OLWG · writing

OLWG# 225- The Building Downtown on 10th Street

Written for OLWG# 226

We all sat on folding metal chairs in front of Lawyer Redmond’s ostentatious wooden desk. She was reading Grandpa’s Last Will and Testament. It had been two years since Grandpa had passed, taken by the Covid in early 2021.

 I sat to the left of my dad. His new wife, Sukie, sat to his right. She was excited, squirming and bouncing in her seat.

Mom sat to my left. Her face fixed, stern, unsmiling. She wore her long grey hair pulled back and tied in a tight knot at her neck. The effect was severe. It was the first time she and Dad had been in the same room in the last fifteen years, although she and Ms Redmond had lived together for the best part of that time.

My sisters both stood at the back of the room. Eileen looked like she hadn’t brushed her hair in weeks. She gnawed on her already torn and chewed fingernails. Marie stood straight and tall, stoic, unruffled. Grandpa left the house in town to Marie, no surprise there. He left the ranch to Dad, and you could tell that Eileen was upset.

Mom got the art collection which was probably worth a pretty penny. I knew that she would keep it intact, though. She had loved Grandpa’s art. She would blend it with her own extensive collection. I didn’t know if the house she shared with Elizabeth was big enough to hold it all, but they could afford to build or buy a bigger one. She smiled silently to her partner, the attorney. Elizabeth allowed herself a quick grin back at Mom.

Eileen got the vehicles. Trucks, cars, tractors, motorcycles, the lot, she’d probably figure out a way to sell the trucks and tractors to Dad.

I was the only one remaining who remained unmentioned. Elizabeth Redmond cleared her throat and directed her gaze at me, “To my grandson, TN, I bequeath my old black woollen greatcoat and anything that might remain in the pockets. Note that this is the coat kept in the closet at the top of the stair, not the muddy one kept in the garage.” Lawyer Redmond set her stack of papers down and asked if there were any questions.

“What about the building downtown on 10th Street?” Marie asked.

“Per your grandfather’s instructions, that building has been liquidated. The proceeds then used to pay all outstanding debts or liens on his other properties and possessions.” Elizabeth looked everyone in the eye to solicit further inquiries, but no one spoke up.

Dad stood and left quickly; so he would not have to interact with Mom. Eileen tried to hide her disappointment. She followed Dad out the door. Mom went and stood behind Ms Redmond, possessively placing her hand on the lawyer’s shoulder. Marie smiled at Mom and again at me then, took her leave.

Elizabeth looked up at my mother and asked if she could have a moment with me alone. Mom nodded her head and followed Marie into the passageway.

“I hope you aren’t disappointed, TN.” She addressed me.

“Not at all,” I replied, “I know that coat. It belonged to my great grandfather. He left it to his son, my grandpa. I know that it meant a lot to him. I’m honoured that he chose to leave it to me.”

“I’ve got the topcoat here for you. I didn’t find anything in the pockets, though.” She handed me a long garment bag. I took the proffered bag, nodded to Ms Redmond, and mumbled my thanks. I got in my car and drove home.

That evening, I remembered what Mom’s wife had said about the pockets. I decided to go through them. Opening the bag, I removed the Melton wool garment and checked the flap pockets. A bit of lint was all I found. I checked the breast pocket and found a small roll of dollar bills from the ’60s. I looked for inside pockets and found a large ‘poachers pocket’ jetted into the back, above the lower hem. True to its name, it was big enough to stash a pheasant. There was no bird there, but I found a few cards. The first one I pulled out was a 1955 Sandy Koufax Topps Rookie Card. I reached back in and found a 1960 Carl Yastrzemski picturing him with his Boston Red Sox cap.

I was beginning to think that Grandpa had left me a fortune. I found a Ty Cobb Cracker Jack Card from 1914, a ’48 Satchel Paige, there was a Stan Musial from the same year. There was a Roberto Clemente 1955, and the crème de la crème was a Mickey Mantle from 1952. I knew that the ’52 Mantle card was worth at least a half million. I was going to have to get the others appraised.

Thanks, Grandpa

This week’s prompts were:

  1. spit out the sun
  2. play your horn, Leo
  3. baseball cards and overcoats

7 thoughts on “OLWG# 225- The Building Downtown on 10th Street

  1. I actually found a few baseball cards in a book in a little free library (odd what folks will put in there besides books… like a pair of new but cheep shoes). I think the one with the most value was about $5. I’d tell you who it was, but I put it in a ‘safe’ place and can’t put a hand on it right now. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like this one. Having been through the happiness and disappointment my parents’ will brought about, your story rings very true. And, it rings true on another story: A good friend was made executor of an estate of a woman with no family (sort of long story as to why, but not very interesting). The only instructions were that my friend dispose of the property and its contents as she saw fit, dispersing the proceeds to charities of her choice. The woman’s home was an ancient founding father-type mansion in “old Seattle” in an expensive tract of real estate to this day, and its contents were a prize to the high-end antique dealer set. My friend and her husband spent many days opening doors and drawers, and exploring every nook and cranny, which paid off quite well. They discovered a hidden drawer in the back of a large desk. Within it were several high-end pieces of gem-encrusted jewelry, which ended up netting about 10K for that little find. Over the years they’ve mused they ought to have sent a note of apology to whomever bought the desk for discovering that drawer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I watched a home renovation show where the couple had bought a small old home build with what was called ‘balloon construction’ or hollow walls. Because the heat source in the basement would travel up through that empty space to keep the house warm. The guy who owned the house had stuffed the walls with ‘old’ movie poster advertisements.
      The couple that bought the house… found the posters in very good condition – and were able to sell some for the homes renovation costs… they kept the one for the movie:
      “We’re in the Money!”


  3. Those are some sweet cards, TN! I think it’s probably at least a little bit fiction, but my father said, ‘I used to have a couple of those’ [Mantle rookie cards] back in the day and that he supposedly put them in the spokes of his bike. As everyone always says, “wish I’d kept those.” Very nice nostalgia piece, and I like how you worked in that the pockets were searched before the grandson TN got the coat–a quite important & revealing character detail to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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