As I have veered from the story, Marigold didn’t have much of an education, because she traveled to far away places like Greece. She didn’t have the time to go to school, unbeknownst to her father, Mr. Otto. His three sons were all going to prep school. Robert II was the eldest, most called him by his middle name Mathew, hoping to follow his father’s footsteps by going to law school. Then there was Dale hoping to go in to law as well. Lastly, the youngest son, Frank who rarely made his presence known. That left, Marigold who barely knew what the inside of a school looked like.
One particular night, Mr. Otto, Marigold and her three brothers where having dinner. Lucille was absent of course. Mr. Otto was discussing his sons future and what they expected to achieve once they graduated. It was a very proper conversation. Marigold was surprised to hear they all wanted to practice law. Curious herself, she asked her farther if she was going to be practice law too.
“It all depends,” her father said.
“Depends on what?” Marigold asked.
“How hard you dedicate yourself to your studies,” Mr. Otto said. “Mona does send you to school, doesn’t she?”
Marigold looked down at her plate, food had not been served yet and she wondered how she would get through this meal. She had stopped feeling hungry as she had become accustomed to the lack of food in their home. Marigold nodded, she was being truthful as Mona did register her to one institution to another, but never followed through to making sure Marigold went. Mona taught her all that she needed and believed worldly experience was more important. Mona made sure to cultivate Marigold with manners and being polite, being kind to others, and making wonderful mistakes so she could learn from them and do better, instead of making mistakes that are not beneficial to the growth of ones development.
Mr. Otto sighed, “I wish Mona would take an interest in your education. You need to go to a proper school. I’ll make sure of that.”
Marigold did not know what that meant and did not ask. Cecilia came around with the first course, tomato soup. Marigold cheerfully greeted her, and asked her to please give her half the ladle. She didn’t have the appetite for a full ladle, and yet she struggled to consume the first course. Second course meal, was sea bass, seasoned, with a salad on the side. Marigold was still on the first course and sighed in relief when Mr. Otto told Cecilia to pass her. Third course was a prime beef with some cooked miniature carrots. Mr. Otto knew his daughter was undernourished and would encourage her to eat with little affect. He often made her sit at the table until she finished her meal, which at one time took about two hours, but he was patient and two hours was an eternity for a child. He stood up and carefully cut the beef in small chunks. Her three brothers watched silently and quietly enjoyed their meals.
When everybody had finished their third course, they moved on to the fourth course, a Greek salad. The fifth meal was a cheese dish, which everyone savored with a wine glass, while Marigold struggled with the third course. She managed to slowly eat the carrots, but the prime beef was left untouched. When they got to the sixth course, she ate a few bites and then forgot about the meal as she looked out into the ocean, while her father and brother spoke of many topics.
Mr. Otto didn’t forget about his daughter and would goad her to eat a bit more. She did as she was told, but stopped short from finishing her meal. By the seventh course, desert finally made its way through the table. It was the most important meal after all. Mr. Otto, watched as Marigold gleefully gobbled the desert. He learned Marigold would ask for ice cream for lunch or dinner and he would often had to say, “ice cream is not a meal.” He also learned Mona would feed sweets to the girl, mostly ice cream and cakes as a meal and nothing more.
Marigold wasn’t spoiled as many would think. She never asked for anything more and said thank you and please very often. Mr. Otto could afford to give her the world, yet she never asked for anything more except ice cream. The only toy she owned was a teddy bear Mona made from one of her old coats. Marigold had plenty of dresses, all pretty, made by Mona herself, none would believe she was without. But Mr. Otto also learned, Mona barely had any means to care for the child, but whatever little money she made she would spent it on beautiful fabrics and expensive toiletries. Mona and Marigold looked polished and refined, no one ever assumed they went to bed hungry and cold.
Mona never dared to ask money from Mr. Otto, his presence was unsettling and she had an uneasy feeling he would take the child away. Money was not everything for Mona and raised Marigold to never have the love of money, that’s when everything goes south, Mona would say. Mona loved the little girl, as she was all that she had.
Mr. Otto began to fall in love with Marigold, and though he never showed favoritism to his sons, he did expect his sons to respect Marigold as part of the family, becoming, at times, overly protective of her, especially as she grew older. Yes, Mr. Otto adored his sons, he was proud of them and treated them as the individuals they were.
Marigold appreciated the time she spent with her father, though she wrestled with her meals, she was content with being in their company, never making much of a noise, but a giggle here and there to make her presence known. Eventually her brothers came around to accepting her. There was the exception of the youngest brother, Frank, he had no other option but become accustom to her existence. He often complained she was too happy and paid no mind to her still. Tom was proper with the girl, while Dale seem to take more of an interest in her.
The brothers found her odd at times, especially when she would inspect the hems of Mathes’s suit coat. Since, Mathew tolerated her, she would carefully pull at his sleeves, turn it over and asked him what kind of stitch was used at the hems. Of course, he didn’t know and she would kindly asked to see the inside of his coat. Dale found it amusing and goaded his brother to take off his coat, which Mathew would, a bit perplexed by her curiosity. When she was done, feeling the fabric, and carefully checking the pockets and seams. She thanked him and kindly returned the coat.
After meal time, they would gather for drinks, and by nine it was time for Marigold to go to bed. Mr. Otto would take his daughter to her new room, told her to get ready for bed and promised to return to say goodnight. Marigold couldn’t wait for bed, like Mona, Mr. Otto made bed time fun and exciting. When she finished getting ready, she jumped in bed and waited for Mr. Otto, who as promised, returned and told her a fantastical story. Mona didn’t tell her stories, but talked about the many things she had yet to see when they traveled. Mona talked about people they knew, sometimes it was about their future, and other times about history of the places they had traveled through.
Marigold couldn’t wait for tomorrow and as she waited and waited, slowly drifting to sleep, thinking only of tomorrow.