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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Chapter 4: Livy's Plan

Livy
Fall, 1943

Livy was hard at work. Back to something that was familiar to her. Livy loved her new job. She loved the students. Livy had not been sure how the town of Wilson embraced education, but most parents seemed to see the need in it and supported Livy in her teachings. Livy tried to encourage the students to look beyond the textbook, to see what kind of legacy they could leave behind for the future generations of Wilson.

It had been a few weeks since Livy had been introduced to Mr. Singleton and Livy didn't know him any better than before. Livy decided to talk to Aunt Betty about Ray Singleton. Livy knew she could trust Aunt Betty. One night after supper when they were washing dishes, Livy found her opportunity to begin asking Aunt Betty about Mr. Singleton. She hoped she came across as not so forward.

"Mr. Singleton, Hank Stewart's brother-in-law, I have noticed is always alone." Livy said holding her breath.

"Yes, he is. It is a really sad story there. He is very much like you, Livy. Only he lost three people he loved more than anything." Mrs. Case said solemnly.
Livy thought for a second and asked "How did he lose his wife and children?" Aunt Betty looked quickly at Livy. "He didn't lose his wife and children, he lost his parents and brother. Not at the same time, but he lost them close enough. Raymond has never been the same since Danny's death, that's his brother. He raised Danny from the time he was thirteen until he left for bootcamp."

"I am so sorry to hear that." Livy said understandingly.

"Raymond's parents died during the same winter, from influenza. Raymond was sad and all, but he couldn't be for long because he had Danny to raise. Everyone around here knows what Raymond gave up in order to raise Danny. That's how we know how hard it was when Danny was killed at Pearl Harbor. Raymond was not seen in town for months afterwards. The community went to see him, but he never came to town. Not even to church."

Livy knew exactly how Mr. Singleton felt, how you just want to die when you lose your last hope.

Livy finally spoke, "I had no idea how great his loss was, I only know how lonely he looks."

Mrs. Case said with a smile, "Raymond is doing better, he at least attends church each week and the monthly socials that the church has. But he is always alone or with his sister, Martha and her family."

Livy said no more. She thought. She thought about Raymond and his great loss and how he must feel everyday. She hoped that Martha and her family was some comfort to him. Livy knows, because the Rev. and Mrs. Case are her comfort and her students are as well.

The next afternoon at school, Livy worked in her classroom grading her student's work. Livy began planning her next unit of study. She needed a map of the world as it seemed in the 1400's. Mr. Timmons, the school principal, told Livy on the first day of school that the school library had many resources that she could use. They were very fortunate to have such an exemplary library.

Livy placed the last grade in the gradebook and cleaned off her desk. She packed her bag with one more class' of ungraded work. Livy then headed to the library. Livy browsed through, looking at many books of interest to her. She thought she needed to come and check out some books, just for her to read. Mr. Timmons was right, the library was stocked with a wealth of books. Livy was startled by a voice.

"Hi, Miss Dunne, how are you?" asked Ruth.

"Fine, Ruth. What are you doing here at this time of day? Shouldn't you be home already?" Livy surprisingly asked.

"On Tuesday, I help Miss Rutledge reshelve books. That way, I get to see all the books in here......and it is the only day I have a ride home." Ruth said.

"Oh, I see." Livy replied. "I'll have to remember that if I need some help with the filing of papers in the classroom."

Ruth smiled big. "I would love to help you, Miss Dunne, anytime."

"Will have to see then." Livy added.

Ruth looked down at her watch, "Oh no, I'm late. My uncle Ray will be outside waiting on me."

With that, Ruth walked quickly to put away the cart. Livy whispered to her, "Nice to see you, Ruth."

"Nice to see you Miss Dunne." Ruth said hurriedly.

Livy kept the book she was looking at and headed towards the teacher section, when Ray Singleton walked through the library door. He stopped close inside the door and moved over as to not be in the way of the door. Livy was going to have to walk right by him to get to the resources that she needed. Livy thumbed through the book as to not seem as though she had seen Mr. Singleton. She looked up when she got to the door of the room that she needed. Mr. Singleton had moved over and was right beside the door. Their eyes met.

"Hello, Mr. Singleton. How are you?" Livy tried to ask unnervously.

"Fine......(cleared throat) thank you." Ray answered.

"We've been missing you at potluck lunch at church." Livy could've have crawled under the door at that statement.

Mr. Singleton just smiled slightly and nodded his head. He cleared his throat...
"I've got a lot of things to do around the farm to get ready for harvest." They smiled at one another. Ruth walked up, and they all seem to be lost for words. Ruth immediately apologized for losing track of time. Uncle Ray nodded.

"Good bye, Miss Dunne. See you tomorrow." Ruth said quietly.

"Bye, Ruth. Study your notes for the test tomorrow." Livy tried to think of something to say.

"Good afternoon, Miss Dunne." Ray said as he put his hat back on his head.

"Will we see you at Sunday's potluck?" Livy asked wishfully

Nodding his head yes, Ray replied, "Yes, ma'am." He and Ruth headed out the library door.

Livy closed her eyes and thought of the brief conversation. Livy thought to herself again how awkward she is around men. On Livy's walk home, she cringed at the thought of what she said. Was she too forward? Maybe Mr. Singleton was not interested in her, not that he was too shy.

That Sunday, Mr. Singleton stayed for potluck. Mrs. Stewart asked Livy if she would like to sit with them. Livy did. Going through the line of the potluck, Livy and Mr. Singleton kept catching each other's glances.

Livy sat down at the table near Mrs. Stewart. Ray sat at the end with Hank and some other men. Livy was disappointed. She had been too forward with Mr. Singleton the other day. Livy felt as if she was going to cry. She tried to keep her composure.

Livy sat at the potluck as long as she could, she had to get home to see about the next weeks lessons for school. Livy thanked Mrs. Stewart for inviting her to sit. Livy turned to Mr. Singleton and Mr. Stewart and bidded them a fair afternoon.

Livy walked sadly out the church. She hoped not to show her disappointment to anyone.

As the week started, Livy was thinking of Mr. Singleton. In the morning she thought of him, alone sitting at the breakfast table. During the day when her students were not with her she thought of him. Out riding a tractor or plowing.....or whatever farmers do this time of year. At night, when Livy laid in her bed, she thought of Mr. Singleton laying in his bed......alone.

At church that next Sunday, Mr. Singleton stayed for potluck. Livy ate with the Stewarts. Mr. Singleton sat with them. Livy tried to make conversation with Mr. Singleton. It was difficult. Livy soon realized that Mr. Singleton is a man of few words.

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