A Boston Adventure, Chapter 11 “New Life”

Life went on at the Peters home, but it did not seem right without Amelia. Rebecca was sad she was gone, but she was happy for Amelia. It was bittersweet for all of the family.

Spring came and everyone’s moods brightened. One day in early May, Rebecca arrived at the Bradley home. Instead of  being greeted by Mrs. Bradley, Bethany opened the door. “Mama had the baby!” she exclaimed. “His name is John David!” Rebecca hurried to the bedroom where Mrs. Bradley was holding a newborn baby.

“You had the baby!” Rebecca called happily. “When was he born?”

“Early this morning,” Mrs. Bradley replied. I started having pains shortly after you left yesterday.

“Oh, he is so cute!” Rebecca said as she gazed fondly at the beautiful boy. Then she went to talk to the other children and get to work. It was a happy day.

When Rebecca went home she called, “Mrs. Bradley had her baby! He is a boy named John David.”

“Oh, send her my congratulations,” Mother said. Then they all sat down to eat. Rebecca was very hungry, so she ate quickly. She noticed that Rose hardly touched her food. Rebecca wondered if she was still sick.

After dinner they went to the parlor. Rebecca and Annie worked on a new quilt. Rebecca wasn’t paying too much attention to the chatter until suddenly she heard Rose say, “We are expecting a baby this summer.” Rebecca quickly dropped her sewing and ran over to Rose and Gabriel.

“Congratulations!” she called, hugging Rose and Gabriel.

“Thank you,” they said. Everyone was excited. This was quite the day, Rebecca thought. Miss Bradley had her baby and Rose is expecting. She was very happy.

The days passed pleasantly. Knowing about Rose’s baby, the men worked extra hard on the house. By June, Gabriel and Rose’s house was finished. The entire Peters family was very happy. They wouldn’t have to live with Rose anymore. Rose noticed their delight, even though they tried to hide it.

“Why are you all so happy that I am leaving?” Rose asked scoffingly one day as the girls were making dinner. “Usually when a relative moves away, people are sad.”

“We are happy you have your own house now,” Annie said. “I am sure you do not like living in a house that belongs to someone else.”

“That is right,” Rose said. “I do not.” Then Mother came in the room so everyone shut up.

The next day Gabriel and Rose moved to their new home. The Peters family missed Gabriel, but not Rose. The next weekend they all went to see the new house. They had not seen it since it had been completed.

“It is pretty!” Rebecca said as they came inside. There was a large oak table in the middle, and beautiful blue curtains at the windows. Rose’s second-hand cast-iron stove sat at the side with the wood box next to it. At the other end of the room there was a ladder to the attic. It was indeed very nice.

“I love it, Rose!” said Annie.

“Very beautiful, Rose,” said Mother.

“Thank you,” Rose said with a smile. For once she looked happy. I am not sure if I have ever seen her smile, Rebecca thought. They all had dinner and then went home. It was a fun night.

Now the Peters family was busy planting. And Rebecca had another little one to attend at the Bradley house. They were happy days, though they did miss Amelia. One day at dinner, Ruth turned to Mother and said, “Mother, when will we ever see Amelia and Walter?”

Mother smiled and said, “Some day, dear. Some day.” Rebecca hoped that day would be soon, but she knew it was a long way off.

—————————–Four years later———————————–

Rebecca sat in a rocker in the Bradley’s parlor wondering where the last few years had gone. They had been busy, joyful, and fun, but they had also held their share of trials.

The Bradley twins, Hope and Lydia, ran about the room joyfully. They were no longer toddlers. “Girls, behave! We have company!” Mrs. Bradley insisted.

“Oh, I do not mind, Mrs. Bradley,” Rebecca laughed. “I would not care if they ran up the walls!” She cherished the moment, her heart was filled with joy. Mother always told me that every moment is precious, Rebecca thought. Then Rebecca’s husband, James Olsen, entered the red-walled room carrying their little baby girl, Betsy Ann. She was only a few months old and her head was covered with short blonde hair. Rebecca’s heart melted every time Betsy smiled. James handed the baby to Rebecca.

“Thank you, James,” she replied. She looked down at the baby and smiled as she thought, God has been so good. With Him by my side, how could I need anything?

Temporal vs. Eternal

Let us not focus on the temporal,
That which swiftly passes away.
Let us focus on the eternal,
That which forever does stay.

Let us not focus on little cares,
Though they might seem large.
No matter how anything fares,
Remember that God is in charge.

Some things that are important today,
Some things that cause sorrow,
Some things that we think shall always stay,
Shall swiftly vanish tomorrow.

The eternal things
Shall never fade;
The eternal things
Are things God made.

What about you? What about me?
Our souls are eternal too.
Where will you spend eternity?
The choice is up to you!

A New Beginning Chapter 2

The next morning Nina woke up abruptly to someone shaking her and calling, “Girl, girl, wake up!” She wearily opened her eyes and looked up at the face of a tan, wrinkled man wearing a torn blue shirt and denim overalls.

“I was–sleeping,” she replied.

“Why were you sleeping on my property?” he questioned.

“I did not know that this was your property, sir,” she said standing up. “I will leave.”

“Why did you set up these logs?” The man asked.

“Because I wanted to make a house for myself,” she said.

“Where is the house you live in?” he asked. “Is it nearby?”

“I live in this house, sir,” she said, solemnly pointing at the lean-to.

“Do you have a family?” he asked, his brown eyes narrowing.

“No, sir,” she said. “I am alone.”

He looked thoughtfully at the ground and said, “Well, I could take you to an orphanage and–” As soon as he said “orphanage,” Nina darted into the woods at a breakneck speed. The man ran after her. The man may not have been as fast as little Nina, but he had endurance. Finally, after racing through the trees and underbrush, he caught up with her and grabbed her shoulder. “Why did you run away?” he gasped.

“Because you are not sending me to an orphanage!” she retorted, her eyes flashing.

“Okay, then. If you do not want to go to the orphanage then come on to my house and I will decide what to do with you,” he said and let go of her. Nina was so shocked that he’d let go of her shoulder. Should she go with him or run away again? “Are you coming?” he said, slowly walking away.

“Yes,” she said. She decided she was going to try to trust this man. She followed the man back through the woods. They passed the place Nina had made her home and she grabbed her things. Soon they exited the woods and entered a huge Kentucky field. Most of the field was fenced off, and Nina saw about five horses in the fence.

“What is your name, girl?” the man asked.

“Nina,” she replied.

“Nina?” he queried. “Is that short for something?”

“Yes,” she said.

“What for?” he questioned.

“What does it matter to you?” she answered. “I am Nina.”

“Okay, then, Nina,” he said. “There is my home,” he said as he pointed past the field. The simple log house with a window in the front and smoke coming from the chimney was so quaint and lovely, at least in Nina’s mind. Anyone else would have probably considered it just an old, boring Kentucky home, but Nina thought it was beautiful. As they continued up the dirt path leading to the house, a little girl came running out. She was about five years old with curly brown hair tied up in a ribbon.

“Father!” she called, as she ran up the path and hugged the man.

“Susan!” he called back chuckling.

“Who is this?” she asked, looking shyly up at Nina.

“This is Nina,” said the man. “She will be visiting us for a while.” Then they all entered the house.

In the house everyone was busy. The man’s wife was scrambling eggs at the fireplace, a brown haired girl that looked about Nina’s age was washing a curly-haired toddler at a washbasin on the other side of the room, and another curly brown-haired girl was setting plates around the table. All of the girls and his wife had on simple cotton dresses and dirty white aprons.

“Oh, who is this?” his wife asked, poising her spoon in midair.

“This is Nina,” the man explained. “I found her sleeping in the woods.”

“Hello,” Nina said quietly. Then an older boy and a younger boy, also wearing plain cotton clothes, came in carrying water. The older boy had brown hair and hazel eyes and the younger boy had blonde hair and blue eyes. The younger boy set his jug of water on a nearby shelf and the older boy set his bucket by the fireplace.

“You found this girl in the woods?” his wife asked. “Why was she there? Does she have a family?”

“She does not have a family or a home,” he explained.

“Sit down, Nina, and eat some food,” his wife said with a smile. “Far be it from us not to practice some pure religion like the Bible says. Right, children?”

“Yes, ma’am,” said the children simultaneously, as they all sat down for breakfast.

The man said grace and then he announced, “Nina will be staying with us for a while. We do not know how long.” Then he turned to Nina. “Nina, I am George Walsh and this is my family: my wife Elsie, my eldest Andrew,” he said, motioning toward the older boy. “My daughters Annamarie and Katherine,” he continued, motioning toward the older girls. “My son Jonah, and, of course, Susan,  and Charity,” he said as he introduced the youngest children.

“It is nice to meet you all,” Nina said properly.

“What is your last name, Nina?” Jonah asked.

“Jameson,” she replied with a smile, as Mrs. Walsh served the eggs. Nina tried to eat slowly, but the food was so good that she had trouble containing herself. It was a good and happy breakfast.

After breakfast and kitchen chores were done, Annamarie asked, “Nina, do you want to meet our horses? Katherine and I are going to the horse barn to feed the horses and thought you might want to come along.”

“Sure, I will come,” Nina said. Then the three girls set off across the field.

The high grass, wildflowers, and various weeds tickled the girl’s bare feet and legs as they strolled along toward the barn. The sun shone brightly over the beautiful trees of Kentucky. “I love horses,” Annamarie randomly stated, shaking Nina from a world of thought.

“They are very pretty and graceful,” Nina replied.

“I love to ride them!” Katherine called. “It gives me such a thrill.”

“How old are you Nina?” Annamarie asked.

“Fourteen,” Nina replied.

“Then you are Annamarie’s age,” Katherine commented happily.

“Which horse would you like to ride?” Annamarie asked as they entered the shade of the wooden barn.

“I do not know. What is that horse’s name?” Nina asked, pointing at their pretty black Arabian horse.

“Bonnie,” Annamarie said as she put some food in her bucket.

“What is this one called?” Nina asked, coming to the next stall in which was a brown American paint horse with a mane and tail of the same color.

“Cowboy. He is my favorite,” Annamarie replied before going on to the third stall in which resided a dark brown American quarter horse with an even darker mane and tail. “This one is named Ranger.”

“Oh, he is so pretty!” Nina called. “I want to ride him.” Then the girls went on to feed the last three horses: an American paint horse named Willy, a white quarter horse named Angel, and Angel’s white colt Snowy. When they were all done feeding the horses, Katherine cheerfully said,

“Let us not just ride our horses; let us have a race!”

“What a grand idea!” Annamarie called. “Would you like to race, Nina?”

“Sure,” Nina said, a competitive gleam shining in her eyes. “I used to live on a farm, so I am pretty stiff competition. Are you sure you are up for the challenge?”

“Oh, certainly,” Annamarie said, her eyes glistening as well. “You used to live on a farm, but I have lived on a farm my whole life!”

“Oh, Annamarie,” Katherine sighed. “You never pass up a competition!”

“Well you are the one who decided to race,” Annamarie commented to Katherine. “I will ride Cowboy.”

“I will ride Bonnie,” Katherine said.

“And I will take Ranger,” Nina said. They got all the horses tack on, bridles, bits, and all. Then Annamarie jumped onto Cowboy and called,

“Come on girls, let us go race!” They trotted out of the barn and lined up for the race.

“Go!” Katherine yelled, and the race was on. Nina charged with all of her might, gently prodding Ranger to go faster and faster. She did not look back, but only toward the finish line. She rushed closer and closer to the finish line. She could taste victory when…

“I won!” Annamarie called loudly. Nina crossed the finish line right behind her and leaped off of Ranger’s back.

“You were really fast, Nina!” Annamarie congratulated. “In all honesty, you surprised me. You must have practiced a lot when you lived on a farm.”

“Oh, yes,” Nina said. “I raced often.”

“Well, I have got chores to do, and so do you , Katherine. Let us cool down the horses and then get those chores done.”

“Oh, yes, and maybe after chores you could meet the cows,” Katherine commented.

“Oh, yes,” Nina laughed. “I will.” Then the girls started walking the horses across the field.

The next few days passed pleasantly as Nina enjoyed riding Ranger and playing with Coco, the energetic dog. One of the best things about the Walsh farm was the good food they provided for her. She had not eaten such wholesome food since her mother had fallen ill. And she was delighted to sleep by the warm fireplace at night. Those days were very special.

The Reverend’s Daughter ~ Chapter 4 “At Grandma and Grandpa’s House”

One day Marilyn was happily playing in the apartment when the phone rang. As usual, Mother was working in the kitchen. She came into the living room to answer the phone. Mother’s thin face clouded with worry as she whispered to Marilyn, “Go get your dad.” Then Mother continued talking on the phone. Marilyn hurried into her parents’ bedroom where Dad was.

“Dad,” she said. “Mother wants you.”

“Okay,” he said, smiling at her and leaving the room. Marilyn went back to her toys. Then Dad came over and said, “Come on, Marilyn, we need to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.”

“Right now?” she asked. She liked going to her grandparents’ house, but they usually only went on Sundays, and today was not a Sunday.

“Yes,” Dad replied.

“Why?” asked Marilyn, seeing worry on her Dad’s face as well.

“Come here, honey,” he said, taking her on his knee. “Marilyn, your Uncle Crawford went to be with Jesus.”

“He died?” she said, sadness crossing her face as well. He had been very sick the last few weeks, but since he was only thirty, Marilyn had not thought he would die. Her last memories of him flashed through her head.

“Yes, but he is with Jesus so we do not have to be very sad, okay?” Dad explained.

“He is with Jesus,” Marilyn muttered. “Then I will not see him again?”

“You will see him in heaven one day,” Dad said, hugging her tightly. “His spirit is with Jesus now.”

“I am glad he is with Jesus,” Marilyn said.

“We all are,” Dad sighed as he recalled Crawford’s recent decision to accept Jesus. Crawford had thought he did not deserve salvation because of the way he had lived. His family had finally convinced him that Jesus would have died just for him. It was not a matter of deserving it, it was a matter of accepting it.

Soon they were all in the car heading to Grandma and Grandpa Black’s house. Arrangements were made, and they all returned the next day as well.

As Marilyn entered her grandparent’s living room, she saw that everyone was wearing black, even pretty Irene Miller, the lady Uncle Crawford had planned to marry in September. Everyone was crying and there were flowers everywhere. Marilyn did not like seeing Uncle Crawford’s dead body lying in a casket in the dining room. She felt troubled. Her grandparents came over and said hello. Marilyn knew that they were very sad, but they seemed to find joy in her, their little granddaughter, being there. Everyone hugged Grandma and Grandpa Black, but Grandma seemed inconsolable. It was a sad day.

A few days later, Grandma Black finally allowed her son to be buried. Marilyn went with her parents to the cemetery. Marilyn gently laid flowers on Uncle Crawford’s grave. She and her parents stood together looking at the fresh dirt.

“Mabel,” Dad said. “We can’t let your mother be alone at night.” Marilyn looked over suddenly. What did Dad mean?

“I agree, Charles,” Mother said. “Father works night shift. Nighttime has been so hard for her. We need to go be with her.”

After talking it over with Grandma and Grandpa Black, it was settled. Dad and Mother explained to Marilyn that they were going to go live with her grandparents. Marilyn was excited, for she loved her grandparents so much. Soon they packed up and moved into Grandma and Grandpa Black’s house.

Marilyn went with her grandparents three or four times a week to visit her uncle’s grave. They would take a scrub brush and some Bon Ami cleanser and clean the bronze plaque until it shone. One day,  however, they drove past the cemetery and out of town.

“Where are we going?” Marilyn asked.

“We are going to the farmer’s market,” Grandma explained as they drove out of town.

“Oh, please, Grandma, can we have a watermelon?” Marilyn pleaded as she stood pointing at a crate of watermelons.

“Sure,” said Grandma Black, looking for just the right one. When she thought she had found it, she asked the clerk if she could try it. He quickly pulled out his pocket knife and cut a small triangle out of the watermelon. Grandma tasted it, Grandpa too. They offered a bite to Marilyn. It was incredibly juicy and delicious. “We’ll take this one,” Grandma said to the clerk as she plugged it with the triangular piece. Grandpa paid for the watermelon and the other produce, then placed the watermelon in the middle of the back seat. Grandma put the bag of produce beside it, and Marilyn sat on the other side. Then they drove off.

Marilyn, wanting more of that delicious watermelon, took the plug out and stuck her hand into it. She pulled out handfuls and ate bite after bite. The watermelon was so good; Marilyn could not stop eating it. The car stopped and Marilyn realized they were home. Grandma opened the car door and looked down at Marilyn. “Marilyn Elaine Elliott, you ruined your dress!” she yelled, seeing the juice soaking Marilyn’s dress and dripping down her arm onto the back seat. Grandma Black hurried her into the house where Marilyn met her mother’s stern look.

“Marilyn, your dress is ruined!” Mother moaned, as she pulled her into the bathroom and put a clean dress on her. Then they went into the kitchen and saw Grandpa setting the watermelon on a cutting board. Grandma took a sharp knife and cut the watermelon open to reveal that Marilyn had eaten almost the whole thing! Everyone gasped. “Marilyn,” Mother chided. Then Dad stepped in, took one look at the watermelon, and laughed.

That September Marilyn started kindergarten. She did well in school and made some friends, including the twins at the end of the street, Patty and David Langley.  One day Marilyn went to visit them. She liked going to their house because David had a dog. The only problem was that Marilyn was allergic to dogs. She had always wanted a puppy, but every time she got one, her asthma would act up and they would have to sell it.

Thus, Marilyn was sneezing and coughing on the way home from her friend’s house. She was almost home when she noticed some construction workers by the sidewalk. She did not know what they were doing and walked past them carelessly. Then she started sinking into the sidewalk. She suddenly realized that she had stepped in wet concrete. She pulled out her feet, which were covered in clumps of cement, and ran home crying. One of the construction men started yelling at her for messing up their work.

“Mother!” she cried. “Look what happened!”

“Oh, my!” said Mother. “Outside immediately!” Marilyn ran back outside, still crying, and Mother took her shoes off.

“Don’t worry, dear,” Mother said “We will get you new shoes. Just don’t go running in wet cement again!” Marilyn definitely learned her lesson.

Two weeks later, Marilyn was playing dolls in her room when she heard Grandma Black call, “Marilyn, your friend has come to see you!” Marilyn ran to the front door.

“Hello, Patty!” she said. “I am glad you have come!”

“I am glad, too.” Patty said. “Mother said I could visit for a little bit.”

“Well, be good, girls!” Grandma Black said and went to her room.

“Let’s go play in the basement,” Marilyn said. “I like to play kitchen down there.”

The stairs were made of slat wood and they had no rail. The girls ran their hands along the cinder block walls as they crept down. They could not see well in the darkness, but they could feel the dampness in the air. Marilyn pulled a string and the light bulb came on, revealing Mother’s many things she had stashed down there. Marilyn grabbed a pan from one of the wooden crates and said, “Come on! Let’s make some soup.” Patty pulled a wooden spoon and some bowls from the same crate. Marilyn went upstairs and filled the pot halfway with water. When she came back she saw Mother’s metal spice containers on a shelf. Soon both girls were dumping spice after spice into the water. Before long, nearly all of Mother’s spices were in the pot. Marilyn was having a grand time until she heard the basement door creak open.

Mother came down the stairs and asked, “Marilyn, what are you doing?”

“Making soup, Mother,” she said. Then Mother noticed the spice cans all over the floor.

“You ruined my spices! Marilyn, go upstairs right now!” she yelled. Marilyn knew not to argue with Mother.

“I have to leave,” Patty said, feeling very awkward. Marilyn headed up the stairs. Patty followed her and then slipped out the front door. Mother came up and gave Marilyn a spanking with her hand. It did not hurt too much, but Marilyn knew Mother was angry at her. She told herself that she must do better next time.

Soon Grandma was well enough that Marilyn and her family could move into an apartment. Her grandparents sold their house and moved into an apartment as well. Marilyn missed living with her grandparents. She would never forget the many memories she had made at their old house.

Home Plays

The people started sitting down on the other side of the curtain as the director rushed around frantically making sure all of the cast was ready.

“Okay, so is the house prop out on stage?” she asked one actor. “Is your hat fixed?” she asked another. The youngest actor stood shyly against the backstage wall looking fearful. “You stay back here until scene two, then come out. After she’s finished talking, come backstage until scene four. Do not worry, you will be fine. You will do wonderfully!” Then she turned toward the curtain manager and called, “Open the curtain!” the curtain opened and the show began.

^^^^^^^^^^

Okay, so you are probably wondering what I am talking about. I was talking about myself, the busy director, before a home play. Today I am going to share about home plays, something that I really enjoy. This is how I do them.

1. Find a cast
You can not do a play if you do not have actors, period. You have to have people to play the parts. Usually my cast is my siblings and a friend.

2. Find a story
The next step in a home play in getting a good story. I use stories from movies, podcasts, or my own imagination. Stories from books also could work, if you have enough people in your cast to do it.

3. Characters
Now it is time to decide who gets each part. This is tricky, but here are some steps I use.
a. Is she the same age as the character?
b. Is she as tall or short as the character?
c. Does she act like the character?
Once you have found a good fit for each character, it is time for the next step.

4. Lines
I am the director because I love to take command. I am in charge of delivering scripts to the cast, so I carefully write down each line for every character. (Some might find this task boring, but I find it fun. I love every aspect of plays and acting.) Once carefully copied and edited, I give the lines to the cast for them to practice.

5. Costumes
Have you ever done costuming? It is so fun! I raid all of my sister’s closets searching for the perfect clothes for each character. Not only does the outfit have to look right, it has to fit right as well. It would not look good if all of the actors were on stage in oversized clothes! You also need to decide how each actor’s hair will be styled at showtime. Once you have completed this challenge, it is time for…

6. Props
Now it is time to get all of the props you will need onstage. There is no telling what all you will need, maybe a house, a bush, a shelf, or anything under the sun! There also is no telling what you will make the props out of either. I have used hard paper, soft paper, a dry erase board and markers, blankets, and much more. Props are so very fun to make, especially when they turn out looking very realistic.

7. Timing/Scheduling
Once all of the actors have their lines memorized, it is time to get a date for your show. The sooner the better in my opinion! Sometimes it is hard working around lots of schedules, but it is well worth it! Decide exactly what time of the day the play will begin and invite any guests you want to come.

8. Showtime!
Make sure you have all the props in place and costumes on by showtime! Oh, and remember, when it comes to plays, never give up. After all,

The Show Must Go On!

Ta Ta,

Faith

Behind The Curtain

Here is the first chapter of another story of mine titled Behind The Curtain. Please tell me how you like it!

Oh, before I start I want to let you all know that this is set in modern time. I love history so much that this is my first story set in modern time! It is set in Madison, Virginia, and Raleigh, North Carolina. Now, without further adieu, let the story begin!

^^^^^^^^^^

Chapter 1 ~ The Trip

I woke up to the sound of my sister Della’s voice calling, “Maddie! Maddie! It is finally time! Wake up!” I laid there for only one more treasured second, then my eyes popped open and I leaped out of my bed. The day is finally here! I thought. We are going to go see Grandpa and Gigi! I had been to my grandparent’s house before, but I was so young I did not remember it well. Daddy had started his own business and we hadn’t been able to travel at all. Daddy hired someone to help him this past year, so Daddy decided we could make the trip to North Carolina to see Grandpa and Gigi.

Della, only four years old, was prancing happily around our pretty green bedroom. Our beds are on the sides of the room, with a window on the back wall. We have one tall white dresser by the door. I pulled open our lacy white curtains. The sun was beginning to rise over the rolling hills in brilliant colors and shone over Madison, our Virginia city. It was a beautiful sight, but I did not have any time to enjoy the scenery. “Maddie, hurry!” Della prompted me, pointing at our matching blue dresses dotted with flowers that Mama had left draped over the dresser. I quickly helped Della dress and then I got dressed. We both ran down the hallway, down the stairs, and through the living room to the kitchen where Mama stood making sandwiches for lunch. Mama is pretty, with dark brown hair and big brown eyes. I look exactly like her, just younger. Some people say that if we were the same age, no one would be able to tell us apart.

“Good morning, girls! Are you all packed and ready to go to Gigi and Grandpa’s?”

“Yes, Mama,” we quickly answered.

“You want just peanut butter. Right, Maddie?” Mama asked.

“Yes, ma’am,” I nodded. I detest eating jelly.

“And I want strawberry jelly!” Della yelled.

“Okay, okay. Not so loud,” Mama said with her beautiful smile. “Now go get some breakfast. Daddy is outside loading the SUV, and he wants to leave very soon.” Della went to the pantry and got out a box of Cheerios while I got two bowls. We sat down at the table with our brother James. We ate our food and hurried outside. Mama and Daddy were loading the final bags into our brown SUV.

“Here is the bag, Maddie,” Mama said, handing me a big black bag full of toys for the trip. Mama buckled Ryan, our baby brother, into his car seat as I buckled myself into the seat beside him. Della was on my other side. James was in the back. Soon we were off to spend a week at Gigi and Grandpa’s. We were all very excited.

Five hours later we arrived in Raleigh, North Carolina, the city where our grandparents live. We enjoyed looking at the tall buildings that rose to the sky of North Carolina’s capital. We drove through the narrow streets until we pulled up in front of a large two-story brick house.

“We’re here!” Daddy called. We all stared at the impressive house. I did not at all remember the house was so big! I grabbed the bag of toys as we all rushed to climb out of the van and ran up the concrete walkway to a long front porch of dark wood spanning the entire length of the house. I boldly rang the bell beside the big front door with narrow windows on each side. I heard footsteps in the house and then the door opened. Gigi stood in the doorway and said happily,

“Welcome, welcome, dears! Come on in.” As we entered the foyer of the house, Grandpa, a very kind gray-haired man with a big smile, entered. We all, including Mama and Daddy who had entered behind us, gave our hugs and hellos to Gigi and Grandpa. It was so very wonderful to see them again! Then we all left the foyer and entered a spacious living room. We sat down on the two low couches at the end of the room. Gigi and Grandpa sat in their recliners and we all discussed what was happening in Virginia and among our relatives. As the adults got into more boring subjects, we children explored the house. There was a short hallway that led to a large bedroom and a nice screened porch at the side of the house. There were definitely more rooms in the big house, but none of us kids knew where they were. When we went back to the living room, Gigi left to make some dinner.

“You must be hungry after the long trip,” she insisted.

“We all ate sandwiches,” Mama said, but Gigi continued to make dinner. We played a game with Grandpa until it was time to eat. The dining room was right next to the living room. Gigi had the wooden table laden with chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. It was all so delicious! As the meal ended, I looked at Grandpa who was seated at the head of the table and asked,

“Grandpa, where is the rest of the house?”

Grandpa laughed heartily and answered, “Behind the curtain.”

God Has Shown Me

God has shown me
That I need to let go
Of the things I can’t see
Of the things I can’t know

God has shown me
That I need to trust Him
In the shadows, in the darkness
In the place where it’s dim

God has shown me
That if Him I pursue
He’ll light my way
And show me what to do

God has shown me
That I need to understand
His ways aren’t my ways
His plan’s aren’t my plans

A New Beginning Chapter 1

Nina Jameson stirred restlessly in her bed trying to get some sleep as two ten-year-old orphans argued in the bed beside her. They were pulling at the blanket on the bed they shared. One of them called loudly, “You have more of the blanket than I do.”

“Not true!” the other girl retorted. “You have all of the blanket; I have none! You pulled it all away!”

Nina yanked her own plain white cotton blanket over her head. Under the blanket she felt safe and secure, away from the mess of the orphan asylum. She had been at the asylum for a few months, and she found it very lonely and miserable, especially since she was not supposed to be there.

When her parents had become deathly sick that summer, they asked Nina’s uncle, Humphrey Jameson, to raise her after they were gone. Her uncle had said he would do as they asked, but after they died he sent her to the orphan asylum immediately. Nina knew she should forgive her uncle, and she tried her best to forgive, but she was still very angry at him for sending her to the awful asylum.

The girls continued to squabble in the bed beside her. Nina thought of the past few months at the asylum. She missed her parents. Tears started rolling down her face.

“Nina Jameson!” said a stern voice as the blanket was thrown off her. The teary-eyed girl turned to see Mrs. Bingham, one of the two ladies running the asylum, glare down at her. Mrs. Bingham had a bun of shiny brown hair, much like Nina’s own, and a a navy blue dress with buttons all the way down the front. Buttons were the fashion all ladies must have in those days. Two ladies, Mrs. Bingham and Mrs. Frank, took shifts watching the girls. Mrs. Frank was a very kind and tender-hearted woman, but Mrs. Bingham was a strict woman, not standing for disobedience or what she would consider ridiculous behavior. She wasn’t mean, necessarily, but she was demanding. “Why are you hiding?” Mrs. Bingham asked. “And why in the world is a grown girl like you crying?” Nina sat up quickly, her hazel eyes blazing.

“Mrs. Bingham,” Nina said with an authoritative voice, “I know that you are in charge of me and these other children, and that you are my elder, thus I must treat you with respect, but I am coming to a point where I cannot hide my feelings and be a hypocrite anymore! I feel absolutely no respect for you, even though I should. I think you are overly demanding and strict, and  you do not understand us at all! Do you not know that we have feelings, and that we are all orphans who have lost our parents? If you lost both of your parents would you not cry? Not only have I lost my parents, I was sent here by my uncle who is supposed to be raising me! Now you know why I was crying.”  Then Nina teared up and charged toward the old wooden door at the side of the dark room, but Mrs. Bingham caught her.

“You are not going anywhere, young lady,” she said through gritted teeth, her brown eyes staring angrily at Nina. “You will receive a sound thrashing for the thrashing your tongue let out. Mary, go get the strap,” she said to a little towhead girl sitting on a bed nearby.

“Yes, ma’am,” the frightened girl said, returning a little bit later with the strap in her hand. Mrs. Bingham took it and gave Nina’s hand four sound whacks. Nina’s eyes watered from the pain. She felt like spewing out more nasty words, but she knew it would only cause more trouble.

“Now answer my question,” she said. “Why were you hiding?”

“I was trying to get some sleep,” Nina replied, then she slipped back into bed.

“Good enough,” Mrs. Bingham said as she left. “Now get some sleep, all of you!” Nina buried herself in her blanket again. Never had her her hand hurt so badly and never had she felt so lonely. She suddenly realized what to do. She was done with this orphan asylum. She had to escape! But how would she? She then got an idea. She would unlock the window and climb down to the ground using a rope. It seemed like a good idea, except that she did not have a rope. I could make a rope out of bed sheets, she realized. I will leave in the morning, she thought, and fell asleep.

The next morning Nina woke up early. She made sure everyone was asleep, then she slipped out of bed and pulled on her torn purple shawl. She crept over to  a basket of dirty laundry. Then she quietly took two sheets out of the basket and tied them together. The sun was just starting to rise as she took her plain white pillowcase and put into it everything she owned–her old blue gingham dress that did not fit her any more, and some small gifts from her uncle which included sixty-eight cents. (She was certain her uncle had given the gifts to her in order to relieve his conscience after what he had done.) She used her red hair ribbon to tie her blanket around the pillowcase. She unlocked the window, opened it, and gently dropped the bundle to the ground. Then she tied the rope of dirty sheets to the leg of a heavy bureau and let the sheets down through the window. Finally she lowered herself to the ground. She grabbed her bundle and ran from the orphan asylum as quickly as she could. I am a fugitive now, she thought. Mrs. Bingham is probably awake and searching for me! She slowed down as she entered Dayton’s downtown district. She stopped to pull off her rather noticeable shawl, and crumpled it into her pillowcase. She  noticed a supply store at the corner of Franklin and Main Street, and decided to hide in a nearby alley until the supply store opened.

An hour later, she left the alley and walked across the street. Then she noticed a hair pin on the ground before her. She picked up the pin, wiped it clean, and used it to put her hair up like a lady. It was hard using just one pin, but she managed anyhow. She grabbed her bundle with her right hand, stuck her head up as proudly as possible, and strode into the small supply store like a grown woman.

“What would you like, miss?” the clerk asked.

“I would like to sell you some things I do not need anymore,” she said as she pulled the gifts from her uncle out of her pillowcase. “A doll, a bracelet, two books, and a few doll dresses.”

“Let me see,” the clerk said as he pulled his wire-rimmed spectacles from a small drawer to his right. He examined her belongings and found them to be in impeccable shape because Nina had hardly touched them. Meanwhile her hair pin started to fall out and half of her hair fell onto her shoulders. The other half was soon to follow, and she struggled to pin her hair up again. As soon as her bun was secure, the clerk looked up and handed her a generous sum of money for her belongings. She shoved her blanket into her pillowcase and then she left. She headed three blocks up Main Street to the Cincinnati-Hamilton & Dayton Rail Road station. She was planning to go far away, really far away. She entered the large, white-walled station and looked at the list of train departures. The next train was going to Cincinnati. She planned to get another ticket from there.

“One ticket to Cincinnati, please,” she said to the man at the booth. Her sweaty hand pushed the money toward him.

“Here, miss,” the man said as he gave her a ticket. She took it and sat down on one of the little wooden seats in the station. But as soon as she sat down, she realized she was hungry. She went to the bakery across the busy street and bought a loaf of bread. About fifteen minutes later, after Nina had eaten some of her bread, a train came chugging into the station.

After some passengers disembarked, the conductor stepped off the train and called, “Eight o’clock train to Cincinnati!” Nina stood up swiftly and handed her ticket to the conductor. Then she stepped into the dirty, dim passenger car and sat down on one of the rough wooden benches. She set her pillowcase beside her on the bench. There were many people on the train. The women wore a variety of deep colors. Many had plain skirts and bodices while others displayed ruffles, flounces, and other stylish frills. Some of the men wore three-piece suits and had carpet bags in hand. Then the train started with a jolt. She felt so lonely and nervous. She had never left Dayton before, and she had never ridden in a train.  Every town looked similar, every field the same, until the conductor announced that Cincinnati was their next stop. She suddenly felt a strange sensation. She felt like she was slowly falling backward, but she knew she was not. As she looked ahead, she saw the land rising. She realized she was going up a hill for the first time in her life. Excitement overcame any trace of anxiety as she entered Cincinnati.  She got off the train and purchased a ticket to Ashland, Kentucky. She figured that no one would find her there, in another state. As they left the station, the sky started to turn red and yellow. And before it turned completely dark, Nina was fast asleep.

She woke early the next morning and rubbed her sleepy eyes. She stretched her cramped neck and then looked out the window.  It was still dark out. She tried to get more sleep, but she was unable to. We must be near Ashland now, she thought as she lifted her bread to her mouth and looked outside again. What she saw took her breath away. The eastern sky was like a rainbow, with stripes of red, pink, green, and blue. Higher in the sky was a violet and blue mixture. Thin, sleek clouds lined the sky. Sycamores and poplars stood erect on either side of the railway. A long bridge lay before her. Excitement swelled within her as they crossed the Ohio River. Then the train took an immediate right, heading northwest along the river. Nina stared out the window at the city. Then the train stopped and the conductor called, “Ashland, Kentucky!” Nina quickly grabbed her pillowcase and headed out the door. She walked across the platform and into the train station. There were wooden benches by the big glass windows. A few men sat by the ticket booth. She quickly walked through the station and out into the bright sunlight. The fresh air bore a tiny chill.

“Whatcha doin’ here, little girl?” asked an old man with a southern drawl as she started to head down Eighth Street. “Are you meetin’ your father at the coal yard?” Oh, how she wished she was!

“No, sir,” she said. “I just arrived on the train.”

“Who is watchin’ you?” he asked.

“I’m on my own,” she replied simply.

“Ain’t you too young to be alone?” he queried.

“No, I am not. I am older than I look,” said Nina as confidently as she could.

“Well, be careful, girly. It’s a dangerous world out there,” he said as he walked away.

Nina was tempted to run, but she didn’t want to draw attention. She walked down Eighth Street hauling her pillowcase as if she had business to do. At the end of Eighth Street and across Railway Avenue the city came to an abrupt halt. Before her lay beautiful wooded acreage. She slipped in and found a tiny clearing in which to make a shelter. She started looking around for some large branches. All day long she leaned the branches against a big tree and piled small leafy branches on top. She only stopped once to eat some bread.  By suppertime, her scratched hands were screaming, as well as her hungry stomach. She went inside her shelter, finished her loaf of  bread, made herself a pine needle bed, and lay down. Kentucky is gorgeous, she thought as she fell asleep.

^^^^^^^

Here is a historical map of Dayton from 1872, three years before this story is set.

Below you’ll find a historical map of Ashland, Kentucky.

How do you like the story so far? What do you think will happen to Nina? Please comment below and tell me what you think!

~Faith

A Good Ol’ Southern Post

‘Kay, all y’ subscribers! It’s time for a good ol’ Southern post! As y’all probably know, since I live in Al’bama, I c’n talk (and type) Southern-like when I want to, but I’m usually corrected whenever I do. I love the way all the Southern people talk. I’m here to share a few poems and facts ’bout Dixieland.

1. My state, ‘Bama, was in the Confederate Union of States from January 11, 1861 ’til June 25, 1868.

2. I’ve lived in Dixieland since I was three. I hardly remember living in any other place. Bama’s my favorite state, but I do like some others as well, including North Carolina (I got t’go there once and it was fantastic! I’ve got to go back soon!), Georgia, and ol’ Kentuk’. There are many states I’d love to visit, but I have not been able to yet.

3. Here’s a poem I wrote ’bout the Heart of Dixie:
I’ve got a place in my heart for the Heart of Dixie
It pumps Southern blood through my veins
There’s no place quite like the Heart of Dixie
Island, mountain, or main

I was born in another place
Of palm trees, dunes, and sands
But pretty Dixie is where I was raised
And my home’s in Dixieland

Do y’ like it?

4. Alabama’s motto is, in Latin, “Andumus jura nostra defendere”, which means “We dare defend our rights.” Seems to describe us Alabamians very well.

5. I said before that I like Georgia as well. As y’all know, my cat’s named Georgia. Here is a poem that I wrote ’bout Georgia:
Georgia, a place often in my mind
Georgia, a place of trees and countryside

Georgia, a place of dreams come true
Georgia, a place of skies so blue

Georgia, a place special to me
Georgia, you make me so happy

6. ‘Nother Alabama poem I wrote:
With rolling hills and fertile dales
Tall oaks and swinging pines
With cliffs of red Alabama clay
And clouds across the blue skies

With green grass and brick churches
With warm, bright  summer days
Wherever I go in the US of A
Alabama is where I’ll stay

^^^^^^^^

I hope y’ enjoyed this!

~Faith

 

The Outdoors Are Calling Me

The outdoors are calling me
A call I can’t refuse
So I run out
And dash about
Whichever way I choose

The outdoors are calling me
Saying, “Come outside and play!”
So I play in the dirt
And listen to the birds
To every word they say

The outdoors are calling me
To come out and breathe fresh air
So I go and feel the breeze
Blowing through the trees
Oh, how I love it out there

The outdoors are calling me
They have called to me since old
They call to me
With the sky and the trees
I love the outdoors more than gold.