My dearest baby,
I don’t know yet if you are a boy or a girl, but I am writing this for you to read someday. I have been staying at Henry’s quaint little cottage on the mountain. He was clever when he built this little place. He tunneled into the side of the hill and made use of hay bales to shore up the hillside. The walls are thick and covered with many layers of clay and plaster. It is warm and cozy in the winter and cool on those hot summer days. On these pages, I will try to tell you all the reasons your father and I do what we do. We so long to see all those far away places we had read about as children. Your grandfather also grew up on this mountain but finds it too confining. There is a whole lot more to the world. We intend to see as much of it as possible.
I am growing to love you more and more with each passing day. You are growing rapidly and kicking me every time I lay down for a nap. Your Great Uncle Henry loves you a great deal already, but for some reason or other, he has never married. He almost did. She left him standing at the altar. He never recovered from the shock and heartbreak she caused him. She had met a travelling salesman and eloped with him hoping to see the world, but she didn’t. Unfortunately, she died in childbirth.
The sun was streaming in the window when Anna woke the next morning with the journal leaning against her chest. Anna wondered why it was so quiet this morning. Usually, the courtyard was buzzing with children wanting a story. Then there was the sound of the door opening and closing and voices below. Wondering what was happening Anna dressed and scurried down the ladder into the kitchen.
Laddie wagged his tail when he greeted her at the door. Great Uncle Henry was visiting with a middle aged man dressed in a pinstriped suit. Anna’s brow wrinkled as she approached.
“Good morning,” Great Uncle Henry said. “I want you to meet our family lawyer, Mr. Travis. There was a section in your Mother’s will that you wouldn’t have known about,” Great Uncle Henry motioned to a wooden chair. “Come join us.”
“Mamma’s will was easy to understand,” Anna answered as she brow wrinkled.
“She kept a separate will with the family lawyer,” Great Uncle Henry reached down to pat Laddie’s head with his gnarled fingers.
“Your grandparents purchased a cottage before theri last trip,” Mr. Travis opened his brown briefcase.
“Mamma never mentioned it,” Anna answered as she stood in the doorway.
“The cottage has been rented all these years with the money going into the estate. You inherit the cottage and the money,” Mr. Travis took out a legal document from his briefcase. “There is a substantial amount of money, over a million dollars.”
Anna realized she had been standing with her mouth open while they talked. “Fell asleep reading the old journals but hadn’t seen any mention of a cottage. At least not yet.”
“Your grandparents bought the cottage with the intention of one last trip and then settling down to raise your mother, but that wasn’t meant to happen. they left their young daughter in your great uncles’s care making him legal guardian just in case. ” Mr. Travis said.
Anna sat with a thump on the vacant chair not knowing what to think. It would appear that she was an heiress. Now what was she going to do? Anna thought about the emerald ring in the blue velvet case. Johnny, one of the teachers, had proposed to her before Mama passed away but she hadn’t given him an answer. Anna still didn’t know if she wanted to marry him. They wanted separate things. He wanted to see the world while Anna wanted to teach and eventually have a family. He tried to convince Anna that he would be all the family she needed. The sound of her great uncle and Mr. Travis talking brought her mind back to the present.