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One week had passed since the dream about Priscilla. The other-worldliness of the dream itself was not as bothersome as the aftermath of feelings and emotions it generated. Most of my waking hours had been spent thinking about her and of our time together long ago.
All I knew about her since that time was that she graduated in 1968 from Randolph Macon College in Virginia. After high school she had married her sweetheart of several years, the handsome and athletic Hunter Adams. The marriage was over in less than two years, after which Dr. Truley drove her up to Asheville and enrolled her at his mother’s Alma Mater.
During the summer of 1968, after her photograph and a brief write-up appeared in the local paper announcing her college graduation, news got back to town that she was among a large group of antiwar protesters who were arrested and jailed in Chicago at the National Democratic Convention.
Dr. Truley had flown to Chicago to get his daughter out of jail and bring her home.
Few people saw her the remainder of that year, and by the time I came home for Christmas she had left and her father didn’t know where she was, according to Annie Sue.
Mama said the gossip around town was that she was at the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969, where she had met and married a second rate musician and moved to California.
But over time, the gossip mill about Priscilla almost dried up. Dr. Truley died in the mid-1970s, and the behavior and values of a younger generation lessened the shock value of Priscilla's former behavior. The Age of Aquarius seemed to have fully arrived in the sleepy little town.
I moved to Atlanta after college to accepted a job as a reporter for the Atlanta Herald and my visits to my hometown became less frequent as I became absorbed in my new life. My grandparents died two months apart, during the winter of 1977. I drove away after the last item of business had been attended to and vowed I’d never return
I started working the telephone. I had cut my professional teeth on investigative journalism and knew how to find and work my sources. I called anyone and everyone in my hometown who might know of Priscilla’s whereabouts. I spent hours searching the Internet for some mention of her, knowing her last name would no longer be Truley, but hoping some nugget of information would turn up. Nothing did.
One of Mama’s old friends told me in one of the calls that so far as anyone knew, Annie Sue Brighton, the Truley’s longtime maid, was the only person Priscilla had stayed in touch with throughout the 1980s and 1990s. She said Annie Sue was in a nursing home and would be my best bet tracking down Priscilla.
Annie Sue. How well I remembered that name! The little teas she prepared and brought out to the Summer House. Her loving care of Priscilla. The woman who took up the duty of raising Priscilla after Mrs. Mary Maycomb, the housekeeper, left.
I thought Annie Sue was Priscilla’s mother until I was about five years old. It made no difference to me that she had black skin and Priscilla’s was white. I saw her love and devotion and assumed that could be provided only by a mother, or a grandmother.
She must be close to 90 years old by now, I thought. Would she still be rational? Would it be worth my time to make the four-hour drive to see her? Would she even remember me?
I pondered the questions, and even asked myself why I was so obsessed in this quest to learn more about Priscilla’s whereabouts. I had a great life here in the city. I was the managing editor of a large metropolitan newspaper, lived in a luxurious condo in the heart of Buckhead, had a man in my life that I adored. My life was going quite well, thank you very much, so why was I trying to dig up bones from the past?
These questions I turned over in my mind for several days before I finally notified my newspaper staff I was taking a few days off to tend to personal business. I called Greg to say I wouldn’t be able to accompany him to the Arts Center fundraiser that night, that something had come up and I would be out of town for three or four days, that I loved him and would be in touch.
Then I packed a bag, dropped off my dog Penelope at the kennel, filled the BMW gas tank and headed west on I-20.
This is the final installment here on my blog of a story that's whirling around in my head. I hope you have enjoyed reading it, and if so, leave me a note to tell me what you like, or don't like, about it.
As you know, first drafts are only the beginning. Much will change and much more will be written before the story is completed.
Will it become my first novel? Who knows? It all depends on where my search for Priscilla Truley leads me!!