Title: A Change of Grace
Excerpts from Grace’s Journals 1883-1963: Part 3 of 4
Summary: Taylor ends up traveling back in time to New York in the 19th century. There he meets Kathryn, Benjamin, Joshua and Grace among many others. The story follows both Taylor’s adventures in the past and Isaac and Zachary’s search for him in present (1997/1998) time.
August 1st, 1888
Our time in the city has drawn to a close for the time being. Joshua, just as driven as I, has agreed that there is no reason to accept the position here in the city, electing instead to continue to travel. That we are trying to run from our loss seems clear, yet we shall do so, however unhealthy it may be. To stay is unendurable.
August 6th, 1893
Our first visit home in five years, has ended with my desire to kidnap my young nephew and nieces! What darkness I have imposed upon myself these years, avoiding children, or any semblance of family life, aside from that singular family which is Joshua and myself. What charmers her children are, even that little tyrant Eddie, who at six years old firmly knows his place as king! Ah, would that we could have our own children, our hearts still so empty where once they were filled.
My Joshua, he says so little about it, he knows it breaks my heart that I can give him no more little ones, but I know. I know so well how he longs for a family of his own. He seems though, to content himself doting on the children of his sister, and those of his young friend Andy, who’s own joy seemed so restrained when we met for lunch yesterday.
Ah, who of our old friends does not know of our loss? Where were they five years ago, when we needed them, is what I wish to know, though Andy is hapless, having been away at school and unaware. He seemed to find it difficult to understand our delight at his new son, feeling I suppose that he had no right to happiness someone else had lost. I pray Joshua will renew his friendship, he so needs someone other than myself.
June 4th, 1899
Ah, the life begins to tire me. I have looked into the mirror and seen my first gray hair. That, perhaps more than anything we do, is what tires me. The very sight of it. Such time passing.
Oh, an oddity, passing strange, a memory Joshua seems not to recall, though his eyes lie I do believe. The telephone, that lovely newfangled gadget, nonexistent in my girlhood, I seem to recall our friend Taylor, that odd, charming, delightful source of Joshua’s greatest dreams and nightmares, mentioning such a thing. Why this should come to me now, dear diary, I do not know. Yet recall it I do, a drunken rambling, staggering suggestion that someone call someone on the phone. Strange, is it not? How many more such oddities are going to occur dear friend, as time passes? Many? Oh, I do believe many, and I but wait to understand. Though with the world scheduled to end at the turn of the century, I may find my theories moot, may I not?
January 1st, 1900
Welcome to the next century, dear diary! And the world indeed, still turns.
December 22nd, 1907
Christmas again, old friend, and this the best yet.
Our family has grown outrageously, and the stack of gifts we bring home is truly astonishing. Though it usually is, and the nieces and nephews have come to understand that with the arrival of Aunt Grace and Uncle Josh, come wonders to behold.
Mother has accused us of trying to buy their affection, since we cannot win it with our devoted attentions, being so terribly neglectful of our families. She would have us give up our careers and come squat in one of those ramshackles in Harlem mews simply to be able to say she told us so.
I wonder now, when I reflect, on how I could have made mother’s ideals of such import to me as a girl. How much joy I denied myself in my attempt to do what meant much to HER. Oh, and poor Josh, how evil I thought him, with his kind heart and dreamers soul. I consider it my great good fortune that mother never had the chance to warp my very soul.
I bless the good fortune that brought that strange young man into my life, with his odd ideals and completely inappropriate way of looking at things. What would mother have thought of HIM?! I shall have to ask Louise if she remembers him, when we see her in the morning.
April 9th, 1915
Tonight we sit and wait dear friend, and the eyes on me as I write in you are disapproving. What care I? It is clear there is nothing I can do, as we await the death of Mother Gage. If my writing brings some thin comfort, what harm that? Ah but my poor Josh, if there were only something I could do for him. The arms of his family, other than Louise and hers, have never been warm, even Ellie somewhat disapproving of him, and this they tell us, is the end of a life spent despairing him. Strange, to my eyes she never appeared particularly unhappy in him, rather joyously glad to see him, even as she was tonight, in her final illness, greeting him open armed and tearfully, as always. That she has longed for his nearness I do not doubt and nor does he, but to blame every little unhappiness on him is deplorable. They seek blame for their own neglects, in my opinion. Ah but do I wish to sit here saying bad things about the, behind their backs as it were? I do not. I close you now, old friend, before my bitterness causes me grief.
July 4th, 1916
Ah, small joys, is there nothing better? Together this holiday for independence day, we gathered in Central Park, well within sight of that PLACE dear friend, you know which, spiking a run of reminiscence from Joshua of course.
I swear every blond head in the crowd drew his eye. As we sat, awaiting the displays and for once talking rather than fielding accusations, Louise’s little Lila came to me, to tell me in no gilded terms that I am the most interesting of her relations. She then produced a playbill from one of last summers shows, and asked me for my autograph. How uproariously funny that was considered, though I was careful not to laugh, as it was no joking matter to her. She took me aside and revealed to me her love of music and whispered that her Ma had begun singing lessons for her, though none of her Granda’s or Grandma were to know, so my secrecy was required to be absolute. Such a shame she should have to hide her talent and her love, from those who love her. The child is a remarkable talent as well, she has the voice of an angel, as we heard upon her rendition of the National Anthem. I find her resemblance to Louise uncanny as well, they could be exact copies of one another, but for the age difference of course.
All together a lovely day, and I am quite thrilled to be the most interesting and the confidante of such a lovely girl.