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CHAPTER 1HOME

Life is precious. Families, friends and the events that flow from childhood to adulthood form our ability or inability to live with one another.

 

 

Cautiously, I partially opened the rough, wooden door of this newly discovered shack and noticed a smell of sickness and stagnant, hot air. Not knowing who or what I'd find I slowly moved my head so my left eye could peek between the door and the frame.

The natural light shining through cracks between the wall-boards provided enough illumination to see, inching my head through to view the contents. A fireplace on the far wall. A bed? A person? Mom lying on a bed! Astounded, I stood for a second while my brain raced to justify this scene. She looks dead, eyes closed, eyeballs not moving.

"Mom," I exclaimed.

Without looking around the room for a captor I rushed to the bedside to feel her head, hot. I could see that her light, freckled skin is flushed like a flu victim. How could she be here? Has she been here this entire time since she disappeared? How many months did we search for her? How did she get...here? She's barely breathing. Is she dying?

I paused hoping she would open her eyes, smile at me and say, “Marie, hello,” but she didn’t.

 

 

My life before this was exciting but never surreal.

I grew up on a dead-end road that held seven houses. The street had shiny, black, rough rocks, which gave vehicles good traction during the winter months but were a nightmare when I wrecked my bike. I still have tiny blueish marks on my knees because I didn't clean the cinder from wounds after a fall. The pain of disinfecting a rock-scrape did not exceed the benefits, so I ignored it. Pavement hit the street in the late 1970's.

Graham Terrace, as the area was once known, was not a mountain but a large, gently sloping hill, common to western Pennsylvania. Maple, oak, sassafras, choke cherry and walnut trees as well as scraggly bushes thrived on both sides of the street which runs horizontally through the near-center of the slope. The upper portion of the hill, beyond the trees, held houses packed together on a dozen or so streets of a subdivision built in the 1960's. The lower part of the hill held more woods, then the village of Bredinville. Even lower on the hillside lay a two-lane highway which allowed vehicles to travel north and south. Beyond and at a lower altitude lay Connoquenessing Creek, flowing parallel to the highway and the leading employers of Butler, Pennsylvania; ARMCO Steel Mill and Pullman Standard.

A very loud operation, Pullman made Pullman railroad cars. The boom of the heavy train cars being joined together shook our house and our souls, producing a tremendous sound. The daily lunch whistle blew with such volume that in the summer time when my brothers, Johnny, Davey, Tony and I would scream as loud as we could, we could not be heard over the mill siren, which was the only time we could scream our loudest because we were warned by our parents, “you scream for emergencies, not for fun.”

Our house was a black and white tar-shingled place that held nine people: my six brothers, me and my parents. Originally it was a two-bedroom home with my parents' bedroom on the first floor. All of us kids slept in the enormous room on the second floor just above theirs. When my oldest brother, Bob, believed he could no longer be in a room with such 'children' he was allowed to move to the small room that was used for the storage of Christmas, Easter and Halloween decorations.

Our order in age from oldest to youngest is Bob, Herm, Joey, Tony, Me, Davey and Johnny. My mother still reminds us all that she was pregnant for 10 years and had to give up a lot during that time. Her reminders were lessons, letting young people know that mothers put themselves before their children. One of the many lessons she and my Dad gave us.

As we all grew older my Dad expanded the house with the help of his brothers and his Dad. They changed the floor plan to an open concept in which the kitchen and living room gained a large room between the two that served as the dining room and new living room. The former living room was so small that it became the front entry. They added three more bedrooms by remodeling the basement and the second floor too.

My parents covered the exterior of the home with dark red asbestos tiles as part of the project. The twelve-inch square pieces overlapped to give it a look of painted cedar shakes.

The renovations occurred just in time for my older two brothers, Herm and Joey, to have their own rooms in the basement, while Tony, Davey and Johnny shared the big room on the second floor. I got the small bedroom that Bob had but no longer needed since he joined the Marines. They expanded the size of that bedroom too so I had lots of room and privacy, at last.

Basically, our parents worked hard and tried to make sure we had everything we needed as most good parents do for their children.

We would have thanked them more often or would have treated them more considerately had we known. I don't know of any young person that dwells on the idea that a parent will die at a young age. No one considers the death of a parent unless that parent is really old, which my parents were not. So, we lived our lives as if our parents would be there for us forever.

Fortune smiled on me when parents were doled out. Mom and Dad would go out to bars Saturday evening to drink, dance and have fun. On Sunday, they would go to church and all would be forgiven. Not that they were bad, but that's how my brothers & I considered it, at times, in our child-brains. That Catholic guilt would creep into our conversations when we were juveniles and we'd talk about how going out carousing was not what God would want us to do. My parents took the task of parenting seriously by telling us and showing us how to be productive people, good citizens. They enjoyed life and taught us through their actions. They respected other peoples' ideas and took time to discuss matters with us of living a good, upright life.

My mother was more religion-minded in that she taught us all the Catholic things: prayers, rituals for forgiveness, heaven, hell, etc. She also taught us that our guardian angels would always be there to guide us and protect us from harm or our own stupidity.

Now that we were all grown adults and their primary task of teaching and financially supporting us had ended they generally did as they pleased and played together whenever they had free time. For example, in nice weather they visited friends during road trips on my Dad's Gold Wing motorcycle.

My Dad worked at Armco from the time he ended his three-year military service at age 21 until the time he had to quit. Most people of Butler assumed Armco gave generous vacation benefits. Since he had worked there for over 30 years and only got an accumulated vacation of several weeks of vacation, he took full advantage of it and went on short trips with his bride when he could.

That is until 2009, when my Dad began to act odd. He didn't talk to me as much as he normally did. He didn't talk to anyone like he used to. He didn't tell jokes or laugh at funny situations like he used to.

My Dad was acting different, more reflective for a reason. When my siblings or I asked, he changed the subject. He and my Mom suspected something but put off getting the answer from a doctor. It's one thing to think you may be very sick but it's another to have someone, a doctor, tell you. So, they delayed getting an official diagnosis, they later confessed.

At that time, my husband and I were living in Georgia while he served his last few career years in the United States Army. Our kids were in college which gave us time to travel to Butler about once every three months. During the last two visits, we noticed my Dad's odd behavior. But neither my Mom or Dad told us what was going on at that time.

I'll never forget the day the phone rang on a warm September afternoon in 2009. The sound gave me a sickening cringe in my stomach. It's my Mom, the caller ID noted on the wall-hung phone. Adding to my queasiness was the thought that she never calls on a week day. I could feel my stomach pull tighter.

I picked up the phone.

Speaking in an abnormal way she quickly asked, "Hi Marie, how are you and Carl. Norm and Kaye?"

"Hi Mom. Good," I said. "Carl's in the field and Norman and Kaye are doing well in college. At least that’s what they told me when I called a month ago. We're still coming up to visit for a week in November." Silence for a few seconds and then her lungs gave a deep, long breath.

"I called to tell you, Marie. Dad's got cancer."

My Dad's sister Marie, my namesake, died at the age of 12 and my Mom's mother died at 48, both had Leukemia. In disbelief, my eyes filled with tears. More silence.

"Does he have Leukemia," I asked quietly?

"No. Multiple myeloma," she blandly stated.

I struggled to keep from crying unsuccessfully. "Is he in the hospital, what does the doctor say?"

"He's not in the hospital. We just have to wait and see. I'm sure he'll be okay."

"Should we come up now instead of waiting til' Thanksgiving?"

"No, no. There's no rush. He started chemo last week and we'll go from there." She was starting to sound less automated. Her voice normalizing to her usual musical tone with no pauses.

Gaining strength from her vocal demeanor I said, "Okay Mom. I'm sorry. Is he there? Can I talk to him?"

"He's sleeping now. The doctor said the chemo could make him sleepy."

"Okay. Tell Dad I love him and we'll see you soon. Are you sure you want us to wait to come up?"

"Yes, that's okay. I'll tell him."

"Are you okay Mom? Do you need anything?"

"Thanks Marie. I'm okay. I don't need anything."

"I'll call in a few days Mom. Bye. Love you."

"Love you too."

I hung up. Dazed, I went over to the computer to check everything I could find on multiple myeloma.

It must not be so bad if she said we don't need to hurry to get there. Besides, she didn't sound too upset. Well, I reasoned, she might be in shock.

The Cancer Society website design was either too non-user-friendly or my brain couldn't process the information. Either way, I got tired of looking for facts about multiple myeloma so I searched the internet for the local cancer society's phone number and called.

The woman from the local Cancer Society pleasantly said, "Multiple myeloma is multiple tumors in the bone marrow..." My mind stopped listening as she continued talking.

I remembered a friend of ours whose mother had this type of cancer. She died three months after her doctor discovered it. She sat in a hospital bed with her teenage kids at home because they didn't understand the rapidity of the disease. Otherwise, they would have been in the hospital with her for her remaining days.

My focus returned to the phone call in progress and I heard the Cancer Society lady ask, "I'll send you the brochures if you want. Shall I? Should I email you the brochures?"

I said, "Okay," and gave her my address. "Thank you. I really appreciate your help," I hung up.

I sat for a few minutes trying to figure out what I could do. Nothing. I lived in Georgia and they're in Pennsylvania, a fifteen-hour drive. I couldn't leave because, like my children, I have college classes I can't miss. Besides, Mom said there's no rush, which I presume to mean he's not in imminent danger. Plus, some people linger for years through good days and bad while others die quickly. I can't desert my need to finish college or my husband and kids.

I felt so isolated. I couldn't call Mel since he was in the field. I had to wait until later and tell him during his nightly call. At least that would give me time to get over the shock and allow me to talk without sobbing so he could understand my words.

Carl would understand how terrible it is to have a parent with cancer. His Dad died at age 52 of pancreatic cancer and Carl was only a teenager. I didn't know Carl then but my brothers talked about it and how their friend, Carl, was inconsolable for months.

 

 

Over the next few months I called my Mom daily. According to her, before that call, Dad’s lower back bones bothered him which was an indicator that something was wrong. He never had physical troubles in the past so when the pain got progressively worse, and then, to the point that it affected his ability to walk correctly, they decided to visit his doctor.

After the diagnosis and treatment began he lost weight from the drugs and chemotherapy but less than the doctor had expected. While it was illegal, my Mom convinced my Dad to smoke pot so he could keep his appetite. Without it, he could not eat after chemo treatments. When he smoked, his appetite grew.

The chemotherapy routine consisted of him being sick for three weeks then seemingly healthy for one week. Then it was time for another round of chemo.

The one week of each month when he felt improved my Mom and Dad would go out and have fun even more so than before.

During our visit on Thanksgiving week was one of the good weeks. We were all still in denial that he could die. One part of the brain said, 'it's going to happen and there's no changing that,' while the other part of the brain said, 'look how good he is and how well he's getting around, he'll get over this'.

Three months after I was told about Dad's cancer, he became very sick and was admitted to the hospital. The doctors started asking my Mom if she would allow them to administer experimental drugs and try experimental procedures on my Dad. At first, she complied thinking that they just wanted to save him, which is what we all hoped for.

Carl, Kaye, Norm and I traveled from Georgia to see him again. My brother Johnny and his family drove from Florida. Everyone else lived in Butler. The grandchildren, ages 1-20, spent most of their time in the hospital lounge playing games.

Because the room wasn't made for a large family, only the seven adult children spent the days in the hospital room with Mom and Dad. The children came into the room sporadically, one or two at a time, to socialize with their grandpa.

My Dad was drugged with morphine to help with the pain and he wasn't able to speak as coherently, occasionally, because of the painkiller. In spite of the drugs and disease, he kept his sense of humor. My brother's, Carl, Mom and I were standing or sitting around in the room quietly talking when a nurse came in and cheerfully said, "I need for all of you to go for a few minutes. I have to give Ronnie a shot on his back end."

Dad said, "That's okay (they can stay). I've seen the butt of everyone in this room."

He spotted Carl moving toward the door. The moment Carl passed by the foot of the bed Dad continued, "Except for Carls. Carl! turn around and drop your pants."

Carl turned his rump toward my Dad and started to unbuckle his belt. We all laughed as we exited the room, pushing Carl along.

The medical staff's efforts and procedures didn't seem to change anything except add to the bills. Plus, there was the additional discomfort of hospital living: hourly bed checks 24 hours a day, awakened often, a noisy, uncomfortable, plastic-coated bed, the occasional clumsy or careless staff and the food. My Dad was doing just as poorly as he did 5 days earlier when he arrived.

That day, we all met with the doctors and nurses that cared for my Dad in the lounge.

My Mom asked the doctor, "Will any of these things that you're doing save him or extend his life for another few weeks or make him feel better?"

The doctor admitted, "Unfortunately, it seems that there is nothing else that we can do to improve his outcome. He could pass on maybe tomorrow or in 6 months but there is nothing new that we can do. We can only make him comfortable now."

With that knowledge, my Mom looked to my brothers and said, "Let's take him home."

We all packed up his stuff and got my Dad home so he could live his remaining days in the comfort of his own home. We just didn't know how long that would be.

All of us out-of-towners had to leave since death doesn't give you a time line for planning around work or school. Carl had to go home to prepare for his disengagement from the military. I had to finish my postponed final projects for my last semester of college. At least five siblings could be here to help my Mom.

February 12, 2010 Ronald Matson’s battle with multiple myeloma ended.

Carl was in the field for yet another redundant battle training. His commander, some low-life major, refused to release him for the funeral. My kids were not able to leave college because of mid-term testing.

I attended the funeral with dozens of extended-family members, friends, my brothers, their wives and children and with my Mom. She and I walked up the church aisle of Saint Michael the Archangel and performed our Catholic duties automatically during the Mass.

After more than 40 years of marriage she was alone. So many children, grandchildren and friends, with me standing by her side at the service, yet she was alone.

 

 

Carl had retired only a few months after my Dad's passing, May, 2010. We moved back to Butler and bought a stone home built in the 1830's that sat within a half mile of both of our mothers.

For the next year and a half, life went on without my Dad. Gone but not forgotten I think they say. A table of remembrance in the piano room showcased a beautiful marble urn and pictures commemorating a life well-lived.

Carl and my brothers took turns going to Mom's to help her tend her one-acre yard and to make the incessant house repairs. The most recent endeavor came from Herm and Tony; they knocked Mom’s old cement steps out, poured new ones and installed a heavy-duty metal pipe railing. They even planted hosta’s on either side of the steps when they finished. Mom loved it.

 

 

The weather had been fabulous this summer of 2011. August is usually the hottest month but we were having sunny, high-70 degree days instead of the normal 80-90 degrees.

I got a call from my brother Herm.

"Hey, Marie have you heard from Mom lately?"

"No, not for two weeks. Why haven't you?"

"No. I came by last week and cut the grass. She wasn't here then. I'm here now and everything looks the same. She hasn't fed the outside cats. Her parakeet's dead and her bedroom door is open."

My mom always had leftovers on the porch for the stray cats. The bird was always over-fed. If she went anywhere she locked her bedroom door. This situation was alarming.

"How about you call the police. Wait, did she leave a note in the calendar book. Maybe she decided to take a trip without telling us."

Herm asked, "No, where's that?"

"She leaves it open by the phone on the desk by the front door. I'll be over in a few minutes." I hung up, grabbed my keys and purse, got in the car and drove the quarter mile to her house.

If there's one thing my Mom is consistent with its leaving a note so anyone will know where she is. She leaves her front door unlocked too so if an intruder entered and found the notes he or she would know too. Great security.

I arrived just as Herm found the book so we looked at it together. Her last entry was from when she and I went to the casino two weeks ago.

She kept a medium size book-calendar by the phone and beside that, a note pad. When she went anywhere she had two notes. She and I went to the casino 13 days ago and she noted on the calendar page 'casino with Marie '. The day we went she left a message on the notepad that read 'went to the casino with Marie. Back at 6 '. That's how she let people know what she was doing. She led a fairly active life and generally kept us all informed through her calendar.

But 13 days! The calendar had three work days scheduled after the casino trip but there was no corresponding note on the pad for those days.

My heart sank. "I'll call 9-1-1 Herm. I'm gonna look around the house too, check all the rooms. Would you check the yard and the woods?" My voice trembled.

"Yeah," he said as he dashed out of the front door.

Since Dad's death, Mom became a hoarder so there's only a narrow path through all of the rooms. She's short so she would be along the path if she were here. She only went over the piles of stuff if one of us was with her to help. I finished the hunt in about five minutes.

I stepped onto the side porch and yelled, “Find anything Herm?”

“No.” He bellowed back.

Herm kept a good eye on Mom too. He did more home and lawn work than the rest of us since he was a handyman with an adjustable schedule. He could fix anything.

Herm’s specialty was chimney repair. He would climb a roof that no one else would even consider so he got lots of dangerous jobs on rooves that had much steeper angles than most. He would sometimes have to battle bees too which was the only part of the job he ever complained about.

Herm also had a quicker temper than the rest of us. He seemed to have inherited more of the Irish DNA from our ancestors which was made known through his reddish hair.

Rushing back into Mom’s house, I dialed 9-1-1 on her land line. The police said they would send someone over. I just got a cell phone and realized I could have used that while I searched the rooms.

After the phone call I dashed over to Davey's house next door, 60 feet away.

My brother Davey is an alcoholic and stays at home drinking most of the time. He goes to Mom's if he needs to borrow money or if she asks for help with something. His son Adam lives with him and he'll visit with his grandmother every day or two. Adam helps both of them.

Davey doesn’t lock his front door when he’s home so I gave the door two quick knocks and entered the smoky, stale-beer smelling house, stepping a few feet over to the couch that Davey reclined on.

Agitated, I asked, "Davey, when's the last time you saw Mom?"

"Hey Marie. Aaaah lemme see." He took a drink from his beer can. "God Marie it's been a few days. Why?" A toilet flush whooshed and Adam walked out of the bathroom into the living room with Davey and I.

"Oh, Hi Aunt Marie. Grandma? I haven't seen her. I thought maybe she went to Florida."

"Hi Adam. Hmmm, she's not supposed to go there until mid-September. Do you remember when you saw her last, Adam?"

"Jeez, it's been at least a week."

Davey and Adam are obviously father and son. Very mature for a 17-year-old, Adam is Davey's oldest child and caregiver by default. When Adam's mother left Davey because of his alcoholism, the two switched family roles in that Davey became the child and Adam the parent. Both have pale blonde hair, fair skin, pale blue eyes and stand at about six feet tall. Another difference is that Adam wears glasses. Davey would have and wear glasses if drinking alcohol wasn't his only ambition.

Operating a stone quarry for most of his life, Davey was very industrious and had a wash-board stomach with every inch of himself covered with thin, well-defined muscles, that is, up until five years ago. The hard labor of working a quarry ruined his back and Doctors prescribed narcotics for the pain but didn’t say how addictive they were. He went on disability, and within a few years drank so much that he lost his house. He still lived in it because our older brother Joey bought it when Davey stopped paying the mortgage.

While Joey hated that Davey had such a horrible addiction and complained all the time about it, he would do almost anything to protect his little brother. Even if it meant stretching his budget so thin.

Everyone loved Davey because he was the life of the party always laughing, joking and doing things to make people laugh. He would do everything he could do to help a friend or family member. Sadly, ever since his addiction took control, most of his friends stopped coming around to visit.

Adam isn't an alcoholic but currently he seems to have no purpose in life, which makes him appear apathetic. He works part-time at one of those everything-is-cheap stores which seems to meet his needs. Like his Dad, he has a heart of gold and would do anything to help his friends, which is evident in the care he gives his Dad and Grandmother.

Anyway, Herm came over to Davey's house holding a spade. "I looked through the woods and the yard but didn't find her. Somebody left a spade in the woods by the creek though."

My parents planted an evergreen in the lower part of the yard over 40 years ago which now served as an umbrella that shielded the yard tools from the weather: lawnmower, shovels, wheel barrow and some assorted smaller tools. The proper storage place for the spade is under that tree with the other tools not in the woods. Mom always put tools away and she would be the only person to use a spade.

"I called the police. They'll be here soon. I don't know what else to do. Do you?" I asked Davey, Herm and Adam.

"Did anyone call Bob, Tony or Joey," Herm asked. We all started moving to the door to go outside as the police siren could be heard approaching.

Herm said, "I'll call Tony. You wanna call Joey, Marie?"

"Yeah, I'll call Bob too," I said as I rolled my eyes.

No one wanted to call Bob because he was hard to get in touch with. This time was no different. No answer on his phone.

Bob was a marine for several years. He served during a time when recruits were treated with cruelty and had many stories of guarding signs out in the middle of nowhere with no guarantee that anyone would come back for you.

But he did learn a lot during his time with the Marines; Survival skills, ways to kill people quickly and quietly, shooting weapons accurately. He also learned that he didn’t like being around people so he stayed out in the wild often.

 

 

The police came and asked questions. They explored around the house and property, called for back-up and two other police cars came with a search party and dogs.

That evening the local TV and newspaper people came by and we gave them a description and showed them a few pictures.

We put up posters all over Butler county but no one saw her. No one knew where she was.

After a month, the kindness of strangers dwindled and only family members combed the hillside. After a few months, the signs started falling off of the wooden telephone poles. In December, four months after her disappearance, the police said this would no longer be an active investigation.

Christmas came and we normally celebrated and had dinner at Mom's. This time we went to my house. We commiserated by talking about last Christmas and the piles of stuff we tried to dodge at Mom's hoarder's hideaway. We all had bruises from piles that fell on us or from bumping furniture in the too narrow pathways. Carl and I retold the story that usually made us all laugh.

"Mom went to Florida a few years ago," I said, "and I decided to get rid of some of her bags. She had three large garbage bags full of grocery store plastic bags."

When Carl contemplates an issue, he rubs his head and belly at the same time in a circular motion. While performing this habit, he continued, "Yeah, Marie got rid of two of the 30-gallon garbage bags but there was still one garbage bag full of bags in the corner."

I continued saying, "She came home from being gone for six weeks. As if she had ESP or something, she walked right over to where the remaining bag sat and said 'where did my good bags go'?"

Normally we would all laugh but a small chuckle was all we could muster. There was no way to remove this cloud over our lives. We would have been glad to hear her complaining again about the way we threw away her precious bags.

In the course of one and a half years my brothers and I were orphaned. We lost our Dad to cancer and Mom disappeared and was presumed dead.

 

 

I started cleaning Mom's house in January, five months after she, well, we still don't know what to say. No one found her, dead or alive. There was so much garbage in the house: old newspapers and magazines, broken toys, expired food containers, food containers that were so old they had no date.

Joey arranged for a dumpster to be delivered and it sat right outside of the front door.

While Mom was living in the house Joey would joke, "When Mom dies I know we'll be sorting through everything one at a time, saying, 'Why did Mom buy this? Garbage pile. Why did Mom buy this? Garbage.' That's what I felt like I was doing.

 

 

I wore a cloth mask to keep the possibly toxic particles out of my nose and lungs. The process seemed to be taking forever especially since I started in January and it was June.

If Mom did come back she would not be happy to see all of her 'good' crap gone. Although, none of us lost hope and thought she would return somehow. Denial is strong for people with hope.

On this particular day, I sorted through the debris by myself. We had to get all the garbage and broken things out so we could hold an auction of the goods that were actually usable or had some value.

I started the day, full of ambition, while the dew sat on the grass outside at 8 am. By noon the condensation gone, I felt the need to take a break to clean my nose and lungs, change my protective face cloth, eat and to rest.

Stepping out of the house the air outside seemed somewhat dirt-free as it passed through my unmasked nostrils. The unhealthy air quality of Northwest Pennsylvania is horrible but definitely better than the air in a hoarder's house. Inhaling deeply my nose caught the obnoxious scent of the over-abundant ground ivy on the one-acre yard.

Stepping off of the side porch I walked down the stone steps to the somewhat flat stone patio that Tony built as a present to Mom and Dad years ago. A master stone mason he also created a miniature stone pond. The noon-sun glowed brightly in a darker-than-pale blue sky with no clouds. I sat on one of the dusty chairs by the pond to absorb the surroundings.

I thought about all the times Mom and I walked around the yard while she told me about this plant and that plant or flower, who gave it to her or where she bought it. Many of the pine trees came from my great uncle Red McCandless. They planted those when they first moved here. Several of the huge rose bushes that covered a hillside came from Grandma's yard when she got tired of them and switched to other less aggressive, thornless, Pennsylvania florae.

My Mom and I walked around the yard often but we rarely went into the woods. However, my brothers and I played in the woods all summer as youngsters. The remnants of coal strip-mining, old garbage and the trees that grew in the after math made it a playground full of adventure.

This area of Butler county was heavily strip mined from the 1880s to about 1930. The small mining operations dug holes into the sides of hills and built tunnels to reach the coal since the black rock was, generally, only about 60 feet underground.

The shape of the hillside stemmed from these mines: steep, unnatural cuts into the ground at several locations on the hill. The aftermath; loose, small, slate-like pieces of stone for a ground cover. When we ventured into one of the abandoned pits to look around, getting out could be very difficult due to the loose ground and steep incline. Between the pits were small hill top paths that separated the man-made gully's.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Returning to her hometown after living abroad with her newly retired career soldier husband Carl, Marie is forced to contend with her Dad’s death, her Mom’s disappearance and a looming divorce. Marie falls into an apocalyptic future, finds her mom and is told what’s required of them to stop the war: travel to Salem, 1690. The future versions of loved ones include Carl and his new perspective on love. The bonds of friends, family and humanity are tested under duress in this sage-guided journey.

Q. This book is part of a series, tell us about your series.
A.
In order to create a full story, that supported the ideas, I needed to shift from one book to three.
Q. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
A.
I’m getting older and my brain doesn’t want to cooperate at times.
Q. What is the inspiration for the story?
A.
Family, friends, life and the love of fiction mixed with facts. Fantasy writers & journalists.

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