Angels Among Us:
Trelawney Rose Tressidor
Part 1. Getting By With a Little Help From Your Friends
Trelawney Rose Tressidor very quickly discovered that living with her sister in America was not particularly fun or exciting. Selena essentially had two jobs, which left her very little time for her. Somehow she had forgotten that when Selena had visited at home, she wasn't working and could spend all of her time with her. Had they returned to the village, she would also have not been working, or if she had, it would have been for another family member while she was at school. The idea that she would have to share her with so many other people was very new to her.
Selena's first job was at the university, working in the campus ministry office keeping track of the files and schedule of the chaplain, Dr. Wallace. He was a very busy man. As a Lutheran minister, he was not able to meet the needs of all the various denominations of the students, but he tried. In addition to working directly with most of the Protestant students, he also needed to coordinate with the Neumann House, run for the Catholic students, and the Hillel House, run for the Jewish students.
It was Selena who helped him achieve his careful balancing act. Because she was so sweet and charming, in addition to being very efficient, she was ideally suited to the job. He was very grateful when Chloe Tressidor, who had recently finished a comparative literature degree, had recommended her.
Her second job was running the Harrington household. In addition to cooking, cleaning, and laundry, Selena also chauffeured the children to their various activities and babysat when Dr. Harrington wasn't home. Selena wasn't so busy that she didn't have any time for Trelawney Rose, but there were times when she felt lonely.
Of course Mummy and Papa had not been able spend every minute of their time with her, but because the village was so small and there were so many relatives who lived there, Trelawney Rose had never lacked for company. She could always visit her Auntie Alma, who was ready to spoil her or her Cousin Christabel, who was always glad of help with the children. Trelawney Rose had especially liked playing with little Libby, who sometimes needed watching after her brother Davey was born.
Then there were her Auntie Anna and Uncle David, whose home was always open to her. She liked to help Uncle David in the store. The customers who came in from the outside thought that she was very charming with her quaint speech and cheerful smile. And if they were looking for just the right gift to bring home to someone, Trelawney Rose could always help them find it. And when she did, Uncle David would pat her head indulgently.
But here in America, she couldn't even walk off the Harrington property without Selena or Jay to look out for her. She really didn't want to anyway. Even a small American city was intimidating to a girl from a village in rural Cornwall. The streets were very large, as were the houses, and nobody seemed to know anybody. The cars and trucks were ubiquitous and loud. There were no relatives to visit and the children were in school all day.
She found some comfort playing the piano. Dr. Harrington had it tuned and for many hours, she played the music that she heard in the music of the spheres. But it was not always easy to hear it in the city. She wasn't really sure of why. Therefore, there were times when she was not only lonely, but also frustrated. Sometimes, she just wanted to go off by herself and think, like she did at home. But she couldn't even do that here.
She did her best to hide her feelings from Selena, but it was not easy. She tried talking to the sympathetic Sheltie Chester, but he was almost as big a tattletale as Mummy's Corgi Elspeth. Sometimes when she was pouring her heart out to her doll Tressa, Selena would listen. Trelawney Rose knew that it made her feel sad, but there wasn't anything that she could do about it. At any rate, they were really both quite sad. They both missed Mummy and Papa dreadfully.
It was worse for her because her home had been in the village where she had lived with them every day. There were times that she would wake up in the middle of the night and forget that they were gone. She knew that Selena was also in the room, but she knew that it wasn't her own room at home. So she would climb into bed with Selena and cuddle up close.
And then there were the times when the white light would come into her dreams. Despite the fact that she knew that it was pure and good, it still scared her. She knew that Mummy and Papa had gone to the white light and were safe forever. But they had left their little one alone. She would wake up crying until she felt her sister's arms around her.
"'Tis all right, little lamb," Selena would say after she had soothed her. "I miss them too. You just snuggle in with your Selena and I'll tell you a little story like I did in the old days."
That was what they called the time before the accident. It made it easier to think about. For Selena, it was more of an absence in absentia. She missed the letters that they exchanged. And like Trelawney Rose, she missed knowing about the happenings in the village.
Mummy had been a wonderful letter writer. Selena had even saved all of her letters and had them tied together with a pink ribbon in her trunk. There were many, many letters. She had written long, newsy letters about everyone and everything that was going on. Auntie Anna wrote, but she herself admitted that she would never be the kind of correspondent that her sister Meg had been.
Of course other family members wrote letters. Auntie Alma's letters were all the same. She loved and missed them both. Grandfather Trelawney wrote long, stern letters intended to make Selena realize that she couldn't properly raise "the child" outside the village. Uncle David's were full of business.
One day, Selena received a copy of the will, which she said that she couldn't possibly understand. Dr. Harrington kindly found a lawyer to explain it to her. It was all about the money and the house and something else called probate. After he finished explaining it to them, Selena said that she had a headache and that she would worry about these things when she needed to.
Trelawney Rose was waiting patiently for her school records to arrive from England so that she could go to school here. Then they had to go to another lawyer who explained the immigration rules. Neither if them understood that either. But Selena signed the necessary papers and again they had to wait for the courts. After a few weeks, Trelawney Rose was quite sick of waiting.
One day, when Trelawney Rose was playing the piano, Willa entered the house from her day at school. Now, ever since it had been decided that Trelawney Rose would live with them, Selena and the other Harringtons had made sure that she was never alone with Willa. But Selena was working out back in the garden and none of the other children were home yet. And so Trelawney Rose was alone in the house when she walked in.
Willa was still a very great mystery to her. She had never met anyone who rolled their eyes as much as she did, although the other kids did that too. She had also never met anyone who could be so cheeky to her elders and get away with in. Of course the other children talked the same way sometimes, just not as often or as obnoxiously.
Trelawney Rose thought that there must be something in the way that the Yanks were raising their children that encouraged them to be so fresh. If she had dared to talk like that at home, Mummy or Papa would have sent her to her to think on it. She could never have been so pert and gotten away with it.
Not really afraid, but feeling that way because if the warnings of the others, Trelawney Rose continued to play and hoped that Willa would go upstairs. But Willa, seeing that no one else was around, decided to stop in the living room. When Trelawney Rose stopped for a moment to rest, she spoke.
"Don't you know how to play anything from this century?" she asked as if she was issuing a challenge. But Trelawney Rose immediately ascertained the subtext.
She knew that despite her tone, Willa was still upset because Jennie had told her that she didn't have to pretend to be her sister anymore. Selena had tried very hard to get Jennie to take back her words, but she refused. Even when Trelawney Rose tried to explain to her that Jesus had even forgiven the people who killed him on the cross, she still shook her head and said no.
Like all of the Harrington children, Jennie didn't know a whole lot about Jesus. In fact, until Selena came they had never even gone to church. Dr. Harrington had no interest at all in church but told her that if she wanted to bring the kids, he would make them go. But somehow she managed to convince him to go as well. Only Willa was permitted to refuse to go. Just as with everything else regarding Willa, Dr. Harrington couldn't be bothered dealing with the issue.
For a little girl who had gone to church very Sunday for her whole life, this was very confusing. It was a special time. On Sunday mornings they would get up early and dress in their church clothes. Then they would sedately walk to church and sit in the pews where the other Tressidors sat. Trelawney Rise would go to Sunday school. After church, they walked home and had a special Sunday luncheon and she would recite the lesson for Mummy and Papa.
But Jay told her that lots of kids in America went to church because their parents made them. There were also some who didn't go at all. However, very few of those that went saw the point. She thought that it was sad. She tried to explain to him how she was comforted by going to church and feeling close to Jesus, but he didn't understand.
But that was another thing that Trelawney Rose had noticed about all of the Harrington children. In addition to showing only a little respect to adults, they showed none towards each other. They also neither asked for nor offered forgiveness. Somehow, they still had not managed to learn that from Jesus. Of course they heard the words in Sunday school, but they obviously didn't listen.
It was very puzzling the first time they went to church with the Harringtons. Max was suddenly very excited when he realized that he would now only recite the lesson every fourth Sunday instead of every third Sunday. But that started a quarrel because Jay scolded him for never knowing the lesson anyway when it was his turn.
By the time they got into church they were all mad at each other. She looked at Selena who just sighed. Dr. Harrington was hoping that Pastor Paul wouldn't preach a long sermon because he wanted to get in a round of golf.
Related to this, the children never showed remorse for anything that they did wrong. Of course, Dr. Harrington never worried about these things unless they affected him, which they almost never did. And when they did, he yelled quite loudly. But that never bothered the children.
Quite often, they would just shrug it off or even laugh behind his back. Jay said that he was "all bark and no bite." Trelawney Rose was not sure of what that meant, so she asked Selena. Selena looked at her very strangely when she explained where she had heard it.
It all made Trelawney Rose very sad. She herself had said some very cruel things to Selena when she was cross with her on that terrible night. But after everything had calmed down, she had apologized to Selena for saying those mean things to her.
She had begged for her forgiveness and of course Selena had quickly given it. She knew that she had only said those things because she was hurt and scared. But Selena told her that Jennie was just too young to understand about remorse and forgiveness. However it didn't stop her from feeling sorry for Willa.
"I can play modern songs," she said quietly, even though she really didn't know any.
"Okay," challenged Willa. "Then do it."
Trelawney Rose was very quiet for a moment and then began to play. She had listened to hear what inspiration might come from the music of the spheres. She had even prayed for a song that Willa would like. Because the song had come to her from the music of the spheres, she didn't know what it was. But it was slow and pretty and somewhat sad.
She liked it, but she hoped that Willa wouldn't ask her what it was. If Selena found out that she was playing like this then she would be very angry. For some reason, it had always been a family secret that she could play that way. She still did not understand why.
So far, they had been able to deceive the Harringtons about her ability to play the piano so well by telling them that she had studied classical piano in the village and had perfect pitch. She was able to play a lot of music from memory. She had even learned how to read music, although she didn't need to, so that she could use the sheet music as a prop. It was a fib, but it was a necessary one, for it was only the closest family members who knew the truth. In the end, it didn't matter that she didn't know the name of the song because Willa knew it right away.
"You can play Beatles' songs from memory? Just like that?" exclaimed Willa. "Where did you ever hear of the Beatles?"
"They're all English, silly," she replied. "Everybody knows the Beatles. It was quite sad when they broke up last year. Everyone in the village and in school was quite in mourning."
Willa was silent as she listened.
"Why are you playing Hey Jude?" she finally asked.
"Because I like it," she replied. "Don't you?"
But Willa said nothing. Trelawney Rose hoped that she wouldn't ask her about the song. She really didn't know it. Well, she had quite definitely heard of it, but never actually heard it. She wasn't much for listening to the radio. Papa only listened to the radio for the news. And Mummy and Papa had never gotten a phonograph.
A couple of years ago it had been number one in the UK for quite some time. And for a while the other children at school had spoken of nothing else. They all had radios where they could listen to pop music and phonographs at home. But the only people whose homes Trelawney Rose ever visited were family. Their homes were like hers. Luckily, Willa didn't expect her to know the details.
"Do you know why Paul McCartney wrote it?" she finally asked.
"No," answered Trelawney Rose honestly. "I'm afraid that I never followed them that closely. I know the music, but not too much about them."
"He wrote it for John's son, Julian," she said. "When he was divorcing his mother and ignoring him. It was to comfort him."
"Yes, that was quite sad," replied Trelawney Rose, pleased that she had mentioned something that she actually knew about. "There are many back in the village who believe that in addition to breaking up his marriage, Yoko Ono broke up the Beatles."
"Yeah," said Willa. "They think that here too."
Trelawney Rose turned, quickly looked over her shoulder, and smiled shyly at her, her hands still on the keys and softly playing. Willa looked like she was about to smile back, when they heard the front door open. Now Jay walked in.
"Trelawney Rose!" he said quickly. "Are you okay?"
"Of course, I am," she said, puzzled. "Why wouldn't I be?"
Willa quickly answered for him.
"He's just afraid that I'm going to beat you up or something," she replied with a defensive edge in her voice.
"Beat me up?" she said. "What a lot of rot!"
Jay was silent and didn't deny her accusation. Trelawney Rose stopped playing and turned around.
"What the bloody hell are you talking about?" she asked, feeling outraged. Poor Willa was finally behaving like a nice person and Jay had to come in and spoil it all.
Jay looked uncomfortable and Willa looked amused. Trelawney Rose could see that she was getting a kind of perverse pleasure out of the fact that Jay had just put his foot in his mouth by basically admitting his distrust of her. Then Trelawney Rose disagreed with him and made him look rather foolish.
But now she didn't know which of the two that she was more annoyed at. She did not like being in the middle of their family squabble. As far as she was concerned, it was nothing to do with her and she wanted to stay well out of it. She had always tried to make up her own mind about other people. And because she did, she disliked far fewer people than most other people she knew.
"Well, uh," he said, stumbling over his words. "If you're sure that you're all right."
"I'm perfectly fine," she assured him. "And since you are hungry and want a snack, go get yourself something from the kitchen."
He looked at her anxiously.
"Carry on!" she said waving her hand at him.
Jay walked out and Willa stared at her.
"How did you know he was hungry?"
"Well, he's always hungry when he gets home from school," she said to cover her prescience. "He's a growing boy, you know."
"Of course," she replied with an interesting little smirk. "Can you play anything else? By the Beatles, I mean."
Trelawney Rose thought for a moment and then let the music flow from her fingers. Once again, she had prayed for a song for Willa. The song she was playing was beautiful and much more hopeful. But she had absolutely no idea of what it was. However, Willa's reaction was rather stunning.
"Why are you playing that?" cried Willa suddenly.
"Oh, I don't know," she said sweetly. "It is lovely though, isn't it?"
"Stop it! Just stop it!" she shouted, and then ran upstairs.
Immediately, Jay came running in, followed by Selena a few seconds later.
"Trelawney Rose, are you all right?" asked Selena, sitting beside her on the bench and gathering her in her arms.
"Do you see why I didn't want to leave you alone with her?" asked Jay, his voice filled with concern.
"But I don't know what is wrong," she said. "And she was more upset than I was just now. I don't understand it at all."
"She was playing Let It Be," said Jay, who had obviously been eavesdropping, to Selena.
"I didn't know that you . . ." began Selena.
Trelawney Rose stared at her so that she would know that she was playing the song that had come to her from the music of the spheres. Willa had asked her to play another Beatles song, she had prayed for inspiration. And that was what had come out. Selena gave her a little smile, brushed her hair back, and kissed her forehead.
"Well, aren't you full of surprises," she said gently. "I thought that all they would teach you back home is classical music. But I guess that many people think that Paul McCartney is a classic."
"That's pretty cool," said Jay. "Can you play anything else? She was playing Hey Jude when I walked in."
But Selena was looking at her thoughtfully.
"Do you know why Paul wrote that song Let It Be, love?"
"No," she said. "I don't really know that much about the Beatles or their music. I can just play a wee bit of it."
"Well, dear," she said. "He wrote it after his mother died of cancer. He had a dream that she came to him, 'speaking words of wisdom, let it be.'"
"My Mom died of cancer," said Jay thoughtfully. "Willa must have known why he wrote the song. I think that she and her friends are really into the Beatles."
"Well, yes, that is quite true," said Selena with a little smile. "I was afraid that she was going to burn down the house last year when she lit all of those candles in remembrance of them after they broke up."
"I didn't mean to upset her," said Trelawney Rose. "I thought that I was just playing a beautiful song."
"That's all right," said Selena. "You didn't know and I can see that you were trying to be nice."
"Well you're wasting your time trying to be nice to Willa," commented Jay. "She has to be the meanest person I know."
"You never waste your time when you're nice to anyone," she replied smartly. "Maybe Willa would be nice to you if you would be nice to her."
"And what do you know about it?" asked Jay.
They stared at each other. Trelawney Rose could see that Jay was jealous of Willa. He didn't want Trelawney Rose to like her.
"No arguing," said Selena immediately. "Jay, go to your room and do your homework. Trelawney Rose, why don't you get your clean laundry and put it away?"
"Yes, ma'am," said Trelawney Rose obediently and left the room.
Selena followed Jay upstairs and knocked on Willa's door. She tried to talk to her. But no amount of persuasion could get her to open her door. She refused to come out of her room, even for dinner. Then Trelawney Rose was so upset that she also refused to eat her own dinner. After she left the table early, Jay made a comment.
"I don't see what her problem is."
"She's very sensitive," explained Selena. "She did not intend to upset Willa so much. Sometimes music can touch us in a way that words can't."
"I think that perhaps Trelawney Rose is not the only one who is sensitive," added Dr. Harrington. "We all have feelings, you know."
"Willa?" asked Max. "Give me a break!"
"Sometimes the creatures with the hardest shells have the most to protect," he replied.
No one else said anything. The next day, Willa had returned to her old obnoxious self. Trelawney Rose was very sad. She had come so close to getting Willa to reach out to her. She had almost smiled and she had never seen her smile before, except when she was gloating because she had upset someone. But the smile that she had almost smiled was a real smile.
And she didn't even know why that song had come to her. She discussed it with Selena, but even she didn't know. However they both agreed that it was time for the whole family to try to reach out to poor Willa. Trelawney Rose was beginning to wonder if they were not the real hopeless cause in this matter. It didn't seem fair that four people were ganging up on one.
And Willa was so sad and hurting. She still missed her mother so very much. Trelawney Rose knew exactly how she felt because she missed her mother so much too. She wondered if she could talk to Willa sometime about their mothers. She asked Selena what she thought and Selena looked at her very strangely.
But typical of Trelawney Rose, nothing ever stayed in her mind for very long. There was another cause that concerned her more that she thought was also not hopeless. That was the idea that Selena and Dr. Harrington would fall in love and marry so that he might save them both from Kenneth.
"She can play what?" asked Willa's friend "Snake."
"She can play Hey Jude and Let It Be without any sheet music," replied Willa, taking a drag off of her cigarette. "I mean it would be kind of cool if it wasn't so weird. I just asked her to play something from this century and that's what she starts playing."
"Yeah, man," he agreed. "That's a tough call. Weird? Or cool?"
Willa's friend Snake, like most of her friends were all members of a group of kids labeled the "burnouts" who spent their days, when not sitting in the occasional class out on the west campus next to the high school. The west campus was really an old playground, but the only remnant left of that was an old swing set. Between the "campus" and the school building was an enormous clump of pine trees called the "burning bush." It was the local hangout for smokers of all kinds.
While smoking cigarettes was not permitted inside the school building, no there was no rule against smoking outside. There were of course those kids who smoked in the bathrooms, but the "bush," as it was fondly known, was preferable because it was out in the fresh air.
There were also rules against smoking pot and drinking alcohol anywhere on school grounds, but the faculty conveniently ignored the west campus zone when on duty outside. In fact they never ventured to the other side of the bush. It was one of those things that they had tacitly agreed to "let be," so to speak.
Kids like Willa and Snake were also considered the rebels of the school. Snake's name was actually Simon Wendell, but he hated it. His father was a professor of medieval studies at the university, who, like most of the faculty, was so wrapped up in his career that he didn't have much time for his son. Snake earned his name with his long black ponytail and black leather jacket that he always wore. Back in the fifties, he might have had a ducktail and been considered a greaser, but today he was viewed as a hippie.
In fact most of the west campus "residents" were hippies, not to mention faculty brats of the professors at the university. The girls wore long flowing skirts with loose blouses, lots of beads, and sandals. They also avoided make up and bras. They got away with the second one, because for the administration to enforce wearing them, they would have had to make a rule prescribing them. Then, teachers, male and female alike, would have to make visual determinations as to whether she "was or she wasn't." Or they could ask. No one had any desire to go there.
There were also girls who got a kick out of wearing micro-mini skirts, halter-tops, and go-go boots to school. Many wore scarves tied around their heads and large sunglasses. The guys wore denim jeans, many of them ripped or patched. And some wore work boots. It was all part of the image. The only rule that was ever made and enforced, however, was a ban on sunglasses in class. Once upon a time there had been a dress code, but now it was pretty much gone.
Most of the other kids at school were either scared of them or labeled them losers. However, because they were imitating the hippies and rock stars, who were making the scene in San Francisco, they had decided they were the cool kids and the others were the losers.
The year 1969 had revolved around their own intense study of and devotion to the Woodstock culture. Jefferson Airplane's song White Rabbit was dissected and analyzed as if it was a Frost poem. They debated the merits of the Who's My Generation versus the Grateful Dead's High Time.
The Doors were losers because they didn't show up. Lennon was a loser because he kept the Beatles out because nobody wanted the Plastic Ono Band in. But Jimi was there and so was Janis. Everybody important made the scene and the biggest thing wrong with it was that it was on the wrong coast. A couple of burnouts from last year's class were there. They were their heroes.
However, 1970 had been a rough year for them. The Beatles had broken up and Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin had OD'd. It should have made them realize that those lifestyle choices could be dangerous. But instead they viewed them as martyrs for the cause. They spent many hours mourning them and discussing their music. 1971 was hardly a fresh start for them.
Arguably, if they put as much effort into their studies as they did into the "study" of psychedelic music and the drug culture, they could have been honors students. But in that case, they would have made their parents happy. They got more attention by "living on the edge," as they liked to call it. So far however, none of them had made the transition into any kind of hard drugs. They got a satisfying buzz from smoking weed and drinking alcohol.
Willa, Snake, and the rest of her crew spent a good deal of their time complaining about the school rules, which were mostly unenforced, and their parents' rules, which were completely unenforced. Willa had been the object of great sympathy ever since Miss Selena had taken "control" of the house. She was viewed as a square, who lived in the nineteenth century or something. However, secretly the other kids envied her. She did have someone at home who really cared.
Envy aside, Willa was not the only one who was mad when Miss Selena destroyed the weed garden. Thanks to the hard work of her mother, who created some very rich soil in the backyard for her own gardens, Willa had been able to cultivate a very fine product. Right after the event, Snake and his buddy Dirk offered to go and do a little "body work" on her newly purchased car. But Willa put a stop to it.
Despite her annoyance with the housekeeper, she wasn't ready for all out war. Besides, despite the fact that her father was prone to ignoring her bad behavior, she suspected that an illegal act like vandalism might be where he would draw the line, especially if it involved Miss Selena.
However, he had never done anything about the fact that she had been growing the marijuana right out there in the backyard under his nose. Of course, she was sure that he had no idea of what the plant looked like. When she thought about it, she wondered how Miss Selena had known what it looked like.
Jennie had sure been quick enough to tattle about it the first chance that she got.
"Daddy," she said sweetly at dinner that night. "How do you like the garden now that Miss Selena fixed it up?"
"I think that it looks great," he replied. "I think that it would have made your mother very happy to see it restored to its former glory."
Willa rolled her eyes. Then she noticed that Jennie was looking at her.
"Did you know that Willa was growing weeds out there?"
There was dead silence at the table. Miss Selena looked down at her plate, the boys were trying to control their laughter, and Dad was looking confused.
"Why would anybody grow . . . ? Willa!" he yelled.
"Yes, Father," she replied, making her best effort to keep the sarcasm out of her voice. If she had ever committed a punishable offense, it was this one.
"What did you think you were doing growing that . . . stuff out there?" he asked heatedly.
"Oh, nothing much," she replied nonchalantly. "I just thought that I would engage in my own little private enterprise, a good old-fashioned American money-making scheme, you know?"
Max choked on his milk and sprayed the table.
"Oh my goodness!" exclaimed Miss Selena, who had gotten the worst of it.
Jay and Jennie burst out laughing.
"You look funny with milk coming out of your nose, Max!" cried Jennie in delight.
In the ensuing chaos, Willa bolted upstairs. Then she waited. But Dad never came up to say anything. In fact, Dad never said anything about it at all. The only reason that she knew what had happened was that Jennie eavesdropped and told her. Every once in a while, the fact that she was such a tattletale was a useful thing.
"Miss Selena told Daddy that he should at least ground you," she said in a stage whisper when she caught her in the upstairs hallway. "But he said that as long as it was gone she should just let it go."
Willa had felt funny about that. It wasn't that she wanted to be grounded or anything. In fact if he did ground her, she pretty much knew that he would ignore it if she didn't obey, which she wouldn't. Or he would forget that he had even punished her. But he didn't seem to care at all. Miss Selena looked like she cared, but she didn't know what to do.
Willa had never had anyone try so hard to be her friend. But for some reason, she didn't want that. And she did pay attention to her. If Dad wasn't around and she got out of line, she told her so. Willa knew that she wanted to discipline her even more, but that Dad would never back her up. One thing that she did learn to do was control her mouth around the housekeeper. She would say things that almost, but didn't quite, cross the line.
Now her friends were all ready to agree that having the little girl staying with her was the limit. Who ever heard of a housekeeper whose kid sister lived with her and was hanging around all the time? And what did Jennie think that she was doing calling her her real sister?
It was crazy. She herself had heard Miss Emmeline say that Miss Selena didn't have to work anymore. She had a house in England and money from her parents to live on. Why work as a housekeeper of all things, when you had that? After all, it wasn't like she had a real career.
But even she had to admit that the kid was something else. Of course, you couldn't really tell what that something else that might be. There was something very strange about her. But none of them were really interested enough to discuss it for too long. Talking about anyone's family life was a drag after a while. She was just glad that she had friends who were there for her.
"So, what are we going to do this Saturday night?" asked Dirk when they had exhausted the topic of the little weirdo.
"How about the drive in?" suggested Pam, who was one of the girls.
"Oh, man, that biker film with Jack Nicholson," said Snake enthusiastically. "You know, "The Rebel Rousers."
"Of course, it would have to be a biker film," said Willa. "Usual plan?"
"Case of beer, lawn chairs, Dirk's van," ticked off Snake. "Wadda ya say?"
"I'm in," said Willa.
"Us too," said Wendy on behalf of herself and her sister, Mel.
Several of the other kids decided that they would meet them there. Brad would drive his pick up and it would give them more space to lounge around and enjoy the show. If they found the right spot, they would even be able to get away with a little "smoking" unmolested by the police.
They knew the guys at the entrance. They were always happy to cooperate if one of them dropped a Thomas Jefferson on them. That was another thing about Willa's crew. Their parents all had money and were happy to share it if it kept them out of their hair.
She knew that chances were very good that she was going to end up wasted, but she no longer cared. A little "inconvenience" the following day was worth a few hours of "blotto" the night before. And besides, She thought, anything to get myself out of the house. That place has definitely gone nuts.
A few days later, Trelawney Rose made a discovery.
"What is this?" she asked curiously.
"That's Jay's telescope," replied Jennie earnestly. "And you better not touch it or he will get REALLY mad at you."
This was a rather unusual warning from a child who spent most of her waking hours trying to get into her older brothers' things. The two girls were hanging out alone in the boys' bedroom. Normally they wouldn't be there, but Max was supposed to meet them there to teach Trelawney Rose how to play Monopoly so that she could help Jennie, who liked to play but always lost. Max figured between one girl who didn't know how to play and another who was too young to really understand it, he was sure to beat them as a team.
"I've heard about these, but I've never seen one in real life. It looks fascinating." commented Trelawney Rose. She was circling it, looking closely but not touching it. She had found out the hard way that Jay didn't like her messing with his stuff, especially if it was anything scientific. She had promised her sister Selena that she wouldn't get into any more scraps with him - at least not for the time being.
It was safer to just play with Jennie. The two girls, despite a five-year age difference, had taken to each other right away. They both loved fantasy and make believe. However from the first, they had developed a competitive dynamic with the boys. Jay and Trelawney Rose were most frequently at odds. In addition to being the two oldest vying for control of the younger two, their worldviews were diametrically opposed.
Trelawney Rose, like all the Tressidors, was keenly aware of how others thought and felt. She had a romantic view of the world, a loving nature, and appreciated art and music in a very sentimental way. Her imagination frequently ran wild with flights of fancy. Like her sister she talked to animals and derived a certain degree of pleasure by evading direct questions about her intuitions and refusing to accept science as the ultimate answer for everything.
Despite the fact that she got a mischievous pleasure out of teasing Jay, they saw eye to eye on one thing: Selena and his father, who despite their own opposing world views (or maybe because of it), seemed to be attracted to each other, although neither one knew (or admitted) it. Selena was already betrothed to marry someone else, but none of the Harringtons knew that.
And as long as he was off roaming and no one could find him, Uncle David, their paterfamilias had said that they could stay in America. But they had to make two promises. The first was that Trelawney Rose would be safe in the outside world. The second was that as soon as Kenneth came to claim Selena, they would leave with him. But Trelawney Rose knew that Selena didn't truly love him. And she herself hated him, but she would never tell anyone why.
At first she wasn't really sure about how she felt about Selena possibly being interested in such an old man as Dr. Harrington. There had been a ten-year age gap between her own Mummy and Papa. But looking at them together, she thought that the difference between Selena and Dr. Harrington must be at least twenty years. And Willa was almost eighteen, which seemed like a very old age to Trelawney Rose. Why back in the village she would be old enough to marry when she finished school in the spring.
Then one day when she was looking around his study, she noticed Dr. Harrington's diplomas on the wall. After doing a little arithmetic, she realized that the difference between them was actually fifteen years, which didn't seem quite as bad. Looking at them again closely, she realized that Selena looked young for twenty-six and he looked older than forty-one. She imagined that the stress of losing his wife, not to mention all of those hours spent in the sun on the golf course, had made him looked older than he really was.
But in some ways she liked that. She liked the way that his eyes crinkled up at the corners when he smiled. He was so kind to her. He always wanted to make sure that she was happy and would ask if she needed anything. And he was very kind to Selena. If she looked sad (which she often did) he would try to make her feel better.
The only nagging doubt that she had was with regard to Willa. She couldn't understand how someone could be so kind to two almost perfect strangers and yet so churlish with his own daughter. it was another one of those things about Yanks that she could not, no matter how hard she tried, understand.
But while Trelawney Rose had made a half-hearted promise not to interfere the growing relationship between Selena and Dr. Harrington when pressed by Emmeline before she left, she was well aware that Jay could be cultivated as a future ally in the cause.
She had seen the speculative look in his eyes when he noticed his father comforting Selena as well. And he had made no promises, half-hearted or otherwise, to Emmeline. Thus she was careful not to push him too far with her pranks. She was thinking this as the young man himself walked in.
"Don't touch that!" he immediately scolded. "What are you two doing in here anyway?"
"First of all I am not touching, I am looking," replied Trelawney Rose spiritedly. "And in answer to your question, we are waiting for Max. He is going to teach me how to play Monopoly."
Jay laughed at the thought but quickly became stern again.
"Well, you can wait in the hallway and stay away from my stuff!"
To Jennie's disappointment, Trelawney Rose didn't rise to the occasion and start a debate, but meekly went out into the hall. She really was interested in the telescope and she knew that if she didn't kick up a fuss now, Jay would probably show it to her later if she asked nicely.
There was nothing Jay liked more than to demonstrate his superior knowledge of something. And Trelawney Rose had already figured out how to get what she wanted without having to fight for it. A little bit of humility now was a price worth paying to satisfy her curiosity if she knew that Jay would give her a real look at it at a later time.
Jay Harrington had a practical scientific mind like his father. He wanted rational explanations for everything. He had only just accepted Miss Selena's predilection for unexplainable when Trelawney Rose, had come along to throw him off kilter again. She shared her sister's almost mystical and generally impractical approach towards life. Although it had originally been his idea to combine the two families, he found himself frequently in conflict with the quick-witted girl.
When she had first arrived, Trelawney Rose had been withdrawn and silent most of the time. Jay could really feel sorry for her for suddenly becoming an orphan. But once her uncle gave her permission to stay, her moods became more variable, although no one was really aware of just how variable except for Selena.
When she was alone while her sister was working, she was brooding and quiet. But when the other children came home, especially Jennie, she brightened up, perhaps a bit much. Often that meant that she would be very jolly and inadvertently walk into scrapes.
This was a great source of worry for her sister because she knew that it was a manifestation of her being a little fey. So far, she was in control for the most part, but Selena's greatest concern was that she might slip into one of her prophetic states. The mood swings were easy enough to explain because of the trauma.
However, she was always worried that someday, because she was always making sarcastic remarks to her, she might decide to take on Willa. In that case, Willa would probably end up on the losing side of the disagreement, which would cause further difficulties.
She shared with her sister a unique ability with verbal gymnastics, which meant that she could rhetorically challenge and defeat poor Jay in almost any argument. But what was a charming trait in Miss Selena was downright annoying in a younger girl who was always trying edge him out. While he didn't exactly regret suggesting that she come to live with them, there were times when he wondered if his motives hadn't clouded his better judgment.
Until Trelawney Rose arrived, they hadn't really known much about Miss Selena's past at all. Two of her aunts had shown up a couple of months before in a hot air balloon of all things to check up on her. Aunt Phyllis and Aunt Edith had been an interesting pair. The very stern Aunt Edith had demanded to know why Miss Selena had not left yet.
Aunt Phyllis had thought that his father was very handsome and seemed to be encouraging her to stay. Eventually satisfied that Miss Selena was content with her present lot in life, they had gone off on another adventure. But not before Aunt Edith had given one last warning that a true Tressidor must keep roaming or she be considered stuck in a rut. And a rut was no place for any true Tressidor to be, whatever that meant. For once Willa was right. Those two sure were a couple of oddballs.
Shortly after she began working for them, Miss Selena had told them that she wouldn't be staying forever. Of course that was just about as vague an answer as anyone could give to the question of how long she might stay. And then after she came, Trelawney Rose had told them that her sister loved to travel and help other people. She had always come home to the village in between journeys, but sooner or later she would be off again wherever the spirit led her.
"Mummy and Papa were always very proud of my Selena for setting the world to rights one family at a time," she told them. "I was too."
Thus, it appeared that one of Miss Selena's strongest qualities was what she called her "wanderlust." She was a world traveler who had many lived many lives in many different places among many different people. She had never stayed in one place for very long before she had come to live with the Harringtons. What was a matter of concern for the Tressidors however was good fortune for the Harringtons.
But now it was obvious to Jay that she would have to give up her peripatetic existence for a while to care of her sister. So why couldn't they stay here? Of course even with their expanded knowledge of the elusive past of their housekeeper, none of the Harringtons could possibly understand the full picture.
The sisters might stop for a breather, but permanently settling in the outside world was not an option for either. Selena in fact had one particular commitment that meant that she must, sooner or later, settle back home in the village. However, with his limited knowledge such as it was, Jay could still daydream.
He hadn't mentioned it at the time, but he viewed expanding the family to include Trelawney Rose as a means of anchoring Miss Selena to his own family, at least until Trelawney Rose grew old enough to go out on adventures of her own. After all, she couldn't raise the girl if she was constantly moving around. And in many ways Miss Selena reminded him of his own mother who had passed away a few years ago.
Both Miss Selena and his Mom always thought of the family first. They really didn't look anything alike, but that didn't matter. Whenever one of them needed anything, just like Mom, Miss Selena was always there for them. Willa didn't see it that way but Jay didn't think that Willa would ever accept anyone taking care of them but Mom. She was always threatening to move out as soon as she graduated from high school and Jay, although he would never say it out loud, was hoping that she would.
Secretly he thought that his Dad felt the same way about Miss Selena (and probably Willa as well, but he wouldn't dare to even think about saying that out loud). After all, hadn't he told him shortly after she arrived that at one time he had seen the world as Jay did until his mother came along?
Jay had only been nine when his mother had passed away, but he could still remember her well. Like Miss Selena, she loved to garden and cook them special treats. Jay had been very happy when Miss Selena had gone out and fixed up her garden that had fallen into ruin.
His older sister Willa had been mad. She told them (but not Dad, who, as usual, didn't know it) that it was because she had destroyed her own little "weed" garden. But Jay thought that it was really because she didn't like seeing Miss Selena out there working. Jay thought that his Mom would be happy that the garden looked so nice again and they could play in the yard like they did when they were little.
Miss Selena had also encouraged him and Max to build a playhouse for Jennie out there. Nobody thought that they could do it, but her. It was one of those times when her belief in the impossible worked in his favor. Even Dad said that it was a pretty good job. Of course Willa had to point out that one of the walls was higher than the others, but for once Dad told her to shut up.
Mom had always liked to play the piano too. She had tried to get Willa to learn, but she had refused to practice. Now that Trelawney Rose was playing the piano, Dad had it tuned. Once again, Willa was mad because something that had been neglected since Mom died was fixed. Everyone liked the sound of music in the house again and Trelawney Rose was really good. But after the Beatles incident, Trelawney Rose would not play when Willa was in the house. She didn't want to upset her again.
She asked Dad what some of the songs were, that Mom liked to play and she learned them while they were out at school. One night, while Trelawney Rose was waiting for Miss Selena to finish helping Jennie with her bath, she was playing one of Mom's old songs. Jay saw his Dad looking at her from the door of his study and thought that he saw tears in his eyes.
Jay also thought that it was nice for Jennie who could not remember their Mom playing, to hear some of her music. Max didn't remember either but he didn't care. Trelawney Rose even taught Jennie how to play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Row, Row, Row Your Boat. The first time Dad heard her playing he had tears in his eyes again.
He said that Mom would have been proud. Jennie didn't understand the significance, but Trelawney Rose looked very pleased. Jay knew that she was very grateful that Dad had offered to let her stay. He had a feeling that this was her way of saying thank you.
But most of all, the family was fixed (as long as you didn't count Willa, and he didn't). Miss Selena might have some crazy ideas and a fantastic imagination, but Dad was pretty tolerant. In fact, when Jay asked him about it, he compared her to Mom and said that if he could accept Mom's way of looking at the world, then he could accept Miss Selena's.
Dad had admitted that when he met Mom in graduate school, he was really a pretty boring guy. In fact, he was a real grind. All that he cared about was making A's and being at the top of the class. He had only met her when he went to a mixer for new graduate students on a dare from one of his new friends. He thought that she was very pretty, so he asked her to dance. They spent the rest of the night together talking and dancing and then afterwards he walked her back to her apartment.
He was surprised that she agreed to go out to the movies with him the next night. She had done all of the talking the night before. He liked that, but he was afraid that she thought that he was boring like everyone else did. On their date, he talked more and she listened.
It turned out that they shared a lot of common interests and she introduced him to some things that he had never thought of doing, like skiing and ice-skating. Because she was from San Jose, in the winter her family would go to Lake Tahoe. Since he was from San Diego, he was more into things like swimming and sailing.
Sometimes Jay had a hard time picturing his Dad as a fun sort of a guy. As long as he had known him, it seemed like all he ever did was work. Mom had stayed at home and worked taking care of them, but Jay never felt like she was working. It seemed like everything that she did was fun. And whenever Dad got too serious or scientific, she made him laugh. But that was his Mom. Nobody could ever be too sad around her because she always wanted to make everyone happy.
Jay sometimes reflected on his father's words comparing them when the doorbell or the phone rang immediately after Miss Selena said, "I'll get it." In fact he had begun to think that when his father threw his hands in the air and looked skyward, it was more in amusement than consternation.
The kids didn't think twice about it any more - why should he? And Dad had been very quick to agree to his solution to keep Miss Selena with them, even helping to persuade Miss Selena who was the only one with reservations. Taking a peek at the two girls standing out in the hall, he wondered if he hadn't been a little hard on old Trelawney Rose.
But before he could call them back in, Max came along. Loudly banging around the room, he pulled out the board game. Asserting his rights as the older brother again he chased his younger brother out and so the three went off to the Jennie's room to play. Max was annoyed, but Trelawney Rose soothed his feelings by saying that she was more interested in playing with him than squabbling with Jay.
"We can quarrel with Jay anytime," she declared loudly.
"Oh brother," mumbled Jay as he closed the door behind them.
Feeling better about himself, because Trelawney Rose had showed a clear preference for his company, Max followed the girls and willingly (although not without making a face) he sat at the small white tea table and proceeded to expound upon the intricacies of Monopoly.
The Science Lesson
One change that had been made in the household since Trelawney Rose had come was that she and Miss Selena often stayed to share the evening meal that she made. When Dr. Harrington had seen her preparing some food to bring over to the apartment, he logically suggested that they join the family. After consulting with Trelawney Rose, who readily agreed, it became their new custom.
This made everyone, except Willa, happy. Sensing this and not wanting to be the cause of any more tension than necessary in the house, Trelawney Rose volunteered to do Willa's dinner chores. Somewhat mollified, Willa became marginally polite at the table. When she decided to show up that is.
At dinner that night, Trelawney Rose brought up the subject of the telescope. Flattering Jay, she asked him to explain exactly how it worked. She had only read about them in books and she was very interested in the real thing. Miss Selena and Dr. Harrington exchanged a knowing look as Jay took on his "teacherly" tone and began to explain about the lenses, mirrors and magnification used to give closer images of the stars and planets.
Trelawney Rose listened avidly, but Willa, Max and Jennie were bored. They were a bit disappointed and then annoyed that she was encouraging his monologue with questions. It would have been a lot more fun if she had teased him about being a "professor," which she sometimes did when he went overboard with one of his scientific explanations. And they had heard all this before from Jay.
"What rock did you live under before you moved here?" asked Willa meanly.
Trelawney Rose looked hurt by the insinuation.
"Willa!" said her father in a threatening tone.
"I'm just saying," she answered back. "She's acting like she's never heard of astronomy before."
"We didn't learn science back in the village," said Trelawney Rose. "We looked at the night sky all the time, but we didn't think of it as science."
"Well, you must have watched the moon landing on TV, right?" she asked.
"We don't have tellies back in the village," replied Trelawney Rose with a shrug.
"I rest my case," declared Willa triumphantly.
Trelawney Rose looked crestfallen, but Jennie decided that it was her turn to stand up for the older girl.
"That's not nice," said Jennie.
"Who cares what you think, pipsqueak?"
Dr. Harrington gave her "the look." With a roll of the eyes and a flip of the hair, Willa left the table without asking to be excused. Her father sighed in relief. But Trelawney Rose was puzzled.
"Why does she hate me so much?" she asked sadly.
"She hates everyone," said Max. "Why should you be any different?"
"It makes you more like a part of the family if she hates you," added Jennie.
But Trelawney Rose looked at Willa's empty seat and shook her head. The younger children's words were more puzzling than comforting. Miss Selena noticed and gave her a sharp look. The two sisters seemed to be communicating without saying a word. Justin wondered why his own children weren't capable of doing that.
The Music of the Spheres
After dinner Jay and Trelawney Rose went upstairs where he showed her how to look through the telescope. She was fascinated by being able to see the moon and the stars so closely. Since it was a full moon she was amazed by the clarity of the craters and the sea of tranquility, which were only vaguely apparent to the naked eye. Jay then turned the telescope so that she could see Mars and Saturn, which were coming into full view.
"Wow! I never thought that I would ever see anything like this, except in books," she remarked.
"Don't people have telescopes in England?" asked Jay curiously, but politely. He didn't want her to think that he was trying to be condescending or mean like Willa. "Even my Dad had a telescope when he was a kid. He gave it to Max, but he hardly ever uses it."
"Oh yes," answered Trelawney Rose quickly. "But where I lived, out in the country I don't think that anyone ever felt like they needed a telescope. You can see the stars so much better there than you can here in America."
"That's the light and ground pollution," Jay explained. "There are so many lights from the buildings and street lamps in the cities that the stars are less visible. And there is so much smog sometimes that the haze reflecting those lights really obscures the view. The telescope helps, but if you really want to see the stars you have to go out to a wilderness area like Mt. Diablo State Park."
"Really," Trelawney Rose was thoughtful. "I suppose if you went somewhere like that then you could hear the music of the spheres better also."
"The music of the what?" Jay had a feeling that she was about to start talking about one of her crazy ideas. And just when he had thought that maybe she wasn't so irritating after all.
"It is not a crazy idea," declared Trelawney Rose who of course knew his thoughts before they came out of his mouth. "The ancient Chaldeans and the Greeks believe that the seven heavenly bodies moved in circles around the earth and made sounds that were equal to the musical scales.
"In fact they even believed that when a musician played, he was connecting with the music of the spheres in a sort of mystical way. And the scales are not random you know. Cultures with no previous contact with each other have come up with the same progressions of notes, even if they did transcribe them differently.
"That's nonsense!" said Jay, who never liked to be proved wrong. "Besides there are more than seven heavenly bodies as you call them."
"It is not nonsense, Jay Harrington. Just because you don't know something, doesn't make it nonsense. It makes it something you don't know!" she cried back.
"The whole premise is ridiculous," Jay shot back. "It has no scientific basis."
At the sound of raised voices, Max and Jennie came running into the room. They could hear Willa's door open with a bang.
"Shut up, you two brats!" she hollered. "If you're going to argue about such stupid things, then do it quietly!"
But one of the younger kids' favorite forms of entertainment these days was watching Trelawney Rose and Jay verbally duel. To their amusement, she frequently won. Miss Selena told them that it was disloyal to constantly root against their brother but they paid no mind. It was too much fun watching Jay bested by the younger girl.
Miss Selena had also heard the disagreement walked in to see what was wrong now. Looking directly at her sister she asked, "What are you two fighting about now? It's time for us to leave Trelawney Rose."
"But we're not fighting Selena, honestly. I was just trying to tell Jay about the music of the spheres but he wouldn't even listen." said Trelawney Rose who didn't want to leave yet.
Jay agreed, "Yeah, Miss Selena. Trelawney thinks that there are only seven heavenly bodies and they play different musical notes as they fly through the sky."
"Oh," commented Miss Selena thoughtfully. "Did you ask her to explain?"
"I don't need for her to explain. What she is saying is totally absurd."
"Well," said Miss Selena reasonably, "Before we start throwing around the insults, why don't we listen to what she has to say about it. We listened to your scientific explanations all though dinner, Jay. Let's all of us sit down so that Trelawney Rose can explain herself."
Giving Jay a look of triumph, Trelawney Rose began to talk.
"In the ancient world, the astrologers who looked at the sky could only see seven heavenly bodies: the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The philosophers believed that each of these bodies rotated around the earth and each made a tonal sound equal to a note on the musical scale, which also contains seven individual notes. The lower and heavier the body, the deeper the tone is. The higher and longer the orbit, the higher the tone is.
"In school we read a writing by the Roman orator Cicero called the Dream of Scipio. In that dream, Scipio went up to the heavens where he could hear the music of the spheres for himself."
"Oh brother!" dismissed Jay. "You're trying to tell me that you're basing this theory on what a dead writer said over two thousand years ago. He wasn't even a scientist. Where is the scientific proof?"
"Well Jay," interrupted Dr. Harrington. "What she's saying is really not as crazy as you might think."
Justin Harrington had come upstairs at the sounds of arguing. Always on the lookout for anything that might cause Miss Selena to take her sister back to England since she had made the threat, he had become vigilant whenever disagreements broke out among the children. He had already noticed that despite her overactive imagination, Trelawney Rose had been very well educated in the humanities.
She knew more than some of his college students did about history, literature and even philosophy. He was looking forward to seeing what the American public school system would make of her. Now, fascinated by what she had to say, he had chosen to stay by the door and listen to the short discourse.
"But Dad," said Jay. "We know that there are nine planets and the moon goes around the earth and that the planets, including the earth rotate around the sun. In fact some of those planets had moons rotating around them. In fact, there is the asteroid belt . . ."
"Slow down, son," interrupted Dr. Harrington. "I don't need a lecture from you about the solar system."
"Well, Jay," explained Dr. Harrington. "While modern science has rewritten many of the theories of the ancient people, if you think about it, they did work with what you could very well call a scientific method. All of their ideas were based on what they could actually observe. In fact they were very careful to record the movements of the stars accurately and even used calculus to predict such things as comets. In fact they were the ones who invented geometry, algebra, and most other forms of higher mathematics."
"Predict comets? Like Dr. Lovell?" asked Max.
Dr. Lovell was a colleague of Dr. Harrington's from the university who had spotted a comet earlier that year and had it named for him. When he came to dinner after Jay got his telescope, he showed it to them.
That had inspired Max to ask for a telescope, which was why Dr. Harrington had set up his old one. However it took him longer to set it up than Max had even looked through it. He lost his desire to go comet hunting when he realized how tedious it was. And he certainly had no desire to learn all of the mathematics involved to discover a comet of his own.
"Somewhat Max," agreed Dr. Harrington. "Only today, computers and high powered telescopes are able to make much more sophisticated predictions."
"What about the three wise men who came to visit Jesus in Bethlehem?" asked Jennie who didn't want to be left out of the discussion. "In Sunday School, Teacher said that they predicted that the star would rise and if they followed it they would find a great king. She said that since the star had "a tail as big as a kite" that it was a comet."
Ever the skeptic, Jay snorted, "You don't learn astronomy in Sunday School."
Jennie looked downcast but Miss Selena said gently, "Who says that you can't learn anything about anything anywhere? Knowledge is knowledge."
"Well," said a very interested Trelawney Rose, eager to get back to the original topic. "I still believe in the music of the spheres. If the night is very quiet, you can hear the heavens singing."
"Oh brother!" repeated Jay.
"Don't be too quick to dismiss what Trelawney Rose is saying," replied Dr. Harrington. "There is a whole theory of physics that scientists have been working on for only about the last thirty years or so called "String Theory." in fact, it was only named last year. It's still really in its infancy, but if proven it could lead to the discovery of a fourth or even fifth dimension. If you enter the field of quantum physics some day you could even find yourself researching it."
Trelawney Rose was interested. "Do they think that the strings make sounds, like guitar or piano strings?"
"Some of them do," answered Dr Harrington. "So far no one has been able to prove that they don't."
"But no one has proven that they do either. I'll believe it when I see proof," declared Jay.
"Then you won't get very far in research," said Dr. Harrington with more than a hint of amusement. "Great scientific breakthroughs are made by skeptics, but only by those who are skeptical of things that everyone else accepts have been proven.
"Galileo was willing to be excommunicated by the church when his telescope proved that the sun, not the earth was the center of the universe. That was a pretty big deal back in those days. But if he hadn't challenged what was then viewed as both a scientific and theological truth it might have taken us a whole lot longer to get where we are today.
"Jay, with the help of computers, I believe that in thirty or forty years they may be rewriting the science textbooks because so many of our present theories have replaced by newer ones based new information. It's the dreamers of today who will take us there. Not those who were complacent about how things are."
"What is the real difference between philosophy and science anyway?" wondered Miss Selena aloud. "The word science is based on the Latin word "to know" so it is about knowledge. Philosophy comes from the Greek words for "wisdom" and "love." What is the real distinction between knowledge and wisdom?"
Her question hung in the air. Not for the first time the Justin marveled at her own knowledge and wisdom. Wherever she had come from, she was obviously highly educated. Her eyes had acquired that sort of dreamy quality that they always did when she was pondering something. Whenever she became lost in her own thoughts she looked quite beautiful.
Suddenly both adults noticed that Jay and Trelawney Rose were observing them closely. Silent communication seemed to be passing between them as to some secret knowledge that they both shared. The room was very quiet.
"Well, I know a lot of people who can here all sorts of music playing out there in the heavens," commented Willa, who had left her room. "All they have to do is smoke a little something."
"Like you?" challenged Max.
"I get by with a little help from my friend!" she declared cheerfully and went banging back off to her room.
"That's another Beatles song," remarked Jay to Trelawney Rose. "It's all about smoking pot."
"Why would anyone write a song about a smoking pot?" she asked, once again puzzled.
Jennie looked equally confused, but Max coughed violently as he tried to keep from laughing.
But Justin looked at Willa's departing figure with consternation. The good mood was now broken and Miss Selena brought them all back down to earth.
"Bedtime for all you stargazers!" she declared. "The morning comes round early and so does the school bus."
"I wish I could go to school," said Trelawney Rose wistfully.
"Can she go instead of me?" asked Max who had sharply jumped to attention at the words "school bus."
"No," said Miss Selena and Dr. Harrington together.
An observant Jay noticed the smile that passed between them. The irony Dr. Harrington's conclusion about scientific skeptics and later revelations of how things actually were was not lost on him. Maybe his future as a romantic wasn't entirely a lost cause.