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Into Foreverland

by Tootsie Barron ©2014, Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-941501-11-5, 200 pp
 

Every once in a while a love story comes along that puts a new spin on the genre called "chick lit."  I wanted to write a story that would bring it up a notch by taking you to a wondrous place and prove once and for all that you can take love with you into Foreverland.


Three girls meet as children and become "forever friends."   They meet others—both male and female—along the way, some accidentally or inexplicably as each becomes a "keeper" to the others.    

Cookie is the former wannabe nun, whose extraordinary faith becomes the glue that holds the group together for a lifetime.  Carol is the custodian of the one-liners and zingers.  Too Tall finds salvation after suffering personal tragedy.  Nicole and Julie climb what appears to be an insurmountable mountain, as they try to reach the apex in their search for equality as a gay couple. Lastly, there is The Ghost. 

By the end of the story, hopefully you will feel as if a fairy like "Tinker Bell" sprinkled fairy dust in your room, and I hope you will be smiling after you’ve shed a few tears.

Prologue – Keepers

 

It seems like a very long time ago when this story began. I was in my early forties, certainly not young, middle-aged as it’s called, but nowhere near entering into decrepitude either, when seven friends met for a celebratory birthday dinner.

 

It was a beautiful autumn day, when the leaves were just starting to burst into color. They hadn’t started to fall, yet everyone knew by the slight chill in the air that the scent of logs burning in the fireplaces would soon permeate the air.

 

This is my favorite time of year and I always take a moment to thank God for the beauty and remind myself that this is truly one of His good ones.

 

I had just gotten off the phone with Bobbi, or Too Tall as we call her. She is my accountant and one of my childhood friends.

 

She had recently helped me finalize the sale of my neighborhood delicatessen and catering business.

 

I worked hard for many years and it paid off. I managed to support my two children and myself. I was able to send them to college and then to graduate school.

 

Anyone who knows anything about the food business will tell you how tough it is and that it is almost always a seven days a week job.

 

Eventually you start to burn out, as I did. Fortunately, I was at the right place at the right time when a buyer came knocking on my door and made me the right offer. I knew I had to take it. I now had the next two or three years to contemplate what I would do with the rest of my life.

 

I had already been divorced for quite a few years. With my children away at graduate school, I gave some of my time to volunteer at my Church. I was just about to decide what to wear to dinner that night when the phone rang.

 

“Concetta, this is Father Fanelli. I hope you didn’t forget about our meeting at seven this evening.”

 

“Of course not Father.” I lied, hoping that he didn’t detect the hesitation in my voice. “I will see you promptly at seven. Bye Father.”

 

Father Fanelli is the only person that calls me by my given name, Concetta. Everyone else calls me Cookie.

 

I forgot about the clothes. I had to contact Carol right away. It was her birthday we were celebrating that evening. I would have to move the dinner back by an hour and a half.

 

“Good afternoon, Palazzo’s. How can I help you?”

 

“Hi Terry. It’s Cookie. Is Carol very busy? I only need a minute.”

 

“I think she’s doing a facial. Hold on. I’ll page her. Carol, line two.”

 

“Hello, this is Carol.”

 

“It’s Cookie, I’d like to move our dinner reservation to eight-thirty. I forgot I have a meeting with Father Fanelli at seven o’clock. Is that all right for you and Tom? I’ll call Nicky. I’m sure he can push it back for us.”

 

“I swear Cookie, you spend more time with Father Fanelli than any other man. I’m not so sure that’s a good thing. But sure, no problem. It will give Tom and me a little more time to enjoy a cocktail before we leave. You know how much I need to unwind after a full day in this madhouse. See you later,” Carol said, and it’s back to the facial.

 

Carol owns Palazzo’s, a very upscale spa and beauty salon catering to some of the most affluent and not so famous women in Bergen County, New Jersey.

 

After I hung up with Carol, I called Nicky, the maitre d’ of our favorite restaurant, La Bella Luna, and, in my humble opinion, the finest Italian restaurant in northern New Jersey.

 

I explained the situation and changed our reservation. No problem there as I have known Nicky a long time. I met him before he went to work for Pete. He was working in a very good Italian restaurant that was being built from scratch in a new location. Nicky was temporarily out of work when Pete found him as he was about to open his own place. Pete was happy to have found Nicky. It turned out to be a fine fit for both of them. It seems like people in the food business tend to gravitate towards each other. Then I called Too Tall and Nicole.

 

The meeting with Father Fanelli went very well and lasted a little over an hour. We put together our fall and winter schedule of activities for our Parish senior citizens. Imagine how elated I was when they accepted my idea to crown a King and Queen at the Valentine’s Day party. I am such a hopeful romantic, not hopeless, ever keeping the faith, that true love conquers all and that someday my Prince will come.

 

Tootsie was born and raised in North Jersey and now calls South Jersey her home.  She has two children and two grandchildren. She is widowed and lives with her two “little princes” —her Papillons.
“I wish you all that Heaven allows..."
Into Foreverland

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