Between Friendsby Debbie Macomber
Jillian Lawton and Lesley Adamski. Two girls from very different backgrounds. Jillian is the only child of wealthy parents, while Lesley's from a working-class family. They become best friends in the turbulent '60s, but their circumstances, their choicesand their mistakestake them in virtually opposite directions. Lesley stays in their Washington State… See more details below
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Jillian Lawton and Lesley Adamski. Two girls from very different backgrounds. Jillian is the only child of wealthy parents, while Lesley's from a working-class family. They become best friends in the turbulent '60s, but their circumstances, their choicesand their mistakestake them in virtually opposite directions. Lesley stays in their Washington State hometown. She gets pregnant and marries young, living a life defined by the demands of small children, not enough moneynever enough moneyand an unfaithful husband. Jill lives those years in a completely different way: on a college campus shaken by the Vietnam War, and then as an idealistic young lawyer in New York City.
But they always remain friends.
Through the years and across the miles, through marriage, children, divorce and widowhood, Jill and Lesley confide everything to each otherevery grief and every joy. Because the quality of a friendship is the quality of a life.
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By Debbie Macomber
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSeptember 10, 1948
220 Railroad Avenue Pine Ridge, Washington
I thought you should know Mike and I had a baby girl on September first. I realize Daddy said I wasn't to contact either of you ever again, but I felt you'd want to know you had a granddaughter.
We named her Lesley Louise and she weighed 8 pounds. Lesley because it seems like such a pretty name and Louise after you, Momma. Mike wasn't home to take me to the hospital, so Gertie Burkhart, who lives next door, drove me. My labor took almost twenty hours. I thought I was going to die, but all that pain was worth it the first time I got to hold my daughter. She's a beautiful baby, Momma. She has your nose and Mike's forehead, with soft wisps of blond hair. I think her eyes are going to be blue, but the nurse told me we won't be able to tell until Lesley is six weeks old.
I wonder what the future holds for my baby girl. Will she grow up to be smart and pretty? Will she have a chance to finish high school? Dare I dream that one day she'll go to college the way I always hoped I would? Mike says asking questions like that is a waste of time. Still, I can't help wondering if those were the same questions you had when I was born, Momma. Did you love me as much as I love my baby? I'm sure you did and I can't believe you no longer love me now.
Mike and I are doing all right. We live in Washington State - it seems so far away from Mississippi. We're renting a two-storey house and Mike's uncle got him a job at the lumber mill. He's working lots of hours and I've been putting a little bit aside every week for when the mill shuts down, which it seems to do on a regular basis. Unfortunately, Mike was so excited the night Lesley was born that he got drunk and was arrested. I had to use the money I'd saved to bail him out of jail.
I miss you, Momma. I'm not any of those ugly names Daddy called me.
If I don't hear from you, then I'll accept that you agree with Daddy and want nothing more to do with me. When I look at my baby, I don't think of the circumstances that led to her birth. What Mike and I did was a sin, but we're married now.
Lesley is a beautiful child, created in the image of God. That's what Father Gilbert said a child is, and I believe him. I hope you'll love her despite everything.
October 12, 1948
Mrs. Leonard Lawton 2330 Country Club Lane Pine Ridge, Washington
Dearest Aunt Jill,
I regret taking so long to answer your letter. After waiting fifteen very long years for a child, one would assume I'd be better prepared for the demands of motherhood. I had no idea an infant would take up so much of my time and energy. I'm months behind on my correspondence and can only beg your indulgence.
Jillian is truly our joy. As you know, Leonard and I had given up hope of ever having a child. We're both convinced her birth is a miracle and we are so very grateful. I know how pleased you are that we named her after you, but you've been a mother to Leonard since his own dear mother's death. Without you, he wouldn't have any memories of her.
Leonard is thrilled with his daughter. Every night he rushes home from court in order to spend time with her. She's already standing on her own and it looks as if she'll be walking soon. I'm afraid Leonard must bore everyone at the courthouse with photographs of Jillian. In his eyes she's the most brilliant, precious child ever to appear in this world. She has deep blue eyes and dark brown hair and a cheerful, happy disposition. She loves listening to the radio; her favorite show is Kukla, Fran and Ollie. Leonard claims it's really my favorite show, and Jillian gives me the perfect excuse to listen. One show she doesn't like - I think it scares her - is The Lone Ranger. Every time she hears the music she buries her head in my skirt.
Thank you for recommending Eleanor Roosevelt's book This I Remember. I've ordered it from the library, but my reading has been severely curtailed since Jillian's arrival. I've been making an effort to read during her afternoon nap, but the problem is, I usually fall asleep myself. With her teething, I haven't slept an entire night in weeks. The poor child is having a difficult time of it, but the pediatrician assured us everything is normal.
Leonard and I are delighted that you've accepted our invitation to spend the Christmas holidays with us. Jillian will surely be walking by then - and sleeping through the nights!
I'll write again soon. Give our love to Uncle Frank and everyone.
Leonard, Barbara and Jillian
Excerpted from Between Friends by Debbie Macomber Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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