on. She was waiting for him.
Part of their agreement was for Lanie to deal with Momma's piles of newspapers and magazines. She intended to do that also today.
She was in the middle of her ruminations, when the doorbell rang. She went thinking it must be Mr Winters arriving a bit early but was pleased to see her best friend, Julie Longacre standing there.
They embraced immediately and Julie whispered: "I knew it would be difficult to do this part of it, so I came."
"Thank you," Lanie said, kissing Julie on the cheek.
"And look whom I've brought," Julie said, with some joy in her voice.
"It's the captain," Lanie said, smiling at Julie's brother Jonathan."
(It should be said that Lanie had a secret crush on Jonathan.)
"The very same," Jonathan Worley said, gathering Lanie into a hug.
"You look so handsome and official in your uniform," Lanie said with a wide smile.
"Thank you for saying so," he answered.
(Jonathan Worley was a police captain and was dressed that day in his uniform, complete with a white uniform shirt, badge and all of his patches and insignia.)
"I'm afraid that I bullied Julie into letting me come," Jonathan Worley explained. "Wanted to kind of see for myself."
"My big brother," Julie said with a smile, "The big cop but also one of the keenest eyes for antiques anywhere around, and certifiably nosey."
"Good!" Lanie said, "Welcome and be as nosey as you want."
In fact, Jonathan Worley was already looking around at the items in this one room, the living room. He had been scanning things, while Lanie and Julie had been greeting one another.
"So, how's it going?" Julie asked.
"Oh, progress is being made," Lanie said. "I have contacted a man named Cal Winters and have an offer on the contents. It's fairly generous and will make it unnecessary for me to deal with it further."
"Cal Winters, huh?" Jonathan said. "Do you mind terribly if I ask what he offered?"
"No, not at all," Lanie said, "He's going to give me $7,000 for the lot. He's supposed to come over here today so that we can sign a contract."
"But you haven't signed anything yet?" Jonathan then asked.
"No, I haven't," Lanie said, "Why?"
"Well," Jonathan said with a kind of sigh, "That victorian desk..."
Here he pointed at a victorian desk across the room that had, side by side with the desk part of the piece, a door with glass that was shaped in a half circle.
"And that painting..."
Now he was pointing at a painting on the wall, an Alpine scene, that Lanie never liked but her Momma doted on.
"Together are worth over $6,500," Jonathan said.
"Really?" Lanie said.
"Jon," Julie broke in with, "Are you sure?"
"Completely," he said. He went on then to mention the painter's name and the type of furniture that the victorian desk was.
Lanie's hand flew up to her mouth. She said: "I don't know what to do now."
It was just then that the doorbell rang. It interrupted them. Lanie went to the door and let Cal Winters into the room.
Cal saw Jonathan Worley standing there and said an involuntary: "Shit!"
"Nice to see you too, Cal," Jonathan said.
"Yes, Captain," Cal said next.
"Trying to work out a deal with our friend, Mrs. Evers?" Jonathan said softly.
"Just doing business," Cal replied defensively.
"I know what kind of business," Jonathan said then.
"No, simply business," Cal repeated but was by then backing toward the door.
"I believe I'll wait and think about this, Mr Winters," Lanie said then.
"Yes, I suspected that would be the case, as soon as I saw him here," Cal replied and he simply left.
Lanie looked at Jonathan and then at Julie and broke into a huge smile.
"Thank you," she said, and wrapped her arms around him, and after a few long seconds, during which she simply gave herself up to the hug, and found herself loath to let go. Then she was holding out an arm to include Julie into the hug.
"What shall we do?" Lanie asked then, when the hug has broken up.
"How about if we do a survey?" Jonathan said. "We can list it all and I'll research the valuable pieces and we can then lump the rest of the commoner type of items together."
"Really, will you?" Lanie asked.
"Be my pleasure," he answered.
"It's what he does," Julie said, and giggled, "At least one of the things that he does."
"When do you have time?" he asked then of Lanie.
"Well, we can begin now, if it's okay with you and your schedule," she said, smiling. "I don't want to be putting you out."
"As a matter of fact," he said, "I do have a number of hours now and we can go ahead and make a list of the furniture in the rooms. I can then use my sources to find out what exactly the furniture here might be worth."
It's what they did, the three of them. They went from room to room and Jonathan took an inventory of each room, every piece of furniture. He included good descriptions of each piece of furniture in his list and took down any significant markings that might have been on any piece of furniture.
When they were finished, Lanie thanked both Jonathan and Julie over and over again for their kindness. It was shared hugs again and a special hug for Jonathan, that Lanie, as before enjoyed totally.
"I have to get back," he said, once they were finished with the survey. "I'll be in touch with you soon to show you what I've discovered. I think we'll be surprised."
"Oh, this is so exciting," Lanie said, grabbing him and hugging him again.
While she was holding onto him, she giggled and said: "Never hugged a cop before."
At this point in her life, Lanie, Elaine Evers was a lovely 32 years old. She'd given her life, up to that point, to her teaching interest, and to taking the best care of her lovely Momma. It had been a few years previous that Lanie, in talking with Momma, had decided on her own apartment, 'to get a life', as she said it, with both of them giggling about it at the time.
She taught psychology at the local state university site. By now she was fully tenured and loved her job.
She was a bit on the 'plump' side but many would simply take that as being what the Germans are wont to call 'zaftig', that is completely delightful: large through the breasts and a nicely rounded butt. She was aware of her 'size' and berated herself now and then for not exercising more. But to the correct viewer, Lanie Evers was fantastic.
Jonathan Worley had risen through the ranks, having come out of a hitch in the service with special forces and completed his education in criminology. He went to the police force immediately after college and never looked back.
He was in excellent shape: 6'3" and a substantial 225 lbs. He tended toward graying hair, which was curly and not always manageable. Julie's older brother, he was, at the time that he went to Lanie's house, 40 years old.
The work on her Momma's house took Lanie the better part of a week, needing, as she did, to fit it into her teaching schedule. Julie was there as often as her own schedule would allow. She was a surgery nurse. The two of them had been pals since the days at the school playground, when they were in kindergarten. Their closeness had never, ever slacked off. Lanie had been maid of honor at Julie's wedding and Julie had been on hand, when Lanie's parents, first he Dad and the her lovely Momma died. They simply tended to take care of one another.
Julie stopped one day that week to see if she could help. She knew that it was the day, when Lanie intended to carry out all of the piles that her Momma had saved. Much of it was being taken to the recycling place.
"Hey, girl!" Julie said, when Lanie opened the door.
"Hey yourself," Lanie said.
"Come to help with the task of lugging and tossing," Julie said.
"Yes," Lanie said with a sigh, "Momma, bless her heart, loved to have her piles of things. It was some kind of treat for her."
.... There is more of this story ...