Still Out of Reach
The Cable family moved from a small country town of about 2,000 people where Henry Cable managed a local company for a national corporation. Though the business was the main employer of the town and essential to the town’s survival, it wasn’t the biggest paying job. Henry did so well they promoted him to manager of another company in a city of about 60,000 people. His wife, Lucy, and children, Lee (eighteen year old daughter), Ernie (nearly sixteen year old son), and Tom (twelve year old son) moved with him. The city is the same one Lucy’s sister, Mary, moved to a few years earlier with her three daughters soon after her husband died and she was offered a good job in the city.
Henry is able to find a house in the same suburb as Mary, but the suburb is a collection of cul-de-sac streets, so any trip in the suburb is a twisted and winding affair through several streets. By accident Ernie finds out the house directly behind his new home is his Aunt Mary’s, and he has a good laugh at her not just climbing the fence, because she didn’t know this. Lee and Tom aren’t happy with the shift and leaving their friends behind, neither is Ernie, but he’s more resigned to it and he helps his siblings settle in.
In his first week at school he meets Melissa Watson and falls in love. Over the following months they both become devoted to each other as they grow in their love, but he has a dark secret which he’s keeping from her and his family. The next year they get engaged and plan to marry at the end of the year. A few months after they become engaged they’re at a bank when it’s held up. The large group of robbers decide to take Melissa and her sister, Emily, as sexual entertainment while hiding out. Ernie registers his objection by killing them. While doing this he’s mortally wounded and his dying wish is to marry Melissa, which he does because he has the papers on him and one of the local ministers is in the bank. Melissa becomes a wife and a widow within a few minutes.
In the flow on effects of his death his dark secret comes out, he was dying of cancer and he knew it. He kept it secret from all except his cousin Margaret because there was nothing the family could do except worry, and he didn’t want them to worry about something they couldn’t affect.
During his short time at the school Ernie and Melissa brought about many changes in the student population, and his death shocks their community. The manner of his death devastates the community, but knowing it was to protect Melissa makes it very understandable at the same time.
One of the biggest changes they made was the creation of a multi-year student school group with the aims of friendliness and improving themselves and the community. The group has a very strong sense of unity and ethics. It’s called The Cable Company, and this group sets out to continue in the way it was created by Ernie.
The Cable Company is the rally point for the community to come together and help Ernie’s extended family through this trying time, and to move on with life. It’s during this period Melissa lets it be known she’s pregnant with Ernie’s child and he has a lot of sperm in storage for later use. Plus she intends to use it as well as allowing Emily and others to use it to have his children.
His funeral becomes a celebration of his life and his aims. Life for everyone moves on, taking Melissa and Emily along with it, regardless of their wishes on the matter.
Following Ernie’s funeral all of the members of his family and the Cable Company have to move on with life and prepare for the exams. All are determined to prove his spirit is still with them when they study hard to show how well he’d inspired them. They all pass their exams well, and many improve their grades by very noticeable margins. After the end of year exams are over Melissa takes time out to be with Emily and other members of the Cable Company on a long holiday.
In the new year Melissa has her solicitor, Ernie’s old one, establish a non-profit charity: The Cable Foundation. Its charter is to raise funds for research and to distribute them to researchers based on a wide set of criteria. The main aim is to encourage requests from researchers who’re good and not likely to receive funding from the regular funding sources due to them being too much like Ernie; with poor qualifications, no connections, outside regular research areas, or areas others believe invalid and not seriously looked at, etc. They need to prove the research is serious and may provide useful results. She also has the solicitor establish a company to manage her wealth, it’s called EC Investments after Ernie. The company also accepts deposits from other investors for profitable investment in projects, most investments are for improvements to community services and improving the way of life for everyone.
The Cable Company continues and expands while it sets about making itself a more permanent and self-perpetuating group within the school community by recruiting from each year’s new students to pass on the attitudes and behaviours with which it started. They prove very able to do this. The newly built Cable Company Sports Stand helps in this as well, the stand was built as a donation from Ernie’s will.
Each year the Year Twelve students get involved in a community project of some sort. The project is decided as a group at the start of the year and fund raising or help activities are organised during the year. The year following Ernie’s death the Year Twelve students elect to raise funds for the Cable Foundation. The Cable Company helps with this as well.
One event that grows out of this is a special end of year fund raising dinner organised by the Cable Company, it’s called the Cable Company Charity Dinner Dance, with all of the proceeds from it going to the Cable Foundation. This becomes an annual event with many local people and businesses donating services to help run the event and reduce the costs. Within a few years all of the function costs are met by the many businesses making donations of services or individuals and businesses donating cash toward the costs of the dance. Much money is raised to be used in many areas of the foundation’s work.
In the new year Melissa enrols in a part-time university course on business and financial management. She only does part-time studies because she expects to need time to care for her child due near the middle of the year. Many people expected her to move back to live with her parents, but she stays in the attic at the Cable house. As she told Lucy, it was to be their home, and so it still is their home.
Melissa is invited to Canberra on Australia Day on Ernie’s behalf. Unbeknownst to her, and their families, Mr Mason, the minister who married them, had nominated Ernie for the Cross of Valour, an award to civilians for conspicuous courage that ranks with the Victoria Cross and the US Medal of Honor. The whole family travels to Canberra for the award; the Cables, Constables, Watsons, and many of the Cable Company - they need four coaches to carry everyone.
In late March of that year Melissa’s uncle in Queensland has a bad fall and he needs help to run the family farm, it’s been in the Watson family for over two hundred years. Mr Watson’s company is looking to reduce staff, so he takes a redundancy payment and moves north with his wife while Emily moves in with Melissa and the Cables. She didn’t want to leave Melissa or disrupt her Year Twelve studies in the middle of the year, and her parents agree to her staying. They both pay board to live in the attic together, living in their home - their spiritual home.
When Melissa’s son is born there’s a disagreement about naming the boy because most people want to name him Ernie. However, Melissa names him Peter because that’s the name Ernie had chosen as a boy’s name when they first learned she was pregnant. With Melissa, Emily, Lucy, Lee, Henry, Tom, Vanessa, and the many regular visitors from the Cable Company appearing in the attic Peter has a constant stream of carers who really care for him. All this help allows Melissa to get on with life without shorting the care for Peter.
During September Emily gets Melissa’s permission to use some of Ernie’s stored sperm to have a child, and she’s confirmed pregnant by late October. Both girls are happy with the news. Henry is surprised, but Lucy just nods her head, because it confirms what she’s always thought - theirs was a three-way marriage. The spare room in the attic is turned into a nursery for Peter and Emily’s expected child. Melissa and Emily already share Ernie’s old room.
Just before the end of year exams the Cable Company holds the first Cable Company Charity Dinner Dance to raise Cable Foundation funds. At the dance the company that negotiated the rights to continue Ernie’s research announce they’ve followed up on his planned line of research and found, as Ernie thought he would, a way to stop the cancer he was researching from growing. This is great news, and much appreciated by his family.
This isn’t a full cure, because it won’t make the faulty cells go away, but it’s a cure in it stops the formation of new cancer cells and the existing cells stop growing. People can halt the spread, no matter what the stage of infection. The notes Ernie left even suggests the cells may degenerate and be replaced by good cells over a long enough time, only time will tell. This is a vindication for his approach and line of research. The company did have thirty-two researchers involved and put in over thirty man years of work during the last twelve months to reach this point, so it’s doubtful Ernie would’ve gotten to this stage during his own lifetime. This is the culmination of one of Ernie’s aims, the curing of Lee’s cancer so she can lead a normal life. With tears streaming down her face Melissa thanks the company representative for the news and the vindication of Ernie’s life work. The dance is a joyous occasion because of this news.
During the year many of the Cable Company sign up to learn martial arts and the school develops a martial arts program within its sports classes. They soon have a good team attending competitions. Even Melissa, Emily, Vanessa, and Tom take up learning martial arts.
The following year Emily enrols in a course of part-time study in child care and psychology. In late June she gives birth to a daughter, Lucy Watson-Cable.
As the years pass on Melissa and Emily take turns having children while studying full-time, or part-time if expecting. They finish their degrees together, seven years after Ernie’s death. Between them they have five children, three boys and two girls, with Emily expecting again. Melissa has been in the work force since the day she inherited Ernie’s wealth because she’s had to oversee its use and management, which is why she did the course of study she chose. Now she can concentrate more on the new family business while Emily looks after the house and family.
The members of the original Cable Company who were seniors when Ernie died finish their university courses and enter the work force in a wide range of work from sports to politics to the arts.
Lee completes her studies and moves overseas following a work offer in her field of research, as does Lisa Simpson. When Henry gets offered another promotion he and Lucy move to Melbourne to take up the offer while Tom stays with Melissa and Emily, because he doesn’t want to change his university course or leave Vanessa. Melissa buys the Cable house and continues to live in the attic. Margaret, Nancy, Pearl, and Maggie also move away due to work offers. Mary Constable’s company has some cut backs when they’re taken over. So she accepts a good redundancy and turns her house into a boarding house for girls attending the university, taking in only three boarders - one for each of the bedrooms her daughters used to live in. They all make an effort to return for the Cable Company Charity Dinner Dance if they can, as well as any other Cable Company outings now organised during the year; one event every quarter to include all of the current and past members.
The Cable Company has a vote of internal and external members and decides to call the current active high-school membership the Company Board - its composition will change each year. The Company also elects a seven person organisational group they call the Board of Governors to plan the activities and to do Public Relations tasks, these can be current or past members.
Like the time and tide, life moves on and people continue to grow, graduate, and move into work while others grow and move to school. More people marry and more children are born as families grow. Life moves on for Melissa and Emily too.