“I’m guessing that he’s married to a hairdresser in Baltimore and they have two children, both boys. How about you?” Alicia asks her younger sister, Carly.
“I say that he’s married to a flower shop owner in Montreal and they have six kids – three boys and three girls. What do you think?” Carly asks Bethany, the oldest of the three of them.
“I think that he’s married to a factory worker in Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada and they have three girls named Bethany, Alicia and Carly.”
“Hey! That’s our family! That’s not how you play the game, Bethany!” Carly protests.
“It is if you’re too old for such games.”
The game that the girls are playing is called Do You Think Dad Has A Secret Family Somewhere Else? Frank, the dad in question here, works as a cook for a Great Lakes shipping company, so it’s possible, at least in the girls’ minds, for him to have a different family in every city his ship anchors.
“What makes you so sure Dad doesn’t have a secret family somewhere?” Carly demands to know.
“Because he keep coming back here to spend his winters with us. You two alone are enough to drive anyone away.”
“Oh yeah, Miss Smarty Pants,” Alicia says to her bigger sister. “Look at this.” She then hands Bethany a copy of Family Circle, Illustrated Library of Cooking, Volume 4.
“One of Dad’s cookbooks. So what?”
“So, look at what I found inside the cover.”
Frank McCombs, Chief Cook, S.S. Ferndale.
That’s when the game that Bethany thought that she was too old to play suddenly became very real. Bethany, Alicia and Carly weren’t Bethany, Alicia and Carly McCombs. They were Bethany, Alicia and Carly Hewson. Yet there, in their dad’s handwriting was a different family name.
“But why does he keep coming back to us?” Bethany asks her sisters.
Overwhelmed by the one mystery they had already solved, the girls decided to leave the latest one to another day.