The Visible Dogs of Grantville

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April, 1635


"Mom's taken a room on Pleasant Street?" Armand Glazer asked in disbelief. "I know she's pushing seventy, but what does she need to give up her house for?"

"She likes it up there, Uncle Armand," his nephew, Joe Glazer, calmly replied. "She's says she's 'down-sizing' and she seems to be happy. Some of her friends have turned the old Sloan Victorian into a combination B & B and assisted living center and she's helping train the new administrators in bookkeeping. She says she's monitoring both the nursing students and the up-timer patients; keeping 'em all sweet. She's keeping as busy as she wants to with all the community outreach work going on up there, or she can retreat back into her own room when she wants some privacy. Honestly, she seems to have more of a social life up there then she has since the Ring o' Fire."

"But what about the family house?" Armand asked in alarm. "Is she selling it or what?"

"Oh, she's too smart to sell real property," Joe said with a smile. "She cleaned out the basement, moved some stuff up to her new room in the Home, inventoried everything, gave Jason and me first pick of the electronic and kitchen stuff she had left over, and then had a big ole yard sale. She had tenants moving in the next day."

"But, but, why didn't she call on Kim and me? We could have helped."

"She said you both were busy doing real work for our defense up north in Magdeburg and that you'd taken pretty much everything you'd wanted or needed with you."

"Well, yeah, but . . . but . . . ." We don't have a home in Grantville anymore was all Armand could think. Where are we going to go when we get out of the military? They're barely paying us enough to get by on as it is . . . what are we going to do, where are we going to spend our retirement?

"I think I'd better go have a talk with Mom," was all he could finally think to say.


"Mom, how could you just rent out the house without talking about it with Kim and me first?"

As he loomed over his mother, Armand winced at how much shorter she seemed to be from just the last time he'd visited her, at how much gray was now appearing in her chin-length hair. But her broad smile when she opened her door at his knock sparkled with as much life as ever until he had opened his mouth.

"Let's not argue about it in the hallway," she said, disapprovingly, gesturing him inside and closing the door.

Looking around, he was surprised at how comfortably his mother had settled into one room of this revamped Victorian house at the corner of Pleasant and Locust Streets. She had her double bed and matching dresser in one corner and he recognized their dining room table with all the extra leaves taken out of it being used as a side table between the two upholstered arm chairs from her old home. The matching buffet supported a pottery water jug and wash bowl along with her tea set alongside one wall, with his favorite book case lining the opposite wall. He noted the artwork on the wall. Most of it was his, but one was a well-framed little jewel of an oil painting—a close-up study of his mother's face.

"Oh, Armand, it's not as if I've sold it or anything, it's just rented out for enough to bring me in an income while I live up here with my friends."

"So, you've rented out your three-bedroom, two-bath house for just enough money to pay the taxes and pay for you to stay up here? How is that a smart or equitable arrangement?"

"Yeah, that's exactly what I've done. I sold off all the junk in the basement—and boy, wasn't that a job! —along with all the duplicates I had crammed into the upstairs. The tenants have the use of my basic kitchen equipment and the house with the bare-bones furniture I left there. I invested the bulk of the money into the OPM fund and it's building up nicely, thank you! I'm living quite comfortably on what's left over from the rent money after the taxes are paid."

"Including the TV and VCR?"

"Which one, Armand? We had a TV and VCR in every single room except the kitchen and bathrooms, not counting the one you and Kim took to Magdeburg." She glared up at him. "It was ridiculous!"

"But a lot of the tapes were mine!"

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About Jackie Britton Lopatin

I graduated from Western Michigan University in 1978 as an English major and Library Science minor with a special emphasis in children’s literature. While there, I also earned an Award of Arms in the Society for Creative Anachronism. Because of this, I can design and sew medieval garb, can juggle, weave baskets, and will willingly cook a medieval feast for 200 if given a week’s notice and an appropriate budget.

I worked at my local public library in their Children’s Room for a dozen years and discovered that although I’d always considered myself a writer, there’s a special joy to standing up in front of an audience and telling stories.

After leaving the library to home-school my daughter and to start my own videography business, I directed two half-hour video documentaries (Buncombe Beginnings and The Fairbank House Speaks to America), as well as taping other small projects.

Currently, I describe myself on Facebook as “Chief Cook and Defender of the Faith at the Lopatin Flute Company.” My skills came in handy as I put together a photo documentary, “Dreams to Reality: Designing a SquareONE Alto Flute,” for the business as well as writing press releases, designing print ads, and supervised the production of two music cd’s. Mostly, though, I brag on my husband, Lenny, and do whatever’s necessary to keep his butt in his technician’s chair. Oh, and I make the pads for his square-holed instruments.

See more of my writing at and