"A Cleaver By Any Other Name" (Chapter One)
(Disclaimers: I'm claiming no monies whatsoever from this fanfic and I recognize that 'Leave It to Beaver is owned + licensed by others).
Rosemont Funeral Home, East St. Louis, Illinois- 1925.
."Aunt Martha said to wait in the car. . ." 8-year-old June Evelyn Brunson pleaded with her 10-year-old sister Marjorie as she chased after her older sister trying to sneakback inside.
"She's taking too long and I see her talking with Grandpa and Grandma. Let's crouch behind the pews," Marjorie whispered as they caught wind of the adults' conversation in front of the two coffins of their parents.
"But why can't June . ..?" Miss Martha Louise Brunson (age 30) gasped.
"She's not nearly as academically advanced as Marjorie so it would disruptive to remove her from the boarding school," Mrs. Arabella Campbell Wallace (age 57) sighed.
"But they're sisters," Aunt Martha begged.
"Miss Brunson, Flora was our only child. It's only fitting that we take in Marjorie since she's far more of a Wallace than June could ever hope to be," Mr. Hiram Wallace (age 59) scoffed.
"No! No!" 8-year-old June yelled loud enough for every adult to notice her and Marjorie's hiding place.
"June Evelyn Brunson, mind your manners," Aunt Martha snapped.
Mayfield, USA- Present Day (2007)
"No, no!"90-year-old June Cleaver was heard to mumble in the back seat of the limousine driving the Cleaver Family away from the Greener Pastures Cemetary.
"Mom, wake up!" 62-year-old Wally Cleaver urged her while 57-year-old Beaver Cleaver nudged her.
"What happened?" June said as she woke with a start.
"Grandma, you dozed off and were having some kind of nighmare," 33-year-old Kelly Cleaver Haskell explained.
"I'm sorry, Dear. I guess seeing you and Kevin at Mary Ellen's . .."June sighed.
"I'd forgotten you'd lost your parents a lot earlier than we lost Mom," 22-year-old Kevin sighed.
"It doesn't matter hold old we are. Losing a parent's nothing to be taken lightly,"57-year-old Beaver replied.
"Nor losing a wife," 62-year-old Wally groaned.
"We didn't mean to ignore you, Dad. The school's given Kyle and Zoe the rest of the week off so the four of us can spend the next few days. ." Kelly started to explain.
"Four? Is Emeril Wannabee Haskell too big to console the family over his Mom-in-law's passing?" 22-year-old Kevin asked.
"Kevin, you know running a restaurant's a 24/7 deal. Why couldn't you have skipped today in dumping on Freddie? You're just as bad as Uncle Beaver with Pop Eddie," Kelly fumed.
"Hey,Missy ! I can't forgive him for showing your Dad his iPod with an online dating chat room seconds after Intensive Care pronounced Mary Ellen . .!"Beaver boiled.
"He was joking," Kelly gasped.
"Beaver, Kelly,Kevin! That's enough," June pleaded-as she snapped her fingers and pointed.
"Yes, Mom/Grandma" Beaver and his niece+nephew groaned in unison.
At that point, Wally started to laugh and cry at the very same time.
"You okay, Wally?"Beaver asked.
"Yeah, it's good to know that there are some things that never change,"
A Few Days Later at the Cleaver House,
"When is Wally going to learn about keeping track of bills ?" Beaver fumed.
"Another collection call, Dear?" June asked.
"Yeah, and it's getting tiresome to explain about how it was Mary Ellen who'd handled the bills while Wally earned the money. You'd think him being a lawyer, he'd have done it himself or pawned it onto someone else," Beaver groaned.
"Like you?" June asked.
"I just volunteered to do it until he's ready to go back to his practice," Beaver sighed.
"Well, it's nice of you to do that for Wally. I remember how tough it was to do so many things on my own that your father had always done for us," June sighed.
" Thirty years and I still miss him. And not just cause he didn't get to see me raise my boys or provide for you," Beaver pondered.
"It's going to take time for Wally to adjust to life without Mary Ellen. He's no Eddie Haskell," June half-laughed.
"Yeah, I have to admit I was glad Gert finally dumped him after their boys were grown but he's gone through five trophy wives, countless girlfriends and I don't know how much Viagra since then," Beaver chuckled.
"Someone's at the door. Could you see who that could be?" June asked.
Beaver walked from his den to the front door- and saw . .
"Gus the Fireman? No way! You'd have to be 120 at least," Beaver gasped as he saw on old man in a WWII veteran's uniform complete with division cap.
"Nope, Gus was my dad! I'm his youngest boy Julius. .."the old man exclaimed.
"Gus had a family?" Beaver asked aloud.
"Corporal Crispin, is that you?" June asked.
"Miz Cleaver, Ma'am! You haven't aged a day since Sarge's funeral,"Julius exclaimed as he saluted June.
"Flatterer. No wonder you only made Corporal. Beaver, where are your manners? Invite Corporal Crispin into living room," June insisted.
"Wait, Gus the Fireman's last name was Crispin?" Beaver asked.
"Sorry we didn't get a chance to introduce ourselves at the Sarge's Funeral but. ." Julius said as he and June led him to the living room- with both June and the old Corporal using wheeled walkers to make their way in.
"We were all too shaken to take anything in back then. What brings you to Mayfield and can I ask you a few hundred questions about Gus?" Beaver laughed as they sat down while Julius took off his Legion cap.
"Oh, I saw your sister-in-law's obit in the Mayfield Herald and it listed your family as survivors," Julius explained.
"You take the Mayfield Herald?" Beaver asked as they all walked into the living room.
"My great- grandson Trevor gave me an online link to it," explained Julius.
"All my six of my great-grandkids are into the 'Net. Even Kelly's 3-year-old Zack," June laughed.
"It used to be crystal radio sets when we were kids, remember Miz Cleaver? "Julius asked.
"Please have a seat. Would you like something to drink?" June asked.
"No ma'am. Can't have anything stronger than coffee since the bypass," Cpl. Crispin laughed.
"You wouldn't find anything stronger in Mayfield-unless you hung out with a certain Mr. Haskell," Beaver laughed.
" Pop used to tell me how quiet the town was. That's why he retired here," Julius recalled.
"Really?" June asked.
"Yep, because he knew there'd be too few fires to put out but they gave him a nice pension so long as he'd come to the firehouse in his uniform," Julius recalled.
"That makes sense," Beaver laughed.
"Gus has been gone over 30 years, Beaver. So you still haven't told us what brings you here," June pondered.
"It's about our Seebees Unit. We're planning our 65th Reunion next month," Julius explained.
"That's quite flattering but you know that Ward's been. .." June sighed.
"Oh, we know all that,Miz Cleaver, Ma'am, but there's only about five of us left so we're inviting all the Unit's loved ones to join those of us remaining to help us honor those no longer with us," Julius excitedly proclaimed.
" Ward and I went to the 25th Reunion in Chicago but it's not that easy for me to get around any more, "June sighed- as she pointed to her walker.
"No worries, Ma'am! We've cased out a perfect resort hotel that's got ramps, lifts and railings all over the grounds," Julius exclaimed as Beaver brought in the coffee decanter and placed it on the living room table at which point reached for the coffee decanter
"Mom, I'll help!" Beaver exclaimed- as he quickly poured the coffee from the decanter into three cups-and spilled some on the table
" But your business. ." June protested- as she quickly wiped up the spilled coffee with her linen napkin.
" Clarence can run the business while we're gone," Beaver insisted.
"Dear, your always saying how Lumpy messes up. ."
"Well, at least I can put out all the disasters when we get back- and we can have Eloise maintain the house while we're gone," Beaver pleaded.
"I have to admit she does cook and clean almost as good as I did. It used to drive Mary Ellen bonkers!" June laughed.
"Is this Eloise single?" Julius asked.
"No, she's committed to someone named Angela Valentine," Beaver laughed.
"Anyway, Miz Cleaver, we'd be thrilled to see you and your whole family there join us there," Julius insisted as he started to stand up again.
"Can't you stay? We can put you up for the night," June insisted.
"We can?" Beaver whispered in June's ear.
"Yes, we can!" June whispered back with gritted teeth.
"Thank you no, Ma'am! I'm staying with my nephew's family on Grant Avenue. So, what do you say, Miz Cleaver? Are you coming?" Julius asked.
"Sure we're in! We'll see if we can get my elder boy Wallace to join us. So is it in Chicago again?" June asked.
"No, ma'am. It's in Caen, France!"Julius proclaimed.
"France?!" June and Beaver exclaimed together.
"Yep, that's where the Sarge showed his valor and saved so many of us so we could come home! Look forward to seeing your family there,"Cpl. Julius Crispin exclaimed as he put his Legion cap back on and hobbled to his walker then started walking towards the front door.
" I never knew Dad did that," Beaver gulped after the old Corporal left.
"Me either. I knew he got a week furlough shortly after D-DAY so he could come home to marry me," June pondered.
"You never asked Dad why he got that furlough smack in the middle of the worst part of the War?" Beaver asked.
"Beaver, I was too thrilled to have him to myself to ask questions," June said with a sly smile.
"And that's when you and Dad conceived Wally!" Beaver exclaimed with a snap while June blushed.
"Oh, Beaver,"June scoffed.
"It's okay, Mom. You don't have to be modest. Times have changed," Beaver laughed.
"I know but I still didn't like having busybodies counting backwards from Wally's birth like I had done something indecent," June sighed.
" We have to go, Mom!" Beaver pleaded.
"To France? I remember Aunt Martha said something about Belleau Wood on her deathbed but I never wanted to leave the States. .." June scoffed.
"Mom, I can make all the arrangements so you'll have everything you'll need and this trip may be what Wally needs. What do you say?" Beaver pleaded.
"It may do us some good to learn more about a side of your father's life he kept somewhat quiet and it may help you be less anxious about Kip," June pondered.
"Kip? What do you mean, Mom?" Beaver asked.
"Well, while we're all on the other side of the Pond, you could see about popping over to Kuwait to meet him there," June considered.
"I'm not sure if I can. .." Beaver scoffed.
"Sondra and the kids will be happy if you," June pondered.
" I know they would. I wish they'd move from Ft. Campbell back to here," Beaver sighed.
"But that's Kip's home base," June sighed.
" And why did Ollie's mother-in-law have to have her surgery the day before Mary Ellen?" Beaver groaned.
"Beaver, Mrs. Thomasson needs Ollie and Megan to help out the way Aunt Martha did in coming here while I was helping your Aunt Marjorie when she'd had your cousin Lucy," June explained.
"But why didn't Aunt Martha go help out Aunt Marjorie herself?" Beaver asked.
"She said she had her reasons," June recalled.
"And you never asked what those were?" Beaver asked.
"I know she wasn't happy with Marjorie divorcing her first husband three years prior,"June sighed.
"Oh, yes. She read me the Riot Act when my divorce happened- in spite of the fact that Kimberly was the one who threw me out and got the divorce,"Beaver recalled.
"She didn't let Marjorie forget that there'd never been a divorce in the history of the Bronson Family," June sighed.
"Mom, did you actually just question one of Aunt Martha's directives ?" Beaver laughed.
"Beaver. Well, in any case, you need to see if you can arrange for the time to see Kip in Kuwait while the rest of us are in Europe," June quickly shifted gears.
"But Kip's got so much going on over there," Beaver sighed.
" So did your father but they were able to spare him for that week. Why not see if they could spare Kip for a day?" June pondered.
"Mom, you're the best! I'll find us the best airline connections and hotels between here and Caen, France. We just need to make sure your passport's up to date!" Beaver exclaimed.
"Passport?" June gasped.
"Mom, you do have one, right?" Beaver gulped.
June shook her head.
"Oh, Mom! You've never had one?" Beaver gasped.
"No," June sighed.
"Well, it could cut things close but we'll just get your Birth Certificate and photograph along with the Application and fax those to the Passport Agency," Beaver explained.
"But I've heard on the news about the terrible backlog with the processing," June sighed.
"Between Wally, Clarence and I, I'm sure we can pull some strings somewhere to make sure you get that passport in time for Dad's Unit's Reunion," Beaver enthused.
"Are you sure?" June asked.
"I'll even swallow my pride and ask Eddie's help in speeding things up if I have to. Come on, it's for Dad and Wally. We can't miss this!" Beaver pleaded- as he raced to the Family Album in search of June's Birth Certificate.
As Beaver did so, June couldn't help but feel that after all was said and done, she might be the one winding up in the soup!