A New Beginning

Part 7 of the Judy Tomaini Rock Series

 

The tent show that Al Tomaini and Jeanie Weeks were on was a lot different than the storefront they had been in. And Lizzie didn't care a bit for sleeping on the ground under the stage. Jeanie didn't mind at all,
and it was sort of an adventure for her. She would get up in the morning, and break the ice in her bath bucket, so she could wash off the dust from the night. She always liked the cold baths, as she said, they woke her up. And she liked to sleep on the hard ground, why, who knows. She had done it for so many years when she was young, it was just a way of life. She seemed to fit in any where and was not one to complain. Most of the performers would get a room in the town, but Lizzie was too cheap to spend the money, and anyway, it was some more torture for Jeanie. All Lizzie cared about was money and how to make more.

 

So when the contract was over they went back to the storefront. Even with the cost of the room they could make more money and be more comfortable. She was going to miss Al, as he had a longer contract, and she felt she would never see him again. He was at the time, just the best friend she ever had. And now she had to leave him. She was settled in the storefront where she was one of the biggest draws. Lizzie was in hog heaven. The money was rolling in. And she had stopped most of the torture of Jeanie. She would still do little things, and Jeanie had gotten so good at out guessing her it turned into a game.

 

A few short weeks later as Jeanie was taking a break from the many shows a day she did she heard a familiar voice behind her say, "Remember me". She turned quickly around, and there was her lost love. He picked her up and gave her a kiss. He told her he had just booked on at the storefront for the rest of the season, and was on the stage next to her. Any time they had a few minutes they were together and talking about what their dreams were for the future. Lizzie saw this, and instead of being angry she encouraged it. If they were to marry she would have two meal tickets, or so she thought. Al and Jeanie made their plans over six months. And after Lizzie pushing them to have a huge wedding, they told her they would think about it. And think they did.

 

The few months left in the season just dragged by. And the couple talked as much as they could. They related the time they were alone and growing up in the business. Jeanie had many tales to tell, as her life had been on the road from the time she was three. She told him of the places she had traveled with her family, and the death of her beloved Mother. She was so happy to have seen places growing up that she would have never seen had she not been in the business. Al was different, as he had just been in it a few years. He started out at 20. Now he was 24 and Jeanie was 20. They were each others first love, and with the morals they had they were waiting for the real love of their life. And to be married first.

 

They were somewhere near Ripley, NY, and on a very dreary, rainy day, in September, the 28th to be exact, in 1936 they decided they would elope and still be back in time for the show that evening. Only one thing stood in their way. Lizzie Weeks... Since Jeanie had just turned 20 a month before she was not old enough to marry with out Lizzie there to sign the paper. So they decided they would have to take her along. Mothers worst nightmare would have to be there to witness the wedding. The best day of their lives, tarnished by the most painful existence a person could have, the years with Lizzie Weeks.

 

The trip took longer than expected as the rain was heavy at times, and it was very cold in New York at that time. They found the Court house before it closed and the Justice of the Peace was just getting ready to leave. He asked them what they needed and when they said they wanted to get married, he said it would be an honor. And it was done. "September in the Rain" was their favorite song. When they emerged from the Court House the birds were singing and the sun was out. It was a new beginning for them. They went back to the hotel where they were both staying for Jeanie to pack. As the season was almost over they would share Al's room, and separate stages. Lizzie gave them a day off to have a honeymoon, and they would be back to work the following day.

 

Bright and early the next morning, there was a knock on the door. When Al opened it, there stood Lizzie. He asked her what she wanted and she was without words for the moment. When she said she needed them to go to work or no one would eat that week, she failed to notice that Al was an Italian with a very hot temper. He explained in very few words just what she could do. And the ties that bound Jeanie, were forever cut. She never saw Lizzie after that day and just put the witch out of her mind.

 

Al had already made arrangements with the booking agent and they left that day for New Jersey and Al's home for the winter. Al had a car, and they were driving away from the dark life into the light, and the beginning of a new chapter of their lives. Jeanie sat and went over what would happen when Al's family saw her for the first time. She kind of tossed her head, the way she did, when she was sorting out a new drama. Al started to laugh, and asked her just what was she thinking about. She said "about his family, and what their reaction would be." He had a hard time containing himself when he said, "And you just told them all to go to hell". And right he was. He told her, it would be just fine, and it was. Now her life was almost complete. The only thing missing was a baby...

 

2004 Judy Tomaini Rock, All Rights Reserved

Published with the permission of Judy Tomaini Rock

 

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