Chapter 12 Party Surprises
One day as she was embroidering linen napkins, Jimmy asked his mother about the pump organ in the attic.
“Where did it come from?” he asked.
“Honey, it belonged to my Mama. After Mama and Papa died we brought it with us from Illinois.” she explained.
“What's wrong with it?” asked Jimmy.
“Oh, nothing. It works all right, if the mice haven't gotten to it. But when we moved in this house with Uncle Apton he already had his own furniture and we put all of our furniture up in the attic, all except for Jimbo's piano . . .”
“You mean the one in the parlor?”
“Yes. Why all these questions about the organ?” she asked.
“Well, it's a real pretty organ and I thought it'd be nice to have it in the parlor, too.” Jimmy crossed his fingers behind him, hoping.
Mama thought about this for a while, then said “You mean you want to have the piano and the organ in the parlor together?”
“Right! Uh, yes ma'am!”
“Well, I thought me and Harry. . .”
“Harry and I” she corrected.
“Yes'm. Harry and I could play 'em together sometimes.”
She thought about making room for it and arranging with the handyman to have it brought down.
“All right,” she answered slowly, “I'll see what I can do.”
“Before the party?” he asked. She nodded yes as she attempted to thread a needle.
Jimmy's face lit up, “Thanks Mama!” and he gave her an enthusiastic voluntary kiss which was rare enough for Martha Day to wonder what else she could do to get that kind of response from her son.
Jimmy ran out the back kitchen door letting the screen door slam behind him as he tore on through the back yard gate over to Harry's house.
When Harry saw Jimmy he started “Did ya . . .”
And before he could finish Jimmy said, “Yep! I don't know exactly when but it'll be there before the party!”
“Great!” said Harry.
Invitations had been accepted by all except Mrs. Edwin who was feeling poorly. The day of the party was rapidly approaching and Jimmy and Harry decided that everything was ready. There was one disappointment, however. Mr. Day and Mr. Killman had some mysterious business out of town and had left on Wednesday and were not due back until late Friday evening so they would have to miss the party. In fact, Jimmy was sort of secretly relieved that his father wouldn't be there, considering the kind of surprise he and Jimmy had in store for everyone.
On the evening of Friday, April 6, 1916 at 6:00 p.m. the friends of the young masters Harold Killman and James Day began arriving at the Day residence to celebrate their birthdays. The boys had taken their mothers' instructions to “introduce and entertain your guests” quite seriously. Jimmy met each one at the door formally greeting them and thanking them for the enticingly wrapped presents which he placed on a table in the foyer. He then showed them to the parlor where Harry was sure everyone became acquainted and was guided to a particular place to sit. This was the “introduce” part. The “entertain” part was to come later.
When Mr. Keith MacLeod came to the door Jimmy said in a formal voice: “Mr. MacLeod we are pleased to have you at our birthday party.”
Then he shouted down the hall, “Hey, Harry! Mr. Mac is here!” Guests continued to arrive.
When Mr. Huffermyer, the middle-aged bachelor motorman of Park Street trolley line fame, arrived he was shown to a seat on a sofa where he did not sit alone for long. Soon Miss Rydell, manager of the Willowbranch Library and a spinster herself, was seated beside him, as surprised at seeing him in “civilian” clothes as he was at seeing her in party attire.
As Harry formally introduced them to each other Miss Rydell was thinking to herself that Mr. Huffermyer was quite a handsome fellow in his suit. He was thinking to himself that she was quite an attractive lady when she wasn't dressed as a librarian. At last Miss Melody Page arrived.
Jimmy could see Miss Page approaching through the screen door. She was so pretty! He ran to the parlor door and urgently motioned to Harry. As he came toward the foyer Jimmy hissed loudly, “She's here! She's here!”
Jimmy and Harry stood like soldiers as Miss Page, who was truly a vision of loveliness, entered the hallway.
Jimmy said, “Miss Page, thank you for attending our birthday party.”
Harry said, “Gee, you look swell, Miss Page.”
Miss Page blushed, which only made her complexion more lovely.
She said, “Now, boys, you two do look handsome tonight too, you know!” It was their turn to blush.
She continued, “But why are you so formal? You usually call me `Miss Mel.'”
The boys continued to blush. Harry quickly recovered himself, “Aw, OK Miss Mel. Would you step this way, please?”
She laughed, “Yes, certainly, Mr. Harry!” she said, presenting her arm.
When she entered the parlor the three men stood at once. She, of course knew Mr. Edwin who was her organ teacher and she recognized Mr. Huffermyer the motorman, but who was that tall handsome man? They had never met so she didn't know who he was and he didn't know who she was. Harry took Miss Page straight to Mr. Mac and saw to the introductions immediately.
“Miss Melody Page, I would like for you to meet Mr. Keith MacLeod. ”When the two heard the other's name they began to smile broadly at one another.
Mr. Mac spoke first, “Yes, yes I've heard of you through Mr. Edwin and, of course, Jimmy and Harry,” the boys and Mr. Edwin beamed, “You're the organist at the Methodist Church!”
Miss Page replied, “Yes! And you're the organist at the Presbyterian Church and I've heard about you, too. It's so nice to meet you and put a face” here she blushed again “with a name.”
Harry and Jimmy moved to the other side of the room. As they stood there whispering to each other their mothers, who had been watching all this with interest, came up behind them.
Mrs. Day said, “Jimmy don't you know it's impolite to whisper in company?” doing so herself.
Mrs. Killman said, “What are you two up to? Have you invited some of these people here just so they could meet each other?”
Harry and Jimmy grinned at each other.
Mrs. Day looked through narrowed eyes at them, “Are you playing cupid?”
The boys just smiled. They saw Miss Rydell and Mr. Huffermyer smiling and talking, and Mr. Mac and Miss Page looking at each other with a special sort of look.
Harry looked at Jimmy and said, “Part one complete. . .”
Jimmy finished, “. . . mission accomplished!”
The surprises weren't over, yet.