Sadie’s Short Stories (SSS): Great-Grandmother’s Texan Memory (Part II)

“Gama, Ma is calling for us.” Gail jumped down from her lap and ran happily down the stairs. She was humming a popular song that she had heard in the store that she went to last week with Pa.

“Gama, Ma is calling for us.” Gail jumped down from her lap and ran happily down the stairs. She was humming a popular song that she had heard in the store that she went to last week with Pa.

“Yes dear, I know.” Eleanor felt for the wheelchair that sat beside the window. She scootched into it and felt for the wheels. It was a straw chair and she got a grip on the wheels of the chair. “Charlie and Bobby!” Eleanor wheeled her chair as far as the door, but she couldn’t make it down the stairs. 

“Coming Gama!” The Boys came rushing up the steps. They were the oldest boys of the family, and they helped their father run the farm. Charlie and Bobby were twins. They both had black hair and brown eyes, just like their father. They were shorter but well-built from the farm work they did. They came and kissed her on the cheeks. “Are you ready? Hold on.” They heaved, their muscles bulging under the weight of the wheelchair. For only being both sixteen they were strong and mature.

They finally set her down, and she wheeled herself into the dining room. The room was bustling with activity. The kerosine lamp on the table shown brightly, the old red checkered table cloth covered the large table. The children, scampering about were summoned to the table. Charlie and Bobby sat at each side of their father. Their mother, Eleanor’s only Grandchild, was sitting at the butt of the table. Their father, William, sat at the head. Gail sat beside Eleanor, her voice resounding louder and excitedly over everyone else. For being so small she could talk to the whole family. Her skinny little legs were hidden beneath the long table cloth, but they swung wildly, kicking the people sitting next to her. 

“Gail, will you please quiet down! We are trying to talk over here.” Her father sent a stern glance down to Gail, who was now sitting as quiet as a mouse, her little feet stopped swinging. 

“Sorry sweetie, but your father been stressed, money being tight and with this many mouths to feed, he can’t handle everything.” Her mother patted her on the hand, sending the little girl’s mouth high in a smile. 

“I can handle something. I can drive the truck to market!” She jumped excitedly from her chair. “Pa can teach me to drive it, and I can drive all us kids to school!” She ran over to her father, who handled a large stack of bills in his hands, his face creased in a worried frown. “Pa, can’t you? I can help!” her little ponytails bounced as she faced her father.

Her father smiled sadly down at her and patted her head in a caressing manner. “We haven’t even gotten the truck yet, and if we do, I will be teaching your older brothers first.” He chuckled at her air of excitement. Her mother looked at her fondly, her round face covered with many years of smile wrinkles. Her mother was expecting another baby, Gail was hoping it would be a girl. She wanted a younger sister to play with, not dirty boys.  

“Well, I guess they should learn first, then teach me.” She nodded her little head in satisfaction, then scampered into the family room to play with the paper dolls Ma had made her. Her feet were heard resounding down the hall as she skipped along. 

“Will, we should tell everyone now.” Martha, Gail’s mother, looked at her little boys, excusing them from the table. Little Billy and Joey were her youngest. They both were blonde, one has blue eyes and the other hazel. Joey was seven and little Billy was four. They were a hassle, always getting into mischief. One day they even brought a snake into the house, and they hid it under their bed. They were soundly rebuked by Pa, who sent them to bed early for a week. Ma just about had a heart attack when she found the Gardner snake under the bed. 

Pa looked at the others, Eleanor could just tell through the air in the room that there was tension.

“Today, the war is declared over.” A gasp escaped the boys, and Eleanor felt a sadness fill her heart, even though joy should be there. Her dimmed eyes couldn’t see anymore, but she could still see that the family was sad too. 

“We are so glad that it is over, having so many lives lost, it just doesn’t seem fit to celebrate people dying.” Martha sighed, rubbing her sweaty hands over her apron. “I am glad that it is over, and that terrible Adolf Hitler has killed himself. He was a coward.” She struggled to keep her anger down, but she gathered the dishes and hurried away, disappearing into the kitchen.

“She’s right, we will be glad that it is over, but we should mourn the loss of the many country folks we lost.” He raised his glass, “To those we lost on the way, and to those who are still with us.” The boys lifted theirs. Their faces were stern. William drank solemnly. He didn’t drink wine or beer, they were too expensive, and since the Probation of 1920, he didn’t mind going without it. They used some juice that they made from cherries they grew. 

Eleanor smiled sadly thinking of the many friends that had died before her. Some died fighting in the wars, others died of old age or heartbreak. Her dear Albert had died in the First World War, but her daughter had helped her through the time after his death. 

“Lord, bless those who remain, and thank you for the dead’s sacrifice for this world you gave us.” She said, as she rolled off onto the porch, where she could enjoy the cool of the evening. She sighed, thinking back to when she was living in Texas.  The Nights back home were like this. She would spend her evenings smelling the fresh air and would look out over the hills. This was home, having seen her grandchild grow up here. Martha had always been a good girl. She then up and married William. She didn’t have any other grandchildren, her son having died in World War 1. Then her daughter married a man named Nathan. They had Martha, but they lived back in Texas. Nathan went to serve in the war and died in combat. Her daughter, Mary, died of heartbreak. Eleanor also probably would have died of heartbreak as well if Martha hadn’t been there to take care of her. 

Her thoughts were interrupted when a little hand touched her shoulder. “Yes, dearie?”
“Gama, what was Texas like. Is it like our farm?” It was Gail, and she crawled once again into her great grandmother’s small lap. 

“It’s nothing like here, it’s drier in Texas, but they both get cold at night. That’s why I like sitting out here in the evening. It helps me to remember the good times back in Texas.” She smiled fondly, her wrinkled face lifted to the sky. “And I can just feel the moon coming out, and feel that the stars are smiling down at me as they did back in Texas with my Pa.”

“Can you take me to Texas someday?” Gail hooked her arms around Eleanor’s neck. She hugged her, smiling.

“Someday, child, someday you will see Texas. Someday I will leave and go to the great roundup in the skies.” Eleanor kissed the child’s head. “I won’t be able to take you, but promise me that someday you will go back and raise our ranch back up.” She patted the child’s head seriously, but fondly. 

Gail hugged hard, excitement filled her little body. “I will Gama! Just for you, I will return to Texas, and restore our ranch to its former glory!” She said it seriously. The pact made, they sat quietly, looking up into the darkening sky. Gail told her the different constellations she saw, the old woman listening quietly, enjoying the cool of the Kentucky evening, she again drifted off into the memories of her life back home, in Texas. 

Thanks so much again for reading my short stories! I hope that you are informed about the great depression and that I was able to share a little bit of my knowledge on family life during this time period. I really enjoyed writing this short story, and I hope you enjoyed reading it. Thanks again, and remember to stay updated on our blog posts! – Sadie and the Singlers


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