Beth Ann And Braden


Fifteen-year-old Braden Brad Cleary comes from a family that has always faulted others for their own misfortunes in life. To put it bluntly-the Clearys hate people of color. Thirteen-year-old Beth Ann Armstrong is biracial child whose father harbors exceptional bitterness toward whites. As Beth grows up next to Braden, she has no idea the Cleary family is off -limits. She and Braden are too naïve to understand their families' hatred toward one another.

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Fifteen-year-old Braden Brad Cleary comes from a family that has always faulted others for their own misfortunes in life. To put it bluntly-the Clearys hate people of color. Thirteen-year-old Beth Ann Armstrong is biracial child whose father harbors exceptional bitterness toward whites. As Beth grows up next to Braden, she has no idea the Cleary family is off -limits. She and Braden are too naïve to understand their families' hatred toward one another.

Known throughout the town as troublemakers, the Clearys have built up a horrifying reputation. And, as soon as they see their son talking to Beth, they call the sheriff to haul Braden away and frame him for a crime he did not commit- their hatred overpowering their love for Braden in their attempt to keep him away from Beth. Plagued by nightmares of Braden being taken away in a patrol car, Beth attempts to convince her father to intervene and help her friend, but instead, he lies and tells her that Braden has died in a tragic prison fight.

Unaware of the truth, both Braden and Beth embark on their own journeys to return to the past and, in the process, discover that God does indeed work in mysterious ways.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781450266260
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/27/2011
  • Pages: 212
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

First Chapter

Beth Ann and Braden


iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2010 Elizabeth Adams
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4502-6625-3

Chapter One

Sitting on the front porch on a hot summer day in the middle of July, John Ellsworth Armstrong age six, sat quietly as his grandparents instructed him. John remembered that his parents had to take the train into the big city, but that was a week ago. They never took so long on a business trip. John asked his mother Abby if he could go with them into the big city. John seemed to enjoy the long rides into the city and spending the nights at his Uncle James house. There he could play with the other children and go to the movies. He loved to see people dancing on stage and hearing them sing, even though he didn't quite understand what they were singing all the time. John missed his parents. He wished they were here with him. As he sat on the porch, people came in black clothing in and out of the house, driving by, saying to his grandparents just how sorry they were. Just then a black car drove up in front of the porch and out stepped his uncle and aunt with their two kids. John was happy to see them and he ran up to his uncle and gave him a big hug.

"Ha, little man!" Uncle Tom gave him a big hug.

"Uncle, you're here! Grandma said you were coming."

"Did you think I would forget my favorite nephew?"

"I'm your only nephew. They laugh.

"Now, now, you kids. You all go and play and let the grownups talk, you hear. Now get!" said Aunt Jane.

All the children ran to get a seat on the front porch, the three boys taking off their jackets and starting to look for bugs and small animals.

Tom and Jane went into the house to greet the others as well as to see Tom's mom and father, Mabell and Jonathan. Once inside, they hugged each other. The men went on to talk and the women went to the kitchen to talk.

Tom and the other male family members as well as Tom's friends, along with Tom's younger brother and friends, laughed and cried about stories about Joe's life. It seemed like hours as stories passed from one member to another. Tom went on to tell how his brother Joe went on his first date, and asked him what to expect. Tom, being the kidder he was, told him to take his little girl to a movie and to the lakes for a walk, and when he took her home, to give her a big French kiss and to touch her breast. "I told Joe if he did that he would get lucky."

Clarence laughed as he questioned Tom, "What happened to Joe when he did what you told him to do?"

Tom laughed along with the others. "Man, what you think happened. That young girl slapped him so hard he went running, thinking her father heard her screaming at him, saying, "Boy, what do you think I am? hoosecoosey." That boy came back and cracked me right on the back of my head. And the next thing you know, the girl father came to the front door. Boooy, did our pop have to do some explaining once he found out what happened. I had to clean the chicken coop for two weeks by myself, not to mention the whipping I gotten from our dad."

Sunny, one of Joe's best childhood friends said, "Yes, man, Joe was something else when it came down to the young girls. Hey George, "looking at another one of Joe's friends," remember when we were nine or ten years and Joe liked the little girl in our third or fourth grade class? Well, we three were walking down the dirt road coming home from school and he saw this girl-what was her name? Oh yea, it was Rosie-from down the road. He asked her to go out with him and she said no. Sunny started laughing hard. She said no, so Joe picked up some stones and started throwing them at her."

As everyone shared their stories about their friend and brother, no one noticed Tom's father standing in the doorway. Tom went over to his dad and gave him a hug and asked his father to come in the room with the rest of them, for he knew how deeply and close Joe was to their dad. Joe father stood there as the men shared their stories, remembering his son and just how full of life his son once was. Everyone stood in respect as Mr. Jonathan walked in the room.

Mr. Jonathan stood in the middle of the floor, surrounded by his older son, family members and friends. He stood tall and with a sadden face and stated. "As I stood in the doorway I, too, remembered my youngest son and all that has happened in his short lifespan. Joe was something else. He could make you laugh or even cry. He loved his family and life to the fullest. Granted he did do some of the wildest things, but one thing you could always get from my Joe and that was the truth. He played plenty of jokes on his mother and me," looking at his son Tom, "with the help of this one." Everyone started smiling and laughed some. "But the two of them loved each other like brothers should. Tom lost a great friend and brother; my wife and I lost our youngest son. I want you all to remember one or maybe two things '-you will always have good memories of Joe, and he did not go out doing wrong to others. He and his wife died in a train crash, and God has taken them to be with him. So let "go put to rest one of our own. It's time."

Meanwhile, in the kitchen Mrs. Armstrong and Jane sat with the other women of the Armstrong family as Joe wife, Abby and their family and friend joined them. Her two aunts raised Abby after her parents died when she was young from a car crash

"Cause by her father driving while drunk. Abby was raised with a Christian upbringing. Abby excelled in school and completed college to become an accountant in a law firm, she meets Joe in school and they fell in loved and married. They had one child, and named him after their great ancestor John Ellsworth Armstrong (Joe 'Joe). They felt he would one day make good on the Armstrong name, and they could help to teach him to become who or whatever he wanted to become to learn to respect others as he himself would want to be respected, and never to judge others by their race but to respect all races for God had created us all. Joe and Abby had seen what racial hatred had done to their town and just how injustice had played upon their families and their whit neighbors. But both had also seen the other side of getting along with their neighbors and with some of their co-workers. They felt with their Christian upbringing that we all were placed on this planet and no one race was any better than the other. They had hoped that with their son, he would have everything in life he needed, and he would raise his children not to teach hatred.

Jane was sipping on a hot cup of coffee and looked at her mother-in-law, wearing her ankle length jet-black dress, her long gray hair in a bun, staring down into her own black coffee." Mom Mabell, how are you holding up"?

Mom Mabell looked up as if she was startled a little at the question. She looked around in the kitchen for a brief instant as if she was expecting someone, perhaps Joe, to come into the kitchen. She then looked at all the women who were standing around talking to one another and some who just looked at her for a response." Oh Jane, I'm holding up as best as I can. I was just thinking how my Joe loved a crowd of people. He was a kidder and a looker, wasn't he, Jane". Jane smiled sadly yet lovingly at her mother-in-law." For a moment I was hoping this was just one of his jokes, but not even my Joe would play such a joke on his momma, would he, Jane." She got up from the kitchen table and excused herself to go upstairs.

Jane tried to keep the pleasantries going in the Armstrong kitchen with the other women. Some cried, holding on to one another. Some just sat motionless as if in their own deep thoughts, while the younger ladies tried to listen to the man in the next room. Abby's two aunts followed Mom Mabell upstairs for they understood how she felt. They too had lost their only niece. Once upstairs the two aunts found Mom Mabell in her bedroom sitting in her rocking chair, looking at photos of her son and his wife Abby.

She motioned the two aunts into her bedroom. She stood up and gave both Doris and Alice a big hug; the three women stood and hugged each other with tears in their eyes. Mom Mabell motioned to them to have a seat on her bed. They sat and shared stories as they looked at the photos of their lost ones. Just then Mom Mabell heard the front door slam open and someone ran up the steps. It was little John. He ran right past his aunts and right into the arms of his grandmother crying.

John buried his face into his grandmother's chest. "Grandma, Grandma tell it isn't true! They are not dead, are they Grandma? They went to town. They will be back. They always come back.

Mom Mabell did not say a word. She held little John in her arms, rocking him back and forth, which seemed a lifetime, knowing John was too little to fully understand what had happened. This hurt her heart but gave her some strength too aside from her own grief. She looks into the eyes of her son's son and held him even tighter. Now, now, my little man, remember Grandma telling you the story of the two angels". "Yes, I think so."

"Well let me tell you again. OK, here we go. There are two new angels in heaven tonight, and both of those angels are your mommy and daddy. God saw fit to take two of the wonderful people on this earth to work with him in heaven. And your mommy and daddy are watching over you and us all right now. I can't tell you why they had to die at such a young age but God will take care of them. And your grandma and grandpa will make sure you are taken care of. Now let Grandma sing you a song that her grandmother taught her. As she rocked little John in the rocking chair she started singing and old time song called "Wave in the Water," and when she couldn't remember the words she hummed. This calmed down John, but he keeps his head held down on his grandma's chest.

Meanwhile, the men downstairs started getting everyone ready for the procession to lie to rest their own. Mr. Armstrong came upstairs to gather his wife and the women. He looked at his wife and his grandson, who was still sitting on his grandma's lap, and nodded it, was time to go.

After the funeral, little John slept into the night; only awaken when he needed to go to the bathroom. The grandparents and other family members talked into the night about little John's future. Tom and his parents discussed why Joe and Abby took the train to the city in the first place.

"Joe and Abby were good parents. For some reason this time they didn't take little John on that business trip with them like they normally do" remarked Tom.

"Yeah they saved their son's life that day, God I wish they didn't take that damn trip "agreed Mr. Armstrong.

"Dad, we all do, but who knew such a thing would happen? And Joe and Abby were set on taking that money they saved and setting up a special account for John. He was so proud of himself when I last saw him after his meeting with the law firm. He settled his account and set stocks aside for his son's future. He wanted to make a mark in life for his family. Abby couldn't have any more children, and they both felt a change of a new job and planning for John's future was the most important thing they could do. "Yes, Pop, I wish they didn't get on that damn train either; you know he wasn't going to do it any other way." He sat with tears in his eyes. " Dad I didn't just lose a brother I lost my best friend."

Mr. Armstrong stood up and held his son. "I know son, I know it hurts. We are all hurting, but you remember what I said, no one can take our memories from us and like your mother says he will always be with us, it's late. Let us all try to get some sleep. We have to get ready for the women in the morning."

Joe still holding onto his father understood what his dad was saying for he knew his mother would need them to be strong. "Yeah, Pop you're right. Let's get some sleep."

The next morning Mabell was up and making breakfast for everyone. Jane came into the kitchen along with the two aunts. "Mom Mabell what are you doing? I will do that. You sit over there and I will make everyone breakfast." The two aunts joined in for they knew how Mabell felt about her kitchen and didn't want Jane to get fussed at.

"Mabell sit with us. We need to talk before we go back home" urged Doris. Mabell gave Jane a look the just smiled at her and said, "These young ones today!"

"Mabell, Doris and I were discussing little John future, and we hope you won't disagree with us. We feel it would be in the best interest for the child to stay with you and Jonathan. You see Mabell he loves you so much and he is closest with you. But we would like if he would be able to spend some time with us as well, maybe during the summer days" said Alice.

"Yes, yes during the summer days he'll love California where we live. There are plenty of children for him to play with," agreed Doris.

Mabell looked at both of the aunts and kept wondering if they thought he would stay with them. Did they think she didn't want her grandson? Both of the aunts were twins and hitting their old age. At first she thought they were going to ask to take John with them! Just let them try I would fight both of these old ladies at the same time if I had to. Laughing at her. They just want to stay in touch with little John. "I see, I think it's a good idea."

In the background Jane was listening and she also knew if they were to ask to take little John they would have a fight on their hands. And she would help Mom Mabell. She would have to take on Alice for she was the most spirited of the twins. Jane and Tom had talked about this when they traveled from Philadelphia to rural Newtown for Joe's funeral. He too thought about keeping little John and rising him for his brother, but in the end he knew his mother and father wouldn't let little John go anywhere. Jane loved little John as she loved her own two sons. But she knew that Mom Mabell needed a part of John and how much she loved little John. Not that she didn't love her other grandchildren, but the loss of her youngest son left a hole in her heart, and that's something only a mother could understand. Little John would be fine with all the love from his grandparents and his aunts as well as from Jane and Tom, who would always be in his life.

"Coffee anyone?" Jane asked.

Just then little John came into the kitchen and sat on the lap of his grandma, saying he was hungry and could he go out to play. Then Jane's two children came in the kitchen saying the same thing. Jane just looked at Mom Maxell and smiled, and then told the children "You three sit over there at the kiddy table. Did you three wash your hands?" They nodded. "Yeah right. Get over here and wash your hands again. Now sit. I will bring you guys your breakfast.

That morning most of the quests and family members who traveled from some distance said their farewells. When all was quiet the only ones left were Tom and Jane and their children. It was settled that the grandparents would raise little John and Tom and his family would take over if anything were to happen to them. For Jane was a schoolteacher and Tom a police officer would be able to handle any concerns that would arise. The aunts were to have planned vacation time with little John. John's grandparents and uncle agreed that the money left over from the funeral would be placed in the oil stock and other stocks that little John's parents set aside for him. However they all agreed not to let little John or anyone else know about John's little fortune. It would be in John's best interest to complete college and make a way in life without his fortune until he complete college, for this was what his parents would have wanted for little John.


Little John continued to have a good childhood. Both of his grandparents tried to raise John as best as they could with his parents' wishes. John was able to spend time with his uncle who tried to help teach John about life. As John grew into his teenage years he would ask his uncle about girls. This made John laugh, as he would remember stories of his little brother who also asked question about girls. Tom would share some of the stories with John and John would laugh hard as he heard these stories over and over again. Sometimes grand pop Armstrong would say, "Boy, don't listen to your uncle. He'll get your face slapped by some girl."

Grandma Mabell would tell John of his ancestors and how the name started and to never forget about his family history. She also wanted him to understand that racial hatred is wrong, but it still exists and for him to be careful. John was raised to respect others and never allow anyone to tell him what he couldn't so in live. His ancestors travel a long way so he could be a free man escaping from the South. John understood that Grandma was getting up in age and didn't want him to forget his roots. She saw in John that he didn't care who or what color you were. If he liked someone he would try to change the world for that person, and this concerned her. Both of his aunts helped teach music and dance for they felt he should be well rounded and needed to learn the importance of the arts. At that time in life if one wasn't able to get a job, he may be able to help support himself in the arts while he attended college.


Excerpted from Beth Ann and Braden by ELIZABETH ADAMS Copyright © 2010 by Elizabeth Adams. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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