The Social Climber of Davenport Heights

The Social Climber of Davenport Heights by Pamela Morsi Read Free Book Online

Book: The Social Climber of Davenport Heights by Pamela Morsi Read Free Book Online
Authors: Pamela Morsi
That he’d happened to grab a knife first was coincidence.
    No higher power had intervened. That idea was silly.
    I believed in God, of course. David and I were members of one of the oldest, most influential churches in the city. But I would never be one of those over-made-up, fanatic women crying on TV-preacher talk shows about a miracle that had happened in their life.
    Still, it wouldn’t hurt me to do something good.
    I approached the idea almost as if I were sticking a pin in a voodoo doll. It felt strange, superstitious, out of my control. I didn’t like those kinds of feelings. I wasn’t comfortable with them.
    But I was glad to be alive. There was no harm in making a gesture of appreciation for that. The man from the retirement home had helped me. It wasn’t a bad idea to pass that on, to help somebody else.
    I got up and walked back into the house.
    In my office, I flipped on the light and sat down at my desk. From the top left-hand drawer I took out my checkbook. Using a four-hundred-dollar Mont Blanc pen, I filled in the date. I stared for a long moment at the Pay to the order of .
    When David came in the next morning, he found me still sitting there, tired, sleepless but somehow rejuvenated.
    “What are you doing?” he asked me.
    “Writing checks.”
    He raised a startled eyebrow, looking puzzled. “The bills are all paid up.”
    “I’m not paying bills,” I told him. “I’m making donations.”
    That surprised him even more.
    “The Westin Gala or the Republican National Committee?” he asked.
    “Neither.”
    Truthfully I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t even want to examine my feelings. But David was my husband. We kept our finances jointly, so I owed him some sort of justification.
    “I just feel so lucky to be alive,” I said, “I guess I just want to sort of celebrate that. I’m giving some money to…to some worthy causes.”
    David was looking through the stack of sealed, stamped envelopes lined up neatly along the edge of in my out-box.
    He read the addressees aloud. “American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Kidney Foundation…”
    “They’re alphabetical,” I said.
    He looked at me quizzically.
    “Your favorite charities?”
    “I’m not sure I really have any favorites.”
    His brow furrowed.
    “I got them out of the Yellow Pages.”
    “What are you down to now?” He was glancing at my checkbook.
    “Special Olympics,” I answered.
    David and I never argued. It wasn’t that we agreed about things, it was simply that we didn’t disagree enough to make it worth the confrontation. I wasn’t concerned about his disapproval, I just honestly didn’t quite know how to explain.
    “I want to do something good,” I said. “I…I just want to do something good.”

Chapter 3
    I WENT BACK to work that very day, even without having had any sleep. It was as if a burden had been lifted off my shoulders. I had promised to “do good” and I’d fulfilled my end of the deal. I’d given money to forty-seven of the two hundred and four charitable organizations listed in the Yellow Pages—all of the ones that I was familiar with. I’d given ten times the amount of money we’d spent on contributions the year before, and had pretty much blown my clothes and entertainment budget for the rest of the season. But I felt good about it.
    Millie and Frank were especially glad to see me. And I think it wasn’t just because I was their heavy hitter. Which, of course, I was. My first day back on the job I got a major deal brewing. I remembered Lexi saying at the club that Barbara Jarman had hired a full-time nurse for her mother-in-law. I called Barb and convinced her that that big old house—a two-story Victorian with double wraparound porches on four lots at the edge of Park Square—was just too much for an infirm old lady, and that the nurse was probably walking off with every antique that wasn’t bolted to the floor.
    The Victorian would have to go. The

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