A woman’s parents didn’t like her second husband, so they put their house in her son’s name thinking it would be safe. But sometimes life changes very radically.
Marianne Harding-Jones was her parents’ only surviving child, and they adored her. Unfortunately, they didn’t agree with her taste in husbands. The first had been a ne’er-do-well who had abandoned her when their son Lance was just three years old.
Ten years later, Marianne had married Ralph and although he seemed a nice, hardworking man, there was something about him that Mr. and Mrs. Harding just didn’t like. They decided to take precautions to protect their daughter.
The Hardings were reasonably well-off, but the jewel of their estate was the family home — a sprawling 12-bedroom house with a huge garden and a pool in one of the city’s most coveted addresses.
Mr. Harding became ill, and he and his wife decided to set their affairs in order, and so they put the house in their grandson Lance’s name, explaining to Marianne and the boy that their intention was to protect the property from a possible divorce from Ralph.
As it turned out, Mr. Harding dies a few months later, and his wife quickly followed him to the grave. Not two years later, they were proved to be right in their assessment of Ralph’s character.
Marianne discovered that Ralph had been cheating on her for years with one of her friends, and the divorce was costly indeed. Ralph claimed half or everything Marianne had, including the money her parents had left her.
Fortunately, he couldn’t touch the house which was in Lance’s name. Marianne gave thanks to her parent’s provident planning. After the divorce, Marianne and Lance moved into the grand old house.
Lance was now 15, and Marianne’s lawyer advised her to put the house back in her own name before he turned 18, but she refused. “I trust my son!” she told the lawyer indignantly. “I don’t want him to think I don’t!”
Marianne,” the lawyer said gently. “You know the boy Lance is today, not the man he’ll be in the future.” But Marianne was adamant. She trusted her son to abide by her parents’ wishes, and that was that.
When Lance finished high school he went away to college. He wanted to become a psychologist and Marianne supported him throughout his studies, paying for his tuition and his living expenses.
Marianne didn’t want Lance to be burdened with debt when he finished his studies, so most of the money that was left from her inheritance she spent on him. At first, it seemed as if her faith and trust were justified.
Lance started working as a psychologist, and soon he had a prosperous little practice, a girlfriend, and plans to marry. Marianne was delighted. She liked Jane, who was a therapist like Lance and seemed devoted to him.
But then suddenly, things fell apart. Lance called her one night crying. “She’s leaving me, mom, I love her and she’s leaving me!” A shocked Marianne heard Lance’s side of the story: Jane had suddenly decided she didn’t want him.
We think we know who someone is, but we don’t know who they may become.
She was moving back to Wisconsin and leaving him behind with a broken heart… Angered at her son’s pain, Marianne got in her car and drove to Jane’s apartment.
The young woman opened the door, and Marianne could see that she had been crying. “Mrs. Harding, I’m so sorry you’ve been dragged into this…”
“Jane, what is going on? A week ago we were planning a wedding and now you’re leaving?”
Jane nodded with tears in her eyes. “Mrs. Harding, I gave Lance a choice. He knew what was at stake.”
“What are you talking about, Jane? What is this? A lover’s quarrel?” Marianne asked, exasperated
No, Mrs. Harding,” said Jane sadly. “Lance started doing drugs a few months ago, and I asked him to stop. He hasn’t and I don’t think he wants to. I’m not sticking around to watch him self-destruct.”
“Drugs!” gasped Marianne. “That’s impossible!”
Marianne drove straight to her son’s apartment and confronted him. Lance cried in her arms and admitted that he WAS consuming drugs. He was going to stop, he promised Marianne, and he’d win Jane back.
Marianne believed her son and after a long heart-to-heart, she enrolled him in a rehab program that was said to be one of the best in the country.
Over the next six months, Lance seemed to make an exemplary recovery — but then, slowly, worrying signs started to surface. Before long Mariane was sure Lance was back on drugs.
When Marianne cut off the money, Lance turned to his long-estranged father. He moved in with him, but within a year he was kicked out after his dad caught him boosting his flat-screen TV.
Lance came home, and a week later there was a real estate agent putting up a FOR SALE sign in the garden. “Lance!” Marianne gasped. “What’s going on?”
“I’m selling the house, mom,” he told her. “I need the money.”
“But it’s MY house! You heard what your grandparents said..:” Marianne protested.
“The house is in my name, so it’s legally mine to do with as I please,” Lance told her coldly. “So please move out by the end of the week.”
A devastated Marianne moved out and later learned that Lance had sold the house at $500,000 under market value. The huge sum he realized from the house’s sale lasted him a year.
Marianne was now living in a small pretty cottage in Maryland which she’d managed to buy with the remnants of her inheritance and her savings, and the last person she expected to find standing at her door was Lance.
“Mom,” he said, tears running down his cheeks. “Please mom, help me!”
Marianne saw that Lance was thin, poorly dressed, and dirty. “How can I help you, Lance?” asked Marianne, her heart aching to see her boy in such straits.
Please mom,” Lance whined. “Can I come live with you? Just until I get myself together… I’m clean mom, I swear!”
Marianne shook her head slowly. “No my son,” she said sadly, “I’ve given you all I had all my life, and you cheated and robbed me. I can’t give you the opportunity to do it all again.”
“But mom, I swear…” Lance cried, but Marianne had already closed the door. She knew that no matter what she did, changing his life was something Lance would have to do all by himself.
What can we learn from this story?
Be careful who you trust. We think we know who someone is, but we don’t know who they may become. Marianne learned the hard way that drugs transformed her son.
Once you’ve lost your good name, no one will ever believe you again. Lance cheated his mother out of her inheritance and stole from his father, so when he reached out for help, neither of them was prepared to take a chance on him.