“Ursula and Sydney had Ernest, Marilyn’s father,” Allison explained to her friend Kassandra on the phone. Allison stayed on a while with her own parents, trying her best to care for them cheerfully, despite the regular temptations to exasperation. She spoke frequently with Leo, who was making progress on a bathroom floor without Allison around to need to use the facilities. And she and Kassandra chatted almost daily. Their favorite topic was the historical research Allison lost herself in, discovering the past of Pine Street. “And at some point, Ernest sells the house. I need to find out why, and where he took his family after that. But in the meantime, I found some more articles on Ursula and her group.”
“The anti-racist group?” Kassandra asked. Allison could hear the true interest in her friend’s voice, and gratitude surged through her heart. Taking care of her parents was its own reward, she reminded herself, but it was so nice to talk with someone who shared Allison’s interests.
“Yup, that’s the one. They called themselves the Sisters of the Lamb. You know, like the lamb of Christ. Nothing else I’ve found indicates Ursula was all that religious, really. Later on, I mean, her funeral was at a funeral home, not a church.”
“Maybe she used her father’s church as way of getting through to people who were religious, though,” Kassandra said. “Kind of like a cover story. Or a protection. Maybe it was dangerous, going up against those racial purity dudes.”
Allison pondered the dangers Ursula might have faced. She wondered if she’d had to face them alone. “I haven’t found Sydney’s name in any of the articles yet, either. Like, did he stay home and let her go protest? Or was he working too much to join her?”
“Gosh, I hope it doesn’t turn out he was on the other side,” Kassandra said. “Wouldn’t that be awful, stepping up for the rights of all people, seeing your husband peeking out from a white hood?”
Standing on her mother’s back porch, Allison felt a sudden chill. “It makes me wonder, Kassandra. What would I do, if those hooded hordes showed up now? Would I stand up to them?”
“Of course you would, Al. So would I. We all would.”
The confidence in Kassandra’s voice comforted Allison, although the chill on the back of her neck did not subside.