Sunday, July 05, 2009

Delaware Affections #1.1

Dr. Mitchell Barton's car topped the hill. From there, he and his children could see the small town of Wrigley, Delaware. Wrigley was a small town in Sussex County on the coast. Dr. Barton had agreed to take over a local doctor's practice after he suddenly died. He would be the only doctor in town although the town Ocean View was only a few miles to the southwest. His son, Rodney, was excited to move to a place that had a beach but didn't enjoy the fact that he was moving shortly before his senior year.

Holly, starting school as a freshman, wasn't as excited and would have rather have stayed in Ohio. "Why did you take this job again, Daddy?" Holly asked.

"Because it's a great opporutunity, sweetie. The town needs a doctor and I want to have my own practice. Besides, I've read in numerous places that Wrigley is, despite it's size, one of the best towns in Delaware."

Wrigley only had a population of about 300 and was mainly a bedroom community as most of the townspeople drove to Ocean View or even Millsboro. Dr. Barton entered the town on Ocean Street, which was Wrigley's main street. North to south streets were named after trees--Oak, Elm, Hickory, Sycamore, Pine and Fir--until Delaware Highway 1 along the coast. East to west streets seemed just randomly named--Boone, Whitmore, Issacs, Haldermann, Ocean and Elmore.

What amazed Rodney was that the town had a beautiful mix of old style houses from the 17 and 1800's but also modern looking beachhouses lining the streets. The small downtown area was located at the intersection of Ocean and Hickory and featured a nice blend of modern and 1800s style architecture. Dr. Barton turned left onto Sycamore and then right at Haldermann and pulled into a driveway of a huge house three down from the corner.

The house, built at some point in the 1890s, was a beautiful house. The first floor was entirely brick but the second and third floor were standard wood but shingled with a light pastel color of tan and brown. There were two enclosed porches--one in front and one on the side--two chimneys and, what Rodney loved, was a turret on one of the corners going up the entire height of the house and ending with a tall point.

"I call the turret room," Rodney said.

The family began to pull their suitcases out of the car. Dr. Barton and Holly began walking up the sidewalk toward the house.

"Excuse me," said a voice behind Rodney.

Rodney turned around to see a girl standing behind him. She had long brown hair and freckles lightly dotting her cheeks under her big, dark eyes. "Yes?" he asked.

"Are you the new family moving into that house?" she asked sweetly.

"Yeah. Me, my Dad and little sister," Rodney replied.

"Cool. I'm Catherine Kessler, you can call me Cat," she said.

"Nice to meet you, Cat. I'm Rodney Barton. You'll have to show me around Wrigley so I can get to know it before school starts."

"Okay. I live over there," she pointed across the street in a more modern house. "When you get settled in, come on over. I'll show you around town."

"All right, I will," Rodney said. Cat turned and went back to her house. "I call her," Rodney said softly.

"Wrigley, Delaware"
Rodney knocked on the door to the Kessler house. A tall man answered the door. He stood about six foot seven and towered over Rodney by a good half foot.

"Is Cat here?" Rodney asked.

The man turned his head. "Cat! It's for you," he said.

Cat suddenly appeared from inside the house. "Thanks Robert. Hey, Rodney. I didn't expect to see you so soon."

"I got my stuff moved into my room and I decided to come over and if you want, maybe you can take me on a tour of the town," Rodney suggested.

"I think I can do that," Cat smiled.

They walked the few blocks to the business district of Wrigley. "So what all does this town have to offer?" Rodney asked.

"Not much but since we are a beach town, we get a lot of tourists in the summer so we do have a lot of places to eat and hang out," Cat explained. "Me and my friends tend to hang out at the Replay Lounge," Cat pointed across the street.

"We should head over there. Maybe some of your friends are in there. You can introduce me," Rodney said.

"Sure," Cat took Rodney's hand and led him across the street and entered the Replay Lounge. Cat stood on her toes and looked around. "Well I'll be damned, they're here."

"Where?" Rodney made himself taller and looked.

"In a booth, near the back. Come on," Cat pulled Rodney across the bar with her.

"Cat!" said one of the kids in the booth. "We certainly didn't expect you today."

"Well, I'm showing my new neighbor around and he insisted on stopping by. Guys, this is Rodney Barton. Rodney, this is Laurie Earles, Ralph Marsen and Frank Tansey."

"Hey," they all said, practically in unison.

"Where you from, Rod?" Frank asked. Frank was an average looking guy with dark brown hair and glasses.

"Please don't call me Rod," Rodney said. "But I'm from Ohio. Cleveland."

"I've been through Cleveland...on my way to someplace fun," Frank laughed.

"Ignore him, Frank's our resident jerk," Cat said.

"It's nice to meet you," Laurie said and Rodney noticed that she looked at him strangely. Laurie was a black haired, pencil thin girl with glasses. "You look like you'll enjoy this town. I'll show you some of the more dismal areas sometime."

"O...kay," Rodney said hesitantly.

"So do you have any brothers or sisters? Parents?" Ralph asked. Ralph was a light haired boy with half-closed eyes.

"I have a younger sister, Holly, and my dad is the new doctor in town."

"Hope he has a good lawyer," Frank said, quietly.


"Nothing. You'll find out later," Frank smiled.

Back at the Barton house, Holly was unpacking some of her stuff when Mitch came upstairs. "Hey, pumpkin. I need to go see the mayor about my office. I'll be back as soon as I can."

"Okay, Daddy," Holly said and Mitch left. Holly looked at what stuff she had already unpacked and then at the boxes still remaining. Soon she was outside heading toward the downtown area. As she walked past the alleyway behind the line of buildings, Holly heard slight giggling and quiet talking.

She turned down the alley and saw a small group of girls her age next to a dumpster, talking. One of them was smoking.

"We've got an interloper," said the prettier one with sandy blond hair but whose eyes were bloodshot.

"What's your name?" asked the curly red-haired girl, who was smoking.

"I'm Holly Barton. I just moved here," Holly answered.

"Ooh, she's that doctor's daughter. I read a newspaper article about them," the bloodshot eyed girl said. "Hey, I'm Ali Kenstroke. My dad's the principal of the high school."

"I'm Becky Seely," the redhead said and flicked her cigarette away.

"I'm Erin Cox," said the other girl. Erin was a gangly blond girl with a thin but rather large nose and slightly crossed eyes. While Erin wasn't attractive, she also wasn't unattractive.

"What time is it?" Becky asked.

Erin pulled out her cell phone. "About five," she said.

"I'll have to leave soon for dinner," Becky said. "My mom feels that if I'm out past six in the evening I'm whoring around or something."

"Well, you usually are," Ali said.

"Sometimes but not all the time. Like now I'm hanging out with you guys," Becky said. "Holly, does your mom think you're a slut?"

"My mom is dead," Holly answered.

"Oh, I'm sorry. Question withdrawn. Come on, let's start heading back to my place," Becky said and she, Ali and Erin began walking away. "Well, Holly, you coming or not?"

Mitch was in the office of Mayor Pamela Floresch. Mayor Floresch's desk had pictures of her family on it--a tall but slightly nerdy looking husband and a daughter who looked to be about Rodney's age.

"Thank you for coming in Dr. Barton," Mayor Floresch said and slid a key over to Mitch. "Here is the key to your office. I hope you like it. Now, you signed a five year contract with the city of Wrigley to practice here. The contract will expire five years from June 1st when you signed it."

"That was a contract? I thought it was just an agreement or something," Mitch said.

"It was very much a contract, Dr. Barton. You are required to continue practicing medicine in Wrigley for the next five years. After the initial five years you can negotiate if you want," Mayor Floresch said.

"Five years of being grounded to one city seems long and unlikely. I mean, I don't plan on going anywhere since my daughter Holly still has four years of high school but can't you just take my word on it?" Mitch asked.

"If you honestly don't plan on going anywhere then the next five years should be a snap," Mayor Floresch smiled.

The first day of school.