Chapter fourteen: Learning more.

Waking up in a unfamiliar bed in an unfamiliar guest bedroom, with the smell of an extensive hobbit breakfast being prepared in the background, it took me some moments to realize where I was. Slowly it all dawned to me again: I had met Yola's brother, Peppy, in Bramblebury. It was the best find in my search so far. All other things I found out had only made me sad, like hearing that I was too late to ever see my mother alive. I had not forgotten about that, but meeting my Uncle Peppy was a relief and something I had to tell Pa and Ma as soon as I could.

After I washed and got dressed, I met Uncle Peppy at a lushly laid breakfast table. He smiled at me and asked if I had had a good night. I confirmed I had slept very well in the comfortable guestroom. We ate from all the nice things he had cooked and I was dying to ask him a multitude of questions.

Uncle Peppy, why is Yola's last name Plumblossom and yours Brittlebush?”. He grinned and first corrected me: “Bristlebrush, dear, not Brittlebush. Well, it is her last name too, but Yola used her middle name like a surname, her beautiful flowername: Plumblossom. She liked it so much that she used it like a surname. And like you, many were surprised to learn that her brother, me, was not called Peppy Plumblossom!”. A merry laugh resounded and I could not help but chuckle too.

I was named after a beautiful gemstone!”, I said and I showed him the rubellite stone. Suddenly his expression changed from merry to solemn as he stared at the stone. Then, he produced from his pocket another stone, equal in size, equal in colour.. another rubellite! I was amazed. “She gave it to me one day and what did she say again..?” He tried hard to remember. “It was: 'If ever in your life you meet someone with a similar stone, come and tell me immediately!' Yes, that was it.” He looked at me and I looked at him. Tears were now rolling down Peppy's cheeks. “I did not find you in time”, he slowly said. I stood up, went over and hugged him. He later told me it was the first time he had actually cried over the loss of his sister. He had always been brave, well, acted brave, more precisely.

We both cried for a while. It was special for both of us, to share our grief over the loss of Yola. I took my stone and Peppy's and I held them together. The surfaces matched! They were cut from the same source. I handed his back, but he gestured I should keep it. It was the first of many special gifts that people would give me, all kinds of objects that had belonged to or were made by Yola. I was lost for words of gratitude, but Peppy must have seen how much I appreciated his generous gesture.

The rest of the morning I helped him cook second breakfast and prepare elevensies and lunch. All the time Peppy told me about himself and Yola. When I asked him to tell about his life, he answered: “Prepare yourself for a sad story.” And he told about the little hobbitlad, fond of making music, who lost his parents when still very young. He told me about his gammer who was always mean to him and who tried to take his music away from him. He told me how he slowly slipped into a vital depression, losing the will to live. Not even the loving care of his sister Yola could take it away from him. It was the elves of Rivendell who had cured him at last and he had prolonged his stay there with many years, studying music and honing his minstrel skills.

I listened to his story intensely and could not help making a connection between Peppy's gammer and the old crow who had delivered me as a baby to Pa and Ma and then vanished without a trace. I asked him what he thought about the matter. “When I came back from Rivendell, the house of our parents in Stock had been sold and I could not find my Gammer, nor did I want to. In stead I went to look for Yola and found her in Bramblebury. But you could be right. It sounds like one of her mischievous acts to do such a thing, to take away a newlyborn baby from it's mother, just because.. well, let's face it, Yola was not married or anything, the father of the baby unknown. Gammer must have regarded it as a disgrace to the family.. and even more to herself.”

The rest of the day we spent paging through diaries and sketchbooks. Each page and each picture had a story and I learned a lot more about how Yola had lived her life in Bramblebury. I learned about how the Bramblebury Gazette was started, about the Bramblebury music band, elections and about many of her friends. With a hint of melancholy that I did not understand at that moment, he told about the Grand Order of the Lost Mathom of which my mother had been a proud member.

Now that I knew so much more, I wanted to see Pa and Ma again. I wanted to tell them everything, also about finding Peppy. “Say, why don't I come with you to Buckland?!”, he said with a smile. I cheered! A few days later we saddled our ponies and rode through the Shire on our way to Pa and Ma. Many heads turned when we passed, many greetings were uttered. It was a wonderful trip. I was not alone now, I had the pleasure of the company of my mother Yola's brother, my dear Uncle Peppy Bristlebrush.


Next: Moving to live in Bramblebury.