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Heather Gates, Ep. HG 31, Heather Welcomed the New Year of 1997

Updated on October 16, 2018
Homeplace Series profile image

Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

They Each Enjoyed the Movie in Their Own Way

Movie Promotional Poster
Movie Promotional Poster

Heather and Her Friends Went to the Saturday Night Movie for the New Year

The girls, Heather, Kari and Karla, started the new year of 1997 off with a movie they had heard had great music, on Saturday night, January 4th. It was “The Preacher’s Wife” starring Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston. They were not disappointed. They also found the story fascinating and talked about it at length at the Ice Cream Parlor after. Having the story be told from the child’s perspective was especially interesting, Heather thought. She thought about her young cousin, Tyler, Matt’s son, telling such a story. Would that be believable?


Kari thought the music was especially inspirational. That was not surprising since she was already a Whitney Houston music fan. Karla was the least impressed with the story. She thought it a bit far out, with the whole angel concept, but she thought they told the story well, if you could buy into that concept. She considered it a fairy tale, so that made it alright. They had some discussion around those concepts. Both Heather and Kari said they just enjoyed the positive story, in the end. Kari added, “And the music was good.” No one disagreed with that assessment.


They had been able to spend about two hours volunteering at the Library to work on the community family history files that were being donated during their holiday vacation from school. They talked about how they had hoped to spend more time doing that, but other family things kept coming up that they needed to be doing. It turned out to be a busy ‘vacation’ for each of them. They felt that Judy Watson was doing a great job organizing materials that came in and making the best use of volunteer time made available to assist her. They had felt their time there was well used. Each of them realized that they were still very much in the learning mode, but looked forward to doing it again, as time permitted. Judy had commented how amazed she was at how much material was being brought in for the volunteers to review. She guessed that the Christmas holiday had helped generate family discussions. Several people had mentioned to her that they had had family history and community history discussions around the holiday meals and gatherings. Heather, Kari and Karla each agreed that their families certain did that, as well.

They Talked About the Movie at the Ice Cream Parlor Afterwards

A favorite after movie gathering spot
A favorite after movie gathering spot

Heather Got Back Into the School and Work Routine Moving Into the New Year

Heather continued her daily work routine around her school obligations once school was back in session. It was actually easier, since that was the ‘normal’ she was accustomed to, not the holiday vacation schedule. Both Shadow and Sunshine were progressing normally with their pregnancies. Heather continued recording their vital signs and checked in with Jennifer, Dr. Bevins, weekly on her reviews. Heather had one short discussion with Jennifer about whether she would change her name when she and Brian were married. Jennifer said they had talked about that. They had decided she would continue to be Dr. Jennifer Bevins in her professional work. Personally, she would become Mrs. Brian Kirk. She knew professional colleagues who had chosen that path, and they agreed it had worked out well. Heather asked, of course, when they were getting married, but got a noncommittal response. Jennifer said Heather would be among the first to know, when Jennifer knew. They had a good laugh over that comment.


The Mill Market complex was closed during all of January, so Heather only stopped by there when her Dad asked her to. Sometimes he had some things for her to do, or be involved in, but generally not. This was a time for maintenance, planning and rest from the stress of daily retail operations. In February, they would be open for a limited number of hours of operation each week, mostly to train staff and get used to any changes that had been made for the new season which would start the first of March.


Paul mentioned to Heather on one of her visits that he and Jonathan had had several conversations about items that needed to be done to implement the new concessionaire agreement with Big Thunder Lodge. These included discussions about improvements of the internal roads around the mill for the increased traffic of shuttling customers from the upper float area to the lower float area below the falls. It was now a dirt path. They had discussed costs and how the costs would be allocated. Heather agreed the road needed improvement. This was part of the path she used nearly every day to the stable and back.

They Worked on Family and Community History Research

A Generic Icon of Family History Study
A Generic Icon of Family History Study

Saturday was a Volunteer Day at the Library

Brian, Jennifer and Heather arrived at the Library shortly after 10 am to begin a day of volunteer work on community history for the Oak Springs Historical and Genealogical Society. Judy Watson had a set of projects for each of them to work on. Brian set about reading and indexing some material that had been received related to the Campbell family in the late 1800s. Jennifer was doing the same with materials from the Inman family. Heather had a stack of early 1900s obituaries that needed index cards made with all of the surnames listed in the obits with reference back to the particular obit.


They had been working about an hour when Penny Nixon came in the front door, carrying a stack of papers in a box. She seemed almost breathless as she arrived and was met by Judy Watson who suggested they sit down at the table next to where Brian, Jennifer and Heather were working. Penny agreed saying they would all want to hear about what she had just found. She then proceeded to tell them that she had found what appeared on first review to be an unpublished manuscript of stories for the Centennial in Oak Springs in 1876. She said some of the stories went back to the founding of Oak Springs in 1833. The papers had been in a storage area at the newspaper that she had never explored previously. She added that her father had never seen them before, either, to his recollection.


The five of them spent the next hour taking turns reading portions of the stories included in the box of papers. From time to time, one or the other would exclaim something like, “Wow, this is really fascinating history of the community,” or, “I think this is about my ancestor…” Before too long, Brian sat back and said: “This is a new project that possibly takes priority over everything else. Are you making these papers available to the Society, Penny?”


“Yes, Dad said that is exactly what should happen. These are community historical documents. We need to determine exactly what they are, who was involved in the creation, and why they were left laying in storage in the newspaper office.”


“Ok, well,” Brian continued, “I suggest that we are a committee of five to begin that process. We will bring others into the process as we determine what we have.” They all agreed.

Author’s Note

This series of stories in the life of Heather Gates, a fictional character in The Homeplace Saga series of family saga, historical fiction stories (home blog found at thehomeplaceseries dot blogspot dot com), is being created as a way to use a minor character in the early writings to expand those stories and share details omitted in those earlier writings within the original overarching themes. These newly included details may have been left out of the earlier stories through editing or they may have seemed unrelated to central themes at the time. With the expansion of the entire Saga, over the years, it has become obvious that filling in some of the gaps in the story for overall better understanding of the individuals, their families, and their interactions would be useful to The Homeplace Saga body of work in total. The first thirty episodes ran in parallel with the timeline of the “Christmas at the Homeplace” novel. This episode represents stories following the end of that novel. These will run in parallel with stories previously published on the home blog that ran monthly into early 1999.

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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 weeks ago from Hollister, MO

      Family and community are at the heart of each of my stories, largely based on personal experiences through many, many years and places. Thank you for your visit and comments!! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      "Christmas holiday had helped generate family discussions." I'm sure that the movie and the New Year events also helped. I appreciate the themes of family and community throughout the story.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 weeks ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Bill. Always enjoy your visits and comments!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Always enjoyable following Heather through her daily activities.

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