SAM ELLIOTT, and his wife, ANN ELLIOTT, begin life in the small town of Sumter, South Carolina. He enrolls in college and she opens her own beauty salon. He completes his Business degree and manages her salon.
JESSICA LEA WELLS AND REBECCA SUE MCGEE, come looking for a place to build their profession. Later, MOLLY MARIE JOHNSON joins the four.
Ann, Abigail, Angela, Molly and Sam become close, sharing dinners and shopping trips. The salon does very well and Ann makes the four co-owners in the salon with Ann.
RACHAEL ANN ROGERS joins the group. Rachael is a nurse. Ann presents the idea of making them all one family and the corporate union is formed.
They win the lottery and finance a homestead. The family becomes very wealthy, despite their extensive philanthropy. The expanded family share love, adventure and life. They add to the family, fight off pirates, meet lots ofpeople and change society. There is love, sex and social/economic changes presented for thought.
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.71(d)|
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In the Beginning
The Story of An Incorporated Family
By Thomas P. Strange
iUniverseCopyright © 2013 Thomas P. Strange
All rights reserved.
HOW IT STARTS
He and Ann had just moved to Sumter with the Air Force. They met in Thailand, at Korat Air Base, where Ann is a local hire who worked for the Air Force, in Maintenance Data Processing. She is not a typical local national. Ann is taller and her figure is fuller than the average Thai. She has the same raven hair and light brown eyes, full lips and long, tapered legs. Her work with the U.S. military began as a house girl, but she wanted more and took advanced education so that she could get a better job. Sam is a Tech Sergeant in a Special Ops group. He is taller than Ann and is well muscled from years of covert operations around the world. He has most of the military schools under his belt, in languages, martial arts and international affairs.
They have been married for just four years and didn't have children yet, so are pretty free to live a little. Ann opens her own salon. Sam decides to get out of the Air Force and pursue a different line of work. They have put away enough to sustain them for a couple of years, while he lets the GI bill send him through college.
Sam, at 27, becomes a freshman at the University of South Carolina. He does well and with credits for his service and several DANTES exams, he earns his Business Management degree in just short of eighteen months.
"Mr. Elliott, I am amazed at your accomplishment. I've never had the pleasure of graduating anyone in so short a time." The Dean of the Business College says.
"Sir, I had something that I needed to do. I've found that when you have something to do; just do it. I find that many young people, taking the courses, spend too much time daydreaming."
Sam accepts his diploma and walks out to find a place to use his new degree. Everyone in Sumter that has a position for a manager also has a nephew, cousin, or children that they're holding the jobs for. Not that they're holding the job until their relative achieves a degree or on the job knowledge, just until they get old enough and arrogant enough to think they deserve it, without putting in the time.
Sam does find a job. Ann hires him to manage her salon. He sets up the files and hires an accountant to block all the government butt heads who try to intimidate new businesses into paying for nothing. It works. Sam fields several calls and letters with threats to audit the salon. He tells them that he would welcome an audit, but they must call his accountant to set up an appointment because he keeps no records at the salon.
"Mr. Lauder, I had a call from the SC Division for Taxation two days ago and referred them to you. Anything I should do?"
"Mr. Elliott, they won't call. They're just trying to spook you because you're a new business. Just keep referring them to me. They'll stop in a bit."
"It sounds like they're wasting taxpayer money with their games."
"They are, but it's best to just let them peter out." That's how their early days worked out.
Ann is working six days a week from 8 AM to 8 PM most of the time. The money is good and they end up raising prices to keep some people away, but it is beginning to wear on Ann. The help she has, from new cosmetologists, just isn't keeping up with the work. Sam finally tells her to close the shop on Sunday and Monday and only work half a day on Saturday. They then have some time for themselves.
They like to drive to Charleston to look around and shop. Ann is enthralled with the stories of Fort Sumter and the ghost tour of King Street and the College of Charleston, where several Civil War movies have been filmed. Sam is always happy to see the happiness on her face. It is his greatest pleasure.
Cherokee, North Carolina is an often visited place. Here Ann is treated to stories of the Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears museum. The outdoor pageant is very well done and educational. Ann loves to shop the Native American shops for handcrafted jewelry and they also pick up a couple of blankets. Authentic Indian blankets, made in Japan, must be those Japanese Indians.
Sam and Ann also spend time dining out where ever they went. At home they frequent Red Lobster, Ruby Tuesday, Appleby's and the Backyard Barbecue. Life is being good to them and they are enjoying all that they can.
Ann's salon is doing very well, but keeping qualified, dedicated operators is a real problem. She pays well, compared to most of the salons in town, but her employees, barely adult sized, are ill prepared to work the time required to build a clientele. They expect to earn in their first weeks, the same money that it took Ann and others months to achieve. Then her first real break comes following the abrupt departure of her latest two operators.
God must have been smiling on her, for on that day, through the door walks, Jessica Lea Wells and Rebecca Sue McGee, looking for work and a place for their modest clientele.
"Hi, I'm Jessica Wells, Jessie. Do you need any operators? Rebecca and I, Oh, this is Rebecca McGee. We've worked together and find ourselves in need of a job at the same time."
"Hi. Jessie is right about that. I'm Becca, I hope you can use one or both of us. We have a modest following and need a place to build our futures."
Ann is overwhelmed with joy and the thought that God had a hand in this; she hugs each of them in turn.
"Yes, yes to both of you. When can you start? I'm sorry for being so forward, but I was about to give up. Everyone who has worked here, so far, has been under twenty and without a work ethic. I was at my wits end, then yesterday, Missy and Courtney quit after three weeks. Now here you are and the first thing you say is you want to build a future. I think I love you." Ann almost sobs the last.
"Wow! I've never been welcomed so openly before. I hope we can start soon. We're not going anywhere else. Becca and I fell in love with the location almost immediately. Becca and I are both 25 and like she said, we do have a modest following. Let us know the rules and if there are days we're not allowed to work and we'll be here with bells on." Jessie says.
"Yes, thank you. When can we start? We're ready." Becca confirms.
"You can start today if you want. I'll get Sam to get you some papers for the accountant. I'm a little overcome. It's like God provided before I asked."
"Well, we have our carts and stuff in our cars and I can have a couple of my clients in this afternoon." Jessie offers.
"I have a perm for today and thought I would have to cancel, but I'll call and give her the address." Becca says.
"I love it. You're both hired." Ann smiles and gets two handbooks from the appointment desk for them and gets hugs from both of them again. This is going to be one huggy group.
"These have the pay scale, hours and some of the state requirements. I start you at 50%. We move upward from there. It's all in the book. I expect that you haven't prepared for lunch, so I'll call Sam and have him bring lunch for all of us."
Jessie is 25 and freckled all over. She is as tall as Ann, but has full tapered legs and a high, rounded bootie. She presents the appearance of a 'country' girl. Her hair is dirty blond with a slight wave that gives it body and movement. Her eyes are a kind of brown that look deep blue in certain light. Her breasts are full and she has a tattoo over the right breast, of a unicorn, with the word, 'Amazing' beneath it.
Rebecca is also 25, with olive skin and almond eyes. She is half Korean and has shoulder length raven hair. Her lips are full, pouty and overall her physical make up is rounder and softer than Jessie's, or Ann's. Ann calls her a China Doll. Jessie and Becca acknowledge with smiles and thanks then get their roller carts from their cars and are set up quickly. Becca calls her client and immediately begins wiping down hers then Jessie's station and mirror. Jessie follows with sweeping and damp mopping around both stations.
Ann is receiving her next client, but takes a moment to introduce her new operators.
"Ms. Anderson, this is Jessica and this is Rebecca. Ladies this is Ms. Anderson. She has been a standing client since I opened two years ago. Ms. Anderson, can you believe I have two people who like to clean as much as I do?"
Ms. Anderson greets and receives greetings from each of them.
"You will be Ann's friend if you like to clean. She's a little crazy with cleaning." They both smile at the comment.
The morning proceeds with an air of professional craziness. Ann is in heaven and the three together are already working like a team. Sam is there promptly, as Ann asked, at twelve. He brings lunch for the whole group and himself.
"Hello everyone. To those who don't know me, I'm Sam and I come bearing lunch. Hope everyone likes rib eye steaks, rice, gravy and baby carrots. For drinks there's, Coke, Pepsi, Sprite, and Mountain Dew. Dessert — spice cake." Sam smiles at the two new members of Ann's salon and takes the food to the break room.
"Sam, don't get everyone fat to fast okay?" Ann chides. "Ha ha! Don't see that happening. You got some cute ones, this time."
Jessie and Becca smile at his comment and throw out a cheery,"Hi!"
Jessie and Ann come to the back first for lunch. Becca is still with her client.
"Hi. I'm Sam. I guess I'm the business manager, but Ann's the boss. I cook and take care of books and payroll."
"Hi Sam, I'm Jessie. Thank you for lunch. This is really unexpected and much appreciated. Is this an exception or ..."
"I bring lunch every day. Eventually, I'll know your tastes and at least not gross you out. Today, I figured rib eye would be good. Women don't get enough protein in their diets. Where you from Jessie?" Sam asks as Jessie and Ann seat themselves with a plate of food.
"Originally from Fayetteville, Tennessee, but haven't been there in about five years. I was in the Air Force. Truck driver at seventeen and got out three years ago and went to beauty school. I've been at this for a little over two years. Becca and I have worked together at a couple of places, not that we shop hop, but the first was a chain shop, started by a friend of the beauty school owner. He worked us like slaves, but we never got over 37 percent. The next was run by a gay guy, who hogged every client and kept booking our clients for himself. So, here we are."
"I don't do that, I promise." Ann vows. "I start at 50% for the first six months, then to 55%. I provide all the supplies and the malpractice insurance. I do the withholding and pay the employer's share of social security, but I hope that we will work so well together that eventually we divide the shop between us. Sam has his degree in Business Management and says the best companies are employee owned."
"Ann, you're not serious, that's terrific. Becca will not believe it!" Jessie exclaims as she throws her arms around Ann and hugs her. "I knew we'd found a place to stay forever!"
Rebecca comes back at the sound of Jessie's exclamation. "Hey, what's going on? Am I missing something? Oh God, that steak smells good."
"Becca, Ann says that if we work well together that we may partner with her. She says employee owned businesses become the best companies. I don't believe it." Jessie bubbles.
"You are kidding."
Ann and Jessie both shake their heads.
Rebecca turns to Ann and hugs her.
"Jessie and I have talked about something like this happening when we first got out of beauty school, but didn't think it would happen. Every place we've been, the people are so greedy. Now, the dream is in our sight. Thank you Ann, Sam. I didn't know there were people who could be this good." Becca says with a welling of tears. The three stand up and group hug.
Jessie looks at Sam and says, "Sam, you to. Today is the start of a really great group and you have to be a part of it. Besides, I like your lunch." The last she says with a smile and a once over with her eyes.
He stands and joins the hug. Sam feels a little overwhelmed, but happy. He sees Ann's happiness and the happiness in the eyes of these two women, whom he has just met. They are so outgoing and affectionate; it would take him some time getting used to it.
"Okay, ladies, the food's getting cold."
This is the first of many lunches and many hugs. It seems Ann has found sisters instead of employees. The three can be found shopping together on their days off and many times dining together, with Sam, at local restaurants. Sam enjoys the looks that come his way when he is surrounded by the three.CHAPTER 2
FRIENDS N MORE
Jessie and Becca both have boyfriends, who are less than either woman should have to endure.
Jessie's friend, Joe, is a clinging, needy guy, who has to know where she is all the time. His constant calls to the salon prompts Ann to ask him to stop, much to Jessie's relief.
"Ann, I'm so sorry about Joe. Lately, he seems more like a nuisance than a partner."
"I understand Jessie. Sam has talked with me about Joe and Becca's David. Sam is pretty good at spotting less than admirable guys. I don't know what he did in the Air force, but he was in charge of a section and knows people. He doesn't have many male friends. He's just that picky. Sam says that Joe needs a Momma because he hasn't grown up yet." Ann explains.
"I know. I've seen it to. I thought I'd hate to be alone, but now with you, Sam and Becca, I feel like I have a satisfying relationship. I think it may be time to let Joe go and find a guy like your Sam."
"You know that we'll be here for you. We already spend more time with one another than with ... outsiders."
Jessie smiles and she and Ann hug and sigh with a kind of relief.
Ann has a special affinity with Rebecca. Ann is Asian and Rebecca is half Asian. Her mother is Korean and has passed on some of her own ethics. Rebecca is dating a guy named David, who, as Becca explains, is a slob. She thinks he is that way, just to anger her Mom, who already doesn't like him.
"I'm not dating your Mom." He tells her.
Becca also worries about the friends that David hangs around with and thinks that they might be into drugs. When she hears about Jessie' and Ann's talk concerning Joe, she asks them to help her decide.
"I am so glad I talked with you guys. Jessie you're right. Who needs that hassle? I have all the relationship I need with you, Ann and Sam. So, Good bye David. I hope I don't offend you, Ann, but I really need a guy like your man."
"I already told Ann that she is so lucky to have Sam. I only hope I can find someone like that."
"Yes she did. Sam is a mystery to me still. He is so filled with love for everyone." Ann says.
"How full do you think? I have been kinda jealous of you two since we started. Do you think he has enough to go around?" Becca says, with a mischievous grin.
"Becca! Really." Jessie snorts.
"I don't mind Jessie. I know I'm lucky. He's a one in a million. Becca. ... I'll think about it."
The two look at Ann with questioning twists in their eyebrows and lips then smile and both circle Ann with their arms and hug her tight.
The Ann's Salon four, have become a group of close friends.
They spend more and more time together and the salon is booming. The three are working ten and eleven hours a day, five days a week. Sam insists that they not work on Sunday or Monday and close early on Thursday and Saturday. Well, not later than five o'clock anyway.
The fourth chair in the salon has never been filled. It seems like a waste to have it there and the four of them talk about selling it. Today, that is about to change.
"Hi! How may I help you?" Ann asks the young lady, in front of the desk.
"Hi. I'm Molly Johnson. I'm looking for a job. I have my license and six months experience. I would like to find a place that will let me work and learn my craft."
"Honey, I think you have come to the right place. We were just talking about selling that fourth chair. I guess we may have been premature. When can you start?" Ann smiles and extends her hand.
Molly shakes her hand and is startled as Jessie and Becca approach and group hug her and Ann.
"Welcome Molly, I'm Jessie, this is Becca and Ann is the boss. Where did you work before?"
"I was at Bright Cuts, right out of beauty school. The guy worked...."
Jessie interrupts, "We know. That's where Becca and I started. Like slaves and got nothing for it. You're going to love it here."
"Thank you so much. I'm a little overcome, but I feel so welcome already. I have my things in my car. I quit there, before looking for some place else to work. I just couldn't do it anymore. My mom said I should have found a place before quitting, but it looks like I got lucky."
"Yes Ma'am, you surely did. Ann, it looks like one more for lunch." Becca says.
"Oh, I didn't bring any cash for lunch. I'll have to...."
Before she could finish, Ann says, "Sam brings lunch for everyone. It's one of the perks."
Excerpted from In the Beginning by Thomas P. Strange. Copyright © 2013 Thomas P. Strange. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: How It Starts, 1,
Chapter 2: Friends N More, 9,
Chapter 3: A Change In The Works, 15,
Chapter 4: New Idea In Living Is Explored, 21,
Chapter 5: The Change Is Happening, 27,
Chapter 6: Their Man Opens A Window, 41,
Chapter 7: Moving Day Approaches, 51,
Chapter 8: The Family Grows, 68,
Chapter 9: Let's Enjoy Life, 114,
Chapter 10: Family Vacation, 150,
Chapter 11: Fate Takes Them, 174,
Chapter 12: Survival, 185,
Chapter 13: The Family Grows Again, 213,
Chapter 14: Pirates Happen, 216,
Chapter 15: Rescue, 235,
Chapter 16: Home At Last, 286,
Thank you!, 331,