the church whom we had never seen before. He had a quick smile and seemed very friendly, enjoyed the service, and would socialize with all, departing only as we did. The following Sunday he was again with us and seemed to have no difficulty in fraternizing with the congregants. He then began to show up at every service, Sunday night and even the mid-week Bible study.
It wasn’t long before he started to sit next to Ella. No one said anything, but it did seem rather strange as he was probably in his early forties. In conversations with Tom, we were to learn that he had just been released from the penitentiary serving a number of years for several offences. Still he was welcome, and he continued to attend always sitting right next to Ella. There seemed to be a mystery about him, but perhaps serving time had taken its toll on him. Yet, his jovial demeanor seemed to indicate that he had survived well his paying his dues to society.
A change was seen in Ella as well, she was wearing jewelry and just looking better all around. Her clothes were in better condition and more stylish than we were accustomed to. Even her hats were fancier, and though vintage, looked well kept. She had a bounce in her step, for the attention she was receiving from Dean was having a positive effect, with a flush on her cheeks and sporting a Mona Lisa grin. I am going to spare my imagination and just chalk it up to a schoolgirl crush. It was at this time that Tom and I moved to Los Angles to work with the Wings of Healing. However, Dean and Ella were such that one was not seen without the other. Dean now even had a car, and the couple that had always been there for her were no longer in the mix. As to where Dean had gotten the car was never discovered, but he never spoke of being employed anywhere.
One Sunday morning Ella’s seat was empty and Dean was not there either, and not for two weeks. So people stopped by her home and Dean would answer the door and tell them that Ella was not feeling well. Friends would continue to try and visit, but to no avail. Finally a neighbor would tell them that Ella had passed away, and was cremated the same day. That very night Dean was gone, and was never seen again. One thing we all knew, however, was that Ella wanted a big funeral and celebration. That was very important to her. She wanted a memorial to end all memorials, and she had asked me specifically to sing, “How Great Thou Art.” Suspicions grew but there was little that could be done, the house had been sold, all her things gone, or sold, and the money never seen, nor the “boy friend.”
Once again this brings me to anything but an artistic conclusion. The simple fact is obvious that decisions determined by flattery, caused the untimely and ultimate end of dear souls. These are stories that might be performed at the Paris Opera. But there are lessons to be learned from these accounts. Perhaps a life may be saved by the telling of such stories, for the inelegance of these tragedies lies deep in human nature. There were no cross currents of jealousy, only unbridled greed with no protection whatsoever for the innocent. What entered these unwary lives was an evil that they in their vulnerability would succumb to, and then suffered at the hands of those with no moral conscience.