Charley’s Tale Part 26

Geneva joined them at an early dinner, their first as a family.  Since Ginny was so thoroughly bonded, it was easier to let Geneva feed her.  “Tomorrow we’re going to throw away those ragged overalls away and get you some decent clothes.”  Ellen told Charley.  “”We can’t have you running around looking like a little ragamuffin, can we?”

“No! Don’t throw my ragamuffin overalls away!  My overalls are good! Bessie gave ’em to me!  I don’t want decent clothes!” Charley protested.

“”Don’t dispute me, young lady.  Those overalls are going in the trash after your bath, tonight!”  Ellen announced coldly.  “Mother, I can’t believe you let my daughter wear hand-me-downs from Cousin Jean’s maid.  That’s humiliating.  I hope no one saw her!  What were you thinking?  Don’t you care about my feelings at all?”  Ellen was shouting at her mother now.  This was the mother Charley remembered and feared.    She burst out crying and ran to her grandmother.

“Ellen, I will not be spoken to this way.  I have cared for you children when you weren’t able to.  There is no shame in hand-me-downs.  Bessie was kind enough to share with us for which I am grateful.  I won’t have you treating Charley this way!”  Geneva was clearly furious as she tried to calm the crying children.

“Ellen, control yourself.  Miss Geneva has been a Godsend caring for the children these last months. You should be down on your knees thanking her for all she’s done!  You will NOT burn Charley’s overalls!”  He turned to Geneva.

“Miss Geneva, could I impose on you to keep the children?  I know I have already asked far to much, but Ellen and I have things to talk about.”  His wife’s eyes burned with rage at her husband’s words.

“That crazy bitch is not taking my baby, anywhere!  Give her to me!  You’re not stealing my baby again.”  She rushed at her mother, shoving Charley to the floor and scratching her mother’s face in the process.  “Give her to me! Give her to me!” Ellen was screaming now, trying to wrestle the terrified baby from Geneva.  Charles restrained his furious wife while Cora and Josie helped Geneva.

“Geneva, I am so ashamed and sorry.” He turned to his oldest son George. “George, please drive your grandmother and the girls home.  Michael, I need you to help me get your mother to her room.  Josie, Cora.  My apologies to you for my wife’s appalling behavior  She wouldn’t want you to see her like this if she were herself.”

Charles and his son Michael carried Ellen screaming to her room, where Charles sedated her.  He was devastated at the disaster his and Ellen’s lives had become.




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