Madison, Wisconsin.  March 2000.  The Rodefers lived on Cheyenne Street.  A quiet neighborhood with a little bit of noise.  All of the houses looked the same up and down the block on both sides of the street, except the early residents must have had a thing for color.  Blue, green, red, white, and gray.  The uniformity of structures lends a calming effect to the whole area. 
     The house next to the Rodefers, 702 Cheyenne,  had been vacant for six months.  The previous resident was a strange bird, a Mr. Green, who worked in a grocery store.  He decided to move back east with his sister because they both had reached the age of social security.  James Green said he was tired of the dullness of a Wisconsin block.  He thought his sister, Cheryl, was just the type of company to finish his life out with.
     A new family was moving in to the fairly spacious home, which needed a little renovation.  Green was no fixer.  Mrs. Rodefer was fascinated by one parallel present in the new family, the Whartons.  The husband, Jack and Cynthia were lawyers.  The couple had two teenage daughters, Andrea and Carol, sixteen and seventeen, respectively.  The Rodefers had two teenage sons, also sixteen and seventeen, named Ray and Henry.  In many respects, the two families were evenly matched, if material wealth was what one was analyzing in them.   Mr. Paul Rodefer was an accountant and often had to bring his work home.  Ellen, his wife, stayed home most of the time and she had inherited quite a bit of money from her parents, who died rather young.  Ellen liked socials and helping with school functions,  She was very popular with the Cheyenne neighborhood  ladies. 
     The construction crew had finished with the Wharton's house by the first week of April.  It looked nice inside, and that was the topic of conversation that Mrs. Wharton had initiated with Ellen that cool April morning when they met each other in front of the driveway. 
     "I'm sure you're going to like this block," Ellen said, pleased to meet an attorney moving in.
     "Oh, good.  We have relatives over in Walton.  They highly recommended this area.  And my husband has been transferred out here also.  I won't be working for a while.   I want to become acclimated.  I might even stop permanently, " Cynthia said.
     Ellen was beginning to like her.  "Would you like to come in?" she asked.
     "Oh, yes, of course," Cynthia responded.
     The families became reasonably friendly.  Cynthia was also interested in the coincidence of having two teenage boys next door to her own teenage girls.  That they were the same ages was amazing to her as well.  Of course, such a coincidence leads inevitably to the thought they might date each other and get to know each other better.  All four of them had the same potential.  Ray and Henry were attractive blondes.  Both enjoyed sports and worked hard in certain subjects.  They were not bookish, but tried for the honor roll.  The two girls studied quite a bit and could have won beauty contests.  Andrea tried too hard to be funny.  She truly valued making her friends laugh.  Carol liked tennis and bike riding.  
     Later in the year, around mid-November, realizing that the children did, in fact, hit it off together, based on the amount of time they were suddenly spending together, Mrs. Rodefer decided to make a pronouncement.  "Only one boy can be married off to those two lovely things next door.'  Said this after dinner to Paul.
     "Ha, ha, dear.  Since when are you a matchmaker?"
     "Don't you see any other point in what I'm saying?" Ellen asked with a tone of mystery in her voice.
      "I don't think so.  I haven't heard anything more serious than dating about them.  Let nature take its course.  With college and everything, they might not ever see each other again after graduation.  And, besides, they seem like such nice girls.  They're intelligent.  You're jumping to conclusions," Paul said.
       "Those are matches made in heaven that I'm not going to just let happen.  They just happen to be the same ages," Ellen responded.
        "People get married at all ages," her husband said.
        "Yes, Paul, even if they fall in love," Ellen adamantly answered.
         "Let's wait until the time comes.  I'm not playing God.  Our boys are smart.  They'll know the right woman when she saunters along.  Don't you think so?  You're passing judgment early," Paul said.
         "I don't want two girls from the same family monopolizing our family.  I want Ray and Henry to broaden their horizons.  I know I sound premature.  But before you know it there might be babies and every other damn thing that teenagers in love can concoct.  I've read about teenage pregnancy," Ellen said, reasonably.
         "I  don't disagree.  If they want to stay together, I won't be upset.  The Whartons are very respectable folks.  You have to think of that, too," Paul said.
         "Don't worry.  I won't argue with the boys if such a situation comes to pass.  I'll shut up and accept.  I just don't want both girls for daughters-in-law.  Maybe I do sound silly," Ellen slightly acceding. 
         When Mrs. Rodefer let her feelings be known to the boys a week later, they thought nothing of their mother's sudden opinion.  They were not considering marriage yet.  Their minds were still on future horizons.
         Meanings fade and return in life.  Mrs. Rodefer wasn't trying to be prophetic.  She felt more like she was dabbling in prophecy with the mindset of a caring and knowledgable mother.  I hereby decree: only one female Wharton suits my fancy.  
        Indeed, the coincidence didn't stop with the ages and personalities.  Two years later, the older ones, Carol and Henry became engaged at college.  Engaged to be married.  No one was surprised.  They both decided to go to the University of Wisconson, which made matters easy on them.  This renewed Ellen's interest in the fate of her younger son, Ray.  I don't think he should marry Andrea, she thought rather obsessively.  Paul was indifferent.  Mr. and Mrs. Wharton, interestingly, were of the mind that a Florida boy was a better choice, although they liked Ray a lot.  He was intelligent and sincere.  They encouraged him to check out the Texas girls attentively when he got to college there.  Ellen never spoke to Andrea about her ongoing opinion about a mate.  
        Andrea went to college in Florida.  There was a relationship in high school between  Ray and Andrea.  They fell in love.  Ellen had no problem with the dating.  But she truly did not want them to get married.  Paul wasn't worried about the issue.  Andrea and Ray wrote to each other all during their freshman year.  They got together on breaks and vacations back in Madison.  Even though they had developed a boy-girl closeness, they eventually decided on two different colleges, in two different states.  Not surprisingly, Ellen felt a relief at that outcome.
      What wound up being interesting about them was that they both met a lot of new people at college.  By sophomore year, both of them were dating a new girl and guy.  They stopped writing in October of sophomore year and faded from each other's minds until seeing each other in town at a grocery store during Christmas vacation of senior year.
       "Congratulations!" Ray said, "You're an aunt."
        "Hello, uncle Ray, how are you?" Andrea said with tears in her eyes.


Michele   Michele wrote
on 6/24/2009 11:05:12 AM
Now I'm imagining all sorts of reasons she'd be sad--guess you'll have to give us another chapter to tell us why? Please? Did Ellen almost marry a sibling of someone dating one of her siblings? More than meets the eye here...Hmmm!

Short Story
writing frederic
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I haven't written a short story in a long while. I occasionally get these ideas for a story. I think I'll continue to stay with poetry.