Hello everyone! This story is one that I wrote quite some time ago, but am now posting it! I love writing time travel stories since I'm a fan of the past. I hope you like this one!
"Grandma, was that really you in high school?"
"Yes it was, dear."
Great-grandma Edna and I were looking through her old black and white photos from the 1920s as I sat next to her on her bed in her assisted living home Sundale Care Center in Meford, Oregon. A heavy rain pelted the window outside.
"How old were you then?" I asked. She pointed a very wrinkly finger with a painted pink nail to the picture I had in my right hand.
"I was eighteen in that picture."
"Really? You're my age here!" I looked at the black and white graduation picture that had Class of 1926 written in the bottom left corner on the back of the picture. "Wow, you're so pretty! You know, this picture would be called a glamour shot."
"Yes, I was quite the catch back then. Now look at me."
I smiled at her lovingly. "You're still gorgeous, Grandma." I took a look at the picture again. "You look kind of like me, you know, only I have longer hair."
"Well, you are my great-granddaughter. There are bound to be a few similarities."
I sifted through some more pictures, but my eyes went right back to Grandma Edna's glamour shot. "I wonder what it would have been like to know you back then? I think we would be best friends, and people would probably think we're sisters."
"No doubt about it, dear. I would venture to say that people would think that we're twins."
We went through the small purple box a little more and a group picture caught my eye. I pulled it out and saw that it was a picture of a bunch of guys posing in rows. I looked at the bottom and saw that it said Gowanda High School Football Team – 1926. My lips quirked up at the sight of all the really good-looking 1920s guys.
"What's this, Grandma?"
The ninety-five-year-old woman took a look at it, and her short white hair shimmered from the fluorescent light above us. "Oh, that is your great-granddad's football team." She pointed to a young man in the center row, two from the right. "He is right here. J. Belee."
I looked closer and my brows rose. "Wow, he's really handsome."
"So said all the girls. While several of the boys at school called me the bee's knees, all the girls called your Grandpa James eye candy."
"They had the term 'eye candy' back then?" I laughed and continued to look at the picture. I tucked some long wavy brown hair behind my ear. I scanned the faces of all the guys in the picture again. One in the bottom row who reminded me of Elvis, due to his face shape and swave hair, caught my eye. He was looking at the camera more at an angle, was hunched a little, and didn't look like he was too excited about the picture being taken.
"How about him?" I asked, pointing to the guy. "Do you remember anything about him?"
Grandma Edna squinted her gray-blue eyes a bit, making the wrinkles in the corners of her eyes more prominent. "Oh, Robby Bentley? Do I ever remember him! He chased me everywhere until your great-granddaddy James stopped him by marrying me."
"Really? He chased you?" I gasped. "But I can't say I'm surprised. I mean, just look at this picture of you." I held up her graduation picture.
She nodded and let out a breath. "He was a trouble-maker—Robby. Getting in trouble inside and outside of school, mainly in our senior year. But he was James's and my best friend for many years before that. Sadly, I only saw him as such, even though he reminded me of his feelings many times. The boy never gave up, though."
"Aw... poor guy." I gave her a sly look. "You're such the heartbreaker."
She waved a hand in embarrassment. "Tosh. But... I figured that's why he acted out so much—I never felt the way he wanted me to."
I nodded, understanding. "He was crazy jealous."
I gazed at the picture a bit more, wanting to know more about this Robby. "Is he still alive?"
"Oh, I have no idea. I doubt it. James and I lost touch with him shortly after we got married in '27. As far as I know, he went off the deep-end—his mother wrote us in '28, I think, and said he had gotten into some trouble, but she didn't say what—something about getting in trouble with the police. We wrote to Robby, but he never wrote back. That was the last we thought of him, really, because I was pregnant with my first child, and we became busy."
I nodded and stared at Robby's face in the picture. Why is the back of my neck starting to heat up? This is just a picture! "Hm... I wonder what he was up to?"
"There may be a newspaper article or two."
"Really? It was that serious?"
"I can't be sure."
"I'll look into later."
She quirked up a brow. "You're as curious as ever, dear. Is it because he quite the handsome young man?" She winked.
"You know me all too well, Grandma," I said, grinning.
"There is a young and rather attractive male nurse who works here, dear. Maybe I could put in a good word?"
She gave me a mischievous look and I laughed. She has already tried to pair me up with the great-grandson of one of her friends here at the care center, but that situation tanked when I went up to him, asked for his number, and he told me that he was engaged. "I'm alright, Grandma, but thanks."
"He's not engaged, dear. Not even a girlfriend. He's told me so before."
I gave her a gracious smile. "It's alright, Grandma, I'll find someone eventually. I have plenty of time."
"Don't wait too long."
A female nurse suddenly came in, and I recognized her as the one who would come in for the final night's check-up. I took that as my leave to go. I have been sitting with Grandma Edna for a good three hours, anyway. It was already nine, and that's late for Grandma Edna.
"Well, goodnight, Grandma," I said and kissed her on her wrinkly forehead. "I'll see you next week on Monday, okay? I'll come at three this time, so we have more time to talk."
"Alright, Katherine, dear."
I got off her bed and put her box away up in her wardrobe closet and left the room with a final smile and wave. I loved coming and visiting with Grandma Edna, and listening to her life's stories. I have been doing it for a few months now, ever since I did my senior project on the Roaring 20s, and asked Grandma Edna for experiences, since she was a teen during that decade. After that, I got hooked to the past. I plan on being a history major with an emphasis on the 1900s at Oregon State University—not too far if I ever wanted to visit Medford. I haven't been accepted yet, since I'm still working on the application.
The middle-aged lady at the front reception desk gave a smile as I walked out of the care center into the pouring rain. I had to run to my blue Corolla, and once in it, I sat there against my seat. I couldn't get that football team picture out of my head. Or mainly, I couldn't get Robbie out of my head. I found myself intensely wanting to know more about him and his story. Grandma Edna had a point about me being curious about him because he wasn't hard to look at but... I just want to know what happened to him, like what he did that got him into so much trouble. And general things as well, like if he's still alive and is staying at some care home somewhere. It might be in New York since that is where Grandma grew up. She moved here to Oregon when she had her last child—her fourth—my Grandpa Charley, who is my dad's dad.
Maybe I shouldn't look into it. If he's Grandma Edna's age, he most likely has passed away. I started my car and headed out of the parking lot, my determination piqued.
"No, I'll find out more about him, even if he's already gone."