Crape Myrtle (5)
That night she drove to Monona Bay where she was told by the hotel staff that she could find varieties of seafood outlets. Precisely, by the Brittingham Park area, she found many Asian food stalls; Japanese and Chinese cuisine, including Thai food. This area contained a large Asian community. She favoured a corner to sit and read the journals with a glass of soy milk originally produced in Wisconsin.
According to the story in Virago and gathered by Natalia; Sidney Martin, the mother of Savon Martin-Cyril, was a descendant of the Crape-Myrtle Dynasty. She grew up in a poor neighbourhood in South Carolina. 69 Church Street was built by Dick Rock and Jason Crape while the latter was married to Raquel Bann; sister of Rachel who purchased 71 Bann House from Brother Richard.
Not to forget, Colonel Myrtle who leased 69 from Jason Crape in 1761 married Rachel Bann.
Meanwhile, Richard Bann built another house, 73, standing with a three feet alley to the north of 71 as a gift for his daughter, Rose Bann, in 1733.
Colonel Myrtle’s son, Charles who was a Bann, married Rose’s grand-daughter, Everly who was a Crape. Rose’s daughter, Ava, married a nephew of Jason Crape called Daniel Crape. Charles Myrtle and Everly Crape are great-great-grandparents of Sidney Martin.
Sidney Martin was born in Dillon, SC, in 1935, to Myles Martin Jones and Sophia Crape; the daughter of Mia Crape; the daughter of Datsen Myrtle who was the son of Charles Myrtle.
Mia’s grandfather was Charles Myrtle; the son of Colonel Myrtle. Though she never lived at 69 because the house was sold long before she was born. She obviously saw the house restored in 1880s and 1890s. She married Howard Crape from the Charleston neighbourhood. This couple with three kids moved to Louisiana to find job for he was a tower operator. She worked different jobs. They had four more children in Baton Rouge. Then Mia died. Howard abandoned the kids and went to Texas where he married another woman.
Sophia, born in Charleston, was barely thirteen when she began to look after the siblings. She could recall her grandfather very well and there were a couple of trips this family made to Charleston. Datsen Myrtle sold everything he got and died like a poor man. She was left with a black and white photo album to remember the past.
Sophia didn’t get a chance to marry in her young age. She cleaned houses and sacrificed to look after her siblings. In mid 1920s, she moved to South Carolina. Met Myles and got married. She gave birth to Sidney Martin at her age of forty.
Sidney Martin worked as a nurse at a hospital in Cornelius, NC, where she met Anton Cyril in 1959.
One of the Cyrils was living with family by the lake in Davidson; a small town north of Cornelius. Anton Cyril often visited his brother and enjoyed boat rides in Lake Norman. One hectic day, one of his nephews had an accident on a fishing expedition; a hook cut deep into his palm. It was a nasty cut. Trippers pulled the boat by the waterfront and rushed him to Novel Health in Cornelius. Nurse Sidney was at their service.
Anton fell for her charming manners instantly. That kindness and openness in a casual encounter made him talk and ask her out. Anton continued to see her by visiting his brother in Davidson more often. However, his business travels to offices in New York and Chicago kept him away. He felt like losing her. Anton who was sixty fell fond of her. He asked her to join him on a trip to an island in the Caribbean.
In 1962, Anton and Sidney, who was twenty-six, got married secretly in Barbados. On their return, Anton arranged her stay in Whiting in Lake County, Indiana, few miles out of Chicago where he’d be present mostly. On July 24th in 1963, she gave birth to Savon Martin-Cyril.
Sidney worked as a nurse at St Catherine where her colleagues came to know she was married to a rich man. She lived in a house on Reese Avenue. All paid for by Anton Cyril. It was kept a secret from his wife, Sinéad, and their children. He would drive to Whiting if he was in Chicago. In the following years, Anton Cyril came to know of her family roots linked to Charleston and the Crape-Myrtle House; the story all over. Sidney’s mother gave the album that belonged to Mia Crape; her grandmother. She heard stories Mother Sophia told. She knew her mother treasured these valuables.
Anton Cyril took Sinéad to Charleston in search of a house. A rich couple interested in buying a house. By then the house was left unattended for several years. The swimming pool and the gardens filled with dry leaves. He and his wife fell in love with this place. Anton bought the property in 1969 and restored to former glory. Anton and Sinéad lived there until her death in 1980.
Three years later, in his sickbed, an eighty-three-year old Anton Cyril confessed to his eldest son, Thomas Cyril, that he was married to Sidney Martin who died in a car accident seven months ago, survived by a son, Savon Martin; a half-brother to Thomas Cyril. He pledged in his will stored at a lawyer’s office in Hammond to bestow the property of 69 Church Street to Savon Martin-Cyril upon his death. He asked Thomas in his final plea, “I want you to see that I keep my promise and resolve it peacefully in the family without embarrassing me.”
“I will, father,” Thomas promised.
Shortly afterwards, Anton Cyril died.
For the first time, Thomas Avon Cyril heard the other half of Crape and Myrtle.