Anne Willard was just entering the annex with a bolt of material in her arms when the girls almost ran her over.
"Sorry mom," Lillian apologized as she sped around her.
"Excuse me Auntie Anne." Barbara called as she tried to catch up with Lillian.
Anne watched the girls disappear down the backstairs, headed for the alley. Her mouth dropped open in amazement.
" Auntie Anne.. wha...? "
Barbara hadn't called her that since she lived there fourteen years ago. Anne had seen her coming and going during the last three months since the restoration began, but she hadn't actually spoken to Anne till now.
She carried the heavy bolt of cloth to her husband and set it down in front of him.
"What in the jumping blue blazes is up with those girls? Was Barbara chasing Lillian? "
Gordon grinned and picked up the cloth.
"No, Barbara was following Lily. The girls have called a truce for the moment. They've gone dumpster diving in search of Lily's white boxes."
"Lily's boxes, why? They're in the armoire in the annex."
She had passed the huge wardrobe on her way across the floor, but she hadn't noticed it in the corner.
"Not anymore. I'll tell you all about it on the way down to the auditorium. This is the original material for the seats. I want to see if it's still good enough to reupholster them."
Ogden had been watching this exchange from a short distance, listening with interest. As the couple turned to leave, he took a step foerward.
"Wait, before you go I'd like to ask you something."
"Yes?" Gordon said
" I..I wonder if the three of you would like to have dinner with Barbara and I tonight? Any restaurant you wish."
Ogden said hesitantly. This was a departure for him. He was always the man in charge. He generally ordered people to be at such and such a place at such and such a time if he was making dinner plans. He almost never asked, and he was never hesitant.
Anne gave Gordon a questioning look, and he nodded.
"We'd like to go, but I'll have to ask Lily."
"Good, thank You. Let me know by five when and where you would like to go."
"Okay, we'll do that. "We'll see you later."
Gordon gave a little wave, and they left. Ogden started toward the door after them, but decided to stop at the armoire.
It was huge and deep, and it was possible that Barbara hadn't pulled them all out if they were way in the back. He knew that his daughter had a real fear of dark places. Even to this day she still slept with a night light on.
He opened the doors wide and immediatelly saw one white box in the far corner. He reached in and pulled it out. It was a fairly heavy plywood box with a hinged lid that had a strong looking brass clasp on it.
It was painted solid white except for a rectangular piece of heavy pale blue construction paper that had been glued to the middle of the top. It was outlined with deep pink marker in scrolls and curliques. In the same deep pink marker, there was large block lettering that read :
THE PROPERTY OF MISS LILLIAN JOYCE PLUMMER,
ROYAL GRAND THEATRE - # 4
He was a little curious what might be in it, but he didn't look. He figured that he had no right to something this private, like looking at someone's diary. He couldn't imagine why Barbara would have looked in a couple of them, much less throw them away.
Ogden was a tall man, and as he stood up, he noticed that there was a shelf at the very top. The armoire itself was eight feet high, so the shelf would be at least seven feet off the ground.
The workmen had left some tools and things at one end of the room, so Ogden went over there. He found a small step stool and a flash light among the stuff, and took it over to the armoire.
He stood on the stool and looked inside the shelf space. There was a metal box the size of a shoe bax up there, and nothing else. It had an old rusted padlock on it, and it was coated in dust. He was pretty sure it wasn't Lillian's.
He brought the box down and cleaned it off as best he could with the dust covers. It was painted in faded gold leaf, and there was some lettering, but it would have to be cleaned carefully in order to keep the paint intact.
It was obviously very old. It would be interesting to take a look at it later, but right now Ogden decided he should let Lillian know that he had found at least one of the boxes.
He picked up both boxes, closed the doors of the armoire, and returned the flashlight and stool to where he had found them. He went down the back stairs that led to the alley behind the annex.
When he opened the door he was surprised to hear giggling and shouting. What he saw amazed him so much he stood there with his mouth hanging open so far that a person would think he had Lock Jaw.