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Toni Morrow Wyatt
Spanning from 1921 until present day, Return to Rocky Gap is the epic tale of a family torn apart by tragedy and brought back together by war, only to find that distance is sometimes the hardest obstacle to overcome.
A resident of Briarwood Nursing Home, Amelia Sterns Monroe defies logic or explanation and finds a way to travel through time back to the people and the place she once loved. She finds herself returning to Rocky Gap.
The youngest of three, Amelia grows up adoring her oldest sister, Cecilia. When Cecilia marries and leaves home, Amelia finds herself an unwilling conspirator in her sister Lydia’s evil schemes. After Lydia’s choices result in tragedy, Amelia struggles to find forgiveness for the sister she has never understood. When Elmer Monroe enters Amelia’s life, she finds in him an all-encompassing love that can’t be denied. As her life takes an impossible turn, she is shocked to discover a newfound understanding for Lydia. But, is it too late?
“Whatcha doing sitting in the dark, Mama?” the woman asked. She crossed the room to the window. “I’m gonna open the curtains and let some sunshine in.” She pulled the cord and opened the blinds.
I brought my hand up to shield my eyes. From where I sat in an old stuffed rocking chair, the sun hit me square in the face. I’m confused. I thought it was nighttime.
The woman picked up a piece of paper from the dresser. She traced her finger down it, and then looked up at me and smiled. “Guess what’s for dinner tonight?”
I’m not sure I want to. Surprise me.
“It’s your favorite—chicken,” she said, with entirely too much enthusiasm.
So great, we’re having chicken for dinner. Briarwood Nursing Home should hold the World’s Record for ‘The Most Disgusting Ways to Serve Chicken.’ They serve it baked, fried, broiled, in soups, and in sandwiches. You name it—they serve it that way. The only problem is; they mush it up beyond recognition and it tastes, well, you guessed it—disgusting.
Every time I eat chicken, it reminds me of the night Reuben came to our house wanting to court my sister Cecilia. Twelve years older and more like a mother than a sister, Cecilia looked after my other sister Lydia and me while our parents worked in the cotton fields. Being poor cotton farmers, they picked cotton for someone else.
* * * *
Cecilia was a sweet girl with beautiful, long chestnut hair. I loved to watch her weave it into a long braid and then wrap it around and around the crown of her head until she made a perfect halo. In my eyes, she could do no wrong. I could never measure up to her perfection, but I was hell bent on trying.
I haven’t decided if living in the past is a gift or a curse. Most people would see it as a sign of a feeble mind and think of me as an old lady reliving her glory days. My mind isn’t feeble; it’s full of a life and a love I never want to forget.
Return to Rocky Gap