Recognizing the location of the postmark as I walked outside, I had a bad feeling that this letter was not bringing happy news, so I opened and read it as I walked home. I greeted my daughter with a kiss on the cheek as I came through the front door, showing her the envelope. She looked at where the letter came from, and a concerned look crossed her face, as she studied it more closely, and then handed it back to me. I gathered my children together in the parlor and then read the letter to them:
Dear Mrs. Hensel,
My name is Mr. Guillermo Martinez, and I write to you today with the sad news that your grandmother died several days ago, peacefully in her sleep. Representing your grandmother’s estate, I don’t know if your grandmother ever discussed with you her desire for you to inherit ownership of Hensel House upon her death. Over the course of your grandmother’s declining health, the boardinghouse fell into disrepair and it became uninhabitable to its residents. The townspeople offered their help by taking in the residents who had no other family or friends to live with. Grateful I’m certain by the townspeople’s generosity and support, but not being able to run the boardinghouse she loved so much for the last decade, truly broke her heart and I would hazard a guess, hastened her death.
My law partner has informed me that you are recently widowed, with two minor children and a grandchild. So I understand fully that it will more than likely take some time for you to decide if, or when you’ll fulfill your grandmother’s wish, and, whether or not you decide to bring your family with you to California.
If I can help you in any way as you make these decisions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your grandmother entrusted me to first and foremost oversee that you and your family are taken care of, and her cherished boardinghouse be passed along to you now or in the future, and to future generations to come. Please accept my condolences and the condolences of the townspeople of Ciudad de Lorenzo. Mrs. Hensel, your grandmother was a pillar of and well-respected member of our community and she will be greatly missed.
Guillermo Martinez, Attorney-At Law