The Morrow Family Saga, Book Three: Laughing, Chapter Eight

Natalia was looking forward to New York City. Broadway awaited. She couldn’t wait to see the sights and experience the atmosphere. All the best restaurants were there and many stars could be seen dining in them at any given time. She could barely contain her excitement.

She wanted to see the stars, eat fine food, and see as many shows as she could. It could very well be the only time she would get to do so until she was old enough to be on her own. She didn’t want to let the opportunity go to waste. What a grand time it was going to be!

And they had two weeks. Two weeks! It was every girl’s dream! Just to see a Broadway stage was every girl’s dream!

She snickered. Shasta probably wanted to go see the museums. Or the library. Or something stupid like that.

No matter, they would both get to see whatever they wanted. Daddy would see to that. Mama, too. This wasn’t just for one of them. It was for both. A treat.

Natalia sometimes wished that she was the only child, though. She wanted to have everyone’s complete and total attention. After all, she was the talented one, not Shasta. Shasta loved her books. And museums.

The arts didn’t hold Shasta’s attention. At least, not as Natalia could see. Shasta was always going to the library and reading. She always seemed to seek out and explore every museum she could find.

Natalia was drifting farther away from her sister, emotionally. They had fewer and fewer things in common with each other with the passing of each year. Shasta had no interest in boys. She showed no interest in the movies that Natalia found inspiring. But Natalia had no interest in Shasta’s books or museums. They were boring to her. Besides. Books were just words bound together. They weren’t images or action.

She grimaced. They also required school. One had to learn how to read and write in order to enjoy books. Not so with movies. Not that Natalia could see, anyway. With movies, it wasn’t so. Not that Natalia could see. No, with movies, you only had to watch and thrill to the action.

And acting looked so easy. So flawless. It was as if the words were simply thoughts, spoken by the actors and actresses without effort. It looked so easy, like there was no need to get an education. So why even try?

***

Shasta loved movies.She loved Broadway. She loved to dissect movies and study every intricate part to find out how films were made. She loved to dissect stage productions too. Not to mention television shows. It was fun to study how they were produced.

But then, she loved to learn. She knew that actors read from scripts. They rehearsed every scene relentlessly. The director did countless retakes before settling on a final cut of each scene. The producer picked from countless reels of alternate scenes to create, through splicing together their final picks,a movie that seemed flawless.

The only time this wasn’t true was when things were live on TV. Live shows were rehearsed before they were shot, but things happened sometimes that were unexpected. Skits took a different direction than they had been written. Lines were flubbed.

Shasta shook her head at the thought that her sister believed that being in acting and the movies didn’t need an education.  She knew that Natalia hadn’t taken the time to investigate anything. Nattie simply went on face value.

Perhaps, when they got to New York, she could get an actor to talk to Nattie. Or maybe a director. Nattie needed to hear the truth from the mouth of a professional. She only hoped that doing so would set her sister back on the right path.

She had her doubts. Nattie was always suspicious of anything done to help her. She saw it as someone trying to deter her from doing her own thing. To Nattie, there was always someone trying to keep her from her dreams.

It didn’t matter if they were trying to show her the value of a good education, they were still trying to hold her back. It didn’t matter if they were trying to point her in the right direction, they were meddling in her life. Shasta supposed that was why daddy never said much or tried to correct Nattie’s mistaken ideas.

***

Michael sat in his office going over last minute instructions with Merv Cranston. Merv had been with the company for forty years. He had been hired by Michael’s father and knew the company better than anyone else. Well, almost. Still, he was the best choice to manage the company while Michael was away.

Now in his fifties, Merv barely looked past the age of thirty-nine. But then, he didn’t smoke. He kept himself active. He ate healthy.

At the same time, he lived alone. He had never married, thus had never asked for a raise in years. Even when he rose through the ranks, Merv had never been motivated by money. Even though his salary rose as he took a higher position, he had never asked for those raises.

Michael had done research on Merv. The man donated half his salary to the church he went to. He only kept that which ensured that he could buy a few new suits, a couple new pairs of shoes, kept a roof over his head, paid his bills, and ensured that he would have food to eat. Hell, even the house he lived in was simple. It was just big enough for one person.

Michael smiled at Merv. “So, Merv, why didn’t you ever marry? I don’t mean to pry, I am just curious.”

Merv smiled. “The only woman I ever loved died when I was twenty. After that, there was never any woman who caught my fancy. After that, all I had was work. I was an only child of an only child. I have no relatives to fight over whatever I leave behind.”

Michael nodded sadly. “I see.”

Merv looked at his boss. “Besides. Everyone here is my family. You, Matty down on the floor, Sara, everyone. Your children are my nieces and nephews. And grand kids.  I have no need of any of my own.”

A tear rose in Michael’s eye. Suddenly, he was without words. Here was a man who looked at the world with a totally different view than most people. There weren’t many who had this view.

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