Sharing a work cubicle (a short story) by L. Claire Groshans

Sharing a Work Cubicle

She arrived at their shared cubicle before him. It was often a relief for her to come to work. Home was complicated. Linda sat in her swivel office chair so she could take off her walking shoes and replace them with the low heels that were “business professional”. On her tidy desk, there was a photo of her with her husband. They had been happy the day that photo had been taken, but that was no longer the case. She kept her marital problems a secret while at work. She was not ready to tell anyone that her personal life was crumbling in spite of her daily efforts to think of any way possible to make her depressed husband happy and engaged again.

“Top o’ the Morning” her boss announced before even making the turn into their cubicle. Linda looked up just in time to see her boss’ broad boyish smile. He was wearing a tailored overcoat. As he took his coat off, he also set his quality leather brief case on top of his desk.

Each morning as he entered the front office doors, Neil carried that briefcase with obvious intention so the statisticians, writers and managers would see him looking very professional, important and hard at work. But, the brief case contained a secret. He had shared that secret with Linda nearly 6 months ago when she had started as his assistant. The secret was that the briefcase contained only a Tupperware container of trail mix. “Top Secret” he had told her when he first showed her these contents. She laughed out loud. And after that one loud office laughter episode, Neil had Linda practice with him to learn a “silent” laugh. Because their cubicle was so closely situated and sandwiched between the more serious work-a-day co-workers, they pledged to do their best to laugh without drawing attention to the fact that they were having fun.

“Do you remember what we are doing today?” he asked as he sat down at his desk. They were facing each other now, but when the work day officially began they would swivel their office chairs towards their desks, so their backs would then be towards one another.

“I remember” she said and then continued, “but first I have to tell you that the custodian is going to rat you out. He left a note.”

“Cripes” he looked at her in a mock horror. “Don’t tell me I spilled some pumpkin seeds out of my trail mix.”

“Living dangerously” she replied and then did the quiet “laugh thing” they had nearly perfected.

“Well, should we get on with it?” he asked. Today was her first employee review with the firm. The Human Resource Department had a deadline and she was actually hoping for a nice raise. Her work was good. Neil was the editor of the business professional periodical they worked on. Linda’s clever use of vocabulary and her artistic eye helped with layouts for the magazine.

“Yes” Linda said.

“Great” he replied. “Grab a legal pad and a pen.”

“Why?” she asked?

He waited while she retrieved a yellow legal pad and a pen. They now faced each other and he made an attempt to look quite seriously at her. “Let’s have fun and play a game.” he said.

“Another game?” she asked. Linda knew her review had already been prepared and was ready for submission to H.R. After all, she had proof-read it herself before typing it up. She liked the games though that he suggested almost daily. She had fun and that was something that was happening at home less and less.

“OK” he said. ” I have been wondering how many phrases we can come up with that describe being inebriated.”

“What the heck?” she said. This was odd, but Neil was odd . “OK,” she replied “Games on.” And at that moment they both twisted their chairs back to face their desks and they began the assignment. Neil set a timer to give them a full 3 minutes each.

The timer made a small ding. “OK, he said, time to read our results and whoever thought of the most original phrases will be the clear champion of the day.”

“Stink faced” she said. He did the quiet laugh while making a face that caused her to laugh too.

“Three sheets to the wind” he retorted quickly while trying to look extremely serious about the assignment.

“Snockered” she said.

“Tipsy” he said using a dainty voice.

“Blotto” she was proud of that one. What a funny word.

“Drunk” he said.

“You can’t use that. That is too basic.”

“OK, how about this one. “Cheers”

Then, he used his hands to make a halt sign and to stop her from continuing the game. “Well, that was what I wanted to tell you. I wanted to tell you Cheers and good work. I am so glad I have such an efficient admin working for me. You make me look good Linda, so Cheers, and thanks!”

She smiled. “Speaking of looking good, should we do some actual work today?”

“Not yet. Let’s go to the lake first.”

The Lake was in fact their name for another office game they had created. Some time ago, Neil’s wife had picked out an oil painting of a lake that he had hung on the back empty wall of their cubicle. The game that Linda and Neil had concocted was to “go to the lake” by facing both of their chairs side by side looking out at the never changing view of the painting. Neil had told her that when they played the game, they should imagine themselves years into the future as old folk, sitting on the front porch of the retirement home. “You have to always pretend to be old” he said. “That part is important.”

“Nice day” Linda said with a little feeble voice while staring out over the serene painting.

“Yep” he said. “But these days, the lake is starting to look the same to me every day.”

“Well, that’s because you missed the flock of geese that just went by.”

“Did they honk?” he asked.

Then they both started the silent laugh,

Neil turned ever so slightly in Linda’s direction. She could tell he was serious now. Then quietly he said, “I’m glad I get to see the lake with you. Maybe we can see a real lake together when we are old and in the same retirement home. What do you think?”

“Maybe” she said. But her heart thought, “I hope so.” Then they were both quiet for several minutes before turning back to their desks.

John Towns Annis 1791-1871

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John Towns Annis was born on October 13, 1791, in Londonderry, New Hampshire, the son of Mary and Isaac. He married Delilah Coburn in 1820 (he was 28 years old and she was 22 years old) and they had 13 children together. Delilah died in 1853 (she was 56 years old at the time of her death) and he then married Elizabeth Gage “Betsy” Coburn on November 2, 1854, in Londonderry, New Hampshire. {Note: he DID marry sisters.}

John died on April 21, 1871, in his hometown, having lived a long life of 79 years, and was buried there.

John Towns Annis was the 3rd great grandfather of Heidi Thornbladh.  His daughter Miriam Page Annis Watts was Heidi’s 2nd great grandmother.

This is one of the sources used for information:

Genealogy of David Annis of Hopkinton and Bath, New Hampshire : his ancestors and descendants – the book is available online. https://archive.org/details/genealogyofdavid00curr/page/n4

John Annis died

John Annis military records

 

47% German

47

Linda Claire in German mountain climber outfit 1959

I have done genealogy research long enough to realize that this passion of mine is viewed by some folks as quite boring. But, I have always had a preoccupation and interest in where I came from and who my ancestors were. I am born to be a story teller and so I wanted to know the stories of my own roots and my own family history. These stories showed me a pathway to the social and cultural history of my ancestors. They were stories that I memorized and retold.

At a very early age, I begged my mother to tell me the stories of our family. She related the stories of her childhood during the Great Depression and how her grandmother immigrated to America from Germany. OK, I decided, I am of a clear German heritage.

Well, this made sense. After all, all our Christmas cookies were from our German recipes … lebkuchen and springle’s are still my favorite. My Grandmother used German words for household items. Well, correction, I thought she was using all German words. For instance, when she wanted us to get our bumbershoots and we understood that to mean we were to bring our umbrellas, it turns out that the word bumbershoot is from the USA. The first known use of the word was not even until 1876.

One of our family favorite side dishes were German kniffles. Yes, that is a true variation of the word spatzen. Our family was Sud Deutsch. Southern Germany. So, there were some words common to that region that were not generally used elsewhere.

Ann Arbor was settled in part by a large German community. My family was a part of that settlement. Bethlehem Church, where we attended worship, continued sermons in German into the mid-60’s.

Our family sang together. I learned a special yodeling song from my mother. We often sang songs in German. On a family car ride we might sing,”Du, du, liegest mir am Herzen, du, du, liegest mir im Zinn”. At Christmas, our Ann Arbor church on 4th Avenue sang some German carols.

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!

Growing up, it was not uncommon to be asked about my heritage. “German”, I would clearly state. “I am such a German girl”.

BUT…

BUT…

BUT…

wait for it. wait for it. wait for it.

This was literally less than a half truth.

Although my father loved to tell stories, they were really never about his family. I do remember that he had told us we had American patriots in our family. He said that my sisters and I qualified to be Daughters of the American Revolution. We never joined. I was incurious about his family stories because he seemed to be.

Fast forward, in 2016, I spit into a small container to send away to Ancestry.com for my DNA results. Also, by this time, I had done enough research to know what the results would say. During my entire childhood and early to mid adult years, I believed it to be true that I was of 100% German ancestry. Turns out this is actually only 47% true.

47% true? How did we disregard that other 53% of our heritage? That 53% that is represented by primarily English and some Irish roots. This was not represented in our family customs, diets, music, clothing, church, and more. I have now read many historical facts and stories about my English ancestors. You could say, that I am getting to know them.

I guess I am somewhat sad that I can no longer ask my father the millions of questions I have. The good news is that as an adult I have started connecting with my first cousins. They have provided me with stories that my father’s brother (my uncle) knew about the family. The story that I like best is about my ancestors being captured by pirates. Clearly, that rates among my favorites.

Claire’s Closets

Claire’s Closets

She had put off going through her closet for over a year. Even today, she started only by opening the doors to the closet that spanned the entire length of one of the bedroom walls. With the closet doors open and the project at task in plain view, Claire sat down on her bed to “think” through the process.

Her mind wandered back in time to other closet reorganizations. She smiled to remember the boyfriend who had asked, “You’ve got so many clothes. Have you ever considered moving your bed into the closet and using the bedroom to store your clothes and shoes?” Obviously, he had been joking. Or, had he?

She tried to think back to being married. It was so long ago now. Had it really been 24 years ago that it all fell apart? Back then, she had to share a closet. Memories of closet with a his-side and her-side made her feel once again the sadness of a failed marriage. She remembered having to pack all of his clothing for him to take off to a new house with a new woman already in his life. It was a sad time. Claire had a memory of hugging his favorite t-shirts as she packed them. She pulled them towards her chest and fell on her knees. It reminded her of all that old pain.

Ah, it was happier to think of being a mother and helping her children organize their closets. She had made a system that worked well. Her daughter or her son would sit in a chair facing Claire and their closet. Claire would take items out one by one and hold them up waiting for her child to give a thumbs up or thumbs down. All of the unwanted clothes were recycled at the thrift stores. Some of the clothing brought laughter because it was associated with being out of date or had some other hysterical memory attached.

Even during the sad days of Claire’s divorce and healing, she easily seemed to take over the his-side of the closet. Clearly a perk of being single is more closet space. After all, now she was dating and starting a new job. Both of these were activities that needed dedicated closet space for the specific type of outfits she wanted to own. The dating clothing and work clothing were of a very different sort. Dating included some sexy low cut tops and work required a more modest skirt and sweater type look.

She had seen a therapist back then. The therapist had encouraged Claire to take on a persona he called “Mary-Lou.” This persona would be a woman who was so confident in herself that she would say encouraging things to herself before going on a date. A classic Mary Lou statement might be something like, “if a man spends 5 minutes with me, that will be the best 5 minutes of his evening.” It sounds so ridiculous now, but back then, it gave Claire the courage to be a bit daring in her wardrobe and lip stick choices. The therapist said that the Mary Lou persona would stop worrying about what others thought about her and worry about whether she would like them. So Claire used to go out like a female warrior on her dates. Now, many years had gone by and Claire no longer wanted to be a Mary Lou. Claire was now finally comfortable with being herself. No more need to bat the eyes and do the head bobs. Once you get old enough, some of the past is just completely embarrassing.

Claire looked at her closet again. She noticed that now that she had become a grandmother her life felt completely fulfilled.

These days the closet had no low cut tops anymore. She started laughing to remember her friend Heidi calling from a cell phone while she was on her way to a blind match.com date. Heidi had spent over an hour getting all “dolled-up.” Heidi told Claire that she had applied heavy make-up, a flashy outfit, and even a hair extension to capture the attention of her date. Claire asked Heidi how she looked. Heidi replied, “so, basically, I think I now look like a Grandma clown who is wearing too much makeup and trying too hard!”

Claire was helpless with laughter. Once again, she felt so happy to have friends that shared with her. There had been a time for certain alluring clothing, but now, Claire wanted to make sure not to have any part of a Grandma clown routine. Now, clothing could be for comfort. Look neat, look clean, look cozy.

Claire snapped out of her day-dreaming and looked at the closet and the project at hand. She was amazed by something. What got her attention now were all of the clothes with a what-if story. They had only been purchased based on possible scenarios. For example, Claire would say to herself, “what if I get invited to a wedding”, or “what if I need a special dress for the art gallery.” There were also tops that still had the price tag attached because they were so special she dared not to wear them for fear of spilling wine down the front of the embroidered lace blouse.

So, here is the dilemma that Claire had to answer. Should she keep what-if’s and too nice to wear items? Should she just be bold and wear them anyway, should she pack them for some lucky woman to find at the thrift shop? Should she just live or should she keep waiting?

She is still making up her mind. And, while she is making up her mind, it seems best to put the closet reorganization on hold again.

Linda Claire Hess’ first grade 1960/61 school year.

0005 1st grade

Click, clack, click. My dark red buckle shoes made such a nice tapping as I walked .8 miles from our home on Harbrooke Avenue to Haisley Elementary School on Duncan Street in Ann Arbor, MI. I loved my brown cotton plaid dress with the stiff white collar. It tied at the back with a perfect bow. My pretty ankle socks were decorated with lace around the edges. My long blonde hair was arranged in pigtails that bobbed when I skipped. My bangs were cut very short, this was because my mother claimed my eyes looked bigger when you could see more of my face. I never understood how my eyes could be bigger, but I did try to open them extra wide every time she wanted to trim my bangs again. A neighbor, Mrs. Hodgson, had been very upsetting to me when she told me that I had an especially long neck. Good grief, what was I to do? Did I appear to others as a sort of swan-girl? Well, later in life, I am ever so happy to have a long neck, as it provides me with the best chance to have a chin. LOL.

I always walked next to my older sister Mary Ann on the way to school. We had a few walking safety rules. First and most important was NEVER to walk on the grass of “Crabby Appleton’s” yard. I have absolutely no idea of the actual name of the neighbor that spent her mornings policing her grass, but she certainly was feared by us. We slowed down as we approached her corner lot, held hands and made sure to keep our heads down as we walked past.

Our other safety rule was “Watch, Look, and Listen.” We carefully checked each corner for any sign of traffic before crossing. Also, we knew that any home with a big blue hand cut-out in a front window meant it was a home where a kind adult helper was available to assist us along our walk to and from school.

We had no lunch boxes because we would make the walk home at lunch time to eat in our own kitchen. My favorite lunches were any that were served in the Campbell Soup Kids bowls. I loved those chubby cheeked children smiling up at me.

It was the 1960/ 61 school year and I had already had the best of luck. My adored Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Reinke, was also going to be my 1st grade teacher. This was good fortune beyond belief. She had the kindest of natures, short red hair, some freckles kissing her cheeks, and hands always ready to pat me so gently on my shoulders. It was good to be with her. She also knew how to tell her right hand from her left hand and this was extremely important so that you would not make any mistakes when playing Hokey Pokey. “Put your right leg in and you shake it all about.” Funny that so many years later in life, I would see someone driving through town with a bumper sticker that asked, “What if the Hokey Pokey is what it’s all about?” I laughed at that suggestion but there was also some reality to the question!

I was already a top notch reader when I entered first grade. I loved the Dick and Jane readers. I could take the books home and read them proudly to my family. After school, our mother would sometimes take us to Slater’s Book Store up on State Street near the Nickels Arcade. It was there that I got my all time favorite book to read aloud. It was called “10 Apples Up On Top” by Dr. Seuss. It was hilarious when all the apples fell off the head of the main character.

During my first grade year, JFK became our 35th president. Our country was deeply in the midst of the Cold War. Part of my memory of that time were the Scholastic School Newspapers that showed us photos of Khrushchev. I memorized his face in case I ever came across him so that I would be careful to act in my own defense. I held my special stuffed animal “Magic Bear” closer at night as a self defense measure too. The Ann Arbor schools trained students in a plan called “duck and cover” drills. Remember, close your eyes so you don’t see the flash of the nuclear blast! And, it is best to cover your head not only with your hands but your books too.

I was a happy child. After school, I could play with my sisters and my neighbor friends. About this time my creative father built us an elaborate playhouse and he also made me a wooden elephant to ride. Well, actually, you had to pretend the elephant was in motion. I think we were also one of the few families that had a magic carpet. I took many an imaginary rides on the woven bamboo rug that had our last name “Hess” woven into the pattern. The rug had been a gift from a visiting faculty member, so it had come from across the ocean to my house. What luck and an obvious indicator that it was the genuine article.

My father also built a secret passageway in our home to use as a play spot. Everything was planned to bolster our creative natures. And speaking of nature, that is what my parents loved. We took many family walks gathering dried grasses and cattails.

My 65 year old self loved my 6 year old self. She was happy, she skipped, she played Hokey Pokey, rode on magic carpets, laughed at silly riddles, and loved her dolls, stuffed animals, sisters, parents and extended family and family friends. She was entertained by Chutes and Ladders, Leap-frog, Limbo lower, and singing in the car with her family…”You are my Sunshine.”

My Grandmother was magical. Her name was Amelia Grayer Ream.

Amelia Ream beautiful portrait pic with glasses

I had a magical Grandmother. I believe that she may have even been an angel .

Her name was Amelia Grayer Ream but I called her “Grandma Pet.” In 2012 I became a grandmother. I asked my family to let me also be called “Grandma Pet” it was my way to honor her.

Grandma was magical in nature, but this was not to say that her life was without a great deal of struggle, heartache, physical pain, and at one point a complete mental collapse. I think what made her magical was her response to these life challenges. She became more full of grace, she carried a smile on her lips and in her eyes, she laughed in a contagious manner. She knew her friends because she cared to listen to them. She clapped for us because of the delight we brought her. Her most beautiful attribute was her complete love for family. When I sat on her lap, it was as if I had entered a safe, cozy, spot where the eyes looking down at me reflected only admiration and joy. I still remember leaning into her soft body and being surrounded by her arms while I smiled back up at her hoping she could see my love for her. All these many years later, my memories of her are filled from my senses. I can see her, I can hear her and feel her touch. During my sleepovers with her, we would share a bed and ever so quietly as I snuggled close to her she would recite the 23rd Psalm in a way that still brings me comfort.

My sisters and I loved to watch the Lawrence Welk show on her black and white TV. The TV had a funny film laid on top of the screen. This film was blue at the top of the screen and  green at the bottom. This gave the rather lame impression that we were watching in color.

My grandmother’s body was full of rheumatoid arthritis. Because she could not dance along with the Lennon Sisters on the Lawrence Welk show, my sisters and I twirled and danced for her.  As a young child I heard people say that my Grandma was crippled. The only evidence I had of this was that she had to crawl up instead of walk up the stairs. Being a child, I did the best I could and just crawled with her turning my head to smile and encourage. I was rather proud to hear how she liked getting injections in her joints. I thought it must be very special to enjoy getting a shot.

When I arrived on the planet, my Grandmother Pet was already 68 years old. By this time, she had been a widow for 24 years. She had never remarried. She was still running her “tourist” house at 520 N. Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor. She  lived on the main floor of this grand 3 story home. The 2 stories above her housed the rented rooms for the guests traveling through the city (mostly sales persons or folks associated with the University.) The basement level had a huge mangle for the sheets to be pressed for the guests.

Grandma Pet Amelia Ream Tourist Home on N. Main Street Ann Arbor

We always walked in the back door to visit Grandma. This would lead us straight into her kitchen. Again, I need to use the word magic. She could whip up everyone’s favorites in that kitchen on a short order notice. If I was there with my 2 sisters, she would make each of us our special meal. 3 girls and 3 menus! There was also a special jar in the kitchen. She called it the riddle jar. My Grandmother had to lead a very frugal life so she found inexpensive ways to entertain. She would find funny jokes in the newspaper and cut them out into little strips of paper that would be folded and added to the riddle jar. The very special treat that came with the riddle jar were Purple Cows for me and my sisters. In case you do not know, a purple cow was a float with vanilla ice cream on grape soda pop. My sisters and I were allowed to take turns pulling out a slip of paper from the jar and reading the jokes aloud. We laughed. Oh, how we laughed and laughed. I still thank her for making humor a part of our family treasure.

She was born in Ann Arbor, MI in September of 1885. She fell and love and married my grandfather Grover Cleveland Ream. He was a carpenter. Many of the fine sorority and fraternity houses in Ann Arbor were built by my grandfather. He also built the home on North Main Street.

Grandma Pet was 27 when she married. My grandparents had twin boys that died in infancy in 1913. They had another son in 1919 who also died as a 2 day old infant. Then they had my Uncle Bob and 8 years after that, my mother Gretchen was born. My Grandmother Pet was 40 years old when my mother was born. My Grandfather died at the age of 45. My mother was only 5 years old at the time of her father’s death. This was a sadness that would be a part of my mother’s life story because she was not old enough to have more that a couple of memories of her own father. The lesson we learned from her was to always treasure each moment we share with those we love.

My Grandmother was left alone as a single mother just as the Great Depression was beginning.

2 days after my birthday in 1965, my father woke me up very early in the morning. He hugged me and told me that Grandma Pet was now an angel. He told me she had died overnight and had gone to heaven. I was so heartbroken, but also I knew that she always had been an angel. I still love her with my whole heart. I also am honored to carry her namesake, “Grandma Pet.”

THE SQUIRREL DETECTIVES- THE END OF SUMMER

IMG_0400-EFFECTS

It was a Monday and the squirrel detectives were spending their morning chattering together and reviewing their Summer detective accomplishments. Just in the month of August alone, the squirrel detectives had solved two very critical cases at the city park. The squirrels wanted their contributions in these solved mysteries to remain anonymous. They didn’t do detective work for the admiration of others, they just wanted to be good detectives. Summer was now coming to a close, the squirrels chattered among themselves remembering each case from the summer months and how they had had cleverly solved them. Their excited squirrel voices made loud happy chirping sounds throughout the park and their bushy tails waved up and down.

First there had been mission #1: A woman named Leslie had carelessly lost her heirloom heart-shaped locket. The locket had been a special gift from her Grandmother. The squirrels had to grab the locket by it’s silver chain, scamper up to the tree tops with it, and then they had to keep dropping the necklace carefully down into obvious spots along the path that Leslie was taking (and I must note that she was headed in the completely opposite direction of where the locket had been lost). It only took the two necklace drops before Leslie noticed it. She had a strange sense that it had fallen from a tree, but then decided that conclusion must simply be her nerves talking. Leslie then also made the false assumption that she had located the locket on her own merits without any assistance. The squirrel’s mission had been accomplished!

and then after mission #1 there was

mission #2: A man named Bob McIntyre lost his i-phone at the park and the squirrels watched him drive away without noticing that he had left it on a picnic table under the park shelter. Fortunately, Bob McIntyre had the lamest pass code for his phone. The squirrels simply tried the combination 1-2-3-4 and they were “in”. They noticed that Bob’s i-phone had several apps. They first tried the Google translate app , but translations from squirrel chatter to English were not available. So, the squirrels took some selfies using Bob’s Snapchat app. It was super fun for them to use the goofy filters that made their faces look so adorable and laugh-out-loud funny. The squirrel detectives even added some eye-glass stickers to their cute squirrel faces. Bob’s friends saw that he had posted hilarious squirrel photos on his Snapchat feed with hashtags such as #Squirrel-Strong, #Squirrel-Detectives, and #Squirrels- For-Nature-Conservancy. And Bob’s friends, who had always thought Bob to be a bit too stuffy and very serious, were now completely delighted and amused that he had suddenly become very funny.

The squirrels had the idea to post photos on Bob’s Facebook feed of the picnic table under the shelter where they planned to leave the phone for Bob. Bob McIntyre saw this on his home laptop and was therefore able to find his phone easily the next morning. He was a bit dismayed that there was no message or note for him near the phone. He still wonders about this.

Before the squirrels had put Bob’s phone down on the picnic table for him to find, they had taken the time to look at Bob’s profile photos on his Facebook feed. There were only a few photos of Bob from the whole summer. In each of those photos, Bob was always alone and wearing an old gray rumpled t-shirt that had no design or pattern. He also wore over-sized wrinkled cargo shorts and flip-flops. Bob was an o.k. looking guy, but he was not smiling in any of those photos. There were simply no happy summer photos of Bob.

The squirrels wanted to complete one more mission before the end of summer.

And so there was mission #3:

Basically, the squirrels wanted to do some match-making and they saw Leslie and Bob as a likely couple. However, the squirrels didn’t really need to do much to make this happen. You see, both Leslie and Bob had such pleasant times at the city park, that they both started walking there nearly every day. One day, Bob worked up his courage and complimented Leslie on her locket. She told him about how it had been nearly lost at the park and then found. So, Bob shared the story about his i-phone’s return to him under strange circumstances. They became friends.

On the first day of Autumn, the squirrels noticed that Bob was back at the park. He was wearing a new green Nature Conservancy t-shirt, some crisp blue jeans and great looking adidas hiking shoes. The most important thing that Bob was wearing was a smile. Why was Bob so happy? Because Bob was walking with his new friend Leslie (and yes, she was wearing her locket). Bob and Leslie were enjoying the crisp Autumn air, they were holding hands and they stopped three times to use the Snapchat app on Bob’s i-phone to do some funny selfies. Their hashtag was #Autumn-For-New-Friends. Then, Bob and Leslie whispered and smiled at each other and also posted #City-Park-Squirrels-Are-So -Cute. They were excited and happy about all the adventures that awaited them.

They didn’t even notice all of the squirrels just overhead of them doing high-fives, cartwheels, and grinning from ear to ear. It was Autumn and love was in the air. #Nature-Conservancy-Detective-Squirrels-And-Matchmakers.