6. Der Wald
I watched the security cam in the background while I worked most days and didn’t see anything. I eventually forgot about it and didn’t find any new evidence of someone else being in the trailer.
It was around this time I started digging deeper into what was on the shelves of the trailer. I found a manuscript that had Granny’s name on it.
It had another name on it, too, underneath the title. It said: “Der Wald, as told to E.E. Quillen Truelove, by Enock of Angel.”
It was the first book I took from the trailer. Elizabeth Etta Quillen Truelove was my grandmother. I had no clue who Enock of Angel was. The only information I could find online was about Enoch, a patriarch in the Bible. I found a small town in Ohio called Angel and a ghost town in California, but nothing else really came up.
I sent a picture of the manuscript to Ally. She was excited to see it. She asked me to scan the whole thing so she could read it. It seemed like a lot of work, but I liked my connection to Ally and having someone to share this stuff with, so I told her I would.
I started reading the manuscript and it was interesting. From the first few pages it was a story of a blind person going to the opera and getting lost on the stage but finding he could see the woods that might have been the scenery for the opera. I was excited to read it but felt overwhelmed by everything else that was in the trailer.
When I got home that evening I had a voicemail from Laura Reed. Cell reception was spotty out at the trailer so it hadn’t come through until I was headed back to Milford. I listened to the message, which sounded mildly threatening, and made a mental note to call her back.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that Laura Reed was the matriarch of the Reed family that renamed the lake. I’d seen the name a lot since I’d moved to town and have a vague memory of my grandparents talking about the family. In her message, she told me that she wanted the trailer gone by the end of the month and that I had a week to remove the eye-sore from her lake.
I asked Ime about Ms. Reed and she said she knew of her but had never met her. I told her about the voicemail and asked her advice.
Ime, in her wisdom, said that she didn’t often listen when people gossipped about women and their attitude because so many times it proved to be untrue or a result of a woman being outspoken and confident. She agreed, though, that the message did sound threatening, though she was unsure what legal stance Ms. Reed really had.
After talking with Ime, I walked down the street and talked to Mr. Stone.
“I know that old bat,” Mr. Stone said. It made me feel bad, confirming what Ime reckoned, though I listened as Mr. Stone gave me a selection of his feelings about Ms. Reed.
Laura, he said, had been in charge of the Reed family as long as he could remember. She had been married once but the Reed family had a long history of the women being in charge, no matter who the husbands were. He dated her sister in high school and Stone didn’t like the implications that he had to be “second fiddle” to her in all matters. He didn’t care for that set up, no matter how feminist he thought of himself, because he, of course, thought about relationships as a collaborative effort. It wasn’t in his personality, he said, to not have input into family matters. I couldn’t imagine a high school relationship that had developed that far but perhaps it was just a different time.
Laura built an addition onto the vacation house with her own hands, which Mr. Stone thought was quite a feat because the ground around the lake was so difficult to build on, it went from clay to karst in the geological space of a few inches. That’s why they built on the Bone, he said. “Hell, that’s even how the bone got its name.” I wasn’t entirely sure what he meant by this, but assumed it was because it was the only place to build.
He said that Laura always fought with everyone around the lake so I shouldn’t worry too much. He didn’t think she had any legal standing to have the trailer removed. He suggested that I treat her nicely when I called back, saying that I’ll gather more flies with honey rather than vinegar.
I didn’t think I wanted, in a proverbial sense, to gather flies, but I understood his sentiment.
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