Gardening with Evelyn
Author's note: My inspiration was mainly a portrait of a woman staring at her daughter in her bassinet. The... Show full author's note »
Evelyn's DiaryJuly 16, 1930-
This shall be my first journal entry as Evelyn Smith. I was recently married to my wonderful husband, William Johnson III. He is a delightful man, always upbeat and happy. While packing my belongings I had found a large amount of books, all written by my mother and grandmother. They have been writing for quite some time, it’s about so many topics; my mother’s is mainly about nature. I never met her, at least I can’t remember if I had. From what I have read I look just like her, and take some interests she does.
July 17, 1930-
I have looked all night and I can’t find the rest of her journal entries so her last one must be January 12, 1911; which happens to be when I was a baby. Reading these books leaves me a lot of questions. She feared my father, she knew it wasn’t safe, but she wasn’t ill. So what happened to her? She died somehow, and I feel with everything I have in me, her death wasn’t an accident. I need to go see my father, if he doesn’t supply any useful information; I guess I have to track down my grandparents. I’m determined to find out what happened to her, and someone will pay. –
July 20, 1930-
It has been three days since I discovered my mother’s journal and I have just felt the need to cry. At this point in my life I should be happy, I’m a newlywed; I have a brand new home, and a doting husband. But there is a lingering feeling of shame; shame felt for this family. I still don’t know a lot of information but what I do have all points to my father. I adored him growing up; he is the one who basically raised me. To think how can he do such a thing? He told me my mother was gone, and that she left us, but with his temper I’m not so sure…
July 21, 1930-
Today I plan on going to see my father, I need to hear this story again and try to make sense of it. I feel like the events are not in the order as he is trying to make it seem. I need to know the truth, but I doubt he would tell me anyways. He’s been lying to me my entire life. I also have determined another important piece to solving this puzzle. I need to track down my grandparents. They would have to know something, but I don’t even know their last name. I haven’t even ever met them…
October 19, 1930-
After doing months of researching and traveling around I hadn’t had enough time to write, but to catch up my mother had no enemies and the town didn’t even have a record of her death. My father told the town as well, she’d abandoned us, but I still don’t believe him. She had a reason to leave but if she didn’t want to subject me to his violence, why’d she leave me with him? She could’ve taken me with her? That’s why I still believe she died, and it wasn’t an accident.
October 22, 1930-
I hired a private investigator; hopefully he can help me find my grandparents. James does cost a good amount of money though, but me and my husband are well off so, it’s not an immediate worry for me. Being in Maryland, I’m far away from where my mother and her mother lived so I told James to start in Manhattan, New York. I hope he has some luck at least; it’s such a big city. Other than that things with my husband are okay, he has been tense lately, some pressure at work to help his client. I really don’t know, I suppose it would be bad of me to say I really don’t care.
October 25, 1930-
Still no word from James, hopefully soon he’ll find something. With no breakthroughs from him, I developed one of my own. I called my father and started asking more questions about my mother. At first he paused but then jumped in with nothing but nice things to say about her. Why would he speak so highly of some who “abandoned” him, and his child? I know for a fact I will be stopping by his house tomorrow.
October 26, 1930-
I went by my father’s house today. He was acting really weird, basically standing over me while I looked at some portraits. When I asked him where my mother’s belongings were he said “she took them with her.” All of her stuff, gone? But only the journals were left? Strange.
November 29, 1930-
William is getting increasingly frustrated with me. He says all I talk about is my mother, and what could’ve happened to her. We fight almost every night, all because I’m so devoted to finding out what happened to her. He understands I should be curious, but not spending every second of my life focusing on something that may or may not have happened. And once he found out I hired James, I felt he was going to rip my ear off with the amount of screaming. Any who, I did receive one piece of helpful information. A missing person report was filed with Manhattan police department; five days after my mother allegedly went missing. The surprising thing is the report wasn’t even filed by my father! It was filed by a nanny that was working for us?! Everything just keeps getting weirder and weirder…
November 30, 1930-
I have decided to take a spontaneous trip to New York; I need to find a way to get in touch with this woman…and my grandparents. Hopefully this will change a lot, and make a turn for the better in this case.
December 1, 1930-
So after arriving in New York I did some research on the “nanny.” Surprisingly I was able to find her name and address very quickly, she was in an article in the New York Times. She wasn’t famous or anything, I guess my father was a very powerful man then, and the title was Powerful Men of New York. I wonder how she’ll feel when I show up on her doorstep.
December 2, 1930-
I saw her today, the nanny. Her name was Cynthia Suarez. She was a pretty woman; she hard dark brown, almost black hair, I’ve never seen someone with hair that dark before; and her eyes were the same way, dark and full of mystery. When I told her who I was she seemed shocked, but she was very welcoming. We talked for hours on how she was over the years, and then I proceeded to tell her about myself. She was with me until I was two, but I don’t remember. After a few cups of tea, some secrets came out. She said she was having an affair with my father. Before she became our nanny she was his secretary, and once I was born, he took that as an open opportunity to have her come into our home, continuing their sick charade. I asked her about my mother but she said the weekend after my mother figured out what was going on, she never saw her again. I guess she just assumed she was so enraged over my father’s infidelity, she left him. That only gave way for their relationship to become more serious.
December 3, 1930-
I don’t know why I’m so bothered by meeting Cynthia. I guess it’s because I didn’t realize who my father truly was. And she was initially the woman who tore my family apart…I’m not getting any closer to finding more information either…
December 12, 1930-
James found my grandparents! They were at the same home they lived in their entire life! Although he didn’t make his presence known he did do some surveillance and he notices they are both home for an hour at three forty-five. I think I’ll stay in New York for a few more days to go see them; I’m sure William won’t mind.
December 13, 1930-
I received an angry phone call tonight…from my husband. I guess I’m not there for him enough, but how can I be when I’m in this kind of situation. All he said before he hung up is that I needed to start….
December 14, 1930-
Today I’m going to see my grandparents. I’m somewhat excited, and also very nervous. I just don’t know what they are going to tell me…
So I saw Elizabeth and Henry today; at first sight they didn’t know who I was but when I said my name they basically broke out in tears. My grandmother immediately hugged me, and my grandfather stood there dumbfounded as if he is staring at a ghost or someone with six heads. After a few seconds of awkward silence they offered me to come inside and have an early supper with them. As we ate we talked about how I have been over the years, and I continued to ask them the same. When they asked me how my mother was, I wasn’t shocked but, I went somewhat silent; I didn’t know what to say, so I broke the news as best as I could. I felt that it was important to treat it like a band aid and just rip it off. So I flat out said she’s dead. Once again my grandmother started to cry this time, but it made me feel terrible, because I had to be the one to break to news her daughter is dead. She cried for at least three hours. I don’t know what the pain of losing your child feels like and after seeing her like this I don’t ever want to know. My grandfather sat there in silence, he left a few times, I would guess he started to cry and didn’t want anyone to see. My father never even called them, but that doesn’t surprise me because I know he had something to do with it…
December 20, 1930-
I ended up going back to Maryland; I needed to be with my husband, because God knows if I stayed any longer he would become even more enraged. Things though are somewhat better; he just missed me is all. Although, I did receive a letter in the mail from my grandmother--
It really was a pleasure to meet you; and I do apologize for not being around while you were growing up… I knew your father was abusive; there was no way to stop it though. Your mother was a terrified woman, but somehow she saw the good and continued to love him. Knowing that your grandfather couldn’t even be around him, or he’d kill the man. Honestly, your mother didn’t even tell us she was pregnant, but that’s no excuse to shut her out. After all you told us really left us asking questions ourselves; what happened to your mother? We give one hundred percent of our support, and if finance is an issue we will help with expenses. We will be down to your area in the following week. We love you dearest.
Gram and Pop
This made me so happy, but it’s rapidly approaching four o’clock; I better start dinner. Goodnight.
December 27, 1930-
My grandparents are here, and they found out some valuable information. Apparently my father had previous ties to the Sicilian mob. He used to do business for them; making giant corporate buildings and so they could run their business out of the basement. I guess they had a wide range of “services” ranging from hit men, drug distribution and making, racketeering, arson, and even fraud. How could my father get mixed up so badly into these terrible things?! But know this could categorize my mother’s death as a hit, he knows the right people…
December 29, 1930-
My grandparents and I are taking a little trip to my father’s house today, hopefully we’ll get some answers and closure...
So today went well; when we confronted my father he went pale white but proceeded to give us answers. He did admit to being a part of the Sicilian mafia, but he still swears he doesn’t know what happened to my mother. He said the day he came home; she was gone, along with all her things. The only person that was home at the time was the nanny, Cynthia. She apparently watched my mother pack all her things, and leave. My father claims he didn’t think anything of it since he was “with” Cynthia and my mother new of the affair. He continued to say he hoped she would return, but after passing months, he lost all hope. My father asked Cynthia to move in soon after; he said she was a good companion, but she became too attached, and it bothered him. I guess their relationship didn’t last very long. My father then talked to my grandparents, he said there was no contact because of his shame and embarrassment of his indiscretion. I still don’t know what to believe…
January 29, 1931-
I received an anonymous letter in the mail; the only thing I could tell from it was that the origin was from New York, from the postal stamps. After reading it, it made me cry. It could be a break in this mystery.
I’m so sorry. I’m the one who killed your mother. It was an accident, but I wasn’t sorry at the time, I only became sorry when I noticed what a wonderful and intellectual child she left behind. Her body is under the gravel in your old homes basement.--
This needs to be shown to my grandparents and to the police. This could be what we’ve always needed.
January 31, 1931-
I showed the police the letter, they immediately went to our old address with me, my grandparents, and father following close by. When we got there, the police were already in the basement frantically digging, with dirt flying everywhere. They dug for about twenty minutes until they heard a thud. The wiped the dirt off, and found a large black trunk. They dug out the edges and pulled it out of the cold ground. When they opened it…there she was, my mother, exactly where the letter said she’d be. My grandmother grabbed me and cried, my father even started to sob. After I became more aware, I noticed tears were running down my cheeks. Closure, now all I want is justice.
April 31, 1931-
Months passed by and still no word on any evidence found on my mother or in the trunk. I really need to know, it will help me sleep at night. My father and my grandparents have developed a relationship, I love being able to see them often. I love seeing what I have left of my mother in my grandmother. It makes me feel somewhat whole.
May 5, 1931-
The police contacted me today! They found long black strand of hair grasped in my mother fingers! It must have been the person that murdered her. And thinking back, I know someone with black hair, and someone who had motive, Cynthia…
May 7, 1931-
The police visited Cynthia, they had a warrant; all they wanted was a strand of her hair. They told her it was in order to rule her out as a suspect, because a woman couldn’t do such a thing, little did she know it was to incriminate her. Hopefully the DNA testing will work and her hair will match, I have no doubt it will be positive.
May 14, 1931-
It was a match! The hair was a match! Cynthia was the one who did it! After the hair, and now the letter, it all makes sense! I have never been this happy in my life! I can finally think again, about something besides what kind of person could’ve murdered her. Now I can be a wife again. Ah, closure.
June 16, 1931-
Life since the arrest of Cynthia has been great! The relationship between my husband and I is a lot better. Together we are having our first child together, and we already decided we are naming her Charlotte. It’s a good way to remember my mother. My family has never been stronger, every weekend my father and grandparents come over for dinner; it’s the way it should be. On this day I am writing from Massapequa, New York; we have all taken a family vacation to the lake, to calm our minds some more. With all that going on, it’s the time of Cynthia’s trial; we can read how is going in the paper, and its going well, she’s been convicted of first degree murder, life in prison. She said she did it because she wanted my mother’s life, she wanted my father, and she wanted me. I guess there is no time for an insanity plea?! Just joking, but at least my mother was granted the justice she deserved.