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5th Chapter

A Novel Idea - a Soap

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Cruise Ship

Chapter 5

 

The Monday after the wedding back in the library everyone was talking about how much of a success the wedding had been and how, everyone had a great time.  Especially Tiffany’s kids, everyone had made such a fuss of them.

 

After such an exciting weekend it seemed like such a let down having to go back to work.  But if they didn’t then no one would be able to get any research done. You never know when the next great discovery of something world changing could be found.  Mildred and Errol had organised for the following weekend to have a BBQ at her house to share the photos everyone had taken.

 

Tiffany and Mitchell had decided not to have a professional photographer, they decided it would be more fun and interesting to have everyone who came take their own photos of the event, and then swap them.  Mitchell had arranged with one of the IT guys to have a web site available for the publishing of the photos and contact details so that if you found a photo you did not have and wanted you could contact the person who took it and order a copy.

 

But before then there was the usual, meetings with Mr Bigell and the various heads of sections.  Boy could they do without them, nothing seemed to get achieved.  There always had to be someone who had more questions and instigated more work parties to discuss matters that could easily be resolved within their own sections.

 

Just as Mildred was heading off for one of the many meetings she was having that week Tiffany’s phone rang, Eric who was one of the Part timer that had come in to help out while Tiffany was away was in the middle of serving a client.  So Mildred answered the call.

 

“Hello, Tiffany’s phone, Mildred speaking”

 

“Hello, this is Captain Martin Yates from the Wattle Grange Police department, is Tiffany there please”

 

Captain Yates had Known Tiffany for a number of years since the incident with a fellow worker who had been harassing and stalking her.  They had become quite good friends, he even helped out when Tiffany’s husband had been killed.

 

“No, Sorry Captain, she was married on the weekend, can I help in anyway.”

 

“Oh, do you have any idea where they were going?” He asked with some urgency

 

“Sorry Captain, her husband Professor Hills has kept it a big secret to surprise her.  What’s wrong?”

 

“I’m afraid I have bad news Walter Milling was accidentally released from the psychiatric hospital after assuming the identity of another in-mate.  I really need to contact Tiffany, do you know what travel agency Professor Hills uses.?”

 

“Oh no!  you must be joking…His secretary may have details of which agency he uses ill get you the extension number.”  Mildred was starting to panic, but was relieved that Tiffany was away already and would not have to worry about this yet.

 

Just then Mildred noticed someone lurking in the shelves just outside of her area.  She managed to get a good glimpse of the person.  It was Walter.

 

“Ah, Captain, he is here now”  she whispered.

 

“You mean Walter ?” the Captain queried

 

“Yes, “  at the same time she answered she pushed the security button that was installed under the desk.

 

Ill be down as fast as I can, ill get the number off you then.”  Said the Captain, he then hung up and raced ot the door as fast as he could.  Walter had become quite dangerous and he was very worried about the rest of the staff in the library.

 

Security was only one floor down so they were there very quickly, Mildred explained to the officer what had happened, and he checked the floor and arranged the search of the whole building.  Captain Yates arrived some 15 minutes later.  He and the Security officer headed off to discuss what should be done and to check the security camera tapes for clues as to if still in the building or if he had left.

 

****

 

The rest of the week rolled past quite quickly, without any further sightings of Walter. It appeared had left the building according to the security camera not long after Mildred had talked to Captain Yates.  The Captain had notified Tiffany’s parents and asked if they heard from her to get her to contact the police station and talk the Captain.

 

The rest of the week went pretty much as usual with clients borrowing books returning books and meetings, endless meetings. 

 

The only thing of great significance that occurred was a major donation of manuscript material from an eminent author.  Dr Albert T. Wallford-Millington was in his late 80’s and very distinguished looking, always impeccably dressed, he was short of stature, partly balding and rather portly.  He had grown up in Wattle Grange and attended the University there as a student, and then went on to teach for several years until he gave up work to concentrate on his publications and novels.

 

Mildred had liked him, he was always very interesting to talk to, he had travelled extensively for research into his books and publications, he had retired 20 years earlier, and had over 60 years work of writing and publication manuscripts.  He did not want to loose them and his family would just have thrown them out, but he was always being sort out for comments on his writings and life story.  So it occurred to him that he should preserve his works and had approached the Library as to if they wanted them.  He was assured yes they did most definitely.

 

Dr Wallford-Millington had bought in the first of the boxed, thirty in this instalment and informed Mildred that there were another 230 more to come. Which were to be delivered 30 boxes at a time every month.  When Rupert had designed the area he had allowed for a 100 year growth of materials so there was plenty of space to store thing.  That would keep them busy for the next year or more.  They had to be sorted into relevant materials, personal letters, letters from and to publishers etc.. Very time consuming, fortunately both Mildred and Tiffany were well experienced in this work, and Joelle always was happy to lend a hand at any time.  They all enjoyed His works so this would be a double pleasure.

 

***

 

The weekend came along and everyone had gathered at Mildred’s place each person bring a salad or desert so that Mildred would not have to do all the work.  It was also Mildred’s birthday so it was a double celebration.  The sat for over 3 hours going through the wedding photos they had taken.  Eaten until they felt they would explode. Mildred’s parents were not going to be there, as they were returning from their vacation and would not get in until later that afternoon.  They were having a family dinner for her on the Sunday

 

Errol and Josh brought one of Josh’s most fabulous strawberry and chocolate cakes.  That went down a treat.  Mildred had received a post card from Tiffany and Mitchell and it sounded like they were having such a fabulous time.  Mitchell had taken her on a cruise of the Pacific islands.  They had already been to Fiji, Tonga, from the post card sent and were off to Tonga, Samoa and Hawaii next.  They were expected back in two and a half weeks.  Along with the post card they sent was a lovely Fijian Dress and Tongan necklace as a birthday gift from the Honeymooners.

 

Everyone was relieved that they were unaware of What had happened with Walter, as yet no one was aware that he had even gone to the wedding and reception.  How he managed to get in without an invitation was a mystery.  They would not find this out until much later.  So for now Walter was still on the loose and being searched out by the police.

 

Rupert had bought Mildred some new fish to replace the two that her cat had killed earlier on.  Errol and Josh had bought her a new fish tank that had a very secure hinged lid so that nothing could get to them.  Alas several weeks after the incident Ruffle’s had to be taken to the vet as some fish bone had become lodged her gullet.  Herbert’s the fish got his revenge.  Ruffles had been a very sore and sorry cat for a number of weeks.

 

Mildred had also received lots of other nice things from all her friends.  They all enjoyed a wonderful day, it had turned out to be nice and sunny, not too hot and not too cold.

 

After most of the guests left, Josh and Errol helped clear up.

 

 “Oh guess what?” exclaimed Errol.  “I found out some information on my adoption.  My parents were able to find out some details from the agency.  I have an appointment on Thursday afternoon to see them.  Hopefully they will be able to give me some information on my adoption.”

 

Mildred was so excited for him “Hey that is fabulous!  I sure hope they can help.  Do let me know what happens.”

 

“I sure will, now lets get this mess cleared up.” Chirped Josh.

 

Just as everyone was leaving the phone rang. So she excused herself and went out the back to answer it.

 

When she came back, Josh noticed that she was looking pale.

 

“What’s the matter honey” enquired Josh “You look like you have seen a ghost?”

 

“Its Mum and Dad!” Mildred replied as he sat down heavily on the sofa.  “They were in a car accident on their way home from the airport, and are in the hospital”.

 

“Come on ill get you there straight away”  Josh explained to the few who were left and rushed Mildred out to the car.

 

***

On arrival at the hospital he reported to the nurse on duty at the admissions desk.  She called someone to take them to the surgical waiting area as both her parents were in surgery.  They explained what was being done and that there would be someone come out as soon as they could to give them more details.

 

It seemed like an eternity before someone turned up, the chief surgeon who had been operating on his mother sat down next to him.  Professor Suellen Murphy was a very thin, caring looking woman.  She took her hand and explained the injuries that her mother had sustained.  And explained she was in very serious condition.  They did not hold out much hope.  They were still waiting fro news of her fathers condition from his doctor.  A nurse was summoned to take her into the Intensive Care Unit so he could be with her.  They explained about all the tubes and buttons and noises.

 

Mildred was in too much shock he held him mothers and sobbed.

 

It seemed like a long time before another nurse came and said that her Fathers Doctor, Dr Hector Alonzo,  wanted a word with her.  He gave her a cup of coffee and began

 

“Miss Mansaw im sorry to say that your fathers injuries were just too severer we did everything we could within our power but unfortunately he died 10 minutes ago on the table.”

 

She collapsed into his arms in a faint.

 

***

 

The following week everyone gathered for the funeral of Mildred’s father, there were at least five hundred mourners there.  Her mother was still in a critical condition in the Intensive care unit, but was reasonably stable.  After the service and cremation Mildred scattered her fathers ashes at the beach where they all loved to go for holidays.  He had been a Marine biologist in his working days, so it seemed appropriate for him to be forever at peace in the environment he loved.

 

***

 

Mildred had taken 2 weeks compassionate leave from work, each day she sat for hours with her mother.

Hoping, she would awaken.  Mildred had to return to work as there was so much to do.  Dr Wallford-Millington’s manuscripts to start sorting and arranging the cataloguing of them.  That was going to be a task and a half.  But its best to keep busy and the hospital had her work and home number if there was any change in her mother’s condition.

 

On arrival at work, Joelle was there and gave her a hug of support.  “Now if you need anything you must let me know”  she said sternly, knowing full well that Mildred was one who never asked for help, but was always the first to offer it.

 

“Thanks Jo” Mildred was so thankful to have such a wonderful friend as Joelle.

 

The went off to have their usual coffee and cake from Hilda and Marge, both ladies were very sorry to hear that Mildred had suffered such a tragic loss on her birthday.

 

“Here you go love, its on Hil and Me.”  Marge said as she handed Mildred some chocolate cake and a cappuccino “Nothing like a nice sticky chocolate cake to lift your spirits”

 

“Thanks ladies, and thanks for coming to the funeral”  Mildred smiled thinking what nice people she was surrounded by.

 

Joelle and Mildred sat in their usual seat, not saying much, just absorbing the sun and watching the daily activity that was going on around them.

 

When finished Joelle headed off the Postgraduate Research area she was assigned there for the day, unfortunately it meant she would have to put up with T.J.  “Oh well beggars cant be choosers “  she thought to herself.

 

Mildred headed back to her office to get a start on the box of manuscripts that were waiting. 

 

“Now where to start” she thought out loud.

 

Just then Shannon from Personnel walled in with someone.

 

“Hi Mildred this is Dickson Hemming, he has been employed to help you with the Wallford-Millington collection”  Shannon informed Mildred that due to the large amount of work and with her recent tragedy Mr Bigell had decided to employ someone to help out.  There had also been notice that several other large donations of material was also being delivered in the next 6 months.  So they had appointed a fulltime Archivist to assist Mildred.

 

“Hello, Dickson it is nice to meet you”  Mildred extended her hand in welcome.

 

Dickson shook hands with her and smiled, he was rather shy, “Thanks, where would you like me to start”

 

Shannon informed them that a new desk was being brought in for him, so for the time being Mildred said he could use Tiffanies til it arrived back.

 

“Dickson has worked for 15 years in the National Archives and the National Gallery, so he is very experienced with this type of work, which should be a huge help for you.”  Shannon commented as she bid them a good day and left.

 

“Have you been given a tour of the library yet” asked Mildred.

 

“Only parts of it Shannon gave me a map so Ill have a sticky beak a little later”

 

Mildred gave him a thorough tour of the Special collections they had in her department, and recommended the Staff café for lunches etc.. Then they set to work, they each took a box to see what type of material was in it.  They set up some trays and as they found specific types of documents they labelled a new tray.  Personal letters to or from family and famous people or other authors, letters to and from publishers, Research notes, drafts of books.  The list went on.  Some of the papers were in good condition, and others were on old fax paper that would need to be copied as it had started to fade and would be gone in a few more years.

By lunch time they had made a good start and got through 2 boxes each.  The boxes were dusty and some even had cobwebs clinging to them. 

 

“You know it is amazing what you can find in a dusty cobweb covered box.”  Mildred said light heartedly.  Dickson just smiled his acknowledgment

 

She always enjoyed this task as it told you so much about a person.  Some were Dull others had such interesting lives.

 

***

 

Errol had made an appointment with Joelle to help him with his search for his birth parents.  He had early in his life been told that he was adopted.  And it has been something that he has always wanted to know, who he looked like and what his heritage was.

 

His parents had given him his adoption certificate, so the search could begin.  Armed with as much information as his parents had.  Which as only the name of the Solicitor they had dealt with, they were never given the copy of the birth certificate.  Which would have helped a lot.  Joelle knew of several web sites that would help them track the information down.  First she tried to locate any information on the agency name that was attached to the certificate. 

 

The only thing that came up was the name of the owners of the agency and an email address, a Postal address and phone number.  Their web page was under construction.  So they sent off an email to see what would happen.

 

Several days later they got a reply, the pre 1970 adoptions were in their warehouse.  And it would take several days to locate the information.  Errol had to send a hand writing request, and also authorisation from his adoptive parents to indicate they had no objection to the information being retrieved.

 

The agency then had to contact the birth parents and obtain their permission too.  They were warned it could take several months.  So all they could do was wait.

 

***

 

Mildred’s mother seemed to be making some improvement.  She was still in the ICU but had regained consciousness.  So that had been a huge load off Mildred’s shoulders.  Dickson was an excellent worker, he had things running smoothly with the Dr Wallford-Millington’s manuscripts.  With all Dickson’s experience in Archival material it was a blessing to be able to leave him with things and then she could concentrate on the other things.

 

***

 

Tiffany returned from her Holiday all refreshed and looking very happy.  She and Mitchell had picked the kids up 2 days after they got back.  They wanted to have all their things settled into the new home they had just bought a month before they headed off on the honeymoon.  Mitchell and Tiffany’s parents had organised for the moving of the things from their old places into the new home.  They originally were going to move into Mitch’s place but then decided that a fresh start would be a good thing.  No old memories to linger.

 

The kids had a huge hand in selecting the place they would buy,  it had 6 bedrooms two bathrooms and a huge back yard with a pool in it. 

No one had told them of the drama that had unfolded while they were away.  So now that they were settled in Tiffany’s mother took her aside and explained about Walters escape. 

 

“You don’t think he was at the wedding do you?”  asked a very concerned Tiffany.

 

“I doubt it dear” her mother tried to reassure her.  “Just get in touch with that nice Captain Yates and he will fill you in on anything new that comes to hand.”

 

***

 

Early the following Monday morning Tiffany turned up to work to find Dickson busy sorting through the boxes of manuscripts.

 

“Hello, you must be Tiffany, Im Dickson Hemming”  Dickson greeted her shyly “Congratulations on your recent wedding, Ive recently been employed to help with the new manuscript donations that we have just received.  Mildred said she will fill you in when she gets in.”

 

“Thanks Its nice to meet you.” She responded.  “How have you been enjoying working here?”

 

“Oh this is such a nice friendly place, although I am not too impressed with someone called T.J.”

 

“No one is”  Tiffany rolled her eyes.

 

Just them Mildred walked in.  “Welcome Back Mrs Hills”  She said with a big smile on her face “So how was the honeymoon, oh by the way thanks for the postcards and the lovely birthday gift you sent.”

 

“Honeymoon was great, we had such a good time, then when I got home it was spoiled, mother told me of Walters escape..” 

 

“Yes we saw him here briefly”

 

They finished catching up on the gossip from the library and everything else, Tiffany had an appointment with Captain Yates at 4pm.  She and Mitch were going to discuss safety and other precautions in the event he did show up.

 

***

 

The months past with little excitement, the library functioned as normal.  There was no sight of Walter, which everyone was happy about.  Security had kept a close eye on the security tapes to see if anything showed up, but fortunately nothing did.

 

Mildred was sitting in her office, when she received a very excited phone call from Errol.

 

“Mil you will never guess in a million years!” he blurted down the phone.

 

“What is it Errol you sound like you just won the lottery.” Mildred tried to sooth him.

 

“I just heard from the adoption agency, and they have contacted my birth mother and she wants to meet me.”  He could hardly get his words out quick enough.

 

“Hey that is great, when do you see her,  where is she?”

“She is in New York she is an artist there.  They said she was coming here for an art exhibit at the gallery down town and that she would contact me here.”

 

“Now that is something to look forward to.  Say it’s not that Hattie Marsden who they have been advertising is it?”  Mildred was so happy for him.  For years he had wanted to contact her and find out all about who she was and who he was.  Connected to.

 

“It is, and I love her art work, Josh and I have several on our wall had home, do you remember the ones in our bedroom and the living room, well those are hers..”

 

Mildred remembered them, they evoked a sense of security and peace. 

 

“Well I look forward to meeting her.”

 

They continued chatting for a short while, then Errol had to rush off to teach a class of first year students.  Mildred had a meeting with Dickson, Tiffany and Mr Augustus Gilbert, the grandson of Dr Wallford-Millington’s.  Who, she had just been informed late yesterday afternoon, had passed away in his sleep.

 

Mr Gilbert had been appointed Executor of the Will, he was wanting to make arrangements for the shipment of the rest of the manuscript collection of his late Grandfather.  He had been hoping it would be done a little quicker than was originally planned.  This was due to the Gilberts and other family of  Dr Wallford-Millington not having any space available for his collections.  There was also talk of his rather substantial private book collection being donated to the library as well in his memory.

 

***

 

Several weeks later, Mildred, Tiffany and Dickson along with several assistance were invited to go to Dr Wallford-Millington’s former residence to check through his book collection and other things in relation to his writings.  He had also been very interested in Art collection and art history, and had an excellent collection of art pieces as well as numerous books from the early 1500’s through to the late 1800’s.  All of these were of great interest to Mildred and Dickson.  They were told which books and pieces of art the family wanted to keep, the rest were to be donated to the library to be placed in a special Wallford-Millington collection.  This was going to be housed in the special collection, under Mildred’s care.

 

They had several other casual staff to assist them, it took them 3 days to go through the house and pack everything up carefully for transportation to the library.  Amongst some of the art work were pieces by Hattie Marsden, who Mildred had remembered Errol had said was his birth mother.

 

“Hey look at this” Mildred pointed out to the others.  This is the artist that is Errol’s birth mother, ill have to make a point of showing them to him.

 

The pieces were of a family pick nick by a river that looked like it could be the one in the neighbouring town only 4 hours away.

 

They collected everything and headed off to the library to start planning the storage and cataloguing of the collection.  It was going to be a huge task.  One which Dickson was relishing.

 

 

©Colleen Hunter 2004

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