Willoughby Road Summer of Change is out on eBook. I posted the blurb on the blog home page. Here I have attached the first few pages, enjoy :)
Willoughby Road Summer of Change: Released Aug. 9th 2014 on eBook
Willoughby Road is the type of place where you can sit on your front porch with your glass of tea and watch the moonlight reflect off of the lake. The tree frogs are singing and the cicadas are chirping sounding like they are carrying on a conversation amongst themselves. The cool night breeze blowing in from the lake, a person can't help but relax and reflect on this place and all of its beauty.
The town of Bixby is a small town with only 2,000 people and the town is almost 200 years old. They have festivals, concerts, Civil war reenactments, and beer and chili contests. The buildings in the town’s center are all brick and stone with old charm and beauty. You know almost everyone. When anything happens of any importance everyone knows about it, but your neighbor would give you the shirt off of his back. It's just a laid back calm happy place to live. When you're here, your home.
My name is Caroline Willoughby, I love this place and I love what it represents. I’m just a normal girl from West Virginia and I have a story to tell about the summer after my dad died, so here it is.
Part 1 The Funeral
April 21, 2010
My dad passed away yesterday. I don't know what I will do without him. He was my dad, but he was also my best friend. Ever since he and mom divorced in 2001, my life had been a mess. Well it really wasn't a mess but at the age of 14 I felt that it was a mess. My perfect family was destroyed. We have a summer home in Bixby and we were there every summer and some Christmases. Toward the end of the marriage, dad would take off and go to the cabin alone on the weekends. I didn't really care because I had my friends, and mom didn't seem to care either. I should have picked up on it but, my parents never fought in front of me. I thought they had the perfect marriage. Now that I think back on it, no one's marriage is that perfect. They must have kept their fighting behind closed doors. When they told me they were divorcing, I was shocked. I didn’t believe them at first. I just couldn't understand why. Mom didn't want the house or the cabin; she said she just wanted out. I found out a few months later why. It was because she was having an affair. Mom and I moved out of the suburbs and into the city in a small apartment. I hated it for the longest time. I hated her for taking me from my friends and my dad, and when I found out she had a boyfriend I hated her more. I begged her to let me live with dad. I told her it was because he needed someone to take care of him, but really I just wanted away from her. I wanted my friends back too. Divorce is hard on a child weather the parents fought in front of them or not. Maybe if they had, I would have seen it all coming. I made friends after a while my three best friends, Kari, Liz and Sarah. Funny thing is I hated them at first. I hated everyone then. I don't even know how it happened but we got into a fight at school one day and when the teachers broke it up, we looked terrible. Hair messed up, makeup smeared, cloths ripped. We sure were a sight. As we sat in the office waiting for the principal just looked at them all, and myself and started to laugh.
“What the heck is so funny?” Kari demanded, she was always the tough one. I handed them my mirror and said. “Look at us, aren’t we a bunch of beauty queens.”
We all started laughing. We apologized to each other and from that day on we were the best of friends. I never went back to the cabin with dad after that. I was with the girls all the time. When I did go visit dad at his house for the weekend it was good but the cabin was too far away from them so we stayed there and dad never went back while I was there. Even though I loved my girlfriends, dads was always home and always would be for me. I still didn't get along with mom. Even now we aren’t what you would call close. She married David, the man she cheated on dad with. I tried many times to get her to tell me why she cheated on dad. Then one day I think she got fed up with me asking and told me she never loved my dad. She only married him because she got pregnant with me and he wanted to marry her and take care of me. No wonder I never heard them fight, they never really were married it was just like two roommates. How could daddy be gone? I feel so alone now. I'm such a terrible daughter; I should have spent more time with him. He hid his cancer from me but if I were around more, I would have seen it. He had to feel abandon and alone. I will never forgive myself for his loneliness.
April 22, 2010
This was the worst day of my life. I buried my daddy today. It was a nice funeral; there were a lot of people there. I didn't know he even knew that many people. My mom even came. I thought that she just came for me, but she was actually crying and I was watching to see if it was all for show, but I could see she was in real pain after all, she didn't hate him, she just didn't love him like she should. Now that I'm older I see that her leaving him was best for both of them. I don't hate my mom anymore. I haven’t really hated her for a long time. She did what she needed too, to be happy. I don't think that I would ever marry a man because I was pregnant if I didn't love him. Both of their lives were miserable for so many years because they thought they were doing the right thing for me. I always thought that it was odd that they never had any other kids but after mom came clean and told me everything, it all fit. My friends were with me at the funeral too. They never left my side and I love them for that, but I had to get away from that place. I just needed to think and writing seems to be the best way for me to do that. I write because it’s too hard to tell people my feelings. I love photography too, between writing and photography it’s great counseling for me. I need to stop feeling so sorry for myself; it's my dad that suffered not me. He was in so much pain in the end. At least his pain is over now and he is in heaven with God. I have to go to the reading of the will tomorrow. I’m not looking forward to it at all. I guess I should be because he obviously is leaving me something, but being there will just remind me more of what has happened. My dad gave me a convertible Mustang when I graduated from college last year. I had always wanted a 67 Mustang and he found me one. I love that old car so much and even more because my daddy got it for me. It’s completely restored and he has always pulled the maintenance on it for me. I don’t need anything else really. Well I’m pretty drained so I’m going to go to bed. I hope I am able to sleep tonight since I haven’t since my daddy died.
April 23, 2010
Today was exhausting for me. I was the only one at the reading of the will. My dad left me everything. Our house in Charleston, his construction company, the lake house in Bixby and he had over a million dollar life insurance policy. I just can’t believe he did all of this for me. I don’t know how to run a construction company but, Ryan runs it for dad and he had complete trust in him so I guess I will just let him run it until I decide what I plan to do with it. I had moved in with dad when he started getting really bad so that I could take care of him. He looked so bad towards the end. They had given him only a few months to live so he stopped all treatment for his cancer so that he could get all of his affairs in order. He took care of everything. He didn’t leave anything for me to take care of, not even the funeral. He planned it all. My dad was such a good man, how could my mom have not loved him? He was very handsome too, but you can’t make someone love you if they don’t. Even a man as good as he was. He even had a small policy that he was paying for, for her but she didn’t show up while I was there. I guess she wanted me to have my own time. That’s what I choose to think anyway. What is a 23- year- old girl going to do with 2 homes, a company and over a million dollars? Plus there was a letter that dad left for me. He wants me to take Carry, Liz and Sarah and go to Bixby for the summer. I haven’t been back there in almost 10 years. I really did have a great time when we were there. I don’t know why I haven’t gone back. He wanted me to go with him so many times but I just always had something more important to do. I will go back for daddy. I will go and reminisce over all of the good times that we had there as a family. It will be fun with the girls for sure. They won’t let me be sad for long if they have their way about it. Well, I guess I better go call my friends and plan a trip. I love you daddy, and I miss you, good night.
April 24, 2010
The girls were really excited about going to Bixby with me. None of them have ever been to any town smaller then Charleston. Their parents were a lot like my mom. She said that the people that lived outside of the big cities in West Virginia were hicks and crazy people. Which I always thought was strange since my dad was not from Charleston. Then again, she didn’t really love him right. She had met him when he was here going to college. I always thought that she liked Bixby but he told me that she never felt like she fit in there. Too laid back and happy for her I guess. I personally thought that the people there were great. My parents were even members of the country club there. You can’t really call it a country club I guess it was more like a lodge for the men to go when they wanted to get away from their wives and play darts and for the women to go and talk about the men. I always thought that it was fun though, none of the kids there made me feel like an outsider.
The girls and I talked for a long time today about the trip and we are going to go clothes shopping tomorrow. I really need some cute summer clothes. I haven’t bought anything in so long; I’ve been too worried about dad to worry about me. A girl’s day will be great, maybe we can get some spa time in too. Well I better get some sleep.
I love you daddy, miss you, good night.