The Gifts of Faith - To Julie With Love (Ch.10)

Sarah starts the search with Faith's laptop
Sarah starts the search with Faith's laptop | Source

“Well, shoot Faith. All I’m finding when I Google your address is you as the current owner. Several sites show the specs of the house and property, but nothing about the history or previous owners.” Sarah chewed her bottom lip as she put the laptop on the coffee table.

“Don’t worry about it Sarah. You tried.”

“Oh, I’m not defeated yet, my friend. You know me – give me a challenge and I’m all over it! Just give me a minute; something will come to me. In the meantime, grab that bottle of wine. Maybe some fresh air will shake the cobwebs loose.”

Faith and Sarah gazed at the stars
Faith and Sarah gazed at the stars | Source

Faith followed Sarah out the back door with the bottle of wine and two glasses in tow. After serving up a glass of wine for each of them, Faith suggested they take a walk to work out the stiffness they both felt after a hard day’s work.

The girls found themselves meandering through the gardens silently surveying the work that awaited them tomorrow. Lily followed close behind once again chasing things only she could see.

“I swear, Faith sometimes I think Lily’s on kitty crack. She’s a trip to watch!” As if on cue, Lily did a standing leap into the air, spun a 360 and took off running. Faith and Sarah laughed so hard they fell to the ground.

They didn’t bother to get up. Both stretched out on their backs looking at the stars, as they did when they were young. The pair lay there in silence watching the sparkling light show while listening to the cacophony of Nature’s night sounds.

Do you know the history of your home?

  • Yes, I bought it new.
  • Yes, it's been in my family for generations.
  • No, but you've piqued my curiosity, Bravewarrior!
  • I don't know and I don't care.
  • Somewhat but not entirely.
See results without voting

“Faith, you said your house was over a hundred years old when you bought it?” Sarah absentmindedly twirled her long blond locks as she gazed at the sky.

“Yeah, the deed said the house was built in 1910. It’s one reason I bought it. I just love the architecture and character of old homes. I don’t know why I didn’t ask about its history. I guess I was so busy getting the shop set up at the same time that I just didn’t think to ask.”

Sarah sat up to take a sip of her wine. “Whom did you buy the property from?”

“My realtor said a family by the name of McNally lived here before I purchased the house. They bought it from the daughter of the original owners in 1976. Mr. McNally died a few years later. There were no heirs when Mrs. McNally died in 2006 and the house remained vacant until I bought it”, Faith replied as she continued gazing at the gems in the sky. “I don’t know anything more than that.”

Sarah turned to face Faith. Even though it was dark, she could see the sparkle in Sarah’s eyes. Apparently, some of her mental cobwebs had indeed cleared space for her incessant curiosity. “Okay. You bought your house when? 2011?”

“Yep. Two months after I opened up Bouquets and Rainbows.”

“So, we have about 35 years accounted for. Think hard. Did your realtor say anything else about the property? Surely there were some selling features besides the acreage, the barn and the quaint cottage-style home.”

Sarah could almost hear the wheels churning in Faith’s mind. It was quite some time before she responded.

“She didn’t give me any more details and, as I said, I was so distracted at the time, I never thought to ask. But I have an idea, Sarah. Let’s check the census records for the year 1910 and see what we come up with. It’s a long shot, because I don’t know the name of the original owners, but perhaps something will jump out at us.”

“It’s as good a place as any to start, my friend.” Sarah grabbed Faith’s hand and helped her up from the velvety grass. “Let’s head back to the house. It’s getting late.”

There was much work to do in the gardens
There was much work to do in the gardens | Source

The next day the girls were up before dawn. After a hearty breakfast, they headed out to the gardens to pick up where they left off.

At dusk, they gathered their tools and returned them to the barn; it would be another few days before they’d have the time to tackle the task of weeding and aerating the plant beds.

Main Street in Flowery Branch, GA
Main Street in Flowery Branch, GA | Source

That night after a light dinner of salad and fresh garlic bread, Sarah brought the laptop into the kitchen. Nuzzled side by side, Sarah typed Flowery Branch Georgia Census 1910 into the Google search bar. She found a link for “Family Search” which allowed her to search for records narrowed by year and city.

The small kitchen was electrified with their excitement.

“Ready?” Sarah slowly scrolled through each screen while Faith nervously fiddled with the small aquamarine ring on her left pinkie finger. “Let me know if you see something, Faith.”

After 30 minutes of scrolling through the records, Sarah piped up: “This is crazy. There are over 20,000 records here! We’ll never get through this tonight. Let’s see if we can narrow the search.” They chose “head” under the relationship option, which resulted in over 4,000 records. “Okay, this is much more manageable. Faith, why don’t you take over the mouse while I make us some tea.”

It wasn’t long before Faith stopped scrolling. “Does anything stand out on this page, Sarah? Do you see what I see?”

There was an entry for Andrew White, Spouse Julia White, one child: Buford White.

In unison, Faith and Sarah breathed, “Julia White”.

“Sarah, I feel something when I look at this entry.” Faith was spinning the ring on her finger so intensely Sarah was afraid she’d cut herself. She intertwined her fingers with Faith’s in an effort to stop the nervous reaction and to calm her own racing heart.

“Look at this, Faith. It says Andrew was born in 1887. That would make him 23 the year this house was built. That seems about right for that era. Let’s assume Buford was born in 1910. He would be of marrying age 18 to 20 years later. Let’s check the census records for 1930 and see what we come up with. We know the original family lived in this house until 1976, so he’ll show up if this is the right family.”

At this point the girls were fired up and the adrenaline was running high. Even Lily felt the vibrancy in the room. She rubbed a constant figure eight between their legs, vying for their attention, to no avail. Faith and Sarah were completely immersed in their mission.

To their joy, the 1930 census showed Buford White as head, but no spouse was listed.

“Keep checking, Sarah. Perhaps he married late in life.”

The census records for 1940 showed the same. But there was hope; Buford was still listed. That information kept the girls digging deeper into their investigation. They hit pay dirt in 1950. Buford was now listed as having a spouse: Savannah White. Sarah kept digging until they found what they were looking for. The census records for 1956 revealed a child: Julie White.

Now they had something to go on. Faith removed the ring from her pinkie and read the inscription aloud. “To Julie with love.”

“Whoo hoo!” Sarah and Faith jumped up from the table, clasped their hands above their heads and did a happy whoo hoo dance around the kitchen table.

After catching their breath Faith announced, “Now we need to find Julie.”

“You’re oh so right, mon’amie.” Sarah was already click-clacking away at the computer.

“Oh, shit! Faith, you’re not going to believe this!”

Faith stood over Sarah’s shoulder reading what was on the screen. The silence in the room was deafening. But the screen on the laptop was anything but silent. Screaming at them in bold letters were these words:

Flowery Branch Gazette Dateline April 17, 1976

Julie White of Flowery Branch Weds Haywood Baxter, Renowned Contractor From Oakwood, Ga.



Shauna L Bowling

Refining, Defining or Rhyming

All Rights Reserved


© 2014 Shauna L Bowling

More by this Author


Comments 51 comments

Barbara cook 2 years ago

Very exciting. How do you keep all the characters catalogued and in the proper sequence. Very we'll done. Will wait for the next chapter with bated breath.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Mom, I catalog them and refer to the previous chapters where they were introduced to make sure I don't mess up details or sequence. I have several pages of handwritten notes for each of my characters. I also do a LOT of research to validate the steps Faith and Sarah take in research, the native flowers of Flowery Branch, Georgia, climate, etc. I almost had Lily chasing lightening bugs in this chapter, but my research found that they don't come out until July in Georgia. We're in the beginning of Spring in this chapter, so that would have negated my story.

I've spent two days learning how to discover the history of a property. Although this story is fiction, many aspects must be real in order to engage my readers. It's a lot of work, but it's my passion. Unfortunately, writing my novel does not pay the bills. Yet! That's why I have to find other writing avenues. I think you catch my drift. I've researched literary agents and they don't want to hear from any author until the book is complete. No one pays for an unfinished piece of work. At least not until you've proven yourself. I'm on the ground level working my way up. It takes more effort than I ever thought, but it's my dream and that's where I'm going.

Thanx for your comment. You have no idea what it means to me!

Love,

Sha


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

I love the twists here -- the intrigue that your house had a rich life before you and that you can research it. I bought my house new. The things that go on in houses over the years, both good and bad, certainly become part of its character.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Wow, Dear Sha, I am so impressed with the steps you have taken in keeping the facts (although this is fiction) straight as to appropriate flowers native to the Georgia climate and when the lightening bugs come out! I grew up in Georgia and you are so right about them not coming out until July! Bravo to you for your ethics and attention to great detail in writing, which add much interest to the story.

Boy, that ending is a jaw-dropping one there! Great write!

Up and more, pinning and tweeting and sharing

Hugs,

Faith Reaper


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota

I was so glad to see another chapter of this story. I am confused at the end. Does it mean Savannah remarried? Help-Love this series.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

The sign of a good writer...or one of the signs...is the ability to keep enough twists coming so that the readers attention is always held....you are doing this well.

Looking forward to the next chapter my writer friend. :)

bill


Ghost32 2 years ago

Nice work, Sha. I especially like Lily's contributions. Any cat lover can understand the "on kitty crack" scene. It reminded me of a time in 1997 when Pam and I had a young kitten who'd come to live with us in South Dakota. We were lounging around on the air mattress one morning when it dawned on us--suddenly--that the Soul we now (then) knew as Harvey might well have been the wild baby cottontail rabbit I'd named Bibs when I was eleven.

I looked at the little critter, playing around near the foot of the mattress, and asked him straight out, "Are you Bibs?" He responded by immediately jumping straight in the air, stiff-legged, three times. As in, "By George, I think you've got it!"

Great story glue, your Lily cat.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Flourish, it wasn't my house I was researching. I went through the exercise so I could get dates right with the generations leading up to Julie's birth and identity. My house was re-built in 1980 after it burned to the ground. From what I've been told the previous owner's daughters were ironing on the bed and left the iron on when they left the house. It caused a fire and the house burned down. I bought it in 1995.

You're right tho - many homes, especially the older ones, seem to have a character all their own.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Faith, I want this story to be as believable as possible. Of course, the names are a figment of my imagination, but I'd like my readers to connect with the characters and setting.

I'm so glad you're enjoying this. Your jaw dropped right along with Faith and Sarah's. Small world, huh? :-)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Linda, Savannah White is Julie's mother. When Julie grew up, she married Haywood Baxter. If you refer back to chapter six, when the girls were having dinner with Faith's dad, you'll know who Haywood Baxter is and how he connects Julie to the story.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Bill, you just paid me the highest compliment! However, I just caught a mistake. Or, I should say Linda caught the mistake. I need to change my headline!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Ghost, I have no doubt your Harvey was a reincarnated Bibs. I'm modeling Lily from Sheba, one of my cats. She's definitely on kitty crack! I've seen her do exactly what Lily did in this chapter. In fact, she does it quite often. She's a trip!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Sha,

This story has staying power and the perfect pace / reveal in each building chapter. Your research is paying off because your work is always authentic and realistic in style.

I am also grinning at the "kitty crack" reference...relatable for sure.

Voted UP and UABI. Have a peaceful week. Love, Maria


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Maria, every home needs a pet. Since I'm a cat lover and Faith works most of the time, the logical choice is a cat. They pretty much take care of themselves. I'm glad you like the kitty crack reference. I'll let Sheba know. She's my real life inspiration!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

Oh Shauna how I love these characters and all their twists. You are an amazing writer and I feel as if I now know Faith and Sarah so well.

I am voting up and sharing onto my Facebook pages; I shall repost them all again for you .Take care my very talented friend and how excited am I for that next chapter ......!!!!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Eddy, it warms my heart that you are getting to know Faith and Sarah. I'm getting to know them as well. I learn more about my characters with each chapter. Lily has scampered her way into the story as well. As a cat owner, you know how that can happen. To know a cat (or dog) is to love a cat (or dog)!

Your awesome comment has made my day!


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 2 years ago from California

Oh dear did we have to stop here. I was ready to hang around with Sarah and Faith all day. Captivating. Nice work.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Tirelesstraveler, how else can I have you coming back for more if I don't leave you hanging? LOL Don't worry. They'll be back. There's lots more to come. That's a promise!


DreamerMeg profile image

DreamerMeg 2 years ago from Northern Ireland

Anxiously waiting for more. Very much enjoying this story.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

I'm glad you're enjoying it, Meg!


grandmapearl profile image

grandmapearl 2 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

So many twists and interesting turns! Love it--keep writing, my friend. You have so much talent, you just have to be published. I have 'faith', and I will keep on praying for that very thing for you, because you so deserve it. Excellent work ;) Pearl


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Pearl, I'm praying for the same thing. I know I'll get there. I just have a rung on the ladder where I need to rest for a while. My mortgage will be paid off in 2025. Hopefully, by then I'll be well on my way to being a fiction novelist. At least then, I'll be able to concentrate on my ultimate dream without having to worry about other forms of writing to accommodate a grand overhead. Shoot, I'll be 68 in 2025. Let's hope my fingers still work by then! :-)


Anna Haven profile image

Anna Haven 2 years ago from Scotland

Your painstaking research and your strict attention to detail shows in your fictional world. You have taken us right into the girl's lives and turned us around a twisting road.

I am looking forward to seeing where the path goes next. :)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Anna, this was a tough chapter to write. It did take a lot of research and going over the math in my head to have this twist come off as believable. I'm pleased that the effort has paid off. Thanx for your feedback!


CraftytotheCore profile image

CraftytotheCore 2 years ago

Your story is so entertaining. It definitely keeps a reader coming back for more!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Glad you like it, Crafty. It's good to see you back!


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

OK...so now I have to go back to the beginning. That's alright, because I sometimes read the last page first. An enjoyable read, looking forward to reading more.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

tobusiness, this chapter (which is not the last - just the latest) will make much more sense if you start at the beginning. I hope you enjoy it!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Excellent writing! Your characters have such great personality and keep readers enaged.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you Dianna. It's fun discovering the characters. They seem to take on their own personalities as I get deeper into the story.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 years ago from South Africa

Writing a novel is hard work! Congratulations, Shauna, you still have all the strings together.... Waiting in anticipation for the appearance of Julie White...


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Aha! Will Julie appear? I know the answer to that question. The rest of you will just have to wait....


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

I loved your angle on finding the history on the house through Google. Great cliffhanger at the end of this chapter.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

I'm glad you like this chapter, Nadine. Hopefully, by the time I finish this novel, Google will still be around! Ha ha. I'm sure it's here to stay.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 2 years ago

Once again Miss Shauna I am your cyber cheerleader - so rah rah rah - hey hey hey - my my - my - and I once again love your use of character dialogue to enhance the narrative and that is something which often trips up a lot of writers but you use it very effectively and so naturally too - just as if it were a screenplay ready for the screen. Thank you for your this awesome literary journey and I have enjoyed this tenth chapter with a nice glass of red wine and raising a glass to your health and to your family and of course lots more of your wonderful writing style - as Bogart said in Casablanca - "here's looking at you kid!"


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Ah, shucks Epi! You've started my day out with a smile. Thank you for your kind words. They are like a ray of sunshine on this cloudy Good Friday!


CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

I have a lot of catching up to do with Faith. I surely have missed some chapters but this chapter is quite intriguing and I felt some adrenaline rush. When is the book coming out? :)

Now, I'm curious to dig more about the history of our old house. :)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Cris, I started working on chapter 11 two weekends ago and got stuck. I hope to get back to it tomorrow. I have no idea how many chapters will be in this book, but it certainly is my intention to have it morph into a novel. For now I'm using HP as feedback. I hope my hubber friends don't mind!

I've received such positive feedback on Faith so far, I really want to share the finished product with the world. I'm excited about working on my first fiction novel. It's where I want to be as a writer. With fantastic supporters such as yourself, I know I'll get there.

Do catch up. I'd love to hear your thoughts. I can't wait to read the hub you write after investigating the history of your home!


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

This is really an interesting plot. I would love to read your story again when its finished. I will get it onto my Kindle! I do not always have the time to read every chapter, so I try to pick up the tread so to speak. Keep going!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Nadine, my novel is nowhere near ready for publication. It grows with each chapter. I know the ending (thanks to my fiction writing coach) but there are still many miles between now and then.

If you choose to wait until I publish, that gives me hope. However, these 10 chapters are almost a year in the making, so you may have a long wait my friend!

I'm torn about offering an eBook. I kinda have a disrespect for eReaders. I'm old school. I want to hold a book in my hands. That's why my poetry book is not available for download; you have to buy the paperback. Maybe I'm cutting my nose off to spite my face, but I'm trying to retain some of what technology has taken away.


Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

Jo_Goldsmith11 2 years ago

What an interesting and amazing read. I am curious now about the history of our home. I really appreciate how this is well written and kept me on my toes~! Shared, up & Tweeted. Blessings & hugs


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Jo, you're not the first one to feel compelled to search the history of your home after reading this chapter. I'm glad it's inspired you!

Thanx for the votes!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Sha....How I love Sarah's tenacity in accepting and tackling a challenge. Sarah is the epitome of a "Best friend.".......My head is reeling with so many different thoughts and emotions. You were born to write fiction, honey.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you, Paula. I love writing fiction. I guess it's an escape, but I surely like the freedom fiction offers. I'm a huge fan of the genre. My library is testament.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you, Paula. I love writing fiction. I guess it's an escape, but I surely like the freedom fiction offers. I'm a huge fan of the genre. My library is testament.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

Now we know who Julie is. Didn't Baxter design furniture? Boy the twists and turns! Amazing writing and story. Love it!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Ruby, Faith's father , Hal, was the furniture designer. Nathaniel's dad was a contractor hired to remodel homes of the wealthy. That's how the Baxters and Montgomerys became connected. He would commission Hal to build furniture for the homes he remodeled.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

I remember now. Thank you..


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

You're welcome. That's the drag about posting one chapter at a time. Not only does it take me a while between chapters, but the readers tend to forget where the story left off.


JennC 20 months ago

Shauna, this is absolutely not my genre, but I can't put it down! Way to go and I love how this is written in the sense that one must read every part of the novel, not only to keep up with what is going on, but also the characters. I was in disbelief when I read about the McNally's, because the "McNally's are also in Demons Legal Rights", or so I read. ;) You are an amazing writer Shawna.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 20 months ago from Central Florida Author

Jenn, it's funny you picked up on McNally. Perhaps it's kismet. They really play a small part in the story at this point.

I have not read the rest of the work to which you allude because I'm waiting for your revision before you send it to me for edit/critique.

I appreciate you following this story. Hopefully, I'll finish it and find an agent who thinks it's worthy of sending out to publishers and the reading public.

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