By Judy Johnston
I walked up the long, winding road that was so familiar and if it had not been for my rheumatism, I would have been able to take it quite well. It was a fall day and the leaves from the trees made a crinkly path as I walked toward my destination. I was glad I left the chauffeur down at the bottom of the hill, for this was something I wanted to do by myself, being the only one left in the family.
It’d been practically a year and now I’d the time…ever since the Germans bombed London and we had moved to America where we were parted but safe. I looked again at the top of the hill and could see that my destination was practically reached. I stopped and stood in the road. My eyes focused on the mansion which the Malaton family had lived in for years. From where I was standing, I could not yet see how much damage the Germans had done. I could only see four pillars that stood like statues against the grey-blue sky.
I started walking again and in ten minutes I reached the dusty road that led you to the front steps of “Green Mansions”. I could see that the amount of damage done was comparably little. I walked up the long marble steps and I couldn’t help recalling certain memories that linked with the house. I looked back on the dusty road and remembered many a time Caroland, my daughter, would ride up to the mansion on her pony. It was a present I had given her on her eighth birthday, and you found her quite frequently in the barn with it or riding it around the grounds. We were bombed in 1940 and Caroland lost him. She was sent to America with her mother as refugees, and to this day I have not seen them. I made a trip to the United States a few months ago, but no one by the name of Martha and Caroland Malston were listed as arriving.
I sat on the front steps and looked at the landscape surrounding me. It well reminded me of the times that I painted in my spare time. Martha and Caroland would sit or stand beside me, giving me all sorts of suggestions about where to put this and what color to paint it.
I got up and walked toward the door and, since a bomb had fallen on the left side of the building, there was no door—which made it quite convenient for anyone to enter. I went through and arrived in a dull, dark hall in which I could see faintly the staircase, partly shattered and fallen completely at the bottom, which made it impossible to get upstairs. I turned to the left door which led into the dining room. Opening the door, I could see that all of the chandeliers had fallen and broken into millions of pieces. The table and shelves were raided by the Germans. This could be seen by the tipping of chairs, tables, etc. My eyes closed and I could feel the tears come down my wrinkled face and settle amongst my white beard. I ran my hands through my hair and couldn’t help but think that this was such a lovely place. Martha was always complimented on what a well-kept home she had. I turned to leave and closed the door behind me. Arriving at the front door, I looked back for the last time and, without taking another look back, I thought that I might come back some other day and find it still the other way.