Summer 1970: Bean Donohue’s sixteen, she’s finally got a good band together, and she’s crazy in love with her artist boyfriend Zak. She’s also about to get the coolest summer job ever, and her impossible mom’s conveniently out of town. So why does she keep ending up in 1953…or 1779? And who’s that guy with the black ponytail and the Kent State t-shirt? He knows way too much about her. Should Zak be worried—or should Bean?
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The In Her Own Time Spare Parts Files: A Letter That Was Never Delivered…From Fellow Time Traveler Crow to Bean
I know I can never send this letter. There is no way to deliver it from my time to yours, and it would be wrong for me to mail it even if I could. These words are going into the fire as soon as I finish writing them, despite the waste of paper and ink.
Ah, Rebecca—I’ve seen you ball up a piece of paper that you made one too many typos on and toss it into the waste basket. If you were born in my time, you would never do that. But you live in a time of electricity, of music and pictures that travel miles through the air….and you live in a country where my family spilled their blood when The Colonies turned their back on the Crown. How is it that country—your country—has grown into the most powerful nation on earth?
You know I’m only a runaway to your time. You don’t know the consequences I will face for the rules I have broken. I have learned more than anyone should know. I have learned how to hide so no one can fully see me for who I am—except for you. I cannot bear to involve you in my flight any further, but I also cannot bear to stop watching over you.
Zak will never know how lucky he is.
Your white-coated, careful doctors will never be able to cure the sickness that is in me because the strain of being where I shouldn’t grows greater daily. But my friends! My dear friends in that sweet future you take for granted! How I love all of them! How I wish that future were really my present.
We all own our own times—and our times own us.
Please stay safe in all of your travels, Rebecca—my Bean. Please.
Yours most tenderly,
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…And in the next moment, Bean found herself alone, just outside the house. The air was sharp. Tall trees that had just been in full summer leaf were suddenly bare, and smaller than they’d been seconds before. Bean tried to peer back in through the kitchen window, but the lights were off, and she couldn’t see anything. She stood in her side yard, sometime in the past. It was happening again…
And It was enough of a shock that she didn’t even know how she felt. She’d been glowing from the night before with Zak, happy to have had Sam pound on her door with music and laughter. Bean stuck her hands in the pockets of her thin blue cotton robe, and looked up. The sky looked like early afternoon: pale sunlight behind a thin, high layer of clouds. In front of her house, underneath the living room windows stood three overgrown barberry bushes. Bean had never seen them before. The ground was hard and cold, and she was barefoot.
Alrighty, then. Damn it. Lately, Bean had been perfectly fine with life in 1970. What year is this supposed to be? She had no idea.
Zak said love is always why this happens, she thought. But then she felt the happiness beginning to leak out of her. If Zak were right, why had she slipped backwards just now? She had a whole June weekend to spend with him, feeling nothing but love…and now, this.
It made no sense. All she could do was watch, deal, and try to keep warm.
It really was pretty chilly. She tried jogging in place to warm up, which helped a bit. Her toes were soon numb, though. After a few minutes, a black car with big, round bumpers pulled into the driveway and clattered to a halt. There was the rasp of an emergency brake being set. And Bean’s father—very young, and too thin for his thick, grey winter coat—got out of the driver’s side. Bean put a hand over her mouth, and watched as he ran urgently around to the passenger’s door. He yanked it open.
“Can you make it?” Bean’s dad called into the car.
“Of course I can make it,” said her mother’s voice. A high-heeled shoe and a nylon stocking-covered leg emerged. Then came the rest of Bean’s mom, wearing a brown tweed overcoat and a floppy green beret. She walked a bit unsteadily, clutching a bundle of white blankets wrapped around a baby, which began to wail.
“Sh-sh. Sh-sh-sh,” said Julia as she wobbled up the walk. She stopped when she got to the front door.
“You wouldn’t happen to have remembered the house keys, would you, Tom?” she called. Tom patted down three pockets in his coat before something jingled. He rushed a key into the lock. Then he looked back at the car. Both its front doors now stood wide open, and he sprinted back down the walk toward them. Bean sucked in her breath hard, taking it all in. Was that her days-old self, crying, inside the house? Sixteen-year-old Bean felt a little weepy, too. It’s 1953, then, she thought. Just after my actual birthday. Wow…
The wind blew and she shivered.
And then there was a hand on her arm.
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Christine Potter lives in a small town not far from the setting of Bean 2, In Her Own Time, near the mighty Hudson River, in a very old (1740) house with two ghosts. According to a local ghost investigator, they are harmless, “just very old spirits who don’t want to leave.” She doesn’t want them to.
Christine’s house contains two pipe organs (her husband is a choir director/organist), two spoiled tom cats, and too many books. She’s also a poet, and the author of two collections of verse, Zero Degrees at First Light, and Sheltering in Place. Christine taught English and Creative Writing for years in the Clarkstown Schools. She DJ’s free form rock and roll weekly on Area24radio.com, and plays guitar, dulcimer, and tower chimes.
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