As some of you may know the past year has been less than stellar for our family. In fact, it was a very difficult time. I could go into detail, but I prefer not. Because in August I had a birthday marking the beginning of a new year for me. I turned sixty-eight. I know. It’s hard to believe. I don’t look a day over sixty-seven. But I am and since then things are looking up. I’ve had a reunion and I’m looking forward to a book launch, and my son’s wedding in March!
Just last weekend I attended the 50th reunion of Regina High School Class of 1967. Regina was a small all-girls Catholic school in Hyattsville, Maryland, now defunct. But back in the day it was a good place to be. It was our extended family. And I am so lucky that I’m still close to my best friends from that time.
And that time was a bit different from today. We wore saddle shoes and brown woolen uniforms causing the school to smell like a large wet dog on rainy days. Slacks were forbidden and skirts were supposed to touch the floor when kneeling. There was actually a smoking lounge for seniors. But the basics were the same. We went to class, complained about our uniforms, cried over boys, and worried about exams.
The reunion was a lovely event. An excellent turn out of thirty-one attendees out of a class of one hundred and three. We all looked fabulous! And, magically, we were all still friends. It was a warm and intimate weekend and, sadly, it was probably the last time we’ll have such a party. After all, we are in our 69th year. And we have already lost quite a few. So, I will treasure the memory for as long as my memory holds out.
Now for a little shameless promotion – Upcoming Events. November 4th, 1 p.m. join me for a Mystery Author Extravaganza at the Howard County Library in Ellicott City or for a Sisters in Crime author panel on November 12th at 2 p.m. at the Crofton Library in Crofton.
And my newest Daisy&Rose mystery, Pushing Up Daisies, is being released December 15th. It’s available for pre-order and just to whet your appetite, I’m including a little glimpse into the Forrest ladies’ new adventure. I hope you will enjoy.
An excerpt from Pushing Up Daisies
Rose handed her a large martini glass filled with a dark purple mixture.
Daisy grabbed the glass and downed half of it. She threw herself into a chair, decorating her sweater with a good bit of the drink, and gulped what was left. “Do you have any more of this stuff?”
“That good, hmm?” As she refilled Daisy’s glass, Rose took a good look at her sister. “Daisy, what’s the matter? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Daisy squeezed her eyes shut and grabbed her short blond curls with both hands.
“Daisy, what in God’s name is wrong? Did you have an accident?”
“I saw one.”
“You saw an accident? Was someone hurt?”
Daisy opened her eyes. “A ghost.”
“A ghost was hurt? What are you talking about?”
“I saw a ghost.”
“You did not see a ghost.”
“I did too. So did Malcolm and Percy.”
“There are no such things as ghosts.”
“Yes, there are. And we have just seen one.” She took a sip out of her newly filled glass. Her voice sank to a whisper. “It was so weird. We’d dropped Mother off at the airport and I decided to take the back roads home. We were on Laurel Road coming up to Holly Hill Mansion. It looked so beautiful in the distance, glowing in the moonlight. I was thinking how much I liked being a docent there and of how much we still had to do to get ready for our Gothic Evening when a huge ball of fog rolled right across the road. Kind of like a bale of hay, only it was fog.”
“Daisy, there’s no fog tonight. It’s crystal clear outside.”
“Well, there was fog on Laurel Road. The dogs started howling when an even bigger bale of the stuff rolled out of the woods. I couldn’t see the road. It was freaky. I had to pull over onto the grass. Then the dogs shut up in mid-howl and started climbing onto my head.
“We sat there in this eerie muffled silence until the fog rolled away.” Daisy thought a moment. “Well, it might have been muffled because the dogs were covering my ears. Anyway, it was so spooky I just wanted to get out of there. When the fog cleared a little I got the mutts back in their seat, gripped the wheel, and edged the car back onto the road. And there she was. I almost hit her!”
“Sophia Amelia Meade Long. She was all wreathed in mist, standing right in front of the car looking at me.”
A deep voice asked, “Who?”
Daisy jumped about six inches, completing the sweater decoration. “What the …? Peter, I didn’t see you there.”
Peter Fleming, Rose’s handsome friend, had been sitting quietly in the corner of the room. “Sorry I startled you, but who is this Sophia Amelia whatever?”
“Peter, don’t encourage her.” Rose got a napkin and mopped up a bit of Spooky Juice from the floor.
“Well, she clearly saw something that frightened her. Why not a ghost? Who is this woman, or I guess I should say, was this woman?”
Rose snapped, “There was no woman. She probably saw a tree.”
“I think even Daisy can tell the difference between a woman and a tree.”
Daisy pointed at herself and shouted, “Hey! Right here. And I did not see a tree.” She puffed out a sigh. “Just what the heck did you mean ‘even Daisy’?”
“Sorry. Bad choice of words. I meant, of course Daisy can tell the difference.”
Daisy gave him a look. “Hmm, mmm. I’ll bet. Well, Sophia Long is the woman who bought Holly Hill Mansion in 1790 and I saw her standing in front of my car not an hour ago. So either it was her ghost or she’s looking incredibly good for being two hundred-some years old!”
When I was invited to my high school’s 30th reunion, I explained that I couldn’t attend because I was living in Hanoi. But what I didn’t say was that if they didn’t like me then, why would they suddenly like me now? But as that 40th reunion grows close, I might be a bit less crotchety this time. I do live in the same country now. We’ll see.
Maybe you should give it a try. You may meet some very interesting people or you might find that your youthful impressions were right on the money!