"I'm sure they are fine. Maybe they just took a trip to Lake Whitefish, even though they still should have told us," Chachi said then continued, "Maybe go by his work and see if he's there or find out when he comes in."
"I'm going to work, I'll see you tonight," he told her then they kissed and he left.
Joanie left to go to Howard's work; she looked around and didn't see him but she saw Potsie.
"Oh, hi Joanie. How are you doing?"
"I'm good. Is my dad working today?"
"No, he's not. He's not at home?"
"No, he and my mom aren't home. When is he due in?"
"Let me check." Potsie went to check the schedule then walked back to Joanie, "On Tuesday."
"Oh, that's in 2 days."
"I'm sure they are fine, maybe they went to see your uncle?" Potsie said then suggested.
"Yeah, they probably are fine." Joanie smiled then left and Potsie went back to work.
Four days earlier in Madison, Wisconsin—
Howard and Marion walked up to a home and knocked on the door. The door opened.
"Hi, Chuck," Howard and Marion said.
"Mom, Dad." Chuck let them in and gave them hugs.
"Oh, Chuck, you sure have changed. You're just like your father."
Chuck looked at Howard, then himself.
"Shouldn't have let yourself go like that, son." Howard said then continued as he patted his belly, "It's hard to keep it off." They all laughed and sat in the chairs in the living room.
"It's so nice to see you," Marion said with a smile and she stifled her tears.
"Thanks. I'm sorry, Dad. I couldn't face you after what I did."
"I know, I had a difficult time getting over the situation you had brought yourself into," Howard said as he held Marion's hand.
"So, what did I miss out on?"
Howard teared up a little, then said, "After Richard graduated, he went in the Army, and married his then girlfriend, Lori Beth. He's following his dream of being a writer; he's out in California with Lori Beth and their two boys. The boys are named Richie Jr. and Howard."
"Really? Wow, he named his sons after you and him."
Marion wiped away a few tears then began, "Joanie is a teacher at Lincoln High; she just recently got an apartment with her husband, Chachi Arcola. She became a cheerleader after she and Fonzie won a dance contest between a girl who was the cheerleader and her brother. We are so proud of her."
"Still got that DeSoto, Dad?" Chuck asked.
"Nope, sold it a few years ago."
"Really? So Mom, did you have to beg him to give it up?"
"No, your father took it very well."
"Let me tell you something about that baby of mine, she took your mother to the hospital three times, came home with you, Richard, and Joanie from the hospital. She even became a drag racing car when Richard's friend, Fonzie, adjusted the engine to make it go fast. She took me to the hospital when I had to have my tonsils taken out. She took me to work for the last 30 or so years and she had a lot of mileage." Howard said then continued, "Sometimes I miss my baby."
Marion and Chuck laughed.
"How about Fonzie?"
"He moved in the garage apartment a year after you left and stayed there until about 6 months ago when we were thinking of moving to New York because I almost became vice president of the hardware chain. Then we realized we were happiest where we are now, at home, even though I think Fonzie felt it was time to move on. He adopted a boy named Danny who is 13 and now Fonzie has a girlfriend who has a daughter about 14."
"I never thought Fonzie would settle down," Chuck said.
"Well, sometimes in life you just do settle down and he is very happy."
"Anyone in the family pass on?"
"Yeah. Uncle Joe, my parents a few years back, and just recently Mother Kelp."
"I'm sorry, Mom. Dad."
"I really miss her," Marion said as Howard put his arm around her.
After a few minutes Chuck's wife, Marline and their two daughters, Jasmine, and Jackie walked in.
"Hi, honey, my parents came for a visit."
"Oh, how nice! I can finally meet your parents and our daughters can meet their grandparents." Marline hugged Marion and Howard then they introduced the two girls who were a bit nervous but gave their grandparents a hug.
Three days later—
Marion and Howard drove back home to Milwaukee while Joanie was still worried about her parents. Since Howard had to go back to work the next day, he had gone to bed a little early, while Marion did some laundry then Marion picked up the ringing telephone.
"Hello? Oh Richie, how are you? Oh, you talked to Chuck? Yes, your father hired a private investigator to find him and your father and I went to see him and spend a few days there." Marion talked to Richie for a few more minutes then hung up.
After she hung up, she turned off the lights and went to read in her room since she felt tired then after ten minutes she fell asleep with the book laid on her chest.
Joanie walked in, turned the lights on then called out, "Mom? Dad? Terrific, it's Monday and they aren't back yet. Dad better be at the store tomorrow." Joanie left slamming the door behind her.
The next afternoon—
After Joanie got home from work, she called the hardware store and found out Howard had already left for home. Joanie went to her parent's home.
Joanie opened the door, saw Howard reading in his chair and Marion on the couch watching TV.
"Mom, Dad? Where have you guys been? When did you guys get home?" Joanie walked in and stood near the couch as Howard turned towards her.
"Did Chuck call you?" Howard asked.
"Yes, it was nice to talk to him after all these years, but I would appreciate it if you'd tell me that you are leaving town at least."
"Come on, Joanie-," Howard said as he got up quickly, but as he walked up to her, he realized how she felt when he was overly protective of her.
"Howard! You know she's right, we should have told her we are going out of town."
"Yeah, I know. I'm sorry, Joanie. We will tell you next time we leave town and for how long."
"Thanks, Mom." Marion got up and gave Joanie a hug. Howard gave her a kiss on the forehead and a hug.
"We'll remember that next time."
"Did you come here for something, dear?" Marion asked since she noticed Joanie looked like she had something else on her mind.
"Well, I decided that I am going to quit teaching."
"What? Why?" Howard asked.
"Howard, it's her decision."
"Marion!" Howard sternly said then asked Joanie as he continued, "Why do you want to quit?"
"It's not challenging anymore and I feel like I want to do something else."
"I don't know yet." Joanie looked at them. She really didn't want her parents to know that she was almost attacked by a student and saved by Fonzie several months before getting married.
"I think you should give teaching one more year. You've put your life into this and you're quitting?" Howard said.
"I can't explain it, Dad, but I just lost interest in it. I thought you'd be happy."
"Well, Joanie, we just think you should give it more time, that's all," Marion said.
"I know, but I've already decided."
"Now Joanie, you need to realize that whatever Chachi makes at the garage and at the band is not going to last very long. So you need to think of something but if you need the money, let me know," Howard said.
"Thanks, Dad. I already got a job; I'm working at the front desk at the hotel."
"That was fast." Howard looked surprised.
"Okay, Joanie," Marion said as she and Howard gave Joanie a hug.
"Glad you guys are home," Joanie said.
"Thanks," Joanie then left for home.
Marion took Howard by the hand into the kitchen.
"Howard, I made some cake."
"Oooooh, do we have enough milk?"
"Great." Howard and Marion ate a piece of cake with milk.