Adam Chapter Twenty-One

Kingwell By Kingwell, 31st Mar 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Fictional Narrative

Since Mona had but two weeks off in August, Adam decides to spend his summer working in St. John's and both would go home to see their families at the end of the summer.

A Murder.

Adam, even with his studies, continued to follow provincial, national, and world news. St. John’s had two daily newspapers, The Evening Telegram and The Daily News and Adam read both every day except Sunday, when no paper was published. He also followed the news on CBC radio as well as on VOCM, a local private station that had been broadcasting in the capital city since 1931.
At the moment, the big news was about a murder in central Newfoundland, the first such crime in the province in eight years. Joseph Norris, just seventeen years old, in a jealous rage, shot and killed his girlfriend, thinking that she was cheating on him with a mutual friend. There was little crime in Newfoundland at the time, and for many people a man’s word was as good as having a contract on paper. The Newfoundland Constabulary who policed the city of St. John’s did not carry guns, nor did any of the constables who had kept law and order in the more rural areas of the country before it had become a province of Canada. Since joining Canada, the rural areas were now the responsibility of the RCMP.
Newfoundland still had capital punishment for murder and following the British system, death was by hanging. This had not changed with confederation since Canada followed the same arrangement. It was the first murder in Newfoundland since 1942, when Herbert Spratt of St. John’s, had killed his fiancée, Josephine O’Brien. Spratt was hanged and would have the dubious distinction of being the last person to be executed in Newfoundland.

The Sentence And The Peition.

In the weeks that followed, everyone held their breath as they followed the proceedings of the trial. Adam was still in class when word came that the twelve member jury had found Norris guilty of first degree murder. When three days later, the judge in the case sentenced the young man to be hanged there was uproar among the people of the province due to the fact that the youngster was only seventeen years old. This was especially true of those who knew the families best and soon a petition was circulated asking that the man be spared the death penalty because of his youth.
It was decided that the petition would be sent to no less a personage than King George VI, who as king of Britain was also king of Canada. Although the monarch had no real power, there remained, especially in Newfoundland, a loyalty to the crown that was second to none. Adam himself had signed the petition, feeling as he did that capital punishment itself was wrong. Sending the petition had been a gamble and some thought that the sovereign would not want to interfere in something that was clearly the decision of the justice system.
In less than six weeks however, a reply was received from Buckingham Palace. King George VI, noting the number of names on the petition, and the age of the young man in question, asked that the sentence be reduced. The request was acted upon almost immediately and Norris, instead of getting the death penalty, was sent to prison for ten years. For Adam, who had been debating the pros and cons of a constitutional monarchy, it was indeed an interesting case. He felt certain however, that regardless of the manner in which it had been accomplished, justice in this case had been done.

The Decision.

The university year would end in April and Adam knew that he must decide between finding employment in St. John’s for the summer, and returning home to Little Valley to fish with his father and Simon. That his parents were expecting him home was clear from the letters that he received every week, and the fact that the price being paid for fish was the best that it had ever been, was not lost on the young man. The only fly in the ointment was that returning home now, would mean that he and Mona would not see each other for nearly four months. That they were in love was as clear to them now, as it was to everyone else who saw them together, and somehow Adam couldn’t imagine them being apart for that long.
Mona would get a two week vacation in August and although she didn’t say so, Adam knew that she was hoping that he would stay in the city until then, and they could go home and return to school together, as they had done the previous year. The weeks flew by and Adam found himself preparing for final exams without having made a firm decision. In the end, it was a surprise announcement by the government of the province that tipped the scales in his favour.
Exams had barely started when “Joey”, as the premier was affectionately known, announced that beginning in September of that year, and continuing for each semester thereafter, the government would make available to every student from Newfoundland and Labrador who could not afford tuition, a grant of two thousand dollars. In addition student loans would be available to all who needed the extra money. For Adam, who felt that he would probably make more money fishing, than working in St. John’s, this was a godsend, yet there was even better news to come. 

Adam Makes An Impression.

Mary was especially disappointed to learn that their youngest son would not be returning home immediately after writing his exams, but that she would have to wait until August to see him. She guessed of course, as had his father that the young couple’s wanting to be together was the deciding factor, and liking Mona as they did, they accepted their son’s decision gracefully.
A friend of Adam’s from St. John’s mentioned that his grandparents were looking for a young man to live with them during the summer, and were welling to cut the cost of room and board in half in exchange for mowing the lawn and doing other odd jobs around the house. His friend took him around to meet the elderly couple the next day, and when university closed for the summer, he immediately moved in.
George and Isabella Fox were so impressed with Adam, who had just accepted a summer job with Brookfield Ice Cream that they refused to accept any money from him for room and board! In exchange, Adam willingly helped the couple with any job that needed doing. He entertained Isabella by donning an apron and setting the table as she prepared dinner, and George, a retired journalist, delighted in his chats with the young man, who appeared to know more than most men twice his age.
An agnostic, who had stopped attending church more than twenty years earlier, he was impressed with Adam’s determination to question rather them simply accept the teachings of religion. George too had read the Bible and was amazed that someone of Adam’s age knew it so well. Adam found the older man to be a welcome change from the men he had grown up around and was always asking questions as to how George had come to the conclusions he had.

Mona Learns To Swim

Mona and Adam chatted on the telephone every day now, as casually as if they’d been doing it all their lives. They got together almost every evening too, sometimes to take in a movie at the Majestic theater, other times to stroll through Bannerman Park and sit on its benches, or snuggle together beneath the trees. The swimming pool at the park opened in late June and Adam, who had been swimming since he was eleven, encouraged Mona to learn as well.
Back in Little Valley, as in most small Newfoundland communities, boys swam in the ponds that could usually be found just outside the settlement. Girls were forbidden to venture near the area however, as it was customary for the boys to swim in the nude. In the city of course, it was different and when Mona returned to Little Valley in August, she was the only member of the fairer sex who was able to swim. Many, including most members of her family were shocked, since in local folklore it was considered unlucky for women to go swimming!
The two weeks flew by quickly and this year the voyage back to St. John’s was a pleasure trip compared to a year earlier, just as it had been two weeks before when they had left St. John’s for Little Valley. Mona hadn’t attempted to go swimming while home, but she had managed to convince most of the young, and even some of the older women that swimming was fun for both sexes and that the taboo against girls learning to swim was just superstition.
TO BE CONTINUED See Chapter Twenty-Two
Read From The Beginning See Chapter One


Bannerman Park, Bible, Britain, Buckingham Palace, Canada, Death Penalty, Execution, First Degree Murder, Guns, Hanging, Justice, King George Vi, Newfoundland And Labrador, Punishment, Rcmp

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author avatar Kingwell
I am 75 years old and retired.I like writing short stories, poetry as well other articles of interest.

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author avatar Retired
31st Mar 2015 (#)

Great Chapter Kingwell!

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author avatar Kingwell
31st Mar 2015 (#)

So pleased that you are still following. Blessings.

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author avatar Carol Roach
1st Apr 2015 (#)

great work, I love that you include so much history

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author avatar Kingwell
1st Apr 2015 (#)

Thank you Carol. This is not an autobiography but I lived through these times. Blessings.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
8th Apr 2015 (#)

Lovely and heart warming story of love and adventure of the young couple with understanding and encouraging adults, thanks Kingwell - siva

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author avatar Kingwell
8th Apr 2015 (#)

Thank you Siva. Blessings.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
14th May 2015 (#)

Kingwell, I love the feeling I have when I read your story. I feel like I'm right there experiencing everything. Awesome writing. I must say you are the best. Blessings to you! I've now completed 21 of your chapters. I can honestly say this is awesome.

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author avatar Kingwell
14th May 2015 (#)

Thank you Nancy. I'm so pleased that you actually like my writing. Blessings.

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