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Christmas Basket, Part II

10:00 AM

"All right, ladies." Betty addressed the women of WENN in the Green Room while Mackie and Jeff kept the airwaves busy with the latest installment of Captain Amazon. "We have, what could, without much imagination, be termed a crisis. We have a baby to take care of, radio shows to write and perform, sponsors to keep happy, and nervous breakdowns, we all hope, not to have. It is only ten AM and already most of those laudable goals have gone from laudable to laughable! Now, who here has any experience, whatsoever, in taking care of a baby?"

All but Maple shook their heads. Maple announced "I babysat once in a while, but not for about fifteen years."

"That's more than the rest of us can say," Betty told her. "OK, you're in charge of the baby. When you are not on the air, she's all yours."

Maple looked over at the tiny baby, who now lay in Eugenia's arms. She had been changed and fed once again and was back to being adorable once again, looking trustingly up into the faces of her new caretakers. "Well, if I absolutely have to," she answered, trying to look at the prospect as an insulting imposition and failing miserably. She wondered why all the others at the station regarded the baby as a bother and an intrusion. She hadn't enjoyed herself so much in years. This baby was the most wonderful, precious thing she’d ever seen.

"And just what do we do when Maple is on the air?" Hilary inquired.

"We take turns," Betty answered. "At some point, all of us are going to have to take some time caring for the baby."

"Betty! I've never so much as been in the same room with a screaming infant. Unless of course, you count Ruth Geddy's dressing room, and I for one certainly don't intend to spend half the day wiping runny noses and changing diapers."

"Hilary, we all have to pitch in!" Eugenia contributed to the conversation. "All for one and one for all and all that, and I personally feel you would be a wonderful mother. Look at all the love and warmth you show for Jeff." Mention of the man she loved visibly melted Hilary's heart, and she smiled sweetly at Eugenia for her kind words.

"Oh, very well," she told the assembled company. "When Maple isn't on the air, I'll take care of the baby. I suppose she is a rather pretty little thing, isn't she?" She smiled indulgently down at the baby, who looked curiously back at her.

"Great, that's settled." Betty breathed a sigh of relief. "When Maple and Hilary are both on the air, the baby care will be split between Gertie and myself. Eugenia can fill in when she isn't providing the music or acting, which is rarely if ever. Now, it's just five minutes until Hilary has to do her reading of A Visit from Saint Nicholas. That's scheduled for fifteen minutes. Maple, can you take the baby until that's over?"

"Sure, but then both Hilary and I have to be in The Hands of Time. I'm doing Selma Flatbush again".

"Then of course, you are both in 'A Second Chance At Love' at two o'clock, and Eugenia's doing the music for both. OK, Gertie, its you and me for the afternoon shift."

"Betty, I'm supposed to be the receptionist at this station. I mean, really now, how would it look if a sponsor calls and I have to say 'W.E.N.N, I can't speak to you right now. I'm in the middle of a feeding and a burping'?"

"Oh, Gertie," Betty threw up her hands. "We'll just have to improvise."

1:15 PM

"Good afternoon, W.E.N.N," Gertie answered the phone. "Radio station and orphanage," she added under her breath. Betty rolled her eyes, but continued watching the sleeping baby in the basket on the floor. "Oh, hello Scott."

Betty looked up from the basket and smiled. "Tell him I say 'Hi', Gertie," she whispered, "and don't you dare tell him anything else." Gertie grinned at her.

"Yes, Scott, everything is going fine here. How are you? Will you be getting back to Pittsburgh soon? Everyone here is just fine. Betty says hello. Yes, Scott, she's fine too. She's just been a little busy today, what with all the crying, screaming tantrums and bottle drinking. Oh, and the baby's kept her busy too," With that Gertie hung up.

"A slow death, Gertie," Betty told her, "is too good for some people." Gertie simply grinned at her until Betty started to laugh.

"You know, Betty," Gertie said as she peered down at the baby, "sometimes I am sorry I never became a mother. I suppose I'll get over it as soon as she wakes up and starts to cry. I've got my sister's children to dote on, at least, when the urge to dote hits me".

"Weren't you married at one time? I seem to remember it being mentioned once."

Gertie nodded and smiled sadly. "Yes, I was, Betty. I was married for almost four years. Until I found out that my dearly beloved was having things to do with some woman who worked near his office. She was a waitress. Or at least I believe she politely referred to herself as a 'waitress'."

"As Mr. Eldridge would say, understood completely."

"I'm not sorry I left him. He wasn't worth my time. But I am sometimes sorry I never had a little one of my own. Oh, well, can't cry over it now."

Betty shrugged. "I guess not."

"So, what about you, Betty? You ever planning on settling down?"

"Oh, eventually, I probably will. Once I've accomplished something with my life."

"Oh, Betty, accomplished what, for heaven's sake? You are a beautiful young woman who has her pick of men. What do you think you want? Look at that nice young man Doug, for example. He'd jump the moon for you. What's wrong with him?"

"Nothing's wrong with him, Gertie. Sure, I like him. He's a nice guy."

"Or what about Scott or Victor? They're both wonderful men, intelligent, charming, good looking, and either one would marry you in a heartbeat. What on earth are you waiting for?"

"Scott is busy in Washington, Gertie. He has an important job writing and breaking codes. Victor has his work here, running the W.E.N.N, helping to keep our troops supplied with information and entertainment. War time is different from regular life, you know that. When the situation is better, I'll be able to think about it a little more clearly, but not yet."

"Honey, things are never going to be perfect. We don't know what the world will be like after the war. It may be a better world, or in some ways it may be worse. Don't start waiting for everything to fall into place before you settle down, or you never will."

"Don't worry, Gertie, I won't end up an old maid living with three cats and knitting sweaters. I just want to feel like I've been a little independent for a while. That I contributed something to the world besides baking brownies or going to PTA meetings. When the war is over and life gets back to normal, I'm sure I'll want to marry and have children as much as any other woman. Just not right now. You do understand?"

"Yes, I understand. I guess everyone needs to feel important. I just hope you are happy with your decision. Just remember, honey, it's pretty lonely to decorate the Christmas tree all by yourself."

"I will, Gertie, thanks".

Gertie looked down at the baby, who was just beginning to stir and fuss in her sleep. "Well, at least she slept almost the whole time we had her. It's almost one o'clock."

"I don't envy the next person, though," Betty said. "She's going to be up the whole time, and probably doing plenty of crying to boot. Who's next on the list?"

Gertie consulted her list, then looked up with an amused smile. "Hilary."



Hilary looked down at the baby, and wondered why anyone would call a baby a helpless little thing. "Put a baby in a room, and she'll be the least helpless person in it," she muttered to herself. She had fed her, once Maple showed her how to hold the baby and the bottle without dropping either one, and the infant had dozed for a few minutes. Now she was wide awake and inconsolable. The sound was unbearable. It was agonizing. It was like eardrum piercing needles, like squeaking chalk, like Ruth Geddy's personality. No, it wasn't that bad.


OK, yes it was that bad.

Shuddering even to think what Ruth or even Grace Cavendish would say if she saw Hilary now, Hilary bent over the basket and picked the baby up in her arms. She held the squirming infant tightly against her chest and gently rocked and sang to her. She never had been much of a singer, and normally would never have sang in public. Don't do anything at all, she had always said, that you can't do perfectly. No need to let the occasional off-key note ruin her image. But this time, she relaxed her no singing rule. When a baby cried, you were supposed to sing to it. At least that is what the mothers in movies did. The baby continued to fuss, but the worst of the screams subsided. For about fifteen minutes, the baby seemed almost calm. Hilary started to relax. Taking care of the baby for a few hours wasn’t going to be that hard after all, and the baby was kind of cute, really...

"Waaaaahhhhh!!!" The sound shot through Hilary like a needle going through her eardrum. She'd read the words 'piercing scream' plenty of times in books. Usually describing the death shrieks of some poor victim in the murder mysteries. No mere murder victim could have held a candle to this baby. Hilary's teeth were so on edge, she felt a cavity ache that she hadn't even realized she had.

"No reason not to spread the suffering around," she mumbled to herself, wondering precisely what Betty or Maple could do to her if she sneaked the screaming baby into the studio during Maple and Eugenia's afternoon of Christmas carols on the Wurlitzer organ. The Green Room door swung open. She looked up desperately. It was Jeff. It was all she could do not to run to him. He had just gone over to the Buttery and was carrying a small white paper bag. That could mean only one thing. He had brought her food. Actual food. God, she loved that man!

After exchanging a kiss as passionate as was possible with a fussing, crying baby between them, Hilary looked at Jeff imploringly. "Jeffrey, angel, I wonder if you might quietly tiptoe into the studio and tell Maple or Betty that our little Christmas present is about to drive me around the bend? Could you do that for me?" Jeff sat down on the sofa and bent over the squalling baby.

"She has colic," he told her calmly.

"She has what?!"

"Colic. That just means she's screaming and no one knows why. It might be because of a bad tummy ache. Hold her against your chest and pat her back until she burps. She probably has gas pains."

Hilary gaped at him incredulously, but did as she was told. Would she never stop learning new things about this man?

Hilary gaped at him incredulously, but did as she was told. It didn't take very long before the baby emitted a loud burp. Hilary raised her eyebrows. Not a very ladylike baby, was she? Well, she thought to herself, the first person who found her was Maple, after all. One can't expect her to be much of a lady with that sort of early influence.

To her disbelief and almost overwhelming joy, the baby actually stopped crying, closed her eyes and seemed on the verge of falling asleep. Oh, she could just kiss Jeff! As a matter of fact, she would do precisely that.

Her lips locked with his for several seconds, then she pulled suddenly away from him. "Not so fast, Pumpkin," she told him cooly. "Just precisely how did you learn to take such good care of a baby?"

Jeff just smiled. "Oh, I could give you the long, mundane story of exactly how I happened to know that. But it'll be more fun to watch you wonder. My lips are sealed." He grinned at her.

"I haf vays of making you tok," she told him, taking her accent from the enemy agents in spy movies.

"Not a chance, Mittens. For the first time I have the upper hand, and I'm going to keep it." She smiled sweetly at him.

"Very well, Jeffrey, but I expect to continue this conversation at home, when there aren't any children in the room."

The baby was contented again, at least for the time being. Jeff sat down on the sofa next to Hilary, who immediately kicked off her shoes and placed her feet on her husband’s lap. He rubbed her toes carefully.

"Ah, that feels great," she breathed in bliss. "Nothing like tossing off your high heels and getting a good footrub."

"I wouldn’t know, Mittens. I haven’t worn high heels in quite awhile."

"You wore high heels about three weeks ago, remember?"

"Remember? The day Pearl Harbor was bombed. I’m not likely to forget that day!" Suddenly his glum look vanished and he started to grin.

"What is it? What’s so funny?" Hilary inquired.

"I was just imagining that someday a child asks me where I was when the war started, and I have to answer ‘Oh, I was adjusting my stockings and removing my eye makeup.'" Hilary broke into an answering grin and the two began to laugh.

"It would have been nice to have a child, I guess," Hilary said slightly wistfully. "You ever regret not having one?"

"Yeah, sure I do," Jeff answered, “Once in a while, like when I see mothers and fathers in the park, or when one of those Walt Disney cartoon movies comes out and I see all the kids waiting on line to see it. I don’t really mind. We discussed all this, and we knew we’d be giving up something when we decided that children were not going to be part of our future. Do you really regret it, Hilary?"

Hilary was silent for a moment, looking down at the tiny baby who was now sound asleep once more in her basket. "No, not really. I knew when I decided to go into the acting profession that if I had any kind of successful career at all, that children were not going to be part of it. My mother was a very successful actress. I was very proud of her, and I was always happy to say she was my mother. But when I woke up, a nursemaid brought me breakfast. When I came home from school, a nanny met me at the door. Seeing my own mother was a special treat, reserved for birthdays and Christmas. My mother loved her career, but it would have been nice if she’d wanted to be with her daughter a little, too."

Jeff nodded. Hilary had what most people would term an ideal childhood. A glamorous beautiful actress for a mother. A father who was a successful theatrical producer. A life of servants and private schools, dance lessons, and even a Coming Out ball when she was eighteen. But he also knew that Hilary hadn’t considered it to be so ideal. It would have meant more to her to have parents who spent time with her, who pushed her on the swings and read to her at night. Not that she would have admitted it to the world, of course.

"You wouldn’t have been your mother, Hilary. You would have known enough to spend time with your child."

"Yes, and then my career would have suffered, because I couldn’t dash off to auditions, and I couldn’t spend six months on a road tour, and I wouldn’t be willing to move at the drop of a hat, because I’d have to take the child out of school. If I were to have a child, I’d want to give 100 percent of myself to that child, and I just couldn’t give up what I have now to do that. But that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes want one anyway."

"I know, Mittens. I’m glad if you can’t have one, that you have the other."

"Besides," Hilary’s mood brightened and she smiled once more. "You’re about as much baby as any woman could handle."

Jeff gazed back at her, feeling nothing but the deepest love he’d ever had in his life.

6:15 PM

"Sleigh bells ring, Are you listening? In the lane, snow is glistening. A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight, walking in a winter wonderland." Miss Maple LaMarsh sang in her most calming voice to the baby, as she fed him milk by the tried and true eye-dropper method. She looked over at the tiny girl, who gazed at her with wide blue eyes and waved her arm toward Maple. Maple held her more tightly and gently kissed her cheek.

"If you’re not about the prettiest little thing I’ve ever seen," she breathed happily. The baby reached up and knocked Maple’s hat askew, while giving her a wide and completely contented smile.

The baby finished her milk, but had no desire whatsoever to go back to sleep. She reached out for Maple’s face, grabbing onto whatever she could reach, including Maple’s nose, hair, and dress buttons. Maple laughed appreciatively. "You wanna play, sweetie, is that it? You wanna play?" She grinned, reached into her handbag for a set of keys, and gently shook them in front of the baby’s face. At first the baby looked startled, and for a moment Maple feared she would start to cry, but then she looked curiously at the keys, reached up and batted them. She broke into a smile at the jingling sound they made. Maple laughed along with her, and shook the keys once again. They continued their game for nearly an hour, until the baby began to yawn, and gradually drifted off to sleep, her hand still gripping onto Maple’s finger.

Maple did not attempt to remove the baby’s hand or to get up. She sat with the baby on her lap and stroked her fine, soft hair. She gazed do wn at the tiny face with its soft pink cheeks and perfectly formed little bow for a mouth. Maple had never felt such blissful happiness in her life. "I hope there is a blizzard tomorrow," she whispered to herself. "Anything to keep that social worker lady from coming." Gradually, Maple joined the baby in a nap, still holding onto her tightly.

At 9PM, when Maple had to get back on the air, and Eugenia took over, a genuine crisis arose. The baby needed someplace to spend the night.

"I’ll do it," Maple volunteered, not even attempting to hide her eagerness.

"And if the board at the Barbican catches you sneaking a baby into your apartment, you can kiss your air-cooled lobby goodbye," Betty reminded her. "The only reason either one of us is in that place is because Miss Frye had to let us in. She wasn’t exactly crazy about the idea, and she all she needs is the sight of one of us carrying a baby through the door to jump to all the wrong conclusions."

Maple rolled her eyes. "Miss Frye has a dirty mind," she muttered, but she knew Betty was right. The Barbican Hotel for Single Women, emphasis on the word Single, was not the right place for a baby.

It was quickly decided that the baby needed a loving, feminine touch during its first night in the care of strangers, and almost as quickly Hilary made it quite clear that, feminine touch or not, she would take care of a baby at three in the afternoon, and do it without too much complaining, but taking care of a baby at three in the morning was one job that was not going to fall to Miss Hilary Booth.

When it became clear that Betty, Maple, and Hilary were all not going to be taking the baby home with them, Eugenia quickly stepped in before Gertie even thought of having the chance, if indeed she were going to at all.

"Well, I guess she’s mine for the night," she announced to the assembled group in the Green Room. "I’ll take her home with me."

December 26, 1941
3:17 AM

Eugenia held the baby and rocked her, holding her bottle she had borrowed from her sister’s family on the way home, as the baby sucked the milk down into her tiny stomach. Eugenia yawned loudly and glanced at the clock, trying to remember the last time she’d been up at three in the morning. Well, she had been up at three in the morning that time they’d done the radio marathon, but that didn’t count. Eugenia sat with the baby, her memory reaching back over the years to try to remember when she had been young enough and heedless enough that being awake all night meant fun instead of work.

No one could ever have said that Eugenia had led a dissolute life. To most people, in fact, her life could be considered rather dull. True, in a sense she was in "show business," and that naturally had some glamour attached to it. If a job for the past several years in a small radio station playing organ music for soap operas could be considered show business at all. Most of the time, there was little or no glamour attached to her work. She enjoyed her job and she loved her coworkers. They were as close to family as her real family ever was.

Eugenia had never married. When people asked her about it, and often enough people were rude enough to do just that, she usually smiled and replied "Oh, just unlucky in love, I guess," or "Well, I guess I just never found Mr. Right." She gave a smile, the other person usually nodded and the subject was left at that. But the truth was that she had once been quite lucky in love, and she had indeed met Mr. Right. It was not a subject she liked to talk about, and not even the rest of the staff at WENN had known about it.

It had been another Christmas night, a very cold one in 1917. Twenty year old Eugenia Bremer, second year music student, was getting kissed. Passionately kissed. She was being passionately kissed by a young man named Gregory Carter, a 22 year old senior student and teaching assistant in the tiny Altoona Conservatory of Music, where both played the piano and organ, and both reveled in Mozart and Bach and Chopin, and reveled, of course, in each other. Eugenia and Gregory were in love. Deeply in love, with a great love for the ages. A love, they were as sure as all young people in love are sure, would never die. He whirled her around the dance floor at the semester ending Christmas party. Her deep green party gown sparkled under the electric lights. A glimmering Christmas tree nearly reached the ceiling, ablaze with twinkling lights and tinsel. They had played Christmas games, and exchanged Christmas presents. They had sung carols and war songs and they had laughed and danced and ate. Eugenia had never been considered a great beauty, but on that night she had been beautiful. She had been in love, and love makes any woman beautiful.

That night had been perfect. It was nearly midnight. The final song would soon be playing. There wasn’t much time left.

Christmas brings out the romantic in every young couple, but there was another good reason for Eugenia and Gregory to be kissing so passionately. It was their last Christmas together before Gregory had to report for his duty in the war. He’d received his draft notice only a couple of weeks before. He’d likely be sent to France, he knew, and like all the young men back in ‘17, he fully realized he could die. But it had to be done. The Kaiser was a tyrant, and it was up to brave men of the United States, France, England and the other freedom-loving countries of the word to put a stop to his tyranny once and for all.

"Isn’t there anything else you can do?" Eugenia had pleaded desperately when the kiss had finally ended. "I can’t bear to be away from you till the end of the war. Who knows when it will end? We don’t even know how it will end. People die in wars, Gregory. Look at Minnie Halburn’s brother. He was only gone for two weeks and he was killed. How do we know that it won’t be you next?" Eugenia began to cry on the dance floor. Gregory carefully led her off the floor and sat down next to her on one of the benches which were set up around the perimeter of the room.

"I won’t die, Eugenia. I promise that if there is anything I can do to come home to you, you’ll have me sitting in your parlor as soon as I can be there. A year from now, I’ll be bothering you with my foolish jokes and my irritating ways and you’ll wish I’d never come back from France."

Eugenia looked up suddenly. "Oh, no," she cried in protest. "I’ll look upon your face all day and half into the night without tiring of it. Just as long as I know you’ll return safely."

Suddenly, Gregory took both of her hands in his. "Eugenia," he said just loud enough for her to hear over the music, but not loud enough for the chaperones who dotted the room to make out his words. "When I do come back, will you marry me?" He stopped, embarrassed. That sounded so casual, not at all as fine and romantic as he’d always thought such a moment should be. "I mean, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"

Eugenia’s tears of misery had become tears of happiness in an instant. "Oh yes!" she’d cried. "I’ll marry you the very day you return!"

Around the room, other young couples sat on the benches, kissing, crying, and saying goodbye. Playing out the same scene that was being played out at school dances, living rooms, and porch swings all over America and the world.

"Don’t worry, Eugenia. I’ll come back to you. Do you think I’d let the Huns separate us? Not a chance. I’ll find a way back to you even if I have to walk home from France to get to you." Eugenia smiled as she let him dry her tears. She knew he might die in the war. He knew he might die in the war. But it had never occurred to either one of them that he really would.

Gregory’s mother had gotten the telegram almost a year after he had left. She’d locked herself in her room all that day and the next. Eugenia’s mother’s maid had heard the news from Mrs. Carter’s maid, and had spread the news around the grapevine of servants, always the most reliable place for getting information in a small town. It hadn’t taken long for Eugenia to hear the news as well, and naturally she had been plunged into the deepest mourning. She knew now she would never marry, never have children, never have a family of her own. How could she even want such things again, if she couldn’t share them with the love of her life?

Indeed, Eugenia reflected as she pulled herself out of her reverie and put the baby back into the dresser drawer she had lain on the floor as a makeshift bed, she had never done any of those things. She’d never married or had children. She had long ago forgotten her vow never to marry, but then she’d never met any man who had made her wish for those things again. Or at least she had never impressed a man well enough that one had cared to break through her reserve and try to get her to love him.

Eugenia gazed down at the sleeping baby girl, repressing a shudder as she thought of the brand new war just getting started. "I hope they do find you a good home," she whispered to the sleeping form. "If anyone deserves to get through this terrible time unscathed, it’s you." The baby stirred briefly in her sleep, smiled as if having a pleasant dream, and then drifted off into blissful deep sleep once again.

9:15 AM

"All right, now let me get this whole story straight," said Miss Travers of the Agency for the Protection of Foundling Children to Maple LaMarsh and Betty Roberts. "You found the baby in this room, which you call the 'Green Room.'Is that correct?"

"Maple found her," Betty told her. Maple nodded her head.

"And what time was that?"

"About 7:30 yesterday morning," Maple answered dejectedly. The woman had been polite enough, she supposed, but she was another Miss Frye, another Miss Cosgrave, another one of the army of noble, respectable do-gooder women with their grey tweed suits and glasses, their hair up in buns, who had tormented, judged and rejected Maple LaMarsh since she was a child. Maple still held the infant in her arms. She gazed at the blanketed bundle lovingly, then raised her head to face Miss Travers and look her directly in the eye. "Yes, it was yesterday morning, at 7:30 AM," she told her.

Miss Travers inspected the contents of the basket. "A note in block lettering. Not much to go on there. A set of diapers and pins. The baby is clean and well dressed. Seems healthy and cared for. Well, at least the child’s mother wasn’t completely without scruples. This one is in a lot better condition that some that we find." Her professional mask dropped and she seemed genuinely saddened. "You’d be amazed at some of the poor babies and children left to us," she muttered to Betty. "Some of them half starved, beaten black and blue, hardly a stitch of clothing on their bodies. It is sickening to think of." She sighed and turned back to the baby. "Any indication of a name?"

Maple and Betty glanced at each other and shrugged. "No, no clue," Betty told Miss Travers. "There was no name on the note."

Miss Travers turned her gaze over to Maple, who was holding the baby girl tightly and looking down at her, blinking back her tears. Knowing that she would have to give this sweet helpless baby over to the care of a city agency was the hardest thing Maple had ever had to do.

"We try to give an official name to all our babies," Miss Travers said softly to Maple. "No one wants to adopt a baby without a least a name, and in any case, we think it is only fair for everyone to have their own name, even the smallest of babies. You found her, Miss LaMarsh. Would you like to name her?"

Maple nodded, afraid to speak lest she start to cry. She gazed down at the infant for a minute or so, then looked up at Miss Travers. "She was found on Christmas Day. I think she should have a Christmas name."

"How about Carol?" suggested Betty.

"Or perhaps Holly," added Miss Travers.

Maple smiled but shook her head. "Those are cute names. I think she should have a more serious name, a real Christmas name." An idea struck her. "What about Christina?"

Miss Travers smiled for the first time that morning. "That’s a lovely name, Miss LaMarsh." She wrote on her form Name: Miss Christina...what about a middle name? Any ideas for that?"

Maple shook her head. She had no idea of a middle name. Miss Travers looked over at Betty.

"My turn?" Betty inquired. "How about Isabella? We are on Isabella Street, after all. With that name, she’ll always know her history. She was founded on Isabella Street on Christmas Day." Maple nodded her approval and Miss Travers continued writing on her official form.

"There," she said. "Miss Christina Isabella is now a welcome addition to our foundling home. At least until we can find her a real home."

She carefully took the baby out of Maple’s arms and placed her back into the basket, which had been lined with a brand new, clean blanket. She caught the look on Maple’s face. "Don’t worry, Miss LaMarsh. All our babies go to good homes. We never let anyone take a baby without a thorough home inspection. She’ll go to good people. You can be sure of that."

"Wait one moment, please," Betty suddenly told Miss Travers, and she ran out of the room. In a few seconds, she was back, carrying Victor’s camera. She stood in front of the basket, looked down at the baby, held the camera up to her eyes and quickly snapped the shutter. "We should have at least one souvenir," she said.

Maple smiled down at the baby. "Have a good life," she told the tiny girl, now officially named Christina Isabella. She gave her a quick kiss, and Miss Travers picked up the basket and walked out of the Green Room, and out of the offices of WENN.

April 23, 1941

Letter: To Miss Maple LaMarsh
From: Miss Constance Travers
Re: Adoption of Miss Christina Isabella

Dear Miss LaMarsh,

I thought you would like to know that the infant girl you found has been adopted. She will be going to a very kind and caring family. The father is a young engineer who is currently designing ships for the Navy. The mother is a homemaker. They are unable to have children of their own and are very happy to have such a lovely girl to adopt into their family. The couple have decided to keep Christina Isabella as her name. They have asked me to give their deepest thanks to "the kind people who cared for their baby." I told them I would.

Best wishes,
Connie Travers

Maple sighed and looked at the photograph of the baby girl in the basket. It was thumb tacked to the Bulletin board on the Green Room wall. It did not need to be. She knew she would never forget that beautiful face as long as she lived. Maple glanced at the clock. It was nearly 3PM. Time for another episode of "The Hands of Time." She ran her hands through her hair, and hightailed it out the door and toward the studio once again.


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