August 12, 1921 | Part I

Sarah Claire Orr was always a pretty girl, who could command a room with one sideways glance of her demure features. She was like this from the tender age of 6, and as any child, she was completely oblivious to the true lure or power of her physical attributes. Claire, as her mother called her, never foresaw losing anything more than a doll or blanket during her childhood, yet ended up losing things vastly more meaningful.

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Anne Orr met Claire’s father in her late teens, immediately plunging into deep infatuation typical of the age, and shortly finding herself expecting Claire’s elder sister, Theresa. Not a harvest later, Claire was also on her way. Residing on a corner homestead in rural Ouachita Parish, Monroe, Louisiana; the Orr family lived relatively peacefully, close by Mr. Orr’s brother Tom. Tom had 2 boys, but Gerald and Claire were bonded from birth. Theresa was her mother’s daughter, Claire completely her father’s. She was precocious and manipulative, breaking stipulations and finding new means to do so. Theresa was content to stay home learning new crochet patterns and recipes with her mother. They recently purchased a phonograph as a family, and it was the centrifugal entertainment of the home.

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Anne and her husband were not without their marital difficulties. She prided herself on the countenance of her children, but never disguised one as her preferred. Anne urged her husband to spend less time encouraging the tomboyish nature of their second daughter, accusing him of wanting a son, and offered to try. When this venture proved unfruitful, it began to deteriorate their relationship drastically, noticeable to both girls. The arguments once disguised under whispered darkness began to take on the confidence of daylight. This made Claire resent her mother with uncommon bitterness and she began to withdraw into herself more than any girl of 5 should and it wasn’t long until the corner homestead wasn’t a home.

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That next summer, Claire’s mother met Fred. Everything happened in summer. Her father moved back to New Orleans in summer, Fred moved into the homestead in summer, and Claire was lost in summer. Fred was a reserved man, the quiet type. He never argued with Anne, and spent most of his time alone in the barn. They had a roommate marriage it seemed. Claire never saw him as a replacement for her now off-limits father, and began to spend more and more time across the field at her cousin’s house. This was the last remnant of her father, the last place she could still feel him. She and Gerald would sit and talk by second story open window until twilight of her favorite games and trips she missed now that he was gone. She never felt left; she knew someday he would come back for her. Just her.

To be continued…

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