Genießen Sie diesen Titel jetzt und Millionen mehr, in einer kostenlosen Testversion

Kostenlos für 30 Tage, dann für $9.99/Monat. Jederzeit kündbar.

A Series of Adjustments

A Series of Adjustments

Vorschau lesen

A Series of Adjustments

334 Seiten
5 Stunden
Jul 22, 2012


Intelligent, illegitimate boy overcomes challenges as he blossoms under the guidance of his adoptive, single mother, and ultimately defends her honor.

Jul 22, 2012

Über den Autor

Author’s Profile William Foskett, a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, attended several universities and graduated with a Bachelor in Criminology from the University of California at Berkeley, a Masters Degree in Public Administration and a Juris Doctor, both from John F. Kennedy University. He spent two years at Cal State University in San Francisco. William worked for the Oakland Police Department for twenty years and retired as a Lieutenant of Police. He subsequently worked for the Alameda County Public Defenders Office as an investigator. He and his wife Jean have been involved in cattle ranching and land development. They enjoy short trips, exercising, good food and wine. William has written three books, A Series of Adjustments, Rattles, and Heaven on 9/11 and is working on the fourth. He has also written eight screen plays, a TV script and short stories.

Ähnlich wie A Series of Adjustments


A Series of Adjustments - William Foskett


Chapter 1

The Beginning

This book is about a series of adjustments that I had to make in the first twenty years of my life. Those were my formative years and in fact it was the most interesting time I’ve spent on this earth. It is also the story of a group of people who came together in the 1940's and 50's in a manner that impacted my life in immeasurable ways. Some of them were full of love, others full of hate. Two of the women were so beautiful on the surface that they should have been in Hollywood. One of the women, Maureen O’Connell, was so beautiful on the inside that surely she resides with the angels in heaven as these words take their form on paper. The Norton Gang had its good guys and its bad guys; the leader, Bill Norton, was as ruthless as any man alive at the time, but I felt that I could trust him more than most other men even though there were times that I hated his guts. Frank Foster, also known as Butch, was only a soldier in that gang but he could make decisions for himself and inside that tough exterior was a man who felt strongly about right and wrong. Alberto Cesare, second in command in the Norton Gang, was the most evil man I have ever known and I thank God that we were able to survive his hatred. Lastly there was an entity that was so complex that I won’t know what he was all about until I reach Heaven and receive an explanation from a much higher source. Of course I am speaking of the great hound dog, Ricky, without whom I would not be here today writing this story.

One would think that this story should start with my birth, but in fact it starts several months before that date. It begins in 1940 when my parents were very young. At the ages of sixteen and seventeen, they attended a camp that was put together for the outstanding youth of our society. If one did not have an I.Q. in excess of 135, he or she was not invited to the camp and in fact could not even be a member of the organization that sponsored the camp.

It must have been a beautiful night in August of 1940 when my mother and father separated themselves from friends and colleagues and went into the woods to explore feelings that had dominated their thoughts for the last few days. They were brilliant, but they were human. They were young and not over-loaded with common sense and experience. One thing led to another and voilà I started to develop deep within my mother’s womb.

It was nip and tuck for awhile. I found out much later, when I was in my forties, that my mother was an orphan. She lived with an aunt and uncle who were adamant about her not having a child at the age of seventeen. They did all they could but my mother would not budge. She was not going to kill what she considered her child and no one was going to convince her otherwise. She carried me to full term but my birth was her death, and someone destined to be a major player in our society was instead laid to rest in a rather drab section of a local cemetery.

When I finally found her burial site, I was what most people would consider very well off. I had her removed to a beautiful spot that is inhabited with others who were of such a big help to me in my formative years and thereafter.

I never did find my father. When I became rich and famous, his family contacted me, but it was too late. He was never there when I was surrounded by danger; never there when I needed support or advice. Never there to say, ‘I love you, you can depend on me.’ In fact the first time I heard those three little words, ‘I love you,’ it was in a different context; not bad, but different. Later when I fathered my own kids, my wife cautioned me that I was going to spoil them by telling them how much I loved them. I didn’t care. I kept telling them of my love and appreciation for their just being there. In the final analysis, I was right. They all turned out well.

My father’s family was adamant. They did not want me to be born, they were not going to acknowledge me after I was born, and they were going to limit their involvement in my upbringing to as little as possible. Luckily, my maternal aunt and uncle were not stupid. They also were from a family with powerful intellects and knew how to use that intelligence.

The result was a deal in which everyone dropped out of my life with the exception of a generous monthly check that was sent to my guardian.

By the way, my name is Henry Edward Benington. The Benington is pure fabrication. I don’t think there was any ancestor of mine with that surname. It is the product of someone’s imagination on my father’s side. Still, it’s not a bad name and, God willing, my offspring and I shall keep it for an eternity.

Chapter 2

Enter Miss Lillian

The families had to make a decision as to how I was to be raised. They finally settled on an acquaintance of my father’s family who needed money and had a good heart. Her name was Lillian Blake and while she used different derivatives of that name, I knew her as Miss Lillian for my entire adolescence; not mother, not Aunt Lillian, just Miss Lillian.

Miss Lillian came from a poor family. She had worked her way through college and was awarded a degree in education. She was to be a third grade teacher for most of her young adulthood. She was smart and had a strong moral code that included a willingness to work hard and do the right thing in most circumstances. We laughed a lot in later years as she explained that after the first hundred diaper changes, she knew that she had made a bad deal. She was either terribly unaware of the travails of motherhood or she had closed her mind to what she did know about it. No matter what the explanation, she had made a deal and she was the type of person who would stick to her word regardless of the outcome.

Miss Lillian came from the farmlands of Pennsylvania. There was a lot about life in the big cities that she did not know and it cost her dearly in later life. In the meantime, however, all she had to do was find employment and settle into life as a full time nanny with what was to be a very precocious little boy. The employment came in the form of a teaching position in the Melrose Unified School District, Melrose, New Jersey.

Melrose is west of the city of Newark and not far from New York City. It was a complete town in that it included an affluent neighborhood surrounded by a middle class area and finally a stretch of blue collar homes. There was a nice downtown which included the Bank of Melrose, several small businesses, the school and the Melrose Café.

The first house we lived in was very small and in truth I only know that because of the photos Miss Lillian had taken of it. We lived there until I was three years old at which time we were asked to leave by the landlord who lived only a few blocks away and who was good friends with several of our neighbors.

The problem was not that I was a bad kid. I was just too much for Miss Lillian to handle. You’ve heard of the ‘terrible twos?’ Well, with me they started when I was one and a half and lasted until I was six. The neighbors were made to suffer my wild days which included climbing every tree, crawling under every bush and exploring any and every new object not seen before. After a while the neighbors petitioned the landlord to make things right and we were asked to leave. We found a new house and lived there for two years. Same problem, same solution: we were asked to leave.

Not only did we not live very long in our first two homes, I got kicked out of three nursery schools before it was time to go into grammar school. The trouble was that I had too much energy and too much interest in everything that was happening around me. Finally, it just got to be too much for the nursery school staff and there would be a sigh of relief as Miss Lillian was forced to find new accommodations for me while she taught school.

Miss Lillian called me Hank. Actually, it was Hank when everything was going well and HANK when there was trouble afoot.

Chapter 3

The Farm

A solution to part of our problems surfaced when we were asked to leave the second house and Miss Lillian found a small farmhouse that had recently been vacated by its owner when he paid the final price for all the cigarettes he had smoked in his life. His name was Walter Jamison. He couldn’t make a living on the one hundred acre farm, so he worked on the railroad as a track repairman. It must have been a good job because his home was well maintained and the adjacent barn and sheds were well stocked with the different tools that farmers accumulate over a lifetime.

Mr. Jamison’s wife had predeceased him and his kids had all moved away. He had a daughter in California and two sons who lived in New York. They rarely visited the farm in later years but did not want to sell it for two reasons. First, it wasn’t worth much money in the 1940's, and second they still had a psychological attachment to the land upon which they spent their childhoods. Miss Lillian had the generous check from my father’s family and the Jamisons were glad to have someone like her rent the property.

The farmhouse was about two thousand square feet. Made out of wood over a hundred years prior to our arrival, it was the most comfortable home we ever occupied. It only had two bedrooms and two baths but there was a large loft which must have served as extra sleeping quarters for the larger families that lived there. The loft was now used to store old furniture and other items considered to be antiques or collectibles. There was a large room that served as kitchen, eating area, and living room. A huge fireplace was centrally located on the front wall and served us well through many winters. Bookshelves were everywhere and a large number of books were left behind by the Jamisons. They told us to move any of the personal property left behind to the barn if it got in our way.

The back of the farm was adjacent to a regional park that stretched all the way to the downtown area. Thus, after years of exploration, I could walk all the way to the outskirts of Melrose without anyone knowing I was en route to that location. The regional park was made better by the fact that it was rarely used by anyone except me and occasional hikers who did not often come close to the farm due to the density of the trees and shrubs that inhabited that area.

There was also a creek that went through the farm that brought constant fascination to this young boy who quickly learned the location of deep holes used by turtles and frogs to hide from entities like me. The birds, deer, and varmints all used the creek, and there was a real tranquility that I was careful not to disturb.

The farm was on a wide two lane road that separated the affluent neighborhood from the rest of Melrose. Across the road were large estates inhabited by the town’s upper class, many of whom also served on the Municipal Council. Thus we were right across the street from the movers and shakers of Melrose. While it may have seemed a short distance in feet and yards, there was a much greater distance in social status. Miss Lillian was always respected for her contribution as a teacher, but she did not rub elbows with the rich and famous of Melrose.

I don’t think that her exclusion from that class ever bothered her. She was really too pure of heart to let envy work its mischievous way into her mental framework. Not only was she above such feelings, she didn’t have any time to notice her absence of stature. She had to drive me to the nursery school, arrive at work before her students, and then pick me up after school and head for home where I entertained her with at least a hundred questions a day.

A lot of those questions involved news stories that came over the radio. I was interested in everything, no matter how trivial or how important. After a hard day at school, poor Miss Lillian had to put up with another student who was ten times more active than the most troublesome student in her class. She finally devised three methods to deal with this hurricane of activity under her feet.

First, she taught me to read by the time I was five years old. It didn’t take long, and after learning the alphabet, I was an accomplished reader in less than six months. That was a great relief to Miss Lillian who could now tell me to read something and report back to her. She would bring home a newspaper from the Melrose Café every day where she had coffee in the morning and it wasn’t very long until I was the best read five year old in the country.

She also taught me how to play checkers and then chess. That diversion was short lived because she couldn’t stand to be constantly beaten by a child in the game of chess. As I told you above, she was smart. The problem was that she was not a genius, and I was. It was years later when I was finally defeated in a chess tournament. I handled the defeat well and threw myself into a study of chess. Shortly thereafter, I challenged the boy who had humiliated me in my first defeat and soundly beat him in two out of the three games we played.

The third method Miss Lillian used to gain peace and quiet was to tell me to play outside.

Now you might think it dangerous to let a five year old hurricane play by himself outside on a one hundred acre farm located so close to a well-traveled road. In actuality, it was not that dangerous for two reasons. First the farm came with an old Australian Shepherd dog named Duke. Duke learned to love me in a very short time and would guard me with his life. While he may not have had much life left in him, he knew how to project what he did have and any person who ventured onto the farm was met by one of the best watch dogs in the whole state.

The second reason was that while I was full of energy, I was not a bad kid. I was just impatient and curious. This did not lead to destructive behavior and the farm was in just as good shape when we finally moved years later as it was when we arrived.

I was able to stay out of trouble on the farm and Miss Lillian found some peace in the first months that we resided at that location. When I wasn’t reading, I was outside exploring the immediate area around the house and barn with Duke. Miss Lillian caught up on her reading and was allowed to rest and collect herself after enduring the constant pressures brought upon the people who were brave enough to teach the third grade.

Chapter 4

The Barn

The most intriguing part of the property was the barn. The barn was like the house in that it was well over a hundred years old. The wooden beams that provided the infrastructure were so well constructed; it looked like it could last another hundred years.

It was a large structure with five rooms. The largest room was where the hay was stored. There wasn’t much hay when we arrived and what was there had little nutritional value as the mice had made away with all of the grain and Duke would not allow any cats to restore the balance of nature. Later when Duke passed on, feral cats would leave litters at our doorstep and Miss Lillian would not hear of any plans to destroy them. She made a deal with a veterinarian in town to spay and neuter the cats at a bargain price. The cats were then returned to the barn area and in no time the mouse population was brought under control.

The second room was the milking room. I imagine the cows would gladly enter this room because that is where they were fed. They put their heads into one of three stanchions to get to the feed trough after which the farmer would push the stanchions closed, preventing the cattle from leaving the room while they fed on the hay and in turn were milked by the farmer. When the milking was over, the farmer would open the stanchions and the cows could feed until full and then leave on their own terms.

We didn’t have any cows at the time and in fact never did buy any farm animals while we resided on the farm. I figured out about the milking by studying the stanchions and reading books.

A third room was used for sheltering the cows during inclement weather. It was a plain room and was presently used to store the larger farm equipment left behind by farmer Jamison. We had an RD4 Caterpillar tractor which was used for disking and other chores. Also present was a John Deere wheel tractor with a mower and rake for cutting and gathering the hay. There was no baler, so the hay had to be stacked on a wagon by pitchfork and then unloaded in the same manner at the barn.

I had many great days riding the tractors. Although they never left the barn, my imagination was able to take them to any part of the world. The wagon became a buckboard or a stagecoach chased by Indians. I never lost a battle with those bellicose people whose grievances were well nurtured and enhanced by the misdeeds of the white man. Nor did any stagecoach robbers ever get the best of me, and many paid the price for their folly. I rode with Roy Rogers, Sky King, and Sergeant Preston of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, The Lone Ranger and Tonto. Occasionally, when none of these champions could help, I called on The Shadow.

I was well acquainted with all of these super heroes because of the countless hours we listened to them on the radio. My favorite was the Lone Ranger who with his trusty partner Tonto and the great white horse, Silver, saved me from many tragedies.

Miss Lillian didn’t have a favorite character, but she loathed The Shadow. This was because of an unfortunate incident in which The Shadow visited our house one night. Miss Lillian had been fast asleep when she heard a noise in the corner of her room. She looked toward the noise, saw a man and asked, Who’s that?

I hissed loudly, THE SHADOW!

She screamed and The Shadow reduced his size by half and ran out of the room. Miss Lillian gave chase and found her raincoat and an old hat that had been in the attic on the floor in a direct line to my room. She was furious. I couldn’t blame her. She had been frightened out of her wits. I made my denial but she wouldn’t budge. She accused me of standing on a chair in her raincoat and the old hat and deliberately scaring her. I was deeply hurt that she would not believe me. I was also moving very fast around the room as the dark side of Miss Lillian made its way to the surface. She took several swats at me, missing most of the time. A solution was created by a merciful God who had created a bed high enough off the floor for me to get under, but low enough to the floor to prevent Miss Lillian from coming after me.

Poor Duke got ejected; what an injustice. He didn’t do anything wrong. He didn’t even like The Shadow. To this day, Miss Lillian still refuses to admit she made a mistake. For my part, I forgave her; we’re all human. We all make mistakes and far be it for me to condemn such a dedicated and wonderful person.

The fourth room was the saddle room. We had saddles that could only be described as antique; they were ancient and out of style. The backs of the seats were high where those on the newer saddles were low. All of the leather needed to be worked, but alas it just deteriorated over the years until its antique value subsided to unwanted levels. For the time being, however, I could climb upon the saddles and imagine that I was riding a horse just as good as Roy Rogers’ Trigger or the Lone Ranger’s Silver.

0ne might think all of this was a waste of time but in fact it was invaluable to me in later years because it developed my imagination beyond the levels of the average child. Many precocious children are nurtured and molded by their parents in such a structured fashion that they have no time for daydreams or fantasy. This is a bad plan and produces limited intellects who become workers instead of entrepreneurs. My ability to write books at an amazing rate even in my teens was in part a result of my fantasies and daydreams.

Chapter 5

The First Treasure Trove

The fifth room was more interesting than all the others combined; it was the tool room.

The tool room was about thirty-five feet by twenty feet. When I first ventured into the room, it was filled with cobwebs, spiders, and every other bug you could imagine. At first I was afraid of its unknown contents but that fear soon gave way to curiosity as I did a random search.

I was overwhelmed by all the tools and what they were used for. There seemed to be twenty-five different types of hammers and saws. Drills, wrenches, screwdrivers, knives and other types of cutting tools, files, picks, shovels and a hundred other items needed to be identified and understood. I spent hours in that room with Duke who had his own corner where he napped on an old horse blanket.

In one corner of the room was a stack of empty sacks that had been full of feed in earlier years. They were on top of some old, but still good tarps. I didn’t realize it at the time but both of those items would come in handy in later years.

One of the most interesting components of the room was a large work bench which included several drawers full of the various tools. I was determined to examine and hold each tool. As I look back on that time, I marvel that I had the ability to concentrate on this task for such a long time. But, concentrate I did and after a few weeks I had an intimate knowledge of the room.

The greatest find did not occur until we had lived on the farm for about a month. One of the drawers in the tool bench was larger than the others. It was the lowest drawer and was full of heavy items which made it almost impossible for me to open. I finally broke one of the boards on the front of the drawer and took the tools out one at a time. I was then able to open the entire drawer and empty its contents which I placed on the ground. Remember that I was only five years old and the top of the workbench was a challenge for me to reach.

While emptying the drawer, I became aware that while the drawer was about eighteen inches on the outside, it was only ten inches deep. This was too much to let pass and on further inspection, I figured out how to lift out a top tray and expose the hidden contents of the drawer. Was I excited! The main contents of the lower portion of the drawer were firearms. There was an old twelve gauge pump shotgun with a hammer mechanism. It was longer than I was tall and it was years before I had the courage to load and fire it. Also present was an old twenty-two pump rifle with an octagonal barrel, a twenty gauge over and under shotgun, a thirty-eight revolver with a five inch barrel and an older forty-five caliber semi-automatic pistol which was also too much for me to handle until several years had passed. There were two cleaning kits, one for the rifles and handguns and one for the shotguns; and I had enough ammunition to last for several years.

The second major find in the secret drawer was a case, long and thin on one end and circular on the other. When I opened it, I found a guitar in perfect working order.

I was happy to leave the guns alone. The guitar, however, was

Sie haben das Ende dieser Vorschau erreicht. Registrieren Sie sich, um mehr zu lesen!
Seite 1 von 1


Was die anderen über A Series of Adjustments denken

0 Bewertungen / 0 Rezensionen
Wie hat es Ihnen gefallen?
Bewertung: 0 von 5 Sternen