The last time I saw June was at a birthday party she gave for her nephew one Saturday in late fall.

I have to tell you what the inside of their house looked like because it played a significant role with the tragic ending.

Walking through the front door the first thing you see are dark brown stairs leading up to a landing then right a few more steps to the second floor.

Straight ahead at the end of the hall the kitchen looked like a  lighted rectangular picture with yellow walls, a red melmac table with curved chrome legs and the shadows of moving mothers.

Halfway down the hallway to the right was what we would call today, the living room where June threw the best birthday party I ever attended; one continuous strand of low level activity moving forward, always moving forward never boring exactly like those summer yard parties except instead of drinking booze and playing poker we were eating cake,  drinking Coke playing kids games like pin the tail on the donkey or dropping clothes pins into a milk bottle.

June made them fun moving around the room teasing us, laughing at our mistakes.  When we did something well, she gave out little prizes.  She treated us like adults having a good time which endeared her to us.

With candles blazing at just the right moment June brought the birthday cake into our midst.  We gathered around staring down at the cake, the room quiet for the first time all day.

Holding the knife over the cake she whetted our appetites, teasing each of us … one by one … about the hungry looks in our faces even accusing some of us of drooling.

She knew how to increase our appetites skilled as she was with her poking and prodding until I could hardly wait for my first piece.  I knew I could go back as many times as I wanted until I was completely satisfied.

It’s easy to see why my dad was lured into the temptation of eating a piece of her cake deliciously sweet as I’m sure he thought it was.     

We all wondered which one of us would be lucky enough to get the extra generous portions at the four corners; pieces she gave out with such delight to the four lucky boys she chose to get bigger portions of the sweet frosting and extra moist cake.

Within seconds after getting my first piece, I was back asking for more and more.

continued … Next: The End