The Burbs moved to Pleasantview when their daughter was a child. Josh Burb started working as a draftsman, and Katharine was a stay-at-home mom.
Lucy was always a very responsible child, who loved to read and be read to as well. Being an only child she was especially close to her parents. When Katharine became pregnant while Lucy was still in elementary school, Josh decided to quit his job and become a “house husband” to help her since they were expecting twins.
The twins, Karen and Kirstie, were good babies, quiet and undemanding, but playful, too. Josh loved caring for them as much as Katharine; maybe more. Lucy, as could be expected, was a big help with the girls. Still it was hard to go from being an indulged only child to an older sister expected to help with even more chores and to babysit.
Katharine with Kirstie
Josh with Karen
Lucy had her birthday the same night the twins did. She became a lovely teenager and the girls were now cute little toddlers.
As a teenager, Lucy still had to help with the twins, but she really adored them so she didn’t mind. Her parents gave her a little more time to be with friends and do activities, too. She would be leaving for college soon.
Once the twins were a year old Josh surprised his family by deciding to go back to work as the D.J. at a newly reopened club in Bluewater called Club Dante. Since toddlers were definitely more time consuming than infants, Katharine could have cheerfully hit him over the head. She had to undertake all the potty-training, and teach the twins to walk and talk all by herself. Josh worked nights and during the day he worked in his greenhouse. Sometimes the quiet man seemed a little clueless. Katharine had a dream to be a business woman but the dream seemed to be farther and farther away.
To Lucy it was rather embarrassing that her father worked at a disco and wore shiny pants. When any of her friends mentioned it, she would blush and try to change the subject. Some of them thought it was cool, but most thought it was just strange. In Pleasantview everyone knew each others business.
Katharine managed, with a little help from Lucy, of course. But Lucy would soon be leaving for the University.
The night she left for college Lucy spent some extra time with Karen and Kirstie because she knew that they would grow and change a lot while she was gone. In fact she was pretty upset at having to leave them. She knew, also, her mother would be alone trying to care for them, but Katharine assured her she would be fine and how proud they were that she was going on to University with all the scholarships.
At college, Lucy reconnected with her old crush, Mike Lomax. He didn’t know she had crushed on him in high school. They became very close over the years at college and eventually became engaged.
While Lucy was gone the girls were growing up, Karen wore her hair up and Kirstie liked her wavy hair down loose. Kirstie favored games while Karen loved arts and crafts. They were opposites in many ways, but very close to each other as twins.
When Lucy came home from school, expecting to marry Mike soon, she had to get reacquainted with her family, especially the girls. She only had a couple months before her wedding when she would move to his father’s house. They would be there until they could buy a house of their own. The twins did not really remember Lucy from when she had lived with them before college. They were getting to know her quite well now, but it would be some time before they would feel that she was truly their sister. This saddened Lucy, but there was not much she could do about it right now. She vowed that once she was married she would try to have them visit her often. Kirstie and Karen were very excited about attending the wedding and their mother had bought each of them new dresses for the event. Very soon the day would arrive.
Mike and Lucy
Mike returned home from the University to live with his father and little brother, Andy. Andy had just graduated from high school. The three men got along well, in fact, Mike got a chance to really know Andy, who was no longer a child. Larry Max was close to all of his children, but he and Andy had become great pals when Jenny left and even more so in the last year since Chelsea and Corky went to college. However; Andy was eager to go off to university and it seemed to Mike and Larry Max that the summer had been too short when Andy left one night to join the others at Pinenut Plaza.
Now it was just the two men batching it together, Larry Max and Mike. They frequently didn’t stand on ceremony and walked around in the skivvies whenever they felt like it. No one cared how often or loudly they belched either. For a while it felt kind of good to let it all hang out, Mike thought.
“Maybe we’d better clean up our act,” Larry Max cracked one morning at breakfast, “We don’t want to regress so bad that we become brutes. I doubt Lucy would appreciate it if I let you backslide so far.”
Mike had just started his job as an executive at a big company. Of course, he wanted to marry Lucy right away, but had no home for her. That’s when his father said since he had this great big house with only himself to live in it, they should move in with him until they could afford a house of their own.
“Don’t worry, you'll get some privacy. I’ll vacate the big bedroom upstairs, we can redecorate it if you want, and I’ll convert your mom’s old studio into a bedroom for myself,” Larry Max said.
So that was their plan and Larry Max had moved his things downstairs while Lucy and Mike redid his old bedroom. Their wedding was only three weeks away now.
Larry Max's new room on the first floor:
The following Saturday morning Mike looked out across the front lawn and saw trash strewn all over the front curb. He went out to see what had happened and picked up the all the mess which filled up four garbage bags. Unfortunately there were already bugs swarming all over. Mike just couldn’t figure out why there was so much of it; he’d emptied the trash compacter last night and the can had been full but not stuffed.
“The heck with this, I’m calling the exterminator,” Mike decided. It was really early and his dad was out in his greenhouse, no sense bothering him about it.
The exterminator arrived promptly but when she drove off a short time later, Mike was shaking his fist at her. To calm himself down he went fishing for a couple hours. After that he showered and called Lucy to see what the plans were for the weekend. It wasn’t until Larry Max came in to clean up that Mike got to mention what had happened that morning.
“Whoever tipped over our garbage can evidently brought their own trash with them to add to it. There was more trash there than just our stuff. Then this exterminator was an idiot,” Mike went on, “She came right away but she didn’t look happy, she sprayed all around there and that killed the roaches, but then she stood there cringing and holding her nose. She wouldn’t sweep them up—had the nerve to say her job was all done and raced off. I had to sweep them up myself.”
“Yes,” Larry Max acknowledged as though he knew her well, “She doesn’t like bugs, especially roaches.”
Mike almost laughed,
“What? She's an exterminator and she doesn’t like bugs? So what does she prefer to exterminate? Bunny rabbits?I never heard of anything so stupid."
“I expect it’s probably that we have to call her so often.“
“ So often? Are you saying this has happened before, Dad?”
Larry Max shrugged,
“Yes, but it’s been a while. I thought it was over finally.”
“You mean it’s a regular thing? Why don’t you call the cops? They’d probably agree to cruise by for a couple nights and maybe even catch the jerk.”
“Well, they might do that, but I can’t call them, son.”
“Why not?” Mike was mystified.
Finally Larry Max looked Mike right in the eye,
“I can’t call the police because it’s your mother who is doing it.”
Mike was speechless.
“She’s still upset, I guess.”
Now Mike was furious,
“SHE’S upset? What right has she got to be upset? You are the wronged party! Are you sure it’s her?”
Larry Max nodded,
“I have two photos that were taken by Royal Brecht, across the street. Both were taken on the same day; one in the morning and one late at night. But you can clearly see they’re of your mother.”
He went to the tall bureau in the dining room and opened one of the drawers. He handed the photos to Mike.
“One sunny day she stood in the front yard for quite a while. Right where anyone could see her and she just stared up at the house—that’s the first photo Royal took. I finally went out to talk to her but she literally ran away. And then he took this one later that night. He tried to approach her right after he took the photo to ask her what the problem was. He said she freaked out and ran away again. Look at her face here, I’m actually a little worried about her mental state.”
“I just don’t get it,” Mike shook his head, trying to get these images of his mother to correspond to the woman he’d known all his life and who had helped him to get and decorate the little house they’d rented at school.
“But why should she be angry at you, Dad? She’s the one who—“
“I supposed because I threw her out of the house that night. Maybe her life is not going the way she thought it would. All I know is when I watched her as she stood on the lawn that morning, she looked wistful and sad.”
Mike wanted to ask his father something, yet he wanted to respect his privacy. He wondered if Larry Max would take Jenny back after everything. If what she wanted was to come back.
“I know what you’re thinking,” Larry Max had a wry smile on his lips, “Would I take her back? I honestly don’t know, but I’m inclined to think she would not be happy anyway, even if I did. Some things that you toss aside can never be retrieved.”
“What about YOUR happiness?” Mike said.
“Ahhh, that. Yes, well, I’m happy enough for now. I have my work and the gardening to keep me busy.”
“What about women?”
“Ouch,” Larry Max remarked, “I didn’t do so well with the only woman in my life. But maybe later--who knows?”
“You should get out—you’re always at work or home. You need to meet more people.”
“Yes, sir, I’ll get right to work on that,” Larry Max smiled, “Meanwhile, are we still supposed to be at your fiancee’s house tomorrow?”
Lucy had told Mike that she wanted a little get-together at her house on Sunday for the in-laws. Chelsea, Corky and Andy would not be able to come, unfortunately, being at school of course.
The first thing next morning, still in his room, Mike called Jenny. As soon as she answered the phone, he spoke to her curtly.
“I’d appreciate it if you’d stop the nonsense with the garbage, Mom. I think it’s getting pretty old.”
“What are you talking about, Michael?”
“You know what I’m talking about—so stop acting innocent. I can’t believe you’d do it once, let alone turn it into a crusade.”
“I have absolutely no idea what you mean, Michael.”
Mike could not believe she had the nerve to act as though she didn’t remember anything.
“Kicking over the garbage can, stalking the house, that’s what I mean. I’ve seen photos, Mom, so I know it’s you. You’re the one who cheated on Dad, so why don’t you go kick the garbage can of whoever you’re with now, okay? And leave us alone.”
“Mike, maybe you should put your dad on.”
“Just cut it out, Mom. I’m not going to bother him. Don’t worry, he didn’t say anything bad about you, but he wouldn’t lie to cover up for you either. All this time I’ve told myself you’re my Mom and what’s between you and Dad is none of my business. But this is just too much; especially when you lie about it.”
“Honestly, Michael, I…”
“I don’t want to talk to you anymore; I don’t want to see you anymore.”
He hung up and jumped in the shower; hoping to drive the whole thing out of his mind somehow. At least for today. He had more important things to think about. Jenny kept trying to call him so he turned off his cell phone.
For next installment of the Lomax Family go HERE
For Jenny's separate story go HERE