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It had to be You

It had to be You

Titel: It had to be You
Autoren: Jill Churchill
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Chapter 1
    Friday, March 3,1933

    Here’s another one,“ Lily said, putting a letter down on Mr. Prinney’s desk at his secondary office at Grace and Favor.
    This one was on brown bag paper, carefully folded and addressed to The Honerable Mr. Horatio Bruster.
    Mr. Prinney carefully pulled it apart.
    Written on the inside of the envelope to save wasting paper, it said,

    Deer Sir,
    my wife is writing this for me. I aint got much edication. But Im a darned good farmer. Sad to say that the hale kilt our been crop last fall and we aint had no rain atall this year. We’re sory we havent payed the morgage for a cuple months now but hope you understand. We will try to pay as soon as we kan. We hope its gonna rain this year.
    Jimmy Brubaker in Gardan City Kansas

    This was the sixth letter they’d received this spring. Most of them said virtually the same thing.
    Lily and Robert’s great-uncle Horatio had bought great tracts of land in Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma long before the stock market crashed, and sold it to farmers. For the first four years the venture had been profitable. But the good weather had turned bad in 1929, and had progressively become worse. There hadn’t been rain for two or three years.
    Mr. Prinney, the executor of Horatio Brewster’s estate, sighed. “Lily, would you write back. The usual wording.“ Which was that Mr. Brewster had passed on and that Mr. Prinney was in charge of the estate on behalf of Mr. Brewster’s great-niece and great-nephew. On their behalf he was communicating that the mortgage payments didn’t have to be paid this year, and that the penalty clause in the contract would not be enforced. He hoped the weather would get better this summer and that the mortgage holder could resume payments next year.

    While Lily was typing the letter to Mr. Brubaker, Robert was preparing to go to Washington, D.C., to see President-elect Franklin Roosevelt’s inauguration. Even Mr. Prinney reluctantly agreed that Robert deserved the trip. On Election Day the previous November, Robert had worked every hour the polls were open, driving around town in his beloved Duesenberg and gathering up loads of voters, who got the car so dirty it took him nearly a week to get it clean again.
    He was this very day standing with a huge crowd at the Hyde Park railroad station watching Roosevelt being lifted into his private train in his wheelchair by his sons. Hundreds of people from surrounding counties cheered as the next president appeared at the window of the train. The mobs of photographers hadn’t taken his picture until then. Roosevelt was leaning out of the open window, waving, and grinning with his cigarette holder in his mouth. Robert was waving back madly.
    When the train pulled out and Roosevelt’s window was closed against the cinders and smoke from the coal, some of the people drifted away. Many more, including Robert, waited patiently with their tickets for the next train to pull into the station, and piled on gleefully to follow. Robert snagged his reserved seat that he’d booked weeks earlier, and realized how thirsty he was. He hadn’t had anything to eat or drink since going to bed the night before, for fear he might have to give up his seat to go to the bathroom and lose his place to some of the people jostling him in the aisle.
    A small price to pay, he thought.
    He’d consulted the alumini address list his college sent out every year to graduates and discovered that several old acquaintances from his school days had moved to Washington, D.C., and hoped he could bunk down with one of them for a couple of days. He’d even managed to find a Washington phone book at the Voorburg library and looked up their phone numbers. It was two years old, but a few friends were certainly still at the same place.
    When the train arrived in Washington, he found a bathroom first, washed his hands, and bought a sandwich and a cup of very bad coffee. Then he gathered his change and found a pay phone. The first number he tried didn’t answer. Neither did the second. The third old friend answered on the third ring.
    “James, this is Robert Brewster. A voice from the past. I’m down here to watch the inauguration. I wondered if I could sleep on your sofa or floor for a couple of days?“
    “Robert Brewster?“ the voice asked. “I remember you. Have you gone mad? Why would you want to come here for that? Most of us campaigned and voted for Hoover and wouldn’t waste the time. In
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