Multi-Generational Living in Pleasantview
Melanie loved to watch Gareth play the pinball machine. He was fantastic at it; the only one of his friends who could beat him was Harvey Ferguson. Even better at pool, Melanie knew it frustrated Gareth to no end when he could never beat her father playing pool. Never.
Frequent games with Melanie helped him get in practice, but, after all, besting her was not exactly a triumph. She was pretty good at the game, but she was no pool shark.
“Big Boy, there are worse things, you know, than having your father-in-law happy to have you around. Dad loves to play pool with you not just because he can beat you, but because you are so good it’s a real challenge for him to do it. You are both w-a-a-ay competitive but the day you do whip him he’ll be happier than you are. He considers you stiff competition, believe me.”
“That day can’t come soon enough for me, baby,” Gareth grinned when she told him this, “Your dad is too cool, it’s true and he is the best pool player I’ve ever met. I guess it’s fun, in a way, to keep trying to figure out how he does it every single time. I think he just messes with my mind and puts me off balance.”
“Well, you will be victorious someday soon; I have faith in you,” she flashed her dimpled smile at him and he pulled her to him and said in a husky voice,
“Just keep having faith in me, baby, don’t stop. Hey, how’s the kid doing?”
She looked down and patted her tummy saying,
“The kid seems to be sleeping. I’m sleepy too, so I’m heading to the sofa for a nap. See ya later, alligator.”
He gave her a thumbs up.
Melanie, with help from her mother, had spent much of her pregnancy redecorating her and Gareth's end of the second floor. This included building a new wall to make a small living room for the couple. A wash of camel paint and two butterscotch chairs blended nicely while a rusty orange couch and accents gave the room a little pop. Olivia and Errol had always used the downstairs living room for reading and watching TV anyway, and this would give Melanie and Gareth a place of their own to serve that same purpose in privacy.
Gareth’s mother had a self-portrait she’d done while waiting for her him to be born. It was his favorite painting of Glenn and Gareth had asked that it be his someday. So for one of her wedding gifts she gave him the painting and threw in the portraits she’d done of him sleeping as an infant, toddler, and little boy. She had many more at home. Melanie and Gareth were thrilled and now Melanie put them up in their living space along with some portraits that her mother had done of her.
Their bedroom, which had formerly been Melanie’s girlhood bedroom in soft aqua blue, was now transformed into a more gender-neutral room using sage green and a creamy light beige. Her lovely "swan-lady" mirror (as she used to call it) was put in storage and they put a Shaker style mirror in its place. They left the exercise machine in there for convenience sake, but it was certainly not an intended part of Melanie’s décor.
Mostly a traditional girl, Melanie went with powder blue in the nursery, accented with pink and yellow. It had been her nursery years ago, then converted to a gym area with exercise machines, now it was going to be used for a child again.
They closed off the upstairs bathroom from the family game room and broke through a door from their bedroom to make the bathroom an en suite. Gareth and Errol did this door project on their own. Olivia already had her own en suite bathroom and Errol always used the bathroom downstairs, it was was very masculine and modern; he hated the pink roses in Olivia’s bath. After the bathroom had been redesigned, Melanie and Olivia didn’t really need to redecorate it except for a fresh coat of the same color paint and buying new towels and a new mirror.
Gareth really liked the changes and that was what was most important to Melanie. That was why she’d started the project in the first place; to make him feel this was his home and not just a room in a boarding house.
When she and Gareth had talked about names Melanie had suggested that if they used his mother’s name it would work perfectly for both a boy or a girl. Gareth chuckled at that,
“Glenn's not her real name, ya know.”
“It’s not?” Melanie was quite surprised, “What is it?”
“It’s Glenda. Man, she totally hates it, and she hasn’t used it since she was a kid, although my grandparents always called her by her whole name; Glenda Jean. Anyway, I always kind of wondered why she never legally changed it but I realize now it was out of respect for her parents. They were in their forties before they had Mom and she was their only child. They thought she hung the moon, but they were pretty old-fashioned and Mom drove them crazy with the things she used to do. She was pretty wild, I guess. Then her unconventional career once she left the police force worried them: I mean, private detective? SCIA? Not the southern debutante daughter they raised.”
This information fascinated Melanie,
“Wow, it sounds like all the makings of an interesting novel about the south in the fifties.”
“Yeah, she was born just outside Atlanta. Anyway, she’d definitely axe the use of Glenda but we can ask about using Glenn.”
However Glenn's response was,
“Ugh! Please don’t do that to a poor innocent baby. I appreciate the tribute you’re trying to give me, but I hate my name.”
So Melanie and Gareth kept tossing names back and forth to each other, trying them out.
“Erik?” Gareth ventured.
“Too Nordic,” Melanie replied and then asked,
“What about an old-fashioned name like yours from the days of knighthood, Sir Gareth? We could use Lancelot and call him Lance. Or for a girl we could use a variation of Guinevere.”
Gareth pantomimed gagging.
“No good, huh?”
“How about Emily?” he ventured, “And then maybe she'd turn out to be a poet?”
They looked at each other in silent puzzlement. Where would a child of theirs get the genes for that?
“No, go," Gareth said, "What about Robin—good for either boy or girl?”
“No, everyone will think it’s an allusion to Dad's version of Robin Hood.”
“So? They did that with your name,” Gareth pointed out, but Melanie just shook her head,
"He's different from Mother; he doesn't even like to refer to his acting career.
Then she suggested,
How about Grant or Marissa?”
“I like Amber,” Gareth suddenly said.
Melanie narrowed her eyes,
“Please. Like that isn’t one of the most over-used names for the last twenty years. And don’t get cute on me, Big Boy, I know why you like Amber. You had a real thing for Amber Massengale back before you dated Holly.”
“I didn’t have a THING for her,” he protested and then asked in curiosity, “Who told you that?”
“Figures. The little squealer.”
He was somewhat surprised, though, to hear Lori had ever noticed who he liked or didn’t like. At least not before he began dating her friend, Holly Ferguson.
No names had came up yet that both of them liked equally. Gareth said he frankly liked the idea of using her parents tradition of French names; Yvette, Lalique, Simone. Even though Melanie was named after one of her mother’s most famous movie roles it was also French.
"I think it would be cool, man, to keep up the tradition. In fact I'm really pro on the idea of a French name. I'm pretty traditional myself. I mean, way down deep anyway."
Melanie looked at him and tried not to smile. She thought of him in high school with his mop of blond curls and his leather vests and beat up jeans. Melanie had thought he was just a bad boy and not very bright either. She had been nursing a long unrequited crush on Harvey Ferguson back then and would have turned up her nose if Gareth had asked her out. Besides, Gareth's reputation was terrible even though he was friends with many very straight kids, including his best friend, Harvey Ferguson. The whole school knew that wild man Gareth Caswell sneaked out at night all the time and went with his other friends who were equally wild to do who knew what. The girls he was known to see before he dated Holly had bad reps, too. Some people even said that he occasionally hooked up with girls quite a bit older than him. Quite a shocking thought to the band kids and varsity standouts.
In fact, the Fergusons had thought long and hard before they allowed him to date Holly. It hadn't been until the pool party at Lori's their senior year that Melanie realized two things; one, Holly had lost interest and was after Andy Lomax and 2. there was a lot more to this bad boy than people realized. When they went to University together he still wore leather vests and his hair was even longer. There she got to know the real Gareth and soon fell in love with him.
Gareth looked at her with a question in his eyes now. He was waiting for her answer, but she was still just gazing at him.
"Melanie? So what about the traditional bit--a French name?"
“It’s a thought,” she came back to the present, “Let’s work on that.”
Meanwhile, Olivia received separate and frequent calls from Yvette and Lalique inquiring as to Melanie’s state of health, her appetite, and were there any signs of the baby’s arrival yet?
That evening at supper Errol said,
“Yes, yes, this tradition of French names is commendable and I’m glad your mother and I did that with you girls. But when is somebody in this family going to use a good sturdy Gaelic name?”
“Gaelic? Begosh and Begorra! Are there any names specifically Tasmanian, Dad?” Melanie teased.
Errol was born in Tasmania and his family moved to Australia when he was seven. Both of his parents were native-born Australians of Irish, English and Scottish descent, but Errol most often referred to the Irish part of his heritage.
“A little more respect for your elders, young lady,” he replied with his rakish grin.
That night they were still playing the name game.
“Katie Scarlett, and we’d call her Scarlett.”
“You mean like Scarlett O’Hara?” Gareth asked.
“I only saw part of the movie once, but weren’t Melanie and Scarlett enemies or rivals or something?”
“Yes, but then again; no. In the movie—and even more in the book—Melanie loves Scarlett dearly. Scarlett is definitely after Ashley, of course. After the war, though, Scarlett begins to love and respect Melanie. Not unselfishly, of course. But she wants her approval. Anyway she doesn’t realize how much she counted on Melanie until the end, but the reader knows."
“I guess I still like the French idea, but it would be nice for your father if we used an Irish name. But how about if it’s a boy, then?”
“I like either Flynn Gareth Caswell or Gareth Flynn Caswell.”
“Awesome, but baby, this is your call; I’ll go with whatever you decide. I'm totally out of names.”
Around 3 am Melanie woke up with labor pains and presently their baby was born. Gareth, in reality a gentle soul, burst into tears when he beheld his daughter for the first time.
Scarlett Angelique Caswell arrived healthy and strong and was quickly introduced to the beaming Errol and Olivia. What would she think of these two very famous and talented people being her grandparents? Scarlett gave them her complete and unqualified approval.
Next update: The Errol Flynn Family Ch. 6 Pt. 6 Youngest Daughter