Chapter 1, The Tredwell Clan
Theodore and Marcus had been the best of friends since before they were born. That would seem impossible, but it is a claim these two friends confidently declare, as they were one hundred percent sure they remembered sharing many a conversation from inside one mother’s belly to the other, while their mothers knitted their first baby blankets together. They both had identical picture frames on each of their bedroom walls, depicting an image of their mummies together, round-bellied and glowing, each holding a delicious cupcake at a special tea party baby shower held for the both of them at Miss Laura’s Tea Room only two weeks before Marcus was born. Theodore claims he remembers exactly how delicious those cupcakes were. Marcus was older by Theodore by eleven days.
Their mothers were best friends from childhood. They’d grown up together on neighboring farms, gotten married to brothers in a double wedding, and had gotten pregnant at nearly exactly the same time, each and every time. If one had a girl, the other one would too, and if it was a boy, then they could count on the next baby to be a boy. It was just like that. All the cousins’ ages matched; each family had one eleven year old girl, one eight year old boy, and one fussy, pestery little girl of three each. It turned out that there would be a new set soon, for one mummy had just discovered that a new baby was to be born, so that set the other mummy to check for herself, and she discovered she too was expecting. So a whole new pair of cousins was on the way. So far, the only boys in the clan were Marcus and Theodore, and they were hoping for a set of boys to balance things out. They were already far outnumbered by girls right now. For the time being, they had one another to rely on. And like their mums and dads and sisters, they were quite inseparable.
The families were neighbors. The stone farm cottages were the childhood homes of both of the mothers, and now were where they raised their families. The farm plots bordered one another along an old low stone wall which did little to keep their sheep and goats from escaping into the others’ fields. There was a rarely traveled narrow gravel road that connected the houses by their long walnut lined driveways. The only traffic the road saw was the daily visit from the milkman, the bread man, and the postman. Occasionally, grandparents would come by, or friends or acquaintances would come for a resplendent holiday supper and to laze by the respective fires afterwards; but on the most part, it was a quiet road that dead-ended at the gate of Kennick Farm, the larger farm that wrapped all the way around both farms.
Both families shared the same surname because the two lady best friends had married brothers. They were called the Tredwells. There were the Hill Farm Tredwells and the Valley Farm Tredwells. Marcus came from Hill Farm, and Theodore from Valley Farm. Marcus and Theo were together from first in the morning until suppertime. At school, their desks were side-by-side. They were indeed the very best of friends.
Text and Artwork; Copyright© 2008 ~ Stephanie Johanesen