The Kimball

Chapter Two

So here I was near the top of this old wooden staircase, looking for a rat hole so I could somehow block it off, and my hunky, muscled boyfriend was coming up the stairs to join me so we could maybe push up this very heavy trap door that supposedly led to the roof of the building we lived in, and worked in, as we completed our senior year of college.

Chris rubbed the top of my head as he took a closer look at the hatch and then asked me to put the flashlight, I was carrying in my pants pocket so we could both use our hands to push up on the rather large rectangular hatch above us. We both pushed up on the hatch that was made to blend in with the ceiling at the top of this staircase that looked to us as it had been added sometime in the last half century, because all the other staircases in the entire building were steel ones, all fireproof ones, which was why these rear staircases were designated fire escapes. We both pushed up and after two inches at our end of the rectangular hatch, the whole thing swung up and off our hands and we could hear the squeaking of some very old springs as the hatch kept rising above and behind us, revealing an enclosed space, a room, above us.

The above space wasn't in total darkness, it did seem a bit gloomy, but there also was no rush of cold winter air greeting us as we still stood there near the top of the staircase. We shared a look and then we both walked up the final couple of steps and we entered the space above us, the flashlight now back in my hand. Instead of being outside on the roof we were in a room, about 12 by 12 feet, with large windows on three sides, the fourth side being a wall with a wide door in the middle. The views out of the three walls with windows was of the city laid out before us, and closer in there was what looked like a patio that wrapped around three sides of the room, raised planters with shrubs in them separating the patio area from the rest of the huge flat roof. The views were great. There were no taller buildings near the Kimball, they were several blocks further south in the middle of the downtown area.

While Chris was taking in the view from this room, I moved to the only door from the room and turned the doorknob, only to find that the door was not locked as I had suspected, and I braced myself for a blast of cold air, expecting to step out on the rooftop on this very cold December day. What did happen was as I opened the door a current of warm air washed over me and I gasped at what was revealed in front of me. Chris turned at my gasp and he was by my side as we both stepped into what was revealed to us, a fully enclosed (and heated) very wide hallway, about ten or eleven feet wide, that also had several windows on two sides, before this room led us to other rooms, some outfitted like offices, and some like living spaces, there were two restrooms, one had 'LADIES' on it and one had 'GENTLEMEN' on their doors, there was a kitchen with a large table and chairs in it, everything looking about forty or fifty years old. The larger office type rooms all had windows and French doors that allowed us to look out over most of the city, and access to the outdoor patio that surrounded this structure. The room set up like a Living Room was also furnished and the couches and chairs, tables and lamps were all from a vintage era like the kitchen had appeared. All together we counted seven rooms up here.

Chris went back to the kitchen and turned on the faucet in the sink and after several spurts of air out the spout, water flowed out. We stood together in one of the office spaces, each space having four desks in them, and we wondered aloud what this whole area had once been, and by rummaging through a couple of the desks we found out. This rooftop space was once the home of a well-known insurance company in the area, a company started by the original owners of the entire building. The company had moved when the original hotel had been sold and was now headquartered on a road on the outskirts of the city and was now a huge conglomerate that serviced the whole nation. This had been its first office. Chris and I were totally blown away by this whole space and we spent another hour just exploring. I finally found where the partial hole opened into, the hole our rodent friend had run into down below. There was a storage room near the entry and there we found evidence of several squirrels living in this one room.

There was heat up here and running water, but we felt like we were the first people to be up here in decades. Chris pointed out that seeing this space with all the furnishings explained why that hatch was so big. That must have been how all the furnishings were brought up here, as there certainly was no elevator up to this space, which just proved that this whole structure was not part of the original construction of the original hotel, in fact, the elevator shafts were on the other side of the building, which meant that the former employees of the original insurance company that was started here, had to take the elevators up to the eighth floor of the main building and walk two halls to this end of the building at the end of one of the U arms and climb up that wooden staircase to enter this space on the roof of the building. I couldn't wait to tell Ted about another bonus space I had found for him.

Chris and I were a little excited about our discovery…….well I admit, we were a lot excited about finding this space up here. We were so enthralled that we spent some time in that 'Living Room' area, the room at the end that had windows and French doors on three sides and we enjoyed the views and then the beginning of the sunset to the west of the city as the mountain tops glowed almost orange as the sun sank to the horizon. We got a bit carried away, but we teased that this had probably been the first time in fifty years this plush room had had two loads of cum spilt in it. Not that our loads were wasted, we each enjoyed each other's and didn't waste a drop!

Once back downstairs and our laundry collected, we went to our condo and jointly fixed dinner. We really were a good team and not only that, we truly enjoyed our time together. It was time for studying after dinner usually, but we were on our school's winter break, so I placed a call to Ted at his establishment in Agawam and asked if he had planned to be over here at the Kimball the next day. He told me that he hadn't planned on it, but if I thought he should he could be here in the morning for a short time, as he and the rest of the staff were gearing up for the New Year's celebration in two days, as were the staff downstairs in the pub and the restaurant as Chris and I knew, but if I felt it was important he meet us about ten in the morning, should we meet downstairs, or should he come up to our condo? I told him the condo would be better, and not to worry, it was a good surprise.

The next morning was one of our days off and if it wasn't for Ted coming over to see what our surprise was, well, we most likely would have either still been in bed, or just getting cleaned up after getting messy in bed. What we had been doing was showering and dressing and getting a pot of coffee ready and all before 9:30 AM on our day off, not too shabby for a couple of college students with part time jobs.

Chris answered the door when Ted rang our bell and he sat and had a coffee with us as he explained what we would be doing for him on New Year's Eve. He wanted me to be the cashier for the restaurant and the pub, but because of my vantage point out in the lower lobby I would have the first glimpse of the patrons coming in off the street and if there was either a single or a group that appeared intoxicated, I was to call him in the restaurant's office right away. He told us that he wanted Chris to be available to help in both rooms. He wanted him to do a walking patrol through the pub and also through the big dining room, so he'd appreciate it if Chris would wear a suit or at least a nice pair of trousers and a sport coat and tie. He wanted him to look like he belonged and to be observant, he didn't want revelers to go in the elevators and create problems for the residents. Chris would be carrying a walkie- talkie with him all night.

When he had imparted these requests, which we agreed to, we three finished our coffee and went to the end of our hallway to the rear fire-escape. After closing the fire door behind us Chris and I went up the wooden staircase with our flashlights in our pockets and pushed up on the trap door in the ceiling. Ted called up to us from the landing that if we were going out on the roof maybe we should go back and get our winter coats, but Chris and I chuckled and told him we wouldn't need them. We went up into the vestibule entry and called for Ted to join us. Now Ted is a big man, built like a football linebacker and around 40 years old, but he was intrigued by what we were going to show him and he just about ran up that old wooden staircase like a kid about to get a big treat.

A big treat he got. He was fascinated by the vestibule like we had been, but for the very first time since I'd known him, he was speechless when I opened the door into the once insurance company office. He wandered around the well-lit offices, the restrooms, the kitchen, and then that living room space at the end. He walked to the windows and French doors to gaze out over the city and looked over the surrounding patio and the planters all around these rooms.

He finally sat in one of the upholstered armchairs in that Livingroom and just said, 'Holy Shit, what is this place, and how did you find it?' So we told him about our chasing the squirrel yesterday and how I had banged my head on the ceiling, but it turned out to be the trap door, and how we had found old stationary and forms in one of the desks and that this was once the first offices of First Mutual Insurance of Springfield, founded in the 20s by Mr. Kimball, the original owner of the hotel.

Ted then asked how we got the heating working and we told him that we didn't, that even the water was still turned on from back in the forties or fifties when the insurance company moved to their present location and became a national insurance company, not just a local insurance provider. Chris asked what would become of the place, with its awkward entry from the interior fire escape stairwell, and Ted just sat there and said he couldn't think of anything right off the bat, but if we thought of something to let him know.

I spoke up then and asked him if his purchase of the entire building had gone through yet and he told us that the day after Christmas he had signed all the papers and the next day, yesterday, the deed had been transferred to his name, so yes, he was now the owner of the building, and this previously unknown space up here. I looked at Chris and he nodded to me, so I went ahead and told Ted what Chris and I had talked about after our evening's entertainment. I offered him twenty thousand cash for this space. What we wanted to do was turn it into a penthouse suite for ourselves. We could work on it in our spare time and we each had a relative who were licensed electricians and plumbers. We would still rent the condo on the 8th floor until we had the renovations completed up here.

He told us that that just might be doable, and that we'd given him something to think about and he'd get back to us after he had talked this all over with his wife and we'd all gotten through the upcoming holiday in two day's time. He made no promises, but told us that he couldn't think of two more deserving people for this space up here.

New Year's Eve was something else again. Chris looked fantastic in his black suit. With his big muscular build, the suit almost looked spray painted on him. His mostly Celtic good looks kept catching my eye all night as he patrolled the pub, the lower lobby just beyond my cashier's booth, and the big restaurant. Ted, his wife, and the restaurant hostess all kept an eye out as well. Ted's wife, Irma, brought her mother-in-law down for dinner about 7 PM and they and Ted invited Chris and me to dine with them. A little over an hour later we were all back at our posts (not that I wasn't interrupted several times to allow a customer to get their bill paid, or reservations for a later date recorded). When I returned to my booth, Celeste, Ted's mother, joined me in the booth. She sat on a dining room chair we had brought in for Chris so he could stop during his patrol to 'visit' me on this festive night.

Celeste seemed to thrive on all the activity that night. She was delightful company and when Chris did stop by, she would either engage him in conversation, or take herself off to the ladie's room just behind the booth. She told me that she had been told all about my latest discovery, and she told me that very early in her marriage she remembered being in that insurance office as she and her husband had their business and personal insurance from Mr. Kimball's new company. She told me that that large 'Living Room' space had been treated just like a home Living Room. Clients that showed up at the office were shown to that room and interviewed there, often they would never enter one of the offices, it was a space to make the client feel at home, well as much as they could feel at home on the roof of what was then the tallest structure in the city.

She then let something slip, unintentionally, when she told me that she'd love to see that room and the views again, and after Chris and I had the key to the place next week, could we stop at her condo (Chris' old place) and pick her up and take her upstairs to see it again? I told her we'd love to do that, and then she could come and see it again after we had it turned into our new home. I didn't say anything to Chris about that just then, I waited until after our shower after we returned to our rented condo on the 8th floor when we had gotten home and made a New year mess with each other to ring in the New Year.

On New Year's Day we spent the morning bringing the books up to date for the restaurant and the pub (my responsibility), and Chris checking the last entries for the old year in his ledgers for the management of the whole building (Chris' responsibility). Ted stopped by just about noon to see just how good the two rooms had done the night before and he was very pleased with the results I showed him. He asked if I thought next year's take would be better with the added banquet rooms and the ballroom open for reservations, and I told him that I couldn't see how they wouldn't add to the profits, assuming they were completed at least two months ahead of time and we had a chance to show them off to get the bookings in place.

He then told me that he and Irma had talked a lot about our offer on the old insurance company on the roof and they just couldn't take twenty thousand for the space. He called Chris into the room we were in and told us that they had agreed that it could have been years before they ever figured out what was up there on the roof. They felt that just as with the banquet room and the ballroom, we were providing them an opportunity to actually pay for their purchase of the whole building (remember, the condo owners only owned the contents of the inside of the outer walls of their units, not the building itself), which is why they had gone ahead and bought the place, and to show their appreciation, they would sell us the 'penthouse' as a condo for the princely sum of five thousand dollars. Any other value placed on that space would be considered a gift to us, but should we decide to sell it in the future, they wanted to retain the rights to first refusal, at current market rates to be determined by an independent Real Estate appraisal at that time.

He further told us that they would open up their storage rooms both here in the hotel, and at the big Agawam facility and whatever we thought we could use was ours. Maybe not everyday furniture, but there were commercial grade appliances, dining sets, decorations and paintings and prints, and tons of draperies and window blinds left over from their previous renovations and he also thought there were several oriental rugs stored in both places we might find use for. He said they would set up a closing with their lawyer before the next week was up, so if we were caught up on our studying, we might just use our time over the next week or two to come up with some kind of plan for how we wanted our home to look like, he happened to know a builder that was going to owe us a little something for some work we might need done.

Of course, we hugged, Chris and I, but we turned on Ted and told him just how grateful to him and Irma we were. He told us we were the sons that they never had, and he hoped that our working with them, even after our graduation in June, would always benefit us, and them.

Of course, that isn't the end of the story, well if you are expecting me to find another hidden space, well, you are out of luck. What I will tell you is that as soon as the squirrels were captured and turned over to the caretaker of the Forest Park Zoo, work on the old office space happened quickly. The site was recorded with the city, so we had no problems getting permits to turn the spaces into living quarters. The first space to be renovated was the kitchen area, and Ted had been right, there were several appliances in storage we were able to make use of which saved us thousands of dollars we would have had to spend to get the same quality on the market at that time. Bill, the builder, had gone over our hand drawn floor plan and came up with a much more detailed and professional one his workers would be able to follow and work from. He did make use of my plumber cousin and Chris' electrician nephew and those two guys ended up spending almost a whole week with us as they performed their trades up on the roof. They seemed to work really well as a team, and by the time they left to return to their regular lives they had formed a lifelong friendship.

We had the interior walls all removed including the interior of the outer walls to make sure they were insulated to the max. From there, the creation of two bedrooms, each with their own full baths, were created and these were just about the only closed off spaces. The main source of heat for our home was provided by the main heating unit for the rest of the building and we worked out just how much our share was going to be every month and the same with the water and the general building maintenance which actually reduced everyone else's utility bills a bit every month. The oriental rugs Ted had mentioned were located and we chose five and had those cleaned before laying them in the living room, the bedrooms, and the entry hall. Yes, we had the entry at the top of the refinished wooden staircase spruced up quite a bit to make it much more home-like.

Once all the refurbishment was completed, we actually moved into the space and celebrated with our friends and employers the second night we spent there, the first night was spent with Chris and me celebrating in our own way. This all occurred before our graduation from the college and upon our graduation, Ted offered us very generous employment packages for us to continue in the jobs, we had been doing for some time now, but on a full-time basis. Our futures were off to a really good start.

Five years later, everything was still going in our favor. Ted had given us yearly raises based on our work, which with our training and education, was actually saving Ted money as the business he was doing in the new pub and restaurant was exceptional, and added to that was the banquet hall rentals, and the ballroom rentals. Most every event in those spaces involved food and drink, so the newly refurbished kitchen on the banquet level was doing a full-time business as well. For our 28th birthdays we were gifted with a golden retriever, a year old one we named Lucky. The evening of our combined birthday party Chris was out on the patio with our guests as I helped the crew from the banquet kitchen set up the buffet table in the hall off our home's kitchen and we had rented some banquet chairs from Ted and they were scattered around the living area and out on the patio for guests to be able to sit and eat.

Lucky was very excited with these 30 people all in his space and he kept running to Chris and me for reassurance and ear scratches. When the food was organized and ready for our guests, we took Lucky to the kitchen and set him up with his own food and closed the door so the rest of us could have a relaxed meal without him begging from everyone. Things professionally were well with both of us, our departments rarely having common issues, but after the first five years we were both kind of 'going through the motions' in our personal lives. I just couldn't figure out why, but even our lovemaking just didn't have the zing it once had. The more we tried to correct the situation, the more we failed.

We finally came to the realization that we just did not want to live together anymore; we both knew that we were disappointing each other. We had what I felt like were some very adult discussions about our situation, with never raised voices or harsh recriminations toward each other. It was while we were each selecting things from our beautiful residence to keep that it happened. Chris was out on the patio taking a break from packing when he began playing a game of fetch with Lucky and Lucky was scampering around on the entire roof top chasing the ball Chris was tossing to him, but Lucky had somehow gotten the ball stuck in a roof top vent pipe about twenty feet from our patio and Chris had to go and retrieve it.

I was watching them playing out there and wondering why we had never had kids, that would have given us both another soul to love and pay attention to, maybe we wouldn't have expected each other to keep our love alive, of course I mean our relationship love, for we did still love each other. Chris retrieved the old tennis ball from the vent pipe and had turned to walk back to our patio when Lucky started begging him to toss the ball again. Lucky was hopping up and down trying to get the ball out of Chris' hand when with one big jump Lucky's front paws landed on Chris's shoulders and Chris started staggering backwards with Lucky squirming in his arms and they both fell over backwards, and over the knee high parapet of the roof and they both disappeared from my sight, tumbling off the roof, down to the street, eight floors below…………..

I woke up screaming and covered in sweat. I hadn't stopped screaming, but I soon felt comforting arms surround me, someone whispering into my ear, a hand rubbing between my shoulder blades. I was in the guest room where I'd been sleeping, fitfully, for the last several days, since we had agreed to start living separately. My comforting angel was of course, a very worried Chris. I guess I totally woke up after a moment or two of his comforting me. By then I had my arms around him. He just felt so good to me. I flashed back to a long weekend we had taken together when we first started living together and I realized that that had been the last time we had gone off by ourselves and had a vacation. It had been over six years. Almost the same thing had happened. We had only been living together two months at the time.

A friend had booked a three-night stay at The Boatslip Inn, in Provincetown, and had put a sizable deposit down and there had been a death in his family, and he was going to have to forego his mini vacation. He had told us this as we three had eaten our lunch together in the college's cafeteria on the Thursday before Columbus Day that October. Chris looked at me across the table and nodded so I asked if we could use his reservation and we'd pay him his deposit.  We only left that room at the Inn three times from the Friday night we registered, until we departed the next Monday afternoon. We had made our stay there romantic for each other and we had sworn to give ourselves time by ourselves in the future as we drove back to Springfield. We hadn't, we had thrown ourselves into creating our home, and then spent the next five years making ourselves indispensable in our work for Ted's businesses.

Chris was pretty shaken up by my screaming, but I persisted in telling him that I had finally figured out what had gone wrong with our relationship. I knew that we both cared deeply for each other still, but it was the 'romancing' we had screwed up, we hadn't had totally alone time with each other for more than at nighttime in our home. Otherwise it was right back to work in the morning, even on the weekends because the functions, the pub, and the restaurant were open for business and bookings all seven days of the week. We hadn't fallen out of love; we were just exhausted!!

The first week of our vacation began with an almost eleven-hour sleep. We both awoke with morning erections, something we hadn't had as a couple for just about a year. After exploring each other we showered and had breakfast and drove to the Cape. Provincetown was just a little changed from our last time there, yet familiar enough that we did not feel out of place. Out at Race Point in the dunes we made plans for our second week, a week we'd spend in a small cabin on Crescent Lake up in New Hampshire, and shared our remembrances of Ted's exclamation when we had asked him for some time off, and how he had reminded us we both had six weeks off paid a year. Then he was wondering why we had never used our vacation time before, and that he did not know how they were going to function without us for two weeks, we had spoiled them all by not using our allotted time off.

We lazed on the beaches, both in town and out in the dunes. We strolled little alleyways with cute shops and galleries, and we ate at small cafes and big restaurants. We took a whale watching tour and we rode bicycles on the narrow streets of the town. We even caught one of Steve Grand's shows the night before we left for home, as happy as newlyweds. We'd found what was missing in our relationship, ourselves, alone and doing things that were not part of our everyday lives, experiencing new things together. After creating our home together, our lives had become hum drum. We talked a lot about this out in the dunes and as we strolled the town, we saw more and more gay families doing just what we were doing, they seemed so happy to be doing things as a family.

We were missing Lucky, after all, he was our child substitute, but we knew that he was being well taken care of by friends at our condo. We did talk to several of the gay families we encountered during our week in Provincetown and Chris asked me one night if I thought we would make good fathers. I told him that I'd been thinking along those lines for a month or two now and I thought we would, but that I also thought we should look into the fostering program back home and maybe take their classes and see how we felt after we completed those, but yeah, I thought that depending on what age child we took in we would make great dads, we just had to choose someone who attended school during the day while we were at work. Chris agreed with my reasoning.

Almost all of our time in New Hampshire was spent shopping, out on the lake in the rented boat fishing, or making love whenever we wanted, be it morning, noon, or night. We were missing Lucky so much that we actually drove home a full day early. We settled back into our work, but now we knew to take care and not settle back into our old routine. We actually joined a regular commercial gym that had  recently opened just a few blocks from the Kimball, we took jogs around our neighborhood with Lucky leashed to one of us, and we took turns once a week to have a 'date night' together, movies, bowling, rollerblading, dinner out, and occasionally having company in for dinner. The other nights that first month we were back from vacation, we took the classes that the Department of Children and Family Services offered. The DCFS office was nestled between the two dormitories for the institution, one for the boys and one for the girls.

The courses were broken down into sections and there was a test after each section, then a cumulative test at the end. There were three other same sex couples in our class and ten male/female couples. One of the same sex couples was a couple we knew very well, but not as good as we had thought. Mary worked for me in the cash flow auditing department I now ran for Ted's businesses, and Johanna worked in Chris's department in the management office, doing his department's bookkeeping. We were aware the ladies knew each other, but we had been unaware they were a committed couple. Since it was June of 1989 and gay marriage had been legal in Massachusetts since that May, we couples confided in each other that we hoped to have our marriages performed by the end of our classes at the end of June.

Of course we had to let Ted and Irma know what we were doing and it was Irma who asked us, since she knew that neither Chris nor I had any living parents, to please let her handle all the arrangements for our wedding, she actually insisted, with Ted standing beside her nodding his head, we were, after all, the sons they had never had. We then told them about the ladies, Mary and Johanna, without telling them their names. We asked if their nuptials could be arranged also and Irma seemed delighted to have another couple to help. Ted and Irma were delighted we were going to bring a child into our lives and they really did begin to act like expectant grandparents.

It was great to have a couple we knew in the same class, we had a built in discussion group and we began to share dinner duties with them on class nights and we all four talked about our classes, our work, and how we never knew the ladies were a couple. We did tell them at the first opportunity that Ted, and Irma were going to be throwing us all a double wedding, and the ladies were thrilled. We learned that neither of them had any close relatives themselves and they had just about settled for a simple Justice of the Peace service for themselves, but if we were going to share the day with them, they would feel much less self-conscience about the whole thing.

Now June is a big wedding month, and of course the grand ballroom was booked almost solid for the month, but Irma, once she was informed who the other couple was we wanted to share our day with, decided that a Tuesday evening wedding in the old main lobby of the Kimball would be most appropriate. She would be able to arrange a wider variety of foods by using the kitchen for the pub and the big dining room on the lower lobby level, as well as some of the dishes that were being used in the banquet and ballroom kitchen. She planned on a buffet for food served after the ceremonies, and with the exception of some of our friends, the rest of the staff not on duty that night, and our office co-workers would serve as our guests that evening. This was a big relief for Chris and me because we hadn't been able to figure out how we could accommodate all our work mates without hurting someone's feelings.

 The last Friday evening of June that year all four of us passed our final exam at the DCFS class and the next Tuesday, at 7:30 in the evening, the grand piano in the big main lobby began playing the first stanzas of Love is in the Air, and Chris and I walked down an aisle formed by folding chairs holding our friends and co-workers, and we were followed by the two brides, who also had about 20 of their friends, and of course they shared the same co-workers as Chris and I did. Our vows were ministered to by the local celebrant of the downtown MCC church, since both couples attended important feast day celebrations there, and about two Saturday night, or Sunday services there a month. Irma and Ted served as out Best Man and Best Woman for both couples and as the gentlemen we were, we insisted the Ladies get joined before we did.

The ladies were off on their honeymoon on that Saturday morning and Chris and I were packing for ours when the house phone rang and Chris answered it. The cabin up in New Hampshire we had rented for our own honeymoon had burned to the ground during a forest fire the previous day and the owner was calling to ask if we'd like to use his other rental property or just accept our deposit back. He told Chris the other vacation rental was a three-bedroom condo up in Ogunquit, Maine, within walking distance of downtown and all the shops and nightclubs and bars. He said that it was a short walk to the beach and a good stroll along the shore to Perkins's Cove, the artist's area with more shops and galleries. He explained exactly where it was and told Chris it was just about the same distance to there as it was to Crescent Lake in New Hampshire from where we were located in Springfield. He said we might not want to use it because it was part of a gay resort and his partner ran the B&B Inn at the resort and they had about five separate units they used as rental condos as they came fully equipped with kitchens and linens. Chris chuckled and asked if he could call him right back, he had to explain the situation to his new husband, we had just married the evening before. Phil, the owner, sent his congratulations and said he'd wait patiently for Chris' return call.

Of course, we went, and Phil only charged us what we would have paid for the cabin on Crescent Lake. Not only that, he had arranged an impromptu cocktail party upon our arrival and he had secured a large 'JUST MARRIED' sign across the front porch of the condo to add a festive flair to the party out on the patio in front of the unit. It was a great way to spend our honeymoon, at a place where everyone knew we were newlyweds and they just all seemed so happy for us. We were given great advice on shopping and where the best spots on the beach were, and where the best restaurants and clubs were. We even learned that just a short drive out of town there was a shopping center with a bunch of outlet shops.

We had a GREAT honeymoon in Ogunquit and we told Phil that we hoped to come back often. We had sent copies of our marriage certificate to the caseworker at the DCFS before we had left for our honeymoon, but we were somewhat surprised to find a message on our home machine when we arrived back in Springfield a week later. Our caseworker explained he had a favor to ask of us, and it involved a 9-year-old boy who had been orphaned the week before our wedding, but that is another story for another time.

THE END


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