The Fortune of Mrs. Fillmore
A sad song fell over the hearts of everyone in our small town the day we heard of Mrs. Fillmore’s passing. Eighty-two years old, she was, and like a grandmother to us all. She lived in the biggest house at the end of Blackberry Street for as long as anyone could remember. Mystical and majestic, it was the neighborhood’s favorite meeting place. There, she’d host wonderful Christmas galas, warm family gatherings, don’t-care-who’s birthday parties, and really fun come-on-over-just-becauses. Not to mention she always had the best selection of candy for Halloween (she gave out the most, too). In addition, she was the designated babysitter for every child who lived in Goldenbriar. No kid ever minded because she was the nicest old lady for miles, and it didn’t hurt that she baked the most scrumptious treats anyone had tasted in their lives. One summer, during an outage, everyone stopped by Mrs. Fillmore’s and forgot all about the power plight until two days after the electricity had returned.
All the folks in town were packed into the little one-room church house last Sunday morning. Not an eye was dry, and not a soul withheld their final remarks. People of all ages, sizes, races, and backgrounds shared heartwarming stories of how the silver-haired woman had helped them or changed them or took them in at one point or another. Young folk shed tears reminiscing of the fun times they’d enjoyed with her as children, and even some strangers who had only met her once or twice showed to pay their respects. This woman was a truly irreplaceable monarch in the hearts of everyone she happened upon. That night, I couldn’t go to sleep. My mother kept telling me through uncontrollable tears that everything was going to be alright. I tried to convince myself that Mrs. Fillmore was in a better place, but she herself felt like heaven to us. What did that mean for Goldenbriar now?
June Twentieth: The last day I wrote about in my journal. Everything seemed like it was going to be okay back then. The summer looked promising. My friends and I couldn’t wait for the happiest school vacay yet. Lazy days and long nights, the majority of which we knew would be spent at Mrs. Fillmore’s house. “This will be a summer we will never forget.” were the last words of my final entry. I picked myself up off the bed and closed my journal. It was clearly no longer of any use. There would be nothing more to write about now that Mrs. Fillmore was gone. Of course, I will never forget this, even though I wish I could. So much for “happiest”, but there were going to be a whole lot of lazy days of melancholy and long nights of restlessness. I was also right about spending a lot of time at Mrs. Fillmore’s house, too. Although she had passed, her only daughter, Darcy, invited us to help clean up her mother’s home. We were asked to assist her in clearing out unwanted items, packing up sentimental treasures, and preparing the house to be sold to the highest bidder. I didn’t want to go at first. My heart hurt just picturing myself walking into the room without hearing Mrs. Fillmore’s perky voice.
As I walked inside, the place didn’t feel exactly the same, but it didn’t feel too different, either. It felt like half the magic had spilled from the glass, but, somehow, three quarters were left. I couldn’t describe the feeling that came over me. I somehow felt happy and sad all at once. So many memories rushed into my brain. It seemed as if Mrs. Fillmore had only gone on vacation.
“I know that it was probably really hard for you kids to come out here and help me with this stuff today, so I thank you all immensely,” Darcy said with a deep breath...