Her residence was compliments of Janet O'Brien, one of a long line of Bird Song's temporary domestics.
Janet had foster-housed Martha for a short time last year as a favor to the child's jailed mother, but in January she imposed on the Deans' good nature to look after the young girl after being arrested and sentenced to sixty days in lock up after a check writing "misunderstanding."
The sixty days came and went but Janet never returned, leaving jail, a few more bad checks, and Colorado for parts unknown.
According to the brief phone call, the ten-year-old girl's natural mother, another loser like faux foster mother Janet, had been recently discharged to a halfway house after doing hard time in the state's Cañon City facility.
I'd better call Janet to see if she can come by.
Janet O'Brien was a local woman who remained on call to Bird Song, assisting with the domestic chores of running the bed and breakfast, at least when the number of guests required additional help.
Dean often thought if Janet O'Brien were pushing a grocery cart containing all of her belongings, she wouldn't seem out of place.
During the week before Christmas, Martha had spent an overnight at Bird Song when Janet was forced to report to court in Grand Junction, on some charges she, thankfully, did not detail to the Deans.
Martha's exposure to the library was more educational than helping Aunt Janet clean toilet bowls.
Janet finished her chores and hurried off to her afternoon soaps.
No other guests were due to arrive for a few days and with the housework up to date, thanks to the temporary help of Janet, the Deans decided to try out the fresh snow on the cross country trails on Red Mountain.
Janet told me not to 'impose'.
Janet thinks I'm Becky Thatcher.
"The sheriff also saw Martha wasn't in school and asked Janet why," Cynthia said.
When Janet told him she was going to home-school Martha, Weller suggested rather firmly it might be a good idea if Martha went back to a more formal setting.
It made Janet as mad as a hornet, but Martha's back in the classroom.
Janet cleaned your room and changed the linens.
Perhaps we should talk to Janet, too.
Dean agreed and telephoned Janet O'Brien from the hall but there was no answer.
Plus, Janet is either late or missing, Fred never even came home last night, I don't think I made enough breakfast rolls, and there's a stack of luggage in the hall.
Janet arrived, mumbling apologies as the guests began coming downstairs to breakfast.
Dean pulled Janet aside and asked if she had let any strangers into Bird Song the prior afternoon.
Was Edith's vivid imagination working overtime or had Jerome Shipton managed to slip by Janet O'Brien and invade his wife's room?
Janet was late again and Cynthia's bedside attempt to call her mother in Indiana resulted in unanswered rings, causing her further concern.
The others beat a hasty retreat as soon as they learned there were no fatalities, finally leaving Dean and his wife alone, with only Janet obliviously scrubbing away somewhere above.
Bird Song was as quiet as a tomb, with Janet either the most silent domestic on record or snoozing away in an unoccupied room.
A short distance further, he was surprised for the second time when he caught sight of Janet O'Brien.
Dean turned to leave, but Janet called after him.
Janet O'Brien had just told me my wife's mother had a heart attack, for God's sake!
Thankfully, Janet arrived to take up the inside tasks of Bird Song.
Dean recognized the rest of the number as belonging to Janet O'Brien.
My mind was all awhirl and then Janet came up and told me mother was ill—I didn't know what to do.
During the hurried explanations of her mother's condition, her trip home and hushed comments on the recent happenings, it was moments before Dean noticed Janet O'Brien sitting in the far corner.
Janet, with an out-of-character burst of loquaciousness asked, Miz Dean, I got a little problem.
The phone continued to ring while Janet contemplated an answer.
Janet muttered, "I got sixty days."
Janet was backing away toward a stage-right exit now that her lines had been delivered.
Janet gave a wave of her hand.
"She already said yes," Janet answered, gesturing toward Cynthia as if to say, the boss has spoken, mind your own business.
Janet, no whiz-kid, at least knew a good exit line and was out the door in a blink.
And God knows what lies Janet told the school to get her in!
"So now it's our problem," Dean muttered, and then speculated, "I wonder what Janet did to get sixty days."