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Jeannine D. Van Eperen
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Free-spirited eighteen-year-old Mae Carter, has a thing for racecars drivers. Sardonic divorcee Julie Mc Dougal was burned once in love and now shies away from commitments. Work-weary Holly Unbanski has a husband who isn’t able to provide for her and their son. Prim, religious Rose Schultz prays daily for a man to come into her dull life. These are a few of those underpaid women who toil daily at the Duke City National Bank in 1955. Each hopes for a better life, and each has her own story.
Mondays were busy banking days, and this proved no exception. All tellers had long lines from nine in the morning when the bank opened until the three o’clock closing hour. At three o’clock all tellers had mounds of money around them that must be verified, put into correct taped bundles, and their individual cages balanced. At three-thirty, Julie wiped her brow and said, “Thanks be to God, I balanced. How are you doing, Mrs. Dollar?”
“Ah, Julie, we’re both blessed today.” Both women sat on their stools as they busily put away the money in its proper place, then sold excess to the head teller, and took their assigned amount to the vault for safekeeping.
Mae peeked into the vault. “Can you join me for a cup of coffee, Julie? You balanced, didn’t you?”
Julie smiled as she answered. “Yes, both Mrs. Dollar and I came out to the penny. I hear Doris is off. I should try to help her.”
“Run along, Julie. I’ll see if Doris needs any help, and if she’s still off you can help out while I take a break. Heaven knows, we both need one,” Arlene Dollar said.
“I take it, I won’t get out by five,” Mae said and made a wry face. “When I go to sleep at night all I ever see is checks dancing before my face.”
“Tell me about it,” Julie said. “The night before last, I woke myself up. I dreamt I was putting my teller’s stamp on a check I cashed, and my fist came down on my leg. I’ve got the bruise right here to prove it.” Julie pointed to her thigh. “It’s bad enough working all day and then on my time off, I dream about it.”
Julie and Mae got coffee and sat down at a small table in the bank’s small lunchroom. They were alone. Most of the tellers were still balancing, and the rest took their breaks a few at a time rather catch as catch can. Often, eager to get home, they gave up a break in order to finish up their work.
Mae cupped her chin in her hand as she leaned on her elbow. She looked earnestly at her friend. “Julie, you just don’t know how lucky you are. Honestly, I really envy you?”
“Envy me?” Julie asked in surprise. Her aqua eyes studied Mae to ascertain if she was serious. “What’s to envy? I’m twenty-three, divorced and have a three year old to support.”
“You also have a lovely family to fall back on, Julie.” Mae sighed. “Look at me--eighteen, single, mother dead and a drunk for a father.”
“Mae, you know your life isn’t all black. You’re just in a blue mood today.”
Julie smiled and tried to tease her friend into a better mood. “What’s the matter? Did your boy friend stand you up last night?”
“Randy? He knows better than to do that.” Mae’s lips curved in a smile.
“See, you feel better all ready. I can tell.” Julie saw Mae’s eyes gleam as she thought of her latest love affaire.
Chuckling softly, Mae said, “Yeah, a man will make me feel better every the time. “Julie,” Mae said slowly, not wanting to upset her friend. “Don’t you ever miss being married?”
“Miss being married?”
“Yeah. You know. Don’t you miss it?”
“I heard Ida Costello mention once that your ex was one handsome lug of a guy.”
“He was, Mae, very handsome--and charming, very charming.” For a moment Julie thought of Sean and her smile turned to a frown. “But he was a louse, Mae.”
“In what way?”
“Just take my word for it, Mae. He was a louse. You can bank on it. I don’t speak with forked tongue.” Julie laughed and tried to joke to hide her regret.
“Speaking of banks,” Mae said. “As much as I hate to admit it, our coffee break is over. The Duke City National needs our talents.”
“Such as they are.” Julie rose from her chair at the table. “Thank God the bank’s doors have closed. It was one rough day today! You probably won’t get out of here till seven or so.”
FAR-Award-winning author, Jeannine Van Eperen, currently lives in Wisconsin, the state of her birth, but she lived for many years in New Mexico and sets many of her novels in New Mexico and Albuquerque, the place she calls home. You Can Bank on It is a fictionalized version of her early years working in the Albuquerque National Bank and also the Bank of New Mexico. She is a people-watcher and “what-ifs” often become the basis for stories. Some incidents happened but most are made up, just as the characters are.
Jeannine attended schools in Chicago and Albuquerque, attended the University of New Mexico, College of St. Joseph on the Rio Grande and Western States University College of Law in Anaheim, California.
Besides the banking industry, Jeannine worked in the insurance industry as an office manager, in the travel industry as a motel manager, and was the director of publicity at the University of Albuquerque. She and husband Lou love travel and have been to all fifty of the United States and Puerto Rico, most Canadian Provinces and thirty countries. She is particularly fond of New Zealand and England. She is a private pilot, enjoys reading, euchre, downhill skiing and needlework.
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 306
Paper Weight (lb): 12.9
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