Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Write ... Edit ... Publish ... bloghop - Back of the Drawer



Who was this … the old sepia photo showed a woman from long ago … and this fragile piece of paper with a few words on it …




They had inherited the desk with the house … it had been a useful piece of furniture … storing all sorts and “preshishes” as the children grew from toddlers to teenagers.










Now that she was alone, her husband had died peacefully, the children with their own families … occasionally she had been entrusted to look after the grandchildren … today had been one of those.







They had been playing around the desk – hers now … where she wrote her stories looking out over the garden, down the meadow to the brook and into the copse beyond – the sharp staccato ‘pop’ had made her realise the grandchildren had found something.




A hidden drawer had popped out so the desk could reveal its own story … this must, as the note told her, be Donna Marie Joseph, who had been buried in the wood a hundred years and two ago, after being killed on 15th February 1915 …


… and that: Donna loved the desk more than her brute of a husband … I had watched as the drunken rage ensued … she had hit her head on one of its corners …



… then he carried her down the garden far into the depths of the wood, where in due time her bones would be found … the War had come and intervened … her husband went to War, the house was let out …



I know the secret of this photo and note ... please God at the right time ... Donna will be found and given her due peace ... 


The village now has its answer to the sorry tale of a dead woman dumped in dank woodland without care or concern. 


Who was the person who wrote the note … we will never know, but they must have been a kindly soul to have tucked the note and photo into the hidden drawer … knowing one day the truth would be told.



She and the village would make sure Donna Marie Joseph would have a proper burial and peaceful resting place … looking towards the cottage where she, Donna, once lived in … and where the desk resided … it too would be at peace – its secret revealed.



She realised forensics would find out more details, and local records would help … but the most important thing she felt was that the desk had told her what had happened to Donna Marie … there was nothing else to do – except to say:

Rest In Peace Donna Marie Joseph










The next WEP challenge will be April 19th "Peace and Love" ... 






Postscript:  To my surprise I came across an article about a secret drawer in an 18thC bureau ... the walnut veneered pine bureau from Agatha Christie's Devon home had been bought anonymously at auction in 2006.


When her play The Mousetrap broke the record for the longest-running West End show in 1957, Noel Coward had sent his congratulations from Bermuda, "much as it pains me" - his own play, Blithe Spirit, was the previous record-holder.

With the telegram, found in the bureau, was a receipted bill for "ladies' delicates" - or lingerie - bought by Christie in 1952 for £24.13s.6d, about £560 in today's money.


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

66 comments:

Fil said...

Intriguing story ... I want to know the rest of it :)

Suzanne Furness said...

What an intriguing story. Wouldn't it be interesting to find such a hidden drawer . . .

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

I have no idea what this is about, Hilary, but it's a wonderful piece of writing and I want to know more!

dolorah said...

That was a great story. I'll bet the investigation into who she was was fun to do. Good thing she was finally found, and her memory at peace.

Lynn said...

What a great story - I was on the edge of my seat!

A Heron's View said...

Intriguing as it is this story could have a multitude of endings methinks, depending on each individuals perspectives of married life.

Pat Garcia said...

A very touching story, Hillary. There are times when things like that happen in real life. Into our possession comes a letter or a picture we've found and it tells the story of a person or people from the past.

Shalom aleichem,
Pat G

Out on the prairie said...

Very nice story, I like how it ended.The desk is very unique, I could fill those drawers slowly but would forget what I had placed in there.

Rachna Chhabria said...

I was intrigued right from the first word, Hilary! Nice story :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Fil - there is no more ... this what came to me - I did shorten it a little ... but am glad it held your interest ...

@ Suzanne - there definitely could be more ... but it wasn't what I intended - but yes I'd love to find something hidden ... those days are gone ...

@ Mike - sorry I didn't give the blurb - apologies! Just a short story or excerpt ...something I dreamt up - and there is no more ... just happy you enjoyed it ...

@ Donna - I expect it would have been ... but for now that is it - just a story appearing from the recesses of my mind ...

@ Lynn - many thanks ... it fitted the bill - ie WEP's guidelines ...

@ Mel - yes there were/are definitely lots of threads here ... going back into their history, why the cottage, the War and the killer's ending, etc etc ... let alone the personal perspectives ...

@ Pat - I'm sure in the War time - these sorts of things happened ... sad for Donna ... I don't have any of those sorts of memorabilia from the past ... but who knows sometime something could appear ...

@ Steve - glad you enjoyed the story ... and yes Donna should rest in peace ... within the loving community she once lived in. The desk was the image prompt for 'The Back of the Drawer' prompt ... this just came to mind ...

@ Rachna - many thanks for your kind words ... lots of think about if one's mind can wander ...

Cheers to you all and thank you so much for enjoying the story ... Hilary

Patsy said...

Brilliant story. I like the idea of someone leaving hidden clues - though not the reason for it in this case.

Joanne said...

Excellent tale and lovely writing. The story flowed and the pop of the drawer kicked it into high gear. Well done

Maria Perry Mohan said...

It is true to say that whatever is done in secret will be shouted from the rooftops. Intriguing story.

Pat Hatt said...

Clues left behind to discover her fate, perhaps it was the husband feeling guilty as he went off to war that left it. Always good when the truth comes to light.

Sally said...

Oh, what a tragedy - I wonder who left the note? I'd love to find out more.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Beautifully told.

Yolanda Renée said...

It's always interesting to see where a prompt will take you, that's why I love the WEP challenges. And especially reading all the entries. So amazing, each one.

I love this Hilary, and beautifully told. The pictures added so much, but yes, as always we want to know more. Don't you just love flash fiction?!

Thank you for participating, lovely!

farawayeyes said...

Great little tale. Perhaps is was Donna Marie herself calling out from her unmarked grave. Surely the rest of the story is just as interesting.

D.G. Hudson said...

Very nice, Hilary, I know from another lady writer who came from Devonshire that there are many unmarked graves in England where nobles sometimes buried their 'unfortunate' wives or slaves in the hope to cover their own tracks. . .Liked this story a lot. But who did write that story, who would have had access? This brings up many questions - you could write more on this. Drawers can hold interesting bits from the past. Well done!

Janie Junebug said...

Very well written, Hilary. It's moving.

Love,
Janie

Jen Chandler said...

This is lovely, Hilary. I love the wistfulness and the hope imparted. I'd also love to know a bit more; who wrote the letter? Who is this mysterious observer who saw the murder? Oooh, this is great!

Very well done,
Jen

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What an important find. Donna could be laid to rest in peace now.

Denise Covey said...

Hilary, first of all, thanks for posting for the WEP challenge. The entries have been amazing, as is yours. I'm glad you dreamed up this tale for us. I knew once you saw that antique drawer on the badge it would set you dreaming. Even though this is fiction, I'm sure it could just as easily be fact. How many Donna Marie Joseph's are there, buried somewhere, undiscovered, a murderer running free.

Our 60 Minutes has just been doing a retrospective of the Peter Falconio murder in the Australian outback years ago. It is an ongoing story, as his fiance refuses to let it rest until she finds his body.

So, thanks Hilary. Today I'll be thinking of those who haven't found peace.

Thanks again for your story!!

Denise :-)

Anabel Marsh said...

Sad story! Very touching.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

You really went through the heart with this story. Very touching and quite a tale!

Toinette Thomas said...

What a nice sentiment. I don't think people consider too often how unsettling it must be for families not to have real closure and for bodies to not be laid to rest the way the once-living would have liked. I'm really curious about who wrote the note and put it in the drawer. Good story.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I love this type of story. An ending, or is it?

Liz A. said...

Great little story. Who wrote the note, I wonder?

Olga Godim said...

How fascinating! You said so much in so few words. And I love the photos too.

Robert Bennett said...

Intriguing little story. I'd love to know more.

Debbie D. said...

Donna has found peace at last. It would be interesting to know who wrote the letter. This story sounds like it could be true. Nicely done!

Nilanjana Bose said...

Loved this take on the prompt! Intriguing flash, lucid narration.

Glad Donna can be laid to rest peacefully. These hidden drawers are the main charm of the old-fashioned desks, pity they're so rarely used nowadays...

Beyond cool to see you at WEP!! :)

Laura Clipson said...

I love a story with a happy ending, I'm glad Donna found peace at last.

Amanda said...

What a super piece of writing, Hilary. :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Patsy – yes the story could have got convoluted if I’d written more … I just needed it to be wrapped up – leaving openings for thoughtful readers …

@ Joanne – many thanks … so glad the story flowed … with the pop of the drawer creating a tingle of interest …

@ Maria – yes at some stage the truth does come out … this I felt was resolved and Donna Marie would be at peace …

@ Pat – it could have been the husband couldn’t it … but I was thinking of someone else (who I don’t know – I didn’t get that far!) … but the War allowed things to be tied up and forgotten about for a while …

@ Sally – so many I suspect unreported/unrecorded deaths as the War intervened …

@ Annalisa – appreciate this …

@ Yolanda – yes I’d no idea about this – but thought I’d better write something. The entries are interesting with completely different takes on the prompt …

So glad you enjoyed it – I like adding images to my posts … I’m still not sure about writing stories as such! But something happened ….

@ FAE – I’m sure there’s lots of ‘history’ that could be unfolded … but for me – the drawers are now shut … not firmly, but for now shut!

@ DG – there are plenty of unmarked graves around our countryside … ranging in age from Roman times to the present day – though mostly in recent years bodies aren’t lost, nor do they remain hidden.

I could definitely write more on this – but the War was convenient in tying loose ends up … the murdering husband went to War; people were more interested in the War and all its challenges; if someone went missing it perhaps wasn’t obvious; the cottage at some stage would have been used by someone … before the family bought it after WW2 … and so on …

@ Janie – thanks, I’m happy you found it moving …

@ Jen – I sort of answered some of my thoughts in my reply to DG – but I’m delighted the wistfulness came through and though there are still plenty of questions … they could be ‘hidden’ because of the War and the fact forensics could find out more in the 21st century …

@ Alex – thanks … it was necessary to let her rest in peace …

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Denise – pleasure that I managed to write something. Lots of entries with completely different takes as you say.

The antique desk was an interesting prompt – how many hide ‘things’ … I think you’re right it’s definitely fiction, but could so easily be fact … especially if we go back beyond WW2 and back further … lots of Donna Marie’s lost in time …

Interesting the Peter Falconio murder has come to light again – I remember the ‘events’ at the time as reported … certainly strange … I agree – remembering those without peace – so many … I hope they can feel our hope and thoughts …

@ Anabel – many thanks …

@ Sheena-kay – it was what came to my mind …

@ Toinette – yes you’re right, particularly in this day and age … but back in WW1 life was slightly different I think – information couldn’t be found … I never mentioned her family did I – but forensics would find that out. I used the War ‘to cover up’ unanswered questions – but certainly the story line could be added to … just happy you enjoyed it.

@ Arleen – delighted you enjoyed the story – well Donna’s relatives could be found … especially with DNA – lots of opportunities … but laying her to rest was essential.

@ Liz – I didn’t have a definitive idea who left the note … so needed to mask it over for this short piece …

@ Olga – glad the photos/images helped the story line; certainly lots could be gleaned to expand the tale … thank you.

@ Robert – many thanks … I ‘don’t do stories’ … so I think this is it – but as I’ve mentioned lots more could be added to the tale …

@ Debbie – yes the main thing was Donna found peace … I think it probably could be true – but it’s just a tale dreamt up …

@ Nila – appreciate your comments. Yes it was important Donna was laid to rest properly. I’d love one of those desks – good well-made furniture is a delight … as you say, not so many around now.

I’m happy to be here at WEP … and believe it or not I’ve written up the one for April!

@ Laura – yes it had to end ‘happily’ otherwise it’d have gone on for ever … and I needed to wrap this posting up …

@ Amanda – many thanks … appreciate this comment …

Thanks everyone – yes lots more could be told, but I was trying not to write a novel … though as I realise – lots more could be developed with and from this snippet – cheers to you all and see you at the next WEP in April … Hilary

Lenny Lee* said...

hi grandblogmom! wow! what a cool story. you're a good writer. did you ever think of writing a novel? i didn't know about WEP and went and had a look at their site. i read a few more entries and left a comment on one. i'll probably read a few more. the desk drawer is a neat idea and for sure makes you think. wow! you've already done the one for april about peace and love. can't wait to read it.
...love and hugs

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lenny - seeing your comment is always a surprise - for some reason I don't get them into my email - most others I do ... blogger-life can be strange at time.

Many thanks - so delighted my post entertained and you commented at someone else's blog entry - that's great.

I've never thought or perhaps more importantly wanted to write a book - I'd like to put some of my posts into 'booklets' which I will do hopefully soon ... but a novel ... it's very complicated tying all the loose ends together ... but who knows what the future holds!

Many thanks for the compliment though - really appreciate it! Love and hugs back ... xoxo

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Makes you wonder who wrote the note. Did that person know it would make a difference so many years later?

N. R. Williams said...

Surprise. You've said more than once that you don't write stories and yet, you've written a marvelous story for us. So many secrets kept in the back of the drawer. Well done.
Nancy

Nasreen said...

Oh, I wish it could have been a full mystery suspense novel. Intriguing and hooked me in!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane - yes there could be lots of thoughts couldn't there ... I'm afraid I didn't go that route ... but the thought it would take 102 years to identify who Donna Marie was ... is another line to be thought about ...

@ Nancy - thanks Nancy ... I don't ... but I'm delighted this has been enjoyed by commenters ... I guess so much more to tell ?!

@ Nas - sorry - but it won't be written by me ... but I'm delighted to read of your approval for this short excerpt ...

Thanks so much - encouraging to have these wonderful words - cheers Hilary

Jacqui said...

What a story. And the picture is perfect. I'd love a desk like that.

DMS said...

What a fascinating story. It got my brain thinking and now I want to know more. Great job on your WEP! Wow! :)
~Jess

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Great job, Hilary! How I wish someone had left a note telling the stories of the people in some of the old pictures I have from years and years ago.

A Cuban In London said...

That surely is an interesting story.

Greetings from London.

Arpan Ghosh said...

An intriguing story indeed.

Who can tell what strange avenues a quiet afternoon might lead you down? Discovering old secrets or unearthing the forgotten dead.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jacqui - yes the picture tells its own story doesn't it ... glad you enjoyed the story.

@ Jess - many thanks ... and glad it got your brain thinking ... for more riddles I expect! No more forthcoming ... but am really glad you approve - thanks ...

@ Susan - I'm sure many are searching for information on 'lost' relatives -unknown quantities within their genealogical roots - this sort of note hidden away would have been really useful - but if the desk had been sold ... or for that matter broken up for firewood ... the story wouldn't have come about.

@ ACIL - thanks for coming over ... just a story line - which thankfully seems to have worked ...

@ Arpan - yes ... that quiet afternoon could develop into a story couldn't it ... but Donna Marie needed to be found and identified ... a quiet afternoon indeed!

Cheers to you five .. thanks for commenting - Hilary

Marja said...

Very intriguing and well written. I can imagine how she sits behind that beautiful desk looking out over the garden from that house on the picture.
Would love to know who the note writer was.

Inger said...

What a great story and such a fun blog hop. I particularly like "a hundred years and two ago." It sounded so old-fashioned and went well with the spirit of the story.

beste barki said...

My neighbor bought an old piece of furniture with only three drawers and to her surprise it came with a letter written to a grandchild by the grandfather years and years ago. I love it when stories like this pop up.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Sad and a bit spooky. Who did put the note in the desk. You paint a lovely picture of the old desk, the house and the grandkids.

Christine Rains said...

Wonderfully done. It has an overtone of sadness, but a little bit of spookiness too.

Kelly Steel said...

Fascinating story...I want to know the hows and whys.

diedre Knight said...

This was fabulous, Hilary! Your atmospheric prose is absolutely lyrical. I read this enchanting gem over a mid-day salad and don't remember eating a bite ;-) May your muse stay with you on this one - there just has to be more!

Karen Lange said...

This is interesting! Things like this sure make you wonder, don't they? Well, they say everyone has a story, and I suppose that's true even after you've passed on. Have a great week! :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Marja – I’m glad you can see ‘her’ sitting, enjoying the view and writing her stories … and now perhaps ‘she’ will write the story … ?!

@ Inger – I sort of finally got into this blog hop … the one hundred years and two ago … was to the day the post went up … but yes I see the way I’ve written it is a little odd … old fashioned as you mention – I hadn’t thought of that …

@ Beste – how extraordinary … did they ever find out who the grandchild and grandfather were? – now that would make a real life story …

@ Susan – I hope not too spooky … was meant to be sad, yet enlightening for their history. Just delighted you could see my ‘painting’ of the story …

@ Christine – many thanks … it wasn’t intended to be spooky – but I guess a human burial would be spooky until she was able to be identified …

@ Kelly – the hows and whys will need to wait … just delighted you enjoyed the story …

@ Diedre – so pleased the story resonated so well with you and that you felt drawn in to its tale – but I’m glad you ate your salad, even if doing so went by the by! I have to say I expect I’ll do more at some stage … some time!

@ Karen – it would be fascinating to know more – if it was a real story – but I’m just happy everyone’s enjoyed the tale … even if the wondering of the who and the why remains … and probably will do so.

Thanks everyone so much – not sure there will be more to this story … perhaps sometime … she needed to be found and buried properly … the whos and they whys went with her to the churchyard … cheers Hilary

Gattina said...

You made me think of Agatha Christie ! These old desks have sometimes hidden drawers ! When I bought some furniture for my apartment, I bought such an old desk and one day I found a secret drawer and a sheet with cattle information. Apparently it had belonged to a farmer.

Susan Scott said...

this is an amazing story Hilary thank you, beautifully written by you. Completely engaging and intriguing. Tense also - the desk, the photo, and other photos .. the story.

LD Masterson said...

A lovely story, complete yet with so many wisps of thread to be wondered over.

Lynda R Young said...

What a lovely story. I like the style of it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gattina - what fun to find that piece of paper with cattle information ... wonderful thought ... I'd love to find something like that now ...

@ Susan - many thanks ... just a fun snippet of somethings that do happen, and a few that could have happened ...

@ LD - appreciate this - there are lots of potential threads there aren't there ...

@ Lynda - that's good to know you liked the style - the older sentiments ...

Many thanks for commenting - cheers Hilary

Juliet Batten said...

What a mysterious story. thank you Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet -so glad you enjoyed it ... cheers Hilary

cleemckenzie said...

This was so poignant, Hilary! I'm immediately thinking how I'd craft a story to retell the tale of the note writer.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee - that'd be great ... if you'd do the story about the note writer ... I don't think I'm going to do it!! Glad you enjoyed the story though - thank you ... cheers Hilary