BERNADETTE CYNTHIA HEALY
Turning around and looking back through the house from the front door at the walls, the stairs and corridors that make up my home. Photographs of my children's weddings; first Polly and Dan in 1978 and then Jack and Melissa in 1980; take pride of place on the central chest of drawers in the hallway.
Behind the two photographs is a third, one that lacks the colour and sophisticated technology of the latter half of the 20th century. I'm standing next to Jonathon, our hands clasped, as we pose for the camera. My dress was of ivory white, buttoned to the neck with long sleeves. In 1948 we still had rationing on material and it was hard to get a hold of; I didn't want to stop someone else's wedding just because of a train! So we settled for a very small bustle, and the skirt ended just before the floor, so you could see my beautiful baby blue shoes, though of course the camera was unable to capture the colour at the time.
Jonathon and I are both staring straight ahead. We weren't touching initially; it wasn't the 'done thing' back in those days, especially as everyone stood around and watched us having the photograph taken. But at the last second, as the photographer counted down to the flash Jonathan held my hand and squeezed. I'll never forget that moment for as long as I live.
I have to pull myself out of my reverie and concentrate on my investigation into the whereabouts of Bernadette Cynthia Healy's brother, but Jack has a few stipulations. Firstly I am not allowed to mention anything of the sort to him or Melissa, at least not until there is a viable conclusion. He wants nothing to do with it until the whole aspect of the request is dead and buried.
Secondly, and Polly agreed with Jack on this, the money we acquire has to be put to a good use, like a charity of some sorts, and not used for frivolous means. I was touched when Jack made that rule, it shows how much he cares about other people, and I completely agree with him. Finally, when we are given the keys to the property that Bernadette Cynthia Healy called home, we are to take anything that belonged to Jonathon but the rest shall be sold, or given away, before the house goes up for auction.
I feel a little more uneasy about the whole debacle, even though I now have my children's permission, if not their blessing. I was so certain about my decision yesterday at the cemetery and now I'm a little less sure. Nevertheless, that isn't going to stop me. I walk back to the living room to tidy up the empty plate of cakes and carry the tray back into the kitchen.
Grabbing a pen and some paper from the grocery list attached to the fridge I decide to make my own list about what to do next with the information I have on Albert Healy, and who to contact. The details inside the Last Will and Testament inform me to get in touch with a Mr Nelson from Summerbee’s Solicitors should I decide to partake in the deceased's request. I note down the various details I have, phone numbers, the school name, the date of the wedding and the name of the church. I write down Keith's name and circle it twice to remind myself to ask him for help.
It's midday on a Saturday. I know full well it's not my place to make business calls on the weekend, a rule that I imposed at the firm, but Keith loves a challenge and I hope he won't already be busy, if he's even awake.
The phone rings and rings, not giving me much hope that I'll be able to start my investigation today. Keith's voice is heard on the end of the line, but it's only gone to voicemail. I don't want to harass him any more than I already have, so I just hang up the phone.
I'm not quite sure what to do next, but I can't sit around doing nothing. That has never been my way once I know something needs to be done, I normally charge around doing as much as I can. My body might not let me charge around with as much vigour as it used to, but that doesn't mean I can't amble around making some progress.
I know I could use the computer Polly and Jack bought me for my 75th birthday and use the internet to find out some information about St Mary Magdalene's church and the Thames End school, but somehow I feel like that's cheating. I'd much rather look through a book, and I quickly decide to go to the library and see if it's possible that these places still exist after all these years.