I moved to Milford in the summer. It’s always been unbearably hot when I’ve moved, I realized, and this time was no different. I like to settle into a place in the summer, though, rather than the winter. It gives me a chance to see where I am, to place myself, when the weather is warm.
By September I had gotten a job with Ime, working remotely in cyber security. It was kind of a joke; I didn’t really have much experience, but I’d hit it off with the head of IT with Ime’s company when she introduced us and she assured me I’d be able to handle the job. It was pretty easy, and it gave me time to focus on the trailer and its contents.
I hadn’t made much headway in the trailer, though. I was still hesitant about looking through someone else’s things, even if I was related to them. I wasn’t convinced the books and papers belonged to any of my family members and I didn’t have much to go off of. The farm ledgers appeared to be for granny’s farm, but beyond that, I hadn’t found a reason for the trailer of books.
When I moved to Milford, I expected to meet an older person that would be my Jud Crandall, but I had met Ime instead. I was happy about this, obviously. Ime and I spent quite a bit of time together. We’d driven up to a nearby college town to hear a few lectures, mostly on folklore and history, and explored the restaurants there. She’d gotten me the job with her company and I had reliable income once again. I had yet to meet her brother, but Ime said that he was a homebody and mildly autistic, so it would have to be on Owen’s own time.
Near the end of summer, though, I met Mr. Stone. Herb Stone lived three doors down from Ime. Ime knew him and said that he had always been nice to her and treated her with respect. I met Mr. Stone one evening when I was taking a walk and we talked for quite awhile.
He wanted to know where I’d come from, why I was in Milford, and if I had a wife and kids. In exchange, I got to ask him about the houses around the lake and other anecdotes about Milford.
He told me that he knew my granny quite well and that he’d met my grandad a few times, but he was always working. He talked to me about the Reed House, which had taken forever to build, and the others that he knew on the lake. He knew that a Wilkinson family had purchased a good part of my family’s farm though he wasn’t sure if anyone was living there. He suspected that might have been who I had seen by the fence.
Mr. Stone also talked to me about the names of places. He talked about “the bone,” as he called it, a ridge on the east side of the lake that had three or four old houses on it. When those houses were built in the early 1900’s, he said, the owners renamed the town to Milford. They called the ridge Milford Bone. It had been called Hogback, and then Hogbone, before it had been renamed to Milford Bone for one of the families building there.
I had seen the name Milford Bone in some of the books and writings in the trailer but hadn’t known what it meant.
I asked Mr. Stone if I could buy him a drink at the Brass Rail and pick his brain a bit more about the town history and what was in the trailer. He said he didn’t drink, but he’d gladly come over for some tea sometime, so we set a time the following week.
That was right around the time I really started digging into what was in the trailer and when I realized that I wasn’t the only one with a key to it.
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