This deleted scene from chapter 47 of Her Daughter’s Dream would begin on p. 424. It shows Dawn telling her Bible study ladies about her family’s recent visit to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.
Dawn held the midweek Bible study on time. Alicia Martinez, Penny Talbot, Laurel Henney, and Bev Kirby, all four officers’ wives, sat in the living room with cups of coffee or tea and plates of lemon cake. They always talked before getting down to the serious business of Bible study.
“Every time I come over here, you’ve done something more to the place, Dawn.” Laurel lifted her teacup. “When did you get these?”
Dawn laughed. “Jason thought it would cheer me up to stop at an estate sale in Springfield after we dropped everyone off at the airport. I found the tea trolley and all these teacups and saucers.” Every one was different. “Ladies used to buy them as hostess gifts.”
“I can’t even imagine what George would say if I asked him to stop at an estate sale.” Bev rolled her eyes.
“Jason thought he’d better keep an eye on me.” Dawn offered more tea and cake to each and then sat to eat her thin cake as the others talked. Ricardo had orders, and Alicia would be packing up for the move to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
“I hear it’s a beautiful state.”
“I’ve been in California, North Carolina, Texas, and Oklahoma.” Bev’s husband outranked everyone else’s. “They all have their own special beauty. When you get there, play tourist and see all you can before they send you somewhere else.”
Dawn felt a wave of nausea and put her cup down. She had just passed the first trimester, but her appetite still hadn’t picked up. Maybe the nausea had to do with nerves over the last week and trying to make sure she had time with Granny and Mom. She never had to worry about how to entertain Mitch and Christopher. They took off to see the Indians Caves or talked Jason into bowling “so the girls can talk.”
Granny talked. Mom didn’t get the chance to say much of anything.
“Your family didn’t stay long.” Alicia set her teacup carefully in the saucer and set them on an old colonial-style coffee table Dawn had painted white.
“They never do.” Even fewer days this time with Granny along.
“I wish I’d had more opportunity to get to know your mother.” Alicia looked round at the others. “She’s beautiful, like an adult version of that girl in The Princess Bride. And I love her clothes.”
Dawn smiled. “She’s always liked long colorful skirts and peasant blouses.” Sometimes clothing could be camouflage. Anyone would expect Mom to be bold, outspoken, eccentric, not reticent, shy, and surprisingly conservative. She’d left her blonde hair loose only for one day. Dawn thought it looked lovely, but Granny said it reminded her of the hippies. Mom wore it in a French braid after that.
Laurel took another macaroon. “How did things go?”
These women had all prayed Dawn might be a bridge between her mother and grandmother. “All right, I guess.”
“You guess?” Laurel raised her brows.
“Mom went out for long walks every afternoon.” She always retreated when she felt uncomfortable. Dawn wondered if she had gone this time so Granny could have more time with Dawn. If so, Granny didn’t return the favor. Even when the three of them sat together, the men off somewhere, Granny dominated the conversation, asking questions or reminiscing about Dawn as a baby, a toddler, a child. “They love each other. They just don’t know how to talk to one another.”
Penny looked sympathetic. “Do they try?”
“Not really. I can’t explain it. They’re polite. They avoid deep conversations about anything important and keep the focus on me instead.” She offered more tea to Bev. “There’s a lot of unfinished business between them. And I think I’m a big part of it.”
Bev gave a halfhearted laugh. “I’d be happy if my mother and grandmother were polite. They can’t be in the same room together without getting into an argument. My grandmother still adores FDR. She swears he rescued us from the Depression. My mother swears he was a socialist who made the Depression last longer. Need I say more?” Dimples deepened in her cheeks. “I tell them I know all about everything, but they just won’t listen.”
They all laughed.
Laurel set her plate on the coffee table. “I couldn’t stand my mother when I was fourteen. By the time I turned eighteen, I realized she actually had a lot to say.” She rolled her eyes. “And now I have three daughters of my own. When Mom comes to visit, she just pats my hand and says to enjoy the white-water rapids.”
Alicia told Lalo to go back and play quietly with his cars. “My grandmother has Alzheimer’s. My mom has been taking care of her for the last three years. It’s been hard on both of them. My grandmother tried to hide her condition for a long time. Mom was so frustrated with her, when she finally realized what was happening, she felt horrible. I think she still does. Mom swears she’ll never put my grandmother into a facility, but it’s going to come to that soon.” She pinched crumbles from her denim skirt. “And I’m going to have to be the one to put my foot down. If I don’t, I’ll risk losing both of them.”
Penny put her cup down. “My mother died of cancer when I was twenty-three. That was twenty years ago, and I still miss her. During the first year, I’d pick up the telephone and start to dial and then remember she wouldn’t be there to answer.” Her dark brown eyes looked glossy. “There’s something special about a relationship between a mother and daughter, don’t you all think?”
Laurel’s expression turned sour. “A mother can do a lot of damage.”
“Like Herodias.” Dawn thought aloud. “When she told her daughter to dance for King Herod and demand John the Baptist’s head on a platter.”
“That’s a good bad example.” Bev shuddered.
“Or a mother could be like Lois, who raised Eunice in the faith, and they both raised Timothy together. The apostle Paul thought of him as a son.”
Alicia leaned over and put her hand on Dawn’s knee. “You’re awfully pale, Dawn. Are you sure you’re all right?”
“Just a little tired.” She hadn’t realized how stressful it would be having Mom and Granny together for four days. Not that anything untoward had been said. Jason had to get up early, and he found it hard to keep his eyes open after nine o’clock. Mitch would suggest it was time to head back to the Ramada Inn in Waynesville. Mom would then ask Granny if she was ready to go. It became a ritual, leaving it up to Granny to decide. If there had been extra bed in the second room instead of the new crib, Dawn would have asked Mom to spend the night. With Granny, Mitch, and Christopher back at the Ramada Inn, maybe she and Mom could’ve talked more.
Her mother never said much, but what she said counted.