Gen kept me informed, however, and one day called to ask me to help her pack. Carole's husband, Richard, would be arriving the following afternoon with a U-Haul truck and he wanted help loading it. I could hear Gloria yelling and cursing in the background. Had Gen told her? No, Gen said, this was simply the way Gloria behaved all the time now and Gen was sick and tired of it.

Ted and I drove down to Richmond the next day and started hauling boxes out to the front yard. Carole's husband arrived with the truck. Gloria figured things out in a hurry, but the events simply made her yell more, screaming at Gen and asking "Why?!"

Gen did not answer the question and we all ignored Gloria's tantrum. The loading was completed by late afternoon. Gen then handed a document to Gloria. It was the equivalent of a divorce settlement. Gen had given her share of the house to Gloria. The document was signed, sealed, and delivered. Gen climbed into her Lumina and followed Carole's husband off to Ohio and once again out of Gloria's life.

It was the best-choreographed escape anybody could have arranged. It was another one of those many times in Gen's life when crisis motivated her to do what she had to do and to get it done efficiently, smoothly, and with clear-headed determination.

When Gen and Richard arrived at the Ziegler farm in Little Sandusky, Ohio, Carole was waiting for them.

Gen's cousin, CaroleCarole--Gen's first cousin--is Gen's closest blood relative. Carole is the daughter of Adelaide, sister of Etta, Gen's mother. Carole and Gen were not close when they were girls; Gen lived with her paternal grandparents on their farm, in Guckeen, several miles west of Blue Earth, where Adelaide and her family lived. Gen is also several years older than Carole, so their paths rarely crossed.

The two women connected much later in their lives, when they both had grown children and empty nests, and found common ground and friendship.

Carole is a smart, well-organized woman who has a robust sense of humor and a wide range of abilities. She knows how to manage things and she manages them well. She has a tendency to take charge of the unwilling.