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Continued from Wyoming

After a surprisingly tasty meal served in the dining car by a starched, black-as-the-night waiter with a tight round face and impossibly white eyes and teeth, Yry tipsied to the cubbyhole marked Ladies, then rocked back to her seat, hoping not to land in some stranger’s lap as the train tossed her about. Back in the safety of her window seat she rearranged her canvas totes around herself like wagons circled up for the night. Again her head fell back and her eyes closed. In a half-dream-half-wake cycle, images of the past reeled.

She smiled and her heart bumped at the vision of Philip Cochrane, her first beloved. But time had diminished Philip’s power. Oh the torrid love letters they wrote back and forth to each other. Yry’s romantic life was not bound by the love of one boy. At 18, she had begun compiling her little black “Book of Lovers by Iramiris Paul.” And indeed, she had filled it with her broken heart. Memory drifted to Heinrich—that scoundrel sure played her for the fool! The clickety clackety rail racket lulled her until the memory she’d worked so hard to banish, popped up like an over-wound jack-in-the-box. The memory of that awful breakfast…

I didn’t ask enough questions as a child. When we emigrated, why did Papa insist on staying in Germany? Why had he entrusted so much to Adolph? To send his wife and only child across The Atlantic Ocean, along with access to his bank account! I’m not the only gullible one in the family. It was ludicrous, really. Okay, Adolph had connections in New York. He helped us get established. But that man! And I had to call that creep “Uncle” Adolph! Why, he was nothing like dear Uncle Willy or Uncle Philip. They had been so kind and gentle with her during that bewildering time when she first came to Germany. She remembered the doll’s bed Uncle Philip had made from scrap wood that he sanded and painted. She would treasure that gift forever. . . .

Continued