"The Blessing House"
Previous Chapters... Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five

Chapter One

It had been going on for months. A moving truck arrives, happy people move in, and in no time, those same people hastily load up the truck and rush off, as if escaping a fire or some similar catastrophe.

Observing this continual spectacle, from behind seemingly closed blinds of their home just across from the Blessing House on Bramble Lane, were the Winnebeck sisters, Hannah and Cora. Since the Winnebeck house was slightly angled on its plot, the sisters had virtual unobstructed views of all the comings and goings in the neighborhood. The sisters were quite young when they lost their parents to an influenza epidemic that ravaged New England during the Depression Era. Hannah was left in charge of running the house, and therefore, the money.

Town legend has it that during World War II, Hannah had been courted by a dashing Army Air Corps pilot. Hannah was, well, homely, and already in her mid-twenties, and unaccustomed to receiving admirers, whereas Cora, a blossoming beauty, had her pick of beaux. Hannah was both thrilled and surprised when the handsome airman declared his honorable intentions by asking for her hand in marriage. Almost immediately after the engagement was announced in the Musgrove Gazette, the neighbors were shocked to see the brave war hero running for his life down Bramble Lane, and close on his heels were the Winnebeck sisters, charging, waving frying pans and shouting, "Scamp! Scoundrel! Rapscallion!" Our flying hero had made advances on Cora, and to his dismay, had to face the wrath of both sisters. Hannah never knew what prompted her to cut short her library visit that day, except to say that something made her return home just in time to witness the betrayal.

It was called the Blessing House. It stood on the corner of Main Street and Bramble Lane for more than a century. Records in the clerk’s office of the small town of Musgrove, Vermont, indicated that it was owned or handled by a Law Firm consisting of many names followed by the Latin phrase "et al," which meant that there were even more lawyers, but were not worthy to be mentioned by name. The Blessing House was in the state of an estate, the estate of one A. J. Blessing. At present the house was unoccupied, but that was not apparent to any folks passing by. The taxes were paid on time each year, and the grounds were in good order. To all appearances, the house was well tended. Nothing in its exterior demeanor revealed an empty house. It bore a sense of life, even though no one had lived in it since the death of Aidain Jonah Blessing in 1878. But, no one on Bramble Lane, or anyone else in Musgrove, had ever seen a housekeeper, a gardener, a window washer, a painter or handyman anywhere near the Blessing House. It was true that everyone was able to recite the dates and times when well-dressed men with brief cases talked with other well-dressed men and women on the stone walkway or the porch, nodding and shaking hands; and, it was front page news when the "For Rent-Inquire at Lewis Rogers" sign was hammered into the front lawn. There was no need for a telephone number on the sign, for everyone in Musgrove and the entire County knew Lewis Rogers. When the law firm of Whomever, Whatever and Nameless, et al requested the services of Rogers Realtor, Lewis was especially happy to find a suitable tenant for the lovely and mysterious Blessing House.

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