Thursday, July 4, 2013
April 9, 1928
Monday morning proved to be a disappointment as it rained all day, and when it rains the children’s pent up energy has to come out sooner or later because they cannot go out to run and play in the rain. So after lessons we rearranged the classroom and I let the children decide who they wanted to sit by and everyone was happy.
All the reorganizing took some of the energy away so it would not explode into fights between the boys. I baked a surprised Birthday Cake for little Sammy the youngest child in my class. He was five years old and was reading on a sixth grade level. I loved this child---he was so sweet and polite and everyone loved him; and the children protected him from the older boys of the Gap.
I let the children sing “Happy Birthday to Sammy” and the oldest girls handed out the cake as I cut it. I let little Susie take the rest of the cake home to her five little sisters. She was so happy to share something good with them. One of the oldest boys carried it for her. I taught these children good manners and how to care for and help others.
These are the best children in Purvis Gap, and as I was thinking about my lesson plans for tomorrow---a knock sounded on the double wood doors of the school house. I went to open them and it was Sam standing there with a rose in his hand.
I smiled and invited him in to the school house to see how well Purvis Gap provided for the children. He looked around and said, “Rebecca I cannot believe how well your library is furnished and with all new books which are up to date.” He said as his fingers went through page after page as if he could not believe it.
I did not know if I should be proud or feel insulted that he must think we are backwoods uneducated mountain people.
And I suppose he could read it in my face as I looked at him. Then he laughed, “Oh my---I am just amazed that Purvis Gap felt so deeply about education---not all mountain communities are this lucky.” Then he handed me the lavender rose which smelled so heavenly.
I still felt a little taken back but I thanked him for the rose and he walked me home. I did not invite him in as no one was home. So we said our goodbyes and I went in and started supper. Ma was quilting in the Hollow and Pa was collecting honey so I knew I had time to prepare them a great meal.
I cannot help but think of Johnny and why I have not heard from him.
Dear Diary I am tired so we will talk tomorrow.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
April 7th 1928
I was so tired last night that I could not even make a footnote. However, yesterday meeting Sam was one of the happiest moments I have experienced in a long time. Well---since Johnny really and sometimes even though I try to be nonchalant about it---my heart feels bruised as I still have not heard from him in months.
Sam stayed with me---and my family the whole day as we visited the other picnickers--- and then he joined our picnic dinner because my family insisted. Sam added his fried chicken and a chocolate cake to our table---and the cake was out of this world.
Mark asked, “Sam who baked this delicious cake?”
And Sam answered, “I made it by my Mother’s secret recipe.”
The silence was louder than thunder---with everyone looking at each other and then back to Sam.
Sam informed everyone, “My Mother owns a bakery and she taught me at seven years old how to bake, and I now use it as therapy to clear my mind---and it works wonders. My parents will be visiting me in the fall and I would like to invite you and your family over to meet them.”
Ma and Pa replied that would be their honor to do so. And there it was---already a connection of the two families and I thought what will become of this---I wonder.
After the picnic dinner some of the children went swimming while their parents watched. My two brothers surprised me by not running and jumping in. And I suppose Mark read my thoughts because he whispered to me that just our family was coming back next weekend for a private picnic and swim.
And then he walked over to Sam and my father and told them---and at the same time invited Sam to come. Sam shakes Mark’s hand and turns and gives me big dimpled smile. I am so thankful no one could see my heart melting and singing at the same time. There is only one way to describe Sam and that is he is beautiful and has the sweetest personality---he is unbelievable
What an emotional mess I was after the excitement of the day and meeting Sam. He was one surprise my heart did not need at the moment---but I was enjoying it.
So---Dear Diary what will next week bring in the lives of all who lives in Purvis Gap? I am praying for the children to be in good health and to learn in leaps and bounds (which is a redundant phrase---but it is the way of the gap people and sometimes it fits.)
© BEPH 2013 All Rights Reserved
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
April 6, 1928
My Pa carried all the food I prepared to the wagon and then helped Ma on to ride to Boone Lake. The morning was so beautiful that I wanted to walk and carry the wildflowers I picked along the way.
I stood on the mountain range overlooking the rapids below and thank God for all the beauty he made for the mountain people who took the time to enjoy it. This is one lesson I taught my students to appreciate what we have in front of us---all the beauty of nature and the creatures and birds that live with us on these mountains.
I wore my light blue dress that Pa loved---he said my blue eyes shined like Ma’s and my blonde hair glowed in the sunlight. Ma said Pa secretly wrote poems---this was one of our secrets Ma and I shared.
I wondered why I should worry about shining and glowing as Johnny was not here and probably would never be again. So life goes on and on like the wheel of time---it keeps turning.
Although beautiful as our mountain trails are---one has to keep their attention on where they are going. So I will always wonder why I rounded the Blue Rock with my head in my flowers smelling them.
Because I was not paying attention--- I walked into a moving mountain with arms that grabbed me and held me so tightly I could not breathe. And then of all things that are holy I fainted for the first time in my life.
When I opened my eyes I was staring into the lightest green eyes I had ever seen, and then I heard my brother’s Mark and Matthew voices as they ran towards us. I heard Mark’s voice which seemed at the end of a long tunnel shout---as he loudly said, “Sam, what happened to our sister---let me have her.”
Sam spoke softly back and said, “Mark, I will never let anyone have her---she will be mine forever if she will have me. I knew I came to this mountain to meet my soul mate and now I am holding her Mah darlin' o' th' ben .” His Scottish brogue awakened my heart and I wanted to stay in his arms forever.
This did not go over too well with my brothers---but they backed down as it would have taken both of them to take Sam down and I was slowly waking up.
Later Dear Diary,
April 5th, 1928
I stood on the school steps ringing the bell for the students to return to school this morning. And I was so pleasantly surprised to see such happy faces returning to me.
Their young minds are filled with all the knowledge from books and life’s experience of our ancestors---which keeps them wanting more. And I pray it will always be like this for them. My sweet children of Purvis Gap are learning seekers of the mountains.
I taught them to always ask question and to research because the answers are in books for them to find. Our school library grows with all the donations from the gap’s families that can afford in helping to expand our library.
Our church is having a big social tomorrow---a picnic by Boone Lake where our ancestors began their lives in our mountains. I will return home after school to begin cooking for the grand celebration that my parents and bothers enjoy so much.
I enjoy seeing everyone---especially my twin nephews and niece. And I am hoping there will be more to love in the near future. My brothers are now the wealthiest residents of Purvis Gap and they are building more stores to help the people here. They are such a blessing---my sweet brothers.
Talk later Dear Diary,
March 20, 1928
It is springtime in our beautiful mountains and the beauty of all the blooming flowers will take ones breath away. I planted lily bulbs at home and in the flowers boxes at the school in the fall; so my students would see what beauty can burst from the ground.
All the boys who are older enough to plant are out for the spring holidays in the mountains---so my school is quiet now. All my children are home helping their parents for three weeks and then back to school they will gladly return.
I am 18 years old now and still living at home with my parents. I do not mind since my mother has slowed down and she is enjoying reading more and rocking in her favorite chair on our wrap-around porch.
I have given up on seeing my Johnny again, and since his grandparents moved out of the gap, I never get news anymore about him.
We have a new blacksmith in Purvis Gap and the single women are talking about how handsome he is with big muscles that ripple from his strong tan fingers up to his shoulders.
I heard the women in church talking and his name is Samuel O’Walker from Scotland. His ancestors settled in the Appalachian Mountains in 1600’s. His parents were Missionaries on the Islands of Hawaii and he wanted to live in the mountains and start his family here. I am sure all the single young girls and women will occupy his time with dishes of food to show him they can cook.
I hope they all have fun as we have very little entertainment for most of the thrill seekers of lonely women. As for myself I have better things to do than to chase a man of all things.
I will talk to you again Dear Diary.
Friday, May 3, 2013
December 10, 1926
It has been years since I last wrote in you and that is because my sister Margaret ran away from home when I was eight years old. And she was only thirteen years old. She had a big fight with Ma and Pa about going to college. She graduated from the 12th grade at 13 years old and she wanted to complete college and then teach.
My sister Margaret has always wanted to be a teacher and I pray that where ever she is now---that she is one. I worried about her after she left---I was heart-broken---I could not eat or sleep. Pa had all the law men out searching but either they did not look long enough or did not care---either way I found them totally inept.
The law men who came to our house had terrible grammar and spit brown juice out of their mouths. My brothers said it was tobacco---and all I can say is it was a nasty thing to do. It made their teeth brown and they appeared more unclean.
Ma and Pa were sick about Margaret leaving and my brothers searched with Mr. King’s bloodhounds until they stopped trailing at the
Mackie River Raft---no more scent because of the water. Pa said Margaret was a smart girl and since she outsmarted everyone---she would have to outsmart herself back home.
I could not write in my diary since my heart was broken---but it has mended some thanks to my brothers. Mark and Matthews are 22 and 24 years old and married with babies. Mark has Luke and John twin boys and they are two years old now---I love them so much. And Matthew has a little girl who is three years old.
Sometimes I baby sit with all three and it is so much fun---I don’t want to leave them. They all have blonde hair and blue eyes and are so sweet. I am their aunt and they call me Aunty Becca. These are the times that I wish with all my heart that Margaret was here. She would be 21 years old now and I miss her so.
Now Diary I know you want to know about Johnny. My Johnny was so smart he is in law school and I am still waiting for him. I am a full grown woman at 16 years old. I graduated the 12th grade at 12 years old and took college correspondence lessons through the mail and now I teach here in Purvis Gap.
I help Ma around the house and I make her rest more as she is slowing down some. But not my Pa---he is still going full blast. My brothers have a big farm together and are doing well---and the most important part they are very happy with their beautiful wives and babies.
I will tell you more about my life later Dear Diary.
Friday, March 8, 2013
October 25th, 1918
It seems forever since Johnny moved to Canada and I miss him so much. I love wearing the heart locket he sent to me. His sweet grandfather gave it to me after church a month ago. And in the locket is a photo of Johnny and one of me. I don’t remember this picture of me being taken---but I am happy it is in the locket with Johnny.
My parents are getting ready for the big Harvest Day Feast at church. It will be a fun day---but not as much---without Johnny here.
Sometimes our mail is not delivered regularly and for one reason---it has begun to snow on the North Passage of our main mountain trail. This will cause the mail to be even slower during the winter months.
Pa said he would be going to town tomorrow with some of the other church men and he would bring the mail back to everyone. I am so excited about it--- I cannot wait---because I know Johnny has written to me.
I rubbed my heart locket during the day because I missed Johnny so much. Sometimes---I just hold it in my fingers and gently rub it with my thumb. Margaret said I will rub the gold off--- if I do not stop. She is so funny---but she is a great sister.
Last night Margaret got in bed with me and read a story from her school Literature book. It was such a beautiful story about Harvest Time in another land where the children went fishing while their fathers used big machines to gather the harvest of corn, wheat, barley and rye.
The mothers baked and cooked quail, wild turkey and deer meat---they called venison. And grandmothers looked after the babies while the mothers worked.
The way my sister read the story made it come to life and I dreamed about it too. In my dream Johnny was driving a big machine and I was baking for the feast. We waved at each other from a distance and I blew him a kiss and he caught it. It was the best dream Dear Diary---I will try to continue the dream tonight.