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 July 2010

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Penski

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Posts : 119
Join date : 2013-09-26

20170105
PostJuly 2010

Almost...Since Our Child

Clementine Hale tells how she got to know Heyes and the Kid...and how the famous picture was taken.



Close…when we were kids

Knock…knock…knock.

Clementine Hale answered the door. “Yes?”

“Miss Hale? Miss Clementine Hale?”

“Yes.”

“Paul Harris with the Rocky Mountain News.”

“Oh, Mr. Harris, please do come in. We do have an appointment, don’t we?”

“Yes ma’am. One o’clock sharp, if I’m not mistaken. I’m very curious to talk about your association with the former outlaws Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.”

Clementine ushered the newspaper reporter into the small parlor room. “Please sit down. Can I get you anything to drink?”

“No ma’am. Thank you for agreeing to talk to me. Heyes and Curry’s amnesty is big news and it’ll be interesting to hear from someone who has known them for so long. Since young adults?

“Close…when we were kids.” Clem sat down and made herself comfortable. “As long as you understand that the only reason I’ve agreed to talk with you is because my friends gave me their blessing to do the interview.”

Paul Harris sat in a comfortable chair and pulled out a pad of paper and pen. “So when did you first become acquainted with the outlaws?”

“Well, they were not outlaws when I first met them. They were kids in an orphanage… Valparaiso Home for Wayward Boys. My mother was the cook there…”

* * * * *

“Han, look at that girl over there.” A curly-blond pointed towards a girl about his age swinging alone during recess.

“Don’t have to point…there’s only one girl here.” Han glanced over and noticed an air of sadness about the girl.

“How come there’s no girls here? Has to be girls with no parents, too.”

“Because the orphanages were full and we’re at a home for just boys.”

“Oh.” Jed thought a moment as he continued to look towards the swing. “Then how come she’s here?”

Han was wondering the same thing. “Not sure.” They had arrived at the home a few weeks ago and were still figuring out the rules and how things ran.

“Kinda looks like Katie, huh?”

Han looked more carefully at the girl and saw the resemblance with his cousin he had to bury a month ago and nodded. “She does look like your sister.”

Jed started walking towards the swings when Han grabbed him by the arm. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“She looks lonely. Thought I’d go talk to her.”

“Don’t know if that’s allowed. Might get in trouble.” Although they hadn’t been there long, both boys had realized that it didn’t take much for the headmaster to hand out some kind of punishment.

“We’ve been in trouble before and we’ll get in trouble again. I’m gonna go talk to her.” Jed shook his cousin’s hand from his arm and walked up to the girl with dark hair in two braids and a pale blue dress. Han followed along.

“Hi, I’m Jed and this here’s my cousin, Han. What’s your name?”

The girl ground her toes into the dirt as she swiveled the swing. “Clementine Hale.”

“Clementine…that’s a long name. Don’t you have a shorter one? My real name’s Jedediah, but no one calls me it. Call me Jed instead. And Han here’s real name is…ouch, why’d you kick me, Hannibal?”

“Cause she don’t need to know that name.”

Clementine giggled at the boys.

“How come you’re at a boys’ home bein’ you’re a girl?” Jed sat on a vacant swing and began pumping his legs.

“Ma got a job as a cook and didn’t have no where to put me so Headmaster Gruenwald’ said I could attend school here.”

Han sat in the last swing.

“Where’s your pa?” Jed asked as he swung higher and higher.

“Jed, that ain’t nice to ask.” Heyes began pumping his legs.

“It’s okay. My pa is working in Denver on important business.” Clementine joined the boys in swinging higher.

“We don’t got no folks. They were killed by some bad soldiers.” Jed let go and flew from the swing to the ground.

As the school bell rang, Han and Clementine hurriedly stopped their swings and joined Jed walking to the classroom.

Walking up the stairs, Jed said, “See you later, Clem.”

“Clem?”

“Yeah, that’s your new short name.” Jed winked and entered the room.

* * * * *

“So that is how we met at the Valparaiso Home for Wayward Boys. My mother made sure the boys got a treat or two from the kitchen for befriending me. We had a wonderful time together, considering all the rules of the home. They were the brothers I never had. Han and Jed were in trouble often. And when Jed became deathly sick there, Han never left his side.” Clementine stood up and poured a glass of water from a pitcher on a table. “A year later, my mother took ill and passed away. My father was called and came for me. Took me to Denver. Then I heard that the boys ran away from the home a year later. Would you like a glass of water, Mr. Harris?”

“Oh, yes please.” The reporter put down his pen and reached for the proffered glass. “But you saw them afterwards, didn’t you?”

“I did…in Denver.” Clementine poured a glass for herself and sat down.

* * * * *

“Wow…this sure is a big town, huh, Han! Think we’ll find Clem and her pa?”

“Sure.” Han’s smile hid the uneasiness he felt. Maybe this wasn’t one of his better ideas, but he was at a loss where to go since they had run away from the abuse at the Home. “Just gotta ask people if they know where the Hale house is.”

The two boys walked and asked several people in the street for the Hale residence, but received stared and quick shaking of heads as the people continued along their way. They sat on a bench, their expressions clearly showing their dismay.

“We ain’t never gonna find her.” Jed sighed.

“Just gotta think where we would be if we were Clementine…that’s all.” Han looked up at the sky and guessed at the time. “It’s after noon. Maybe she’s about to get outta school.”

Jed grinned. “You’re so smart. Come on…let’s find the school.”

They sat across from a large building waiting for class to be dismissed for the day. An hour later a bell rang and children spilled out into the playground and street shouting and talking. A group of girls came out and walked toward the street.

“There she is!” Han pointed her out as he stood up and yelled. “Clementine!”

A dark-haired girl with a ponytail stopped and looked around. Spotting her old friends, she smiled and ran towards them. “Han! Jed!”

The three friends embraced and when they broke apart, she asked, “What are you doing in Denver?” Clementine knitted her brows together. “Why aren’t you at the Home?”

“We ran away,” Jed exclaimed.

“Ran away!” Clem put her hands on her hips.

“Yep…had to, but didn’t know where to go. We ‘membered you were goin’ to Denver so we thought we’d come look you up,” Han grinned.

Clementine hooked her arms around both boys’ arms and led them down the street. “I’m so glad you came! Let’s go see father.”

* * * * *

“So we went to my house where I introduced them to father.”

“And what did your father do for a living?”

“Well, he…” Clementine hesitated. “He was a…man…a man…a man of fortune.”

“My sources say a con man and closely associated with Soapy Saunders.”

Clementine bristled slightly. “Although he was in Soapy’s circle of friends, I can assure you he was no con man!”

“Sorry if I offended you, Miss Hale. That was not my intention.”

Her tone softened as she said, “That is quite alright. Back to Heyes and Curry… My father introduced them to Silky O’Sullivan and Soapy. They lived there for a few years learning a trade.”

“A trade?”

“Yes, a trade!” Clementine glared at the reporter who gave an apologetic smile. “Jed was most unhappy while Heyes thrived in Denver.” She gave him a rueful smile. “One day Jed ran away and Heyes followed after him.”

“Is that the last you saw of them?”

“Heavens no!”

“It’s rumored you had one of the only pictures of Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. Is that true?”

“Why yes…I had a picture of two I kept in a very safe place. Couldn’t let the law see a picture of them, now could I.”

“How, may I ask, did you get them to pose with you?”

“We are friends, Mr. Harris, and dear friends have pictures taken, do they not?”

“Care to elaborate?”

“When Heyes and Kid were running with the gang under Big Jim Santana, they were in the Denver area and looked me up…”

* * * * *

“Heyes,” Kid whispered as he looked up and down the dark, empty street for danger. “Think this is her house?”

“That’d be my guess.”

“Maybe we should come back in the mornin’.”

“Nah, Clementine wouldn’t want us to wait. I’m guessing that’s her room.” Heyes pointed to an upper window and then looked around the ground for a small pebble. He threw it up, hitting the window trim with a sharp thud. Both men ducked into the darkness.

A light turned on in the room and the window opened. A petite young woman with dark hair peered out into the night as she put on her robe.

“Clem!” Kid loudly whispered as he and Heyes stepped out of the shadow.

“Is that really you, boys?” Clementine closed the windows and ran downstairs. She opened the door and threw her arms around both of them.

“Clementine, you sure look beautiful!” Heyes exclaimed as she stepped away so they could enter the house.

“Oh Heyes, you sure know what to say! Where have you two been? What have you been up to?”

“Oh, a little of this…” The Kid grinned.

“And a little of that,” Heyes continued.

“A little of this and a little of that, huh…” Clementine stood back and looked at her best friends. “Why so dressed up?”

“Goin’ on a date with our best girl, Clem!” Curry exclaimed.

“You are?”

“Yep, there a fair in town. Get dressed and let’s go!” Heyes smiled so both dimples showed.

Clem thought for but a second and ran upstairs. “Make yourself at home…I’ll be ready in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.”

A few minutes later, Clementine came down the stairs in her best dress to whistles from her favorite men.

“Ma’am…” Heyes offered an arm that Clementine graciously accepted.

“Clem…” The Kid also offered his arm and hooked it around her arm.

The three took a carriage to the fair and walked around seeing the sights, riding a merry-go-round, and eating the special fair food.

“Oh look…a place to have pictures taken! I want one of the three of us!” Clementine exclaimed.

Heyes and the Kid glanced at each other.

“Don’t know if that’s a good idea, Clem,” the Kid said, putting a hand on her arm to prevent her from entering the tent.

“And why not?”

Heyes hesitated, “Because…well, the Kid here won’t take a good picture. Might break the camera.”

Curry glared at his partner.

Clementine put her hands on her hips. “I think it’s a marvelous idea and I won’t take no for an answer. It’s not like you’re wanted outlaws or anything, right?”

Sliding a sideways glance to Heyes, Curry asked, “Clem…us?

“No, we’re not wanted outlaws.” Heyes shot a look at his cousin.

“Well then it’s settled. Let’s go in and have a picture taken.” Clementine walked into the tent and turned around. “Coming?”

The two outlaws shrugged their shoulders and begrudgingly followed Clementine.

An hour later the three walked back outside.

“See, that didn’t hurt and Jed didn’t break the camera, although you two were not the most cooperative,” Clementine told them, pouting a bit.

“Ah…whatcha gonna do with those pictures, Clementine?” Heyes peeked at it, avoiding the urge to grab and rip them up.

“Why they’ll be somewhere I can see them every day. I’m guessing you boys aren’t staying in Denver, but leaving soon?”

“Yeah, we’ll be leavin’ soon,” the Kid admitted.

Clementine admired her two pictures, one being a close up. “So I now have a memento of a wonderful evening at the fair with my two favorite men.”

* * * * *

“So you didn’t know they were outlaws at the time?”

“No…I had no idea. I read about them being outlaws about six months later. It’s no wonder they didn’t want their picture taken.”

“That’s quite a story, Miss Hale.”

Clementine beamed.

“And you never used the picture against them.”

Hesitating, Clementine answered, “Well, no…I never shared the photos with anyone. Friends would not do that to friends.”

“One more question I just have to ask. Forgive me if it’s too personal.”

“Yes?”

“Have you ever been…shall we say…romantic with either Heyes or Curry?”

“Mr. Harris!” Clem shot back and glared at the reporter.

“I apologize, but the readers…they like to know these things.”

Clementine blushed. “Well, the Kid has the deepest blue eyes, is chivalrous and kind, and yet there’s an exciting, dangerous side to him. And Heyes has these warm eyes the color of chocolate, has an adorable dimple when he smiles, and is so very smart, especially with his words.” She smiled demurely at the reporter shaking her head with the memory of the time when…

Clearly, the reporter interpreted the shaking of Clementine's head as an answer in the negative and cut in, “But now that they are not wanted and the three of you are single? Possible you will be paired with one of them?”

Clementine smiled. “Too bad I can’t have two husbands like the Mormon men can have more than one wife…together Heyes and the Kid would make the perfect man!”

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