The Unkept Promise

Story by Marion Kuclo

Donald Montgomery, a Birmingham Michigan businessman, was only 61, but he was dying.

Donald had worked hard and successfully to provide a comfortable life for his wife Margaret and their daughter Anne.

As Donald lived out his last days, he knew that the secret he had been harboring for 10 years could no longer remain his alone.

Ten years earlier Donald had become infatuated with a woman 25 years his junior. Their affair lasted less than three months, and then they agreed that it was over. However, a week later, Sherry discovered that she was pregnant.

Donald purchased a small house for Sherry in Grand Rapids, 150 miles away, into which she moved four months before her child was to be born.

Keeping his promise, Donald sent a reasonable amount of money each month to help support of the child.

Being a conscientious man, Donald often worried about what would happen to the child if he died and his monthly money order suddenly stopped coming.

At last he hit upon a plan.

While still in good health, Donald took out an insurance policy payable upon his death to his daughter.

A few days before his death, he summoned his daughter to his bedside. She promised her father, on his death bed, that she would do as he asked and see that the money went to her half-brother or sister without anyone else's knowledge.

Donald died at peace.

But after her father's death, Anne was bitter. She cashed the policy but made no attempt to locate the child for whom the money was intended.

Nearly four years passed. One afternoon, while Anne's children were in school and her husband was at work, she went to the supermarket to do her weekly grocery shopping.

She reached for a bottle of vinegar from the shelf, [and] there was her father suddenly standing before her. Looking into her eyes he said, "Anne, you didn't keep your promise."

Then one evening, Anne's family was assembled in the living room. Suddenly the front door flew open and in walked Donald Montgomery. He stood in the center of the room, looked directly at his daughter, and said in a sorrowful voice, "Annie, you didn't keep your promise."

Anne's husband and children had all seen the door burst open, but they insisted it had been the wind as None of them saw Donald or heard his voice, and none of them understood why Anne became suddenly so upset. After calming down, Anne decided that she had just been on edge.

It took a third incident to convince her.

The following Sunday, she and her family attended church in Bloomfield Hills as they did every week. The collection basket came down the row. Looking up, she discovered not the usher but her father standing there with his hand outstretched toward her. She collapsed in a dead faint.

Anne confided in no one. But Monday morning when the bank opened she was the first in line.

By noon, she had located Sherry.

Sherry told her the child, a girl, was now nearly 14 years old.

She handed the money to Sherry knowing that it would indeed be used just as her father had intended it. Then the two women agreed that someday, when Margaret was no longer living, Anne and the girl would meet.

Returning home late that afternoon, Anne felt that a great burden had been lifted from her shoulders. Donald Montgomery never visited his daughter again. Now at last, he could truly rest in peace.

The story above was excerpted from "Michigan Haunts and Hauntings" by Marion Kuclo.