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by Jester
Rated: 18+ · Novel · Ghost · #2272670
Ramona tragically died while searching for her lost baby. She still obsesses over it.


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Chapter 12


Ramona. d. 1911







The eccentric Ramona Stiles had cash, lot's of it, after divorcing well. The divorce included a child to come, six months away. Ramona was known for her obsessions. She'd never buy just one beaver felt hat with exotic feathers. It had to be twenty or more. Yet her shoes, were practically threadbare as if she owned just one pair. Her desires became obsessions, come hell or high water she was determined to get her way.


927 NW Hoyt Street had remained empty for several months after the passing of Constance Treadmore.. For Ramona, this was love at first sight. A hand-built Craftsman style two-story with a functioning widow's walk. And it had indoor plumbing to boot! She wanted that house enough to give it a name: Hoyt House. My sweet baby will be delighted as well!


The agent for the Treadmore estate asked $26,000. Lady Ramona had a reputation as a tough negotiator. She offered him $20,000 as is. No inspection was required. He countered with $24k and they settled on $22.4k.


As soon as Ramona took possession she focused on the baby's room. She bought three bassinets for different occasions. Those added among five baby carriages left little floor space. She purchased baby bonnets of many sizes, twenty or so. Anything for my baby! Anything and everything.


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"Oh Lady Ramona, I'm. I'm so sorry. Please forgive me." This was Henrietta's debut as an Aupair. So distraught, she collapsed at Ramona's feet. "Lady Ramona, I just had to uh, you know use a ladies room. What could I do? I was about to lose my bladder!"


"Henrietta," Ramona commanded. "What are you telling me?"

"The baby carriage wouldn't fit through the doorway of the ladies toilet. So I had to leave it outside...for just a moment." Weeping again and wailing, "Oh Lady Ramona. When I opened the door little Alice nowhere to be seen!"



"You don't know where my baby is? Come to your senses child. A baby in a carriage does not simply disappear like that. Take me there at once!" Ramona grabbed a shawl and her broad-flowered hat. "Hurry! Now!"


Henrietta, in a servants' skirt easily ran down the wooden stairs to the sidewalk. Ramona lagged behind. Hers was made for a lady, long like a floor dragger. Such skirts had to be lifted up for a woman to negotiate her way up or downstairs safely.


The park was just two blocks away. The ladies' room enclosure was near the park's center. As she ran awkwardly toward the park, each step floating her petticoats upward against her chest. Ramona's guts were clenching with terror.


My baby! Frantic now, she clutched each passerby. "Have you seen a baby in a white wicker carriage around here? Did you see anyone holding a baby here just now? A baby girl?"


Henrietta was feeling more guilty than ever. It's all my fault! How could I be so careless? In an effort to brighten up matters, "Lady Ramona. Perhaps someone, being a Good Samaritan, recognized your carriage and took Alice back to your home on Hoyt Street."


Ramona's eyes got wide. "Yes! That must have happened. A Good Samaritan passed by. That's all. My baby is already home!"


Gasping for air now, "Henrietta we must return to the house at once! My baby!"


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Homer Blalock knew it wasn't fair. His older brother Henry always got to drive the team of two horses for the Blalock Creamery. That meant only one thing: he had to carry crates of cheese, milk and cream from the Blalock dairy into customer's homes while Henry sat minding the team.


Huffing down mildew-smelling stairways to the relative cool of basements had become a nasty experience. All the while Henry had the privilege of monitoring the horse team from the comfort of the hard oak driver seat.


"Why should I be the one to do the hard work? I can drive a team just as good as you."


Henry stared at Homer and sneered, "You just don't understand, Homer. Driving a team is more than just saying giddyup and whoa."


Homer rolled his eyes. Not that again!


"Runnin' a team of large draft horses requires skill and guts. Little brother, you have yet to develop either. A horse-drawn carriage can be dangerous to people."


Homer crossed his arms and stared. It's my turn, Henry.


Reluctantly, Henry beckoned Homer up to the driver's seat. "All right little brother. Let's see what you have learned from Father."


Horatio Blalock instilled into his sons the heavy responsibility born by team drivers. You can put the public at risk. Horse-drawn carriages had to be stopped often, relying on something resembling brakes. But a brake that relied on wood against wood was only so effective at stopping a heavy carriage.


"OK. Take the reigns and for God's sake be careful!"

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Ramona was on a rampage now, screaming at the top of her lungs. "My baby!" Skirts up-

lifted, Ramona ran downhill toward the alley where deliveries were commonly made.


That got the attention of two large Doberman pincers next door. Excited and alarmed, they looked for the source of the back alley disturbance. They spotted it: Ramona, an upset and possibly dangerous human, according to them.


The house on the other side of Hoyt House was, as usual, overflowing with children, who on this hot July day were so excited. They had a sack of firecrackers with match sticks to light them. The snap, snap, crack, crack of firecrackers simply thrilled the kids. Boredom had come to an end!


The Doberman pincers were not thrilled. Unsure of what should be done about matters, they hesitated. Do they attack Ramona? No. A much greater threat loomed: rearing and screaming horses, alarmed by the explosions. The Dobermans dove at the horses, barking and biting.


Homer panicked. Pulling back on the reigns and yelling at the team made matters worse. "Whoa dammit you idiot horses! Whoa! I said whoa dammit!" But the horse team did not whoa. Instead, they jerked upward with loud whinny's and charged forward, taking the wagon with them.


Ramona did her best to run downhill on a dirt pathway to the alley. Maybe someone knows something! It was not easy to be in charge of a hoop skirt and a large flower hat simultaneously while running. Despite her circumstances, Lady Ramona Stiles remained fashion conscious.


The Doberman's did not like those flopping skirt hoops one bit. And, Ramona's enormous floppy flower hat didn't help matters any. They charged and barked loudly, snapping at the hoops. Frightened now, she turned suddenly to run away from them. The only direction available was downhill toward the heavy carriage.

Practically dizzy now and unaware of the danger she was in, Ramona threw her arms upward screamed out loud, "Where is my baby!"


All she could see were jaws of teeth snapping at her as she tumbled into a carriage wheel. The entire neighborhood heard the commotion, including Ramona's cry, "My ba....!"



End of Chapter 13




5


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