(Heritage Time Travel Romance Series, Book 3)
A small excerpt...
As I signed in on the spiral tablet at the front entrance of the Keomah Genealogical Society, I braced for my performance with Margaret. I knew that she would be her cheerful, inquisitive self. I was not in the mood.
“Welcome, Torie, so happy to see you!” she said, rising from the front desk to greet me. “John is at the Wyman house in Fremont. He has a group of sixth-graders coming for a tour."
“Margaret, it’s nice to see you. I was just thinking of spending some time in your microfilm library. I am pondering a new story idea. You know me, always looking for new inspiration,” I smiled and tried to make it sincere.
“Well, you go right ahead and you let me know if you need anything at all. I will be right here if you have questions. I have received a lot of requests for information lately from people wanting to know about the towns of Agency and Craton. It continues to amaze me, the amount of folks who always reference Where Evil Lived. Even after more than two years it is still drawing folks from all over the country to get a look at the places you talked about in the story.”
“I hope that isn’t a bad thing,” I stated and wasn’t really sure if she considered it as such.
“Heavens no, Torie! The number of new members for the newsletter alone has made the goals for the society for the entire year and it's only April. It’s a blessing. Don’t you ever think otherwise,” she said, giving me a hug.
“Thank you, Margaret. I’ll let you get back at it.”
I walked into the microfilm room which was lined with heavy fireproof cabinets containing a century and a half of newspaper reels along one wall. The other walls were floor to ceiling full of census record books and obituary clippings that filled shelf upon shelf. There were family history books provided by different researchers and many books written by the Keomah members as well. Four beige rectangle Formica tables were combined and formed a large work table at the center of the room. I dropped my purse on the floor and set my laptop on one corner and pulled out my cord and plugged it in, on a power strip along the center of the work tables.
I took a seat at a table and opened my laptop, logging on to my family tree program. Even though I was in a library full of every kind of genealogy and history book you could imagine, I felt as if I was totally without any resources. None of the books or centuries worth of microfilms around me would hold the answers to make sense of my life. None would help me figure out how to bring my shattered family back together and make us whole.
My plan started out to spend the afternoon going through the oldest reels of microfilm and albums of documents for both Oskaloosa and the Fremont area, just skimming randomly. I didn’t have an agenda and wasn’t looking for anything in particular. I was just hoping that something would present itself which would relate to the experience I had lived as a woman named Mary back in old Fremont. I really didn’t have much faith that it would even be possible.
The time of the warp had seemed to be early, maybe as early as 1840 and there were no local newspapers back then. Still I gave it a good effort, until my eyes started to cross. The combination of tiny print and poor quality of the early documents were just impossible to read for any length of time. After an hour or so I had to give up on that quest and turned my attention to something less tedious. In the last newsletter, it had mentioned that they had received in another of the missing years of the Fremont Gazette, for the decade of the 1890’s. The entire year of 1898.
It turned out that one of the new owners of an old building in the historic downtown district of Oskaloosa had come across a forgotten stash of the newspapers, carefully preserved in bindery albums in an attic room. Of course it just seemed an obvious decision to give them to the local genealogical experts just down the road at Keomah. With the windfall of the Wyman house and other funding coming their way from many sources, the expensive process of converting the newspapers to microfilm had been completed in record time and were added to the library for all to enjoy.
I was scanning through a reel of microfilm, slowly cranking the pages through the reader, letting my eyes catch on the main headlines and stories. The headline for Thursday, June 9, 1898 didn’t interest me but a small story about halfway down the page caught my eye and caused me to suck in my breath and said out loud softly "Holy shit!"
Search Called off for the Missing Smith Girls
The search for eight-year-old Coyle and little six-year-old Lindy Smith, daughters of John and Margaret Smith, sadly, came to an end on Monday. Both girls have been missing for more than two weeks and the many searchers and hunting dogs who combed miles of fields and creek-beds, failed to locate any trace of the sisters. The parents are continuing the search, however it is feared that the girls may have met with foul-play at the hands of a vagrant drifter, some accident or possibly made their way to the swollen and fast moving south Skunk River just northeast of town. It is not believed the girls would have run away from home.
That was it. Just one paragraph about the girls I had dreamed about the night before we had left for our wedding celebration in Las Vegas nearly four years ago. It had been a time warp! I searched the previous two weeks and the following week and several weeks after but found no other mention of the girls.