The Journey into Depression
Beth Henderson looked at the pile of personal effects delivered to her door in boxes considering what she’d do with them. She requested the delivery men to wait while she removed her car from the garage and backed it onto the lawn maneuvering around the truck parked in her driveway skillfully. Then she went into the garage to survey space available and directed the men to stack boxes against the back wall away from her washer and dryer. She’d be able to unpack them one by one inside to see if there was anything worth keeping. Most probably the bulk of it would have to be loaded onto her trailer and taken to the dump but there may be things handed down from her husband’s ancestors worth keeping. She’d take her time sorting through things when she had time away from her demanding job as a real estate franchise provider living in Jay Oklahoma.
The delivery men objected when she indicated they should shift delivered boxes into the garage and she smiled winningly. She extracted a generous tip from her purse and offered in turn to each of the men. The sight of dollars seemed to do the trick and they willingly stacked boxes as directed where indicated then took their leave chatting happily. Beth laughed as she watched them head back to town knowing they would probably celebrate their good fortune at the nearest tavern after they’d completed their deliveries.
Beth had done well in her business over the years. Originally her late husband had bought the first real estate office just after they married and began building it up to a successful sales enterprise it was today. Beth had focused on the trade in her academic studies and grown to be a proficient salesperson herself as she watched her skilled husband at work. She was now considered one of the tops in the trade by real estate fraternities and respected in the profession. She had spread franchises to other cities in Oklahoma and had a busy time travelling to each one in turn to watch her managers at work and give training to them as needed. In her franchises she had an impressive number of people employed and wealth flowing to her through those franchises had been invested wisely. Her husband would have been proud of the way she’d carried on his legacy and improved on it.
They’d decided at the time of their marriage they wouldn’t have children until they’d established the business and could afford to employ people so that Beth would be free to spend time with their children as they grew up. They were into their third year building the business and began to think of adding to their family. They interviewed several and tried them on a temporary basis to gauge their merits eventually settling on Joan Hill who was qualified and experienced in the trade. She was a winner for them from the beginning. Soon after employing Joan Beth’s husband Joe died in a multiple vehicle accident on route 59 when an out-of-control truck ploughed into several cars passing them at high speed and killing all. The truck driver proved to be under the influence of drugs and was put away in prison. If it hadn’t been for Joan the business would have floundered, but she worked overtime to keep things going employing others to help her while Beth recovered sufficiently to be able to function again.
Beth was driven after that and determined to succeed to fulfill her husband’s dream. She put in incredible hours and first one franchise was added, and then another. She sought out the most experienced to run her franchises after personally supervising them as they commenced their work and paid well enough to keep them in her orbit rather than being enticed by competitors or tempted to risk starting business on their own with the expense that would entail.
Joan Hill had trained up another manager for the Jay office when Beth had decided to buy out one of the leading real estate firms in Tulsa. Joan had relocated to Tulsa to supervise the takeover and build this extension of Beth’s franchise. Beth would watch the development of this new Jay office manager to see he maintained their corporate culture before finally entrusting him to go it alone while Beth returned to visiting her franchises to see all was working well. Matthew Smit was the new Jay office manager, and he was a young man full of enthusiasm and proving to be a good choice.
Joan had suggested perhaps another home location could be considered by Beth to make it more central to her travels rather than the long commutes she presently made from Jay. But Beth was loth to do that despite the fact this was an excellent suggestion. Her husband Joe the light of her life was buried here, she’d been born and raised in this area, and she loved the country surrounding with the lake in proximity where she maintained a holiday get away cabin to retreat too when stress levels of doing high pressure business became too much. Even beyond those considerations there was family history involved. While well diluted by now she had Indian blood in her from her great grandfather’s time and she valued her Cherokee heritage though her features did not disclose that fact.
After checking to see her manager Matt was on top of his job Beth decided to take a week off going through the boxes delivered to her garage out of her mother in law’s estate. Her own parents had died long ago but she’d looked after her husband’s mother in her old age as she slipped into high level care and was unable to cope with daily life. Her brother-in-law had not taken care of her as he ought to, and Beth had taken over. She had no expectations of a reward for her care of the old lady so was surprised when lawyers called her in on the death of the old lady to tell her she was to receive the bulk of the estate as wife of the eldest son and that was a substantial sum. Her brother-in-law had raised objections and commenced legal proceedings to acquire all the estate for himself as the remaining son, but the old woman had been very methodical in her will. Eventually the judge declared the estate be split half between them both. Beth was grateful for this windfall and this week she’d consider what to do with the money and the contents of the boxes.
As she’d imagined before commencing examination of the box contents the bulk of it would have no value to her. She set aside the items to be disposed of and made phone calls to charities to come take a look and see if there was anything of value to them before sending the rest to recycle or landfill. But there were some heirlooms to be treasured from the past. She thought of contacting her brother-in-law to see if he had an interest, then dismissed the thought. He was not the man of honour her husband had been and would probably not see any value in heirlooms. She’d attempt to study their history. Among them was an old King James Bible. It was a massive book and she looked inside carefully knowing pages would be brittle from age. There was amazing history there recorded of the Henderson family tree from the time of their arrival in the New World in the seventeen hundred’s. There were black and white prints fading now but one of them caught her eye. There was one of a bearded European with a woman in Indian costume. She looked on the back of the photo and it said Isaac and Chenoa Henderson 1820. Beth was intrigued. She went to the internet and typed in Indian names, Chenoa. White Dove was the response, and it was Cherokee.
At the end of the week Beth returned to the daily grind of travel between her franchises. She had lots of time to think on these journeys between cities and her mind went back to the Bible and the carefully kept ancestry records. Her husband had Cherokee blood along the way and so did she although there was no evidence of that in their appearance. It would be interesting to do one of those DNA tests some historical societies were promoting now to see what kind of ancestors she had going back to antiquity, but what would be the purpose of that? She was interested in her Cherokee connection and wondered if there were any traceable distant cousins in that nation that lived near her.
That evening in her favorite room of an upmarket motel she frequented she put aside her usual evening reading of projections on the economy and journals related to the trade and decided to follow through on her quest for distant cousins in the Cherokee nation. It was unlikely that would lead to any contacts, but her curiosity had been aroused. She searched Google for any information on the original Cherokee territory and was amazed that it covered an immense area covering parts of multiple current states. Then she went into historical records of the political decisions affecting her ancestors and other Indian tribes and was appalled at what she found.
She hastily disconnected and made ready for bed. It would be one of her pressure cooker days tomorrow checking on her franchise in town and meeting with other members of her profession. But she had a restless night and realized that her lifestyle was not bringing her pleasure by morning. She needed to take a break from her busy program and think about her life. After preparing for the day and enjoying breakfast delivered to her room, she phoned Joan Hill who she now looked on as her closest friend. Then she cancelled her appointment at the local franchise, got in her car and headed for Tulsa trying to establish a plan to deal with the restless longing that had enveloped her,
When she arrived in Tulsa, she booked into her favorite motel and headed for the office. Joan was busy with business contacts but ended those phone calls and joined her friend. They headed for their favorite coffee shop and Joan always business like got to the point.
“And what has driven my good friend to cancel her appointments and seek me out today? You never rest Beth so seeing you here is an unusual event when it’s not on your bucket list but I’m happy you’re here.” She reached out and took her friend’s hand.
“I think I’m suffering a burn out Joan and need to take a break from my hectic program. I know you’ve often filled in for me when I was seeking new opportunities to establish in other areas and going around inspecting our franchises. Do you have anyone trained who can take over your responsibilities?”
Joan looked at her friend in alarm. She remembered covering for Beth just after her husband had died but the businesses had not been as widespread as they was now. She was quite capable of taking over but she was concerned for Beth. They were very close friends after all these years doing business together.
“I’m happy to take over Beth, but what has brought this on. Is there a medical problem I’m not aware of what put you in this state of mind?”
To be continued
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