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What Friendship

by CoraLee Grave

(Continuation of Second Series)

My first thrill with Phil was our date to the breakfast dance, and to our football game that afternoon.  Later he asked me to dinner at his home to meet his father.

Phil called for me at 7:00 and we drove to his home in Beverly Hills.  It was simply magnificent.  It was a massive colonial home with huge white pillars and green shutters.  The estate was surrounded by a tall and beautifully kept hedge.  Upon entering the front lawn one gazed upon two huge evergreen trees standing in from of each white pillar on each side of the front steps.  My eyes fell instantly upon the beautiful while winding staircase laid with a gorgeous red velvet carpet as we entered the reception hall.  The furnishings were of a delightful red and while contrast, blending beautifully with the staircase.

Instantly Phil led me to meet his father who was waiting in the most beautiful brown and white library I had ever seen.  He greeted me very friendly, yet with an air of sophistication.  He said, "Phil has spoken of you, Marion, a great deal, and at last it is my pleasure to meet so charming a young lady." 

The dinner gong then sounded, and we entered the dining room to dine from a table laid in blue and white corresponding with the furnishings of the room.

I found Phil's father to be very entertaining and quite a talker.  I believe he could start talking at dawn, and talk steadily through until another dawn without repeating an anecdote or wearing out an adjective.  He was endowed with a vocabulary, which, if not always intelligible was graphic and entertaining.  I could have listened to him for hours.  He had traveled extensively through England several times, India, China, Japan and also Africa; so you can readily gather his conversations were amazingly interesting.  There had been no limit to the amount of money at his disposal, I gathered from his conversation, as he started travelling when he was very young.

Phil glanced at his watch to discover it was growing very latte, and hastily reminded his father that we must leave for the college prom, which I had forgotten while listening attentively to his father.

Oftimes, I have wondered time and again how I happened to be so lucky.

You can imagine how happy I must have been when I walked into the prom with none other than the handsome Phil Keith, and I looked at the different beautiful girls from Boston, New York, Chicago and many other places, that he could have fallen for; yet I, a small town girl, could hold his interest - a millionaire's son. I had a delightful evening.

The next morning when I went down to my breakfast, Mrs. Jones said to me in a teasing way, "Marion, are you fall in for

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the rich Phil Keith?" I answered her emphatically, "No." I know I must have flushed almost to the bone as I felt within myself that I was lying.

Months rolled by quickly; I was having such a good time. Oftimes I had anticipated going home for the holidays, but my mind would readily turn to Phil and all the parties that I would miss. Finally my father made up my mind for me by saying in a brief letter that I must come home because mother wasn't well. I left for home immediately. I learned after I reached home that Babby would also return in two weeks. My! I was glad to see them all, and especially Barbara, as I had so much to tell her. Babby was as beautiful as ever. She looked as lovely as a picture.

One particular evening as Babby started to remove her suit coat, I noticed that she was wearing a beautiful ring on her engagement finger. Kiddingly, I asked her if she were going to leave me soon. Barbara relieved my sorrow by telling me that she had no intention of marrying until she finished college. She said, "I didn't write you, Marion, about my engagement because I didn't feel that I could do you justice in a letter."

Barbara began to tell me all about her boy friend, Jack Anderson. From the description she gave, he was tall and very hanssome. She seemed to be very much in love with him. She related he was studying to be an Undertaker. I was very happy for Barbara. We never did anything out of the ordinary at home during the holidays but discuss what we had done while we were away as our little town never had much excitement. I enjoyed that visit at home as much as I do going abroad now. Naturally, I told Babs all about Phil. The color of his hair, what a football player he was, and as you know, all the fine things. Barbara and I were so devoted I don't think it ever occurred to us that we would lose trace of one another in later years; but life holds her appointments and disappointments, as you know.

I noticed that mother's face showed she had failed considerably; although it never dawned on me that this would be the last time I would see her alive. I noticed that she was much paler, much thinner, that usual, yet I had no idea that her condition was that serious.

Our vacation time ended, and I went back to school bidding on my family farewell again. I departed a few days before Babs. I promised Phil I would try to come back to some of the parties. Everyone seemed to be happy to see me again in Los Angeles, and I surely had a wonderful time going around before school started. I was back in school exactly three weeks when I faced one of the saddest things in my life; mother passed away. I went home for her burial and remained two weeks as Dad didn't wish to keep me out of school any longer than necessary.

It's needless for me to say how sad this loss was. Any girl who has been blessed with such a dear, kind, loving mother as I, certainly can feel the vacancy that was left in her life which, regardless, can never be filled again.

I don't know what I would have done without Mr. and Mrs. Jones; they tried in every way to take mother's place.

I continued on in school. Dad had consented while I was home for me to remain in California during my summer vacation, and come home about two weeks before I entered school that fall. I was certainly glad Dad was so considerate, although I tried to persuade him to visit me the next Christmas. We planned this before I came back. Strange as it may seem man appoints and God disappoints. I never knew that was the last time I would see my father alive again. I was served another shock about a week before I was to go home at the end of the summer. Dad took suddenly ill, and before I could reach home he passed away. This meant at 19 years of age I was left alone in this cold world without either parents and no relatives. This was before I entered my second year in college. I remained home long enough to sell the property and settle all business, as I

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