I was born and raised in Kentucky," Burt began. He thought back on
his childhood and realized that things were much simpler then. "Just
your average childhood, I guess. Once I grew up, I worked for several
years as a horse trainer."
"What about your
family?" Janet watched him intently. She was completely
fascinated by him and wanted to know everything she could.
"I don't think I could
love anyone more than I love my mother," he confessed as he thought back on
all the sacrifices she'd made for him over the years. "My father, on
the other hand..."
"Why? What did he
"Well, to tell the truth,
Pa was never really the loving sort. He was always out playing the horses
or drinking with his buddies. He never really seemed to have much time for
us." Burt looked away for a moment as if the thought of his father
was too painful to remember. "Finally, when my little brother Randy
was still young, Pa just took off and left. He kinda disappeared off the
face of the planet. We never saw him again."
"Oh, Burt, I-I'm so
sorry!" Janet gave his hand and slight squeeze and looked at him with
"Not long after that, Ma
started getting sick. She really couldn't work to support herself and
Randy anymore so it became my job to take care of all of us." Burt
grew solemn as he began to think about the dark times that followed.
"When the economy got as bad as it is, the horse farm had to cut back and
I lost my job. I thought I would quickly get snatched up by another farm,
but it didn't happen. Jobs were becoming more and more scarce. I
couldn't even get a job as a paperboy."
"Finally, I left Ma and
Randy in Kentucky and went to New York," he continued. "I
eventually found work as a bartender in a nightclub. It was a good job and
I met lots of interesting people..." Burt caught himself when he
realized he was about to say too much. "Anyway, the money wasn't all
that good. I couldn't support myself and still have enough money to send
home. I left New York and decided to try my luck in Chicago, but work
prospects were even slimmer there. Eventually, what little money I'd
managed to hold back began to run out. I didn't know what to do. I
was getting really desperate."
horrible!" Janet quietly began to make comparisons between Burt's
life and her own. Although she'd been born into a family of wealth and privilege
while he'd been born into a family of poverty and hardship, she could almost
understand what he'd gone through. "H-how did you wind up here?"
"Well, actually it was by
luck." He smiled as he thought about the stroke of good fortune that
had landed upon him. "I was still in contact with some of my horse
trainer friends. One of them told me that they'd heard the Callisons were
looking for a caretaker for their stables. Since Albanyville is relatively
close to Chicago, I made a beeline here and got the job. That's basically
all there is to tell."
"I'm glad you found your
way to Albanyville." Janet looked at him and smiled. "If
you hadn't, I would never have met you."
"I'm glad I'm here,
too." Burt held her hand gently in his. He paused for a moment
and then looked up at her. "So, Janet, tell me about you.
Tell me about the Scott family."
Janet swallowed hard and began
to grow nervous. How could she tell him about the Scott family when they
didn't even exist?