Monday, December 30, 2013

Dessa, Part 5

We reached the spot in the woods where Ella Mae had told us to go. After waiting a few minutes we could hear a group of people approaching. A beam of light appeared, growing bigger each second, until at last we could see four people-three men and one woman.
“Hello,” I whispered. “I’m Charlotte and this is Hadessah.”
“I am your conductor, Henry. This is Joseph and his wife Esther, and this is Sam.”
The strangers nodded their heads in greeting. Joseph and Esther were middle-aged. Sam was young; in his 20s I would guess. I could tell from the moment I saw him that he was an independent man who longed for freedom and would give anything and everything for it.
We didn’t talk much, for fear of being heard. We traveled through the dark woods at a quick pace, and Hadessah struggled to keep up. It was a very dangerous trip for even the strongest of men, let alone a small 10 year-old.
We walked for hours. By the time we stopped to settle down for the night, we were all ready to collapse. But we wanted to get as far away from the Claybourne plantation as possible. You never know when a group of slave hunters might be right behind you. 
Having a light to sleep by was impossible; it would give us away. So in the jet-blackness of night we all laid down on the cold, wet grass. Hadessah snuggled up close, for the poor girl was shivering. I gave her my shawl, but it didn’t do much good when the night breeze blew.
            I stared up at the black trees above us, the leaves rustling softly. It reminded me of the nights back in camp. You could always hear the trees rustling and sometimes the hooting of the owls.
            Soon my eyes could stay open no longer, and I fell asleep to the sound of Hadessah’s soft breathing beside me.
            “Everyone up! Come on! We must hurry!”
            I groaned at the sound of Henry’s voice. My eyes opened slightly and I was unhappy to discover it was still dark out. Hadessah stirred beside me.
            “Why must we leave now?” I asked.
            “We will reach de first station at dawn. Dere we will rest till night,” Henry said. “But we must hurry!”
            So the six of us trudged through the woods once again. We were all very hungry and still a bit sleepy. I tried to stay positive, but sometimes it was just so hard.
            But Henry was right. Just as the sun began to rise, we reached the first house or “station” as he called it. The “stationmaster” living there would help us.
            The woods had thinned out a bit, and there was now a dirt road. In clear view from the road was the white house where would be staying. Looking both ways, Henry quickly led us to the front door. An old, white-haired lady answered and let us in.
            “Follow me,” she said, leading us up the stairs with a candle.
            We were taken to the attic, and then to a secret room hidden by a sliding panel. The lady was most kind, and gave us food, blankets and anything else we needed. It was nice to rest and talk without worry of the slave hunters being right behind us.
            Our conductor returned to his home, but another one was supposed to meet us when we left the house that night.
            Meanwhile, we were able to learn more about each other. Joseph and Esther already knew Sam somewhat, from the plantation. And they had seen Hadessah, but since she was new they hadn’t been able to talk to her.
            “Well, we’ll start, eh Estie? I am Joseph, but you can call me Joe. This is Esther, or Estie, my wife,” Joe said. “We’ve been slaves all our lives and we’re ready to be free.”
            “It’s nice to meet you both,” I said, extending my hand.
            “I’m Sam… Dere’s not much to tell ‘bout me. I’m 21 and was born a slave. My parents are dead, and I’ve got nobody else. I want a new life. I don’t want to be nobody’s property! I want to be free!”
            I could hear the passion in Sam’s voice.
            “I’d feel the same way,” I said. “Well, my name is Charlotte. But you can call me Charlie, like everyone else does. I’m a nurse for the Union Army. My husband, Jack, is a first lieutenant. I traveled here to bring Hadessah to the north, like her father asked me to,” I said, gently stroking Hadessah’s curly hair.
            “Was your papa a soldier, child?” Estie asked.
            “Yes mam. He left to fight when I was 6.”
            “And your mama?”
            “She died when I was a baby…” Hadessah answered. Suddenly her face lit up.
            “If I can call you Charlie then you can call me Dessa, okay?” she said, unintentionally changing the subject. I laughed.
            “Okay, it’s a deal.”
I stared at Hadessah as she chatted on with the others. I was growing quite attached to the little girl. I couldn’t help but laugh when I remembered Harriet Sorenson’s last words to me. How could anyone do anything but love this child?
Night came quickly, but we were ready to travel again. Thanks to the socks and sweaters that the kind lady had given us, we were a bit warmer, too. So out into the darkness we plunged again, ready to continue our journey.
“Don’t pout, silly. I’ll be back soon.”
It was a few days later, and I was heading into a nearby town to get food. It was too risky to take Dessa, and she wasn’t very happy.
“Hurry, okay?” she said.
“Yes, pumpkin,” I laughed, pinching her cheeks.
In town, I headed into the grocers. Of course no one suspected me of helping slaves escape, but I couldn’t rid the uneasiness I was feeling. Every time someone else came in the store and rang the bell I would jump. I quickly bought the food and started to leave the store when a paper hanging in the window caught my attention.
Cash reward offered for four runaway slaves:
Joseph-middle-aged, tall, black hair, dark brown skin
Esther-middle-aged, black hair, brown skin, wears bandanna in hair
Sam-age 21, tall, brown hair, dark brown skin
Hadessah-age 10, small, brown hair, light-brown skin
- Hubert Claybourne, Belmont, Tennessee
My stomach did a somersault. They had caught up with us! I clutched the food a little tighter and hurried out the store.
 To be continued!
Kathryn (aka Chatty Kathy)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dessa, Part 4

I reached the first building and carefully pushed open the wooden door. My heart was pounding so hard I was sure it would jump right out of my chest. I had almost opened the door enough to squeeze through when it suddenly squeaked very loud.
“Who’s dere?” a man’s voice cried.
“My name is Charlotte and I’m so sorry to intrude, but I’m looking for a little girl!” I exclaimed. “It’s very important!”
A match was lit then suddenly the whole was filled with light. Five or six  slaves were in their beds, staring at me in shock.
“Please, you must help me find her!” I pleaded.
“Who-who yo lookin’ for?” one of them asked, still a bit startled.
“Her name is Hadessah…”
“Oh, yo mean dat new little girl? She’s in da one with dat big washtub in front,” he said, sleepily.
“Thank you!” I exclaimed.
Leaving the slaves still in shock, I closed the door behind me. I scanned the area, and sure enough, I saw a building with a large washtub in front of it. Looking both ways, I hurried over. My hands shook; partially from the cold and the realization that I was about to meet the girl I had been trying to find for days. With a deep breath, I pushed the door open.
“Annie get yo’ fryin’ pan, dere’s somebody in here!” someone shrieked.
There was a shuffling noise then a loud clang.
“Yo hit de wall! Towards de door, de door!”
“No, stop!” I screamed. Suddenly there was silence in the pitch-black room. Again, the room suddenly lit up with the light of a lantern.
Two women stood in front of me, clinging onto each other for dear life. One gripped the handle of a frying pan. In the back of the room was the trembling Hadessah, who had lit the lantern.
“Who on earth are you?” one of the women asked.
“My name is Charlotte Hamilton. I’m terribly sorry I frightened you!” I apologized.
The women relaxed.
“Dat’s alright, I haven’t seen Ella Mae dat excited in a long time!” Annie laughed.
“Well yo were de one who hit de wall with her fryin’ pan,” Ella Mae exclaimed.
“Who are you?” Annie asked again, turning to me.
“My name is Charlotte. Charlotte Hamilton. I’m a nurse for the Union Army and I’m here to see Hadessah.”
The women glanced at each other, then at the shocked Hadessah in the back of the room. Timidly but curiously, she walked up and stood next to Annie.
“I-I don’t know quite how to begin… maybe we could sit down?” I suggested.
So the four of us sat down on the rickety cots and I began to tell my story.
“I’m afraid I have bad news,” I started, choking back the tears that had suddenly gathered in my eyes. “Your father was killed last week.”
Hadessah’s face grew pale and anguish filled her eyes. She tried to control herself, but the quivering of her bottom lip soon turned into sobbing. Ella Mae wrapped her arms around her and rocked her gently.
“Dat’s right…. Jest let it out, child, let it out…” she comforted.
It was as if I had taken a hammer and smashed all her hopes and dreams in one blow. That one thing that drove her forward each day, that thing that she endured five years of slavery for. Gone. Gone, in six little words.
We sat there for a few minutes, until Hadessah was able to stop crying and listen to what else I had to say.
Full of emotion myself, I knelt down on the floor and grabbed Hadessah’s hands. I looked deep into her moist eyes and said,
“Your daddy asked me come and get you. He wanted me to bring you to the north so you could live with a nice family there. He loved you more than I can ever explain,” I sniffled.
Hadessah smiled then to my surprise threw her arms around my neck.
“Thank you,” she whispered in my ear.
Annie and Ella Mae began whispering. They finally turned and looked at me; I was still hugging Hadessah.
“We think we can tell yo dis…” Ella Mae began, her voice lowered. “Dere are a few slaves who gonna escape tomorrow night. Dey meeting in de woods. You should go with Dessa.”
I stared at them.
“You mean they’re running away?” I asked.
“Dat’s de only way yo gonna get her outta here. Master Clay gonna have wanted signs up fasteh den you can say-well-anything,” Annie said.
I thought for a minute. I looked at Hadessah, who was clinging tight onto me. Annie was right… there was no way I could just take the train back to Indiana.
“If that’s what we’ve gotta do, then that’s what we gotta do, right?” I asked Hadessah, wiping a lingering tear from her cheek.
She had suddenly become very attached to me and didn’t want me to leave. She began to tear up again when I told her that I must. But we’d see each other soon.
The next evening, I did the same as before. I paid the driver, but told him this time he did not have to stay. I sneaked around to the slave houses, thankful that the moon was full and gave lots of light. I opened their door, only this time I was welcomed with a hug, not a frying pan.
“Hello again,” I whispered. “We need to hurry, so tell them goodbye.”
Hadessah went and hugged both the ladies, who were sniffling and wiping their eyes.
“Good luck, child.”
“I wish de best for yo both.”
“Thank you,” I smiled.
Hand in hand, Hadessah and I shut the slave house door, never to return. We stared at the dark blotch of woods in the distance. A long, long journey lay before us, but we wouldn’t give up. One word pushed us on. Home. 
To be continued!
Later, Kathryn (aka Chatty Kathy)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dessa, Part 3

            Realizing I didn’t have a cabriolet, I started to walk for town. So many things were going through my head. If I were a little girl running away, where would I go? The woods? Alleys? No wait, I thought, my heart beginning to pound. What if someone saw her running and assumed she was a runaway slave? What if she was captured and put in a slave auction?
I decided that the best thing to do was to stay in Belmont for a few days and watch all the auctions. If I didn’t see her there, well, I didn’t know what I’d do.
When I reached town, I headed straight for the telegraph office.
Western Union
Things not as planned –(stop)- Will be delayed –(stop)- No need to worry -(stop-) love, Charlie -(stop)- 
I sat in my hotel room and stared at Jack’s telegram. It was two days after I had visited Harriet Sorenson, and I still hadn’t seen Hadessah. Jack encourged me to continue looking and wished for my safe return. It was nice to hear from him, to know he was all right. 
There was going to be another slave auction that afternoon. Half of me wanted to go and the other half dreaded it. They were so hard to watch! Those poor human beings being sold to cruel masters… Families being torn apart… I had to hide my face from the crowd because I cried almost every time.
An hour or two later, I headed down to the auction house. It was a fair sized building. Inside was a platform where slaves were brought up to be sold. A man would give their names, ages and how they would be useful. The hardest part was when members of a family were bought by different masters. I sometimes got so emotional I had to leave.
“Alright folks, step right up,” the auctioneer said. “The first one we have is a boy around 13. He’s a real hard worker and learns quickly.”
People started throwing out numbers until finally the boy was sold and taken away. I couldn’t help but wonder where his mother was.
“This lil’ lady is 10 years old. She can sew, cook and do most anything! How much for Hadessah, folks? Come on, you can see how able she is!”
My heart stopped and for a second I couldn’t breathe. Hadessah?  Could it be? She was small, had light-brown skin and curly brown hair. It had to be her!
The price kept rising as I hurriedly counted the wad of bills I had.

My heart sunk. I didn’t have enough.
“400 do I have 425? 425? 400 going once, twice, sold!”
I wanted to run over tell them no, no, they couldn’t have her! She wasn’t a slave!
I wanted to give her a hug. I wanted to tell her it would be all right. Her eyes were wild with fear as they led her off the platform and to her new master. And when I saw a warm tear slip down her cheek, I could have wept, myself. There wasn’t any way I was letting her out of my grasp now.

The man took Hadessah outside and into his carriage. I leaned over to a woman standing next to me.
“Who’s that man?” I whispered.
“Hubert Claybourne. He owns a tobacco plantation a few miles away,” she said.
“Thank you.”
Inside my mind I was planning. Somehow, someway, I would rescue her.

            The moonlight seeped in through my hotel room window, lighting up the room in an eerie sort of way. I moved quietly around, gathering my personal belongings, for I wasn’t sure if I would be back or not.
            I hopped into the cabriolet I had waiting, and headed off through town. Only a few people were out at this hour, mostly drunks wondering aimlessly down the street.

We trotted down the dirt roads, the moon gleaming down on the fields. I couldn’t help but wonder if Jack was looking up at that same big, yellow moon. A breeze blew and I pulled my shawl a little tighter.
A few minutes later, we arrived at the Claybourne mansion. I paid the driver and said, “I may or may not be back. Wait 20 minutes and if I’m not here, you may go.”
I wasn’t about to walk those few miles back to town. I’m sure the driver’s curiosity was aroused when I walked around the side of the huge house, in the dark. But I didn’t care.
I made my way through the tall grass and towards the many stone buildings I could see off in the distance. I was careful not to be seen by any of the night guards. As a battle nurse, I was pretty good at crawling on the ground. The hard part would be finding Hadessah’s living quarters. There were so many!

To be continued!

Kathryn (aka Chatty Kathy)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

old movies.

We all have those handful of movies that you watched all the time when you were little. Here are a few of mine that bring back so many memories.

The Sound of Music:

The children, Maria and Captain von Trapp


Captain von Trapp: Fraulein Maria, did I or did I not say that bedtime is to be strictly observed in this household?
Maria: Yes, well the children were scared of the thunderstorm and... You did, sir.
Captain von Trapp: And do you or do you not have trouble following these simple instructions?
Maria: Only during thunderstorms, sir.

Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea:

Diana and Anne
Anne and Gil

(Anne of Green Gables)
Anne Shirley: I thought nothing could be as bad as red hair. Green is ten times worse.

(Anne of Avonlea)

Gilbert Blythe: It'll be three years before I finish medical school. Even then there won't be any diamond sunbursts or marble halls.
Anne Shirley: I don't want diamond sunbursts or marble halls. I just want you.

Singing in the Rain:

Don, Kathy and Cosmo
Don and Lina
Kathy and Don


(after filming a love scene)
Lina: Oh Donny! You couldn't kiss me like that and not mean it just a teensy bit!
Don Lockwood: Meet the greatest actor in the world! I'd rather kiss a tarantula.
Lina: You don't mean that.
Don Lockwood: I dont-- Hey Joe, get me a tarantula. 

Holiday Inn:

Jim, Linda, Ted and Lila
Jim and Ted
Jim and Linda


Ted Hanover: I like it here... with you and Linda.
Jim Hardy: And we love having you here. When are you leaving? 

Meet Me in St. Louis:

Esther and John
Esther and her family at dinner


(after John tells Esther he couldn't pick up his tuxedo from the tailor because he was busy playing basketball)
John Truett: This is a fine going away present I'm giving you for Christmas. I'll bet you really hate me.
Esther Smith: Oh, no, John, I don't hate you! I just hate basketball!

The Court Jester:

Hawkins and Ravenhurst
Princess Gwendolyn, Hawkins and Jean
Ravenhurst, Hawkins and Jean


(picking his weapon for the joust against Griswold)
Hubert Hawkins: I'll take one of those, one of those, ooh, a couple of those.
(he pauses and glances over at Griswold)
Hubert Hawkins: I'd better take them all.

By the Light of the Silvery Moon:

Marjorie and Bill
Marjorie, Stella (the maid) and Wesley
Marjorie, Bill, and Mrs. and Mr. Winfield


Stella (to the camera): Wesley is their second child. If he had been the first, there never would have been a second! Oh... You're probably wondering who I am. Well, don't be so nosy!

You Were Never Lovelier:

Maria Acuna (third from the left) with her sisters and her parents
Maria and Robert
Maria and Robert


Robert: When do I start dancing?
Eduardo Acuna: You do not start dancing.
Robert: But didn't you want to see me about-
Eudardo Acuna: About one of my daughters. The one you so gallantly referred to as "the inside of a refrigerator"?
Robert: Oh... but I'm afraid I don't follow you.
Eduardo Acuna: She thinks you're in love with her.
Robert: Would it be rude of me to inquire if insanity runs in your family? 

Bringing up Baby:

Susan and David
Susan and Baby
David and Susan


(Susan is stealing David's car from the golf course)

Susan: Now, don't lose your temper.
David: My dear young lady, I'm not losing my temper. I'm merely trying to play some golf!
Susan: Well you choose the funniest places; this is a parking lot!

Do you have any movies you watched all the time when you were little?

Kathryn (aka Chatty Kathy)

P.S. I found all the pictures on Google Images.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dessa, Part 2

            Morning came, along with clear blue skies and the songs of birds as they flew over camp. I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to get back to work. Edward Bryers was still on my mind, but I knew my work helping the wounded was more important at the moment.
            Jack was already up when I awoke, as usual. He got up every morning at the crack of dawn. He was definitely not one to waste time sleeping.
 I yawned and sat up, running my hand through my mop of brown hair. I was beginning to get up when I noticed a bag and a piece of paper on the ground beside me. The paper read:

You’ll need these for your trip.

 My mouth fell open. Did I read it right? I reached for the drawstring bag and looked inside. I saw all my warmest clothes, a wad of bills and a revolver.  I prayed I wouldn’t have to use the latter.
I changed and hurried out into the brisk morning, not sure how to react to the note. I was excited, for sure. A bit nervous, and a bit sad, too. I knew that if I was able to bring that girl back with me, there was no way I could take her to the camp. Which meant I would have to go home to Indiana, leaving Jack in Virginia…
As I made my way to the medical tent, my eyes searched the sea of blue uniforms. Sure enough, standing with his group of men and waiting for drill to start, was Jack. He was taller than most of them and his sandy-blonde hair stood out against his dark blue uniform. He turned and his eyes met mine. I grinned just to let him know that I saw his note. He winked, then we both returned to our work.                       
            I stared solemnly out the train window. I would be reaching Belmont at any minute, and I was somewhat depressed. I fought back the tears that had gathered in my eyes as I remembered the emotion-filled goodbyes I had said a day earlier. I had no way of knowing whether that would be the last time I would see my husband alive again. What if he were killed in battle? What if something happened and I couldn’t bring the girl home? What if-no, no, I wouldn’t think these awful thoughts. I had to stay positive.
            The train pulled slowly into the station and I took a deep breath. The whole trip I had been wondering what I was supposed to do with this girl. Why couldn’t she stay with her great-great aunt and uncle? Why did I have to be involved? You’re not staying positive, I scolded myself.
            I stepped off the train and looked around. It was a fairly good-sized town with all your normal things; a grocery, post office and slave auction house. I clenched my bag a little tighter. The building made me angry just looking at it. 
            “Excuse me, sir,” I said, stopping a man. “Could you tell me where Harriet and Thomas Sorenson live?”
            “Head down that road and you can’t miss it. Good day,” he said, tipping his hat.
            I wasn’t sure what he meant, but after changing some of my bills into Confederate money, I got in a cabriolet and headed that direction anyway. It was a dirt road, lined with trees. It was very pretty, but it was when the trees disappeared that I gasped in awe. Standing before us was a huge, pillared house that towered over all the surrounding tobacco fields. My jaw was still dropped when the driver pulled in the driveway and up to the front porch. This is the house I had to rescue someone from? Something was wrong.
            “Madam?” the driver asked, waiting for me to take his extended hand.
            “Oh! Uh, thank you,” I stuttered, climbing out. After I paid him, the man drove off, leaving me standing in front of the huge house alone. I took a deep breath and headed up the many steps.
            The double doors opened slowly and a negro butler appeared.
            “Yes?” he asked.
            “I’d like to speak to Mr. or Mrs. Sorenson, please.”
            “May I tell dem who is calling?”
            “Tell them it’s Mrs. Charlotte Hamilton, although that won’t mean a thing to them,” I said.
            I was lead into a parlor and told to wait. The room was absolutely stunning, and it seemed like everywhere I turned there was a priceless vase or work of art. Even the couch I was sitting on looked expensive. The more I looked around, the more foolish I felt for coming to take the little girl away. Why wouldn’t her father want her in a place like this? It was gorgeous!
The grandfather clock ticked loudly in the corner and I started to grow impatient. I stood up and wondered a bit around the room. I walked over to the large fireplace, admiring the many nice things on the mantle. Suddenly the two double doors leading into the parlor burst open. Startled, I gasped and flew around, only to meet face to face with a thin, white-haired lady.
“I hope what you have to say is important, Mrs. Hamilton. I’m a very busy woman you know,” she said, motioning me to the couch.
            She sat down in a chair across from me and placed her wrinkled hands in her lap. Her face was cross and stern, and to me she looked as if she could pass as the commander of the Confederate army.
            “Do you know an Edward Bryers?” I asked.
            Mrs. Sorenson’s face turned white.
            “You’re wasting my time. I’ve never heard of the man.”
            “Then why are you wringing your hands like that? You’re lying. Edward Bryers is your great-nephew,” I declared. She looked at me with her piercing eyes.
            “What do you want here?”
            “I’ve come for the girl. Edward’s daughter.”
            “Well then you’ve come to wrong place. She isn’t here,” Mrs. Sorenson said, looking away.
            “You lied once, I don’t doubt you’d do it again. Now where is she?” I demanded.
            “I told you, she’s gone! She ran away a few days ago. And what business is it to you?” she asked, rising from her chair. I stood up and looked her in the eye.
            “I am a nurse for the Union Army. Your great-nephew sent me to get his daughter away from you.”
            “Ha! I should have known you weren’t a southerner from the moment I walked in this room,” she scowled. Suddenly her scowl turned to laughter.
            “He wants her back now, does he? After leaving her on our doorstep years ago with a note begging us to take her, he wants her back? Go ahead! If you can find her, that is!”
            “Edward Bryers is dead.”  
            She stopped laughing, but her face showed no grief.
            “Do you not even care?” I asked, shaking my head in disbelief.
            “Edward Bryers was a disgrace to this family,” she snapped. “He knew how respected we are in this town. He knew we have the biggest tobacco plantation and the most slaves around. But what does he do? He goes and marries a negro woman! He marries her! They have a child who is half-white half-negro, and after the mother dies he expects us to take care of her while he’s away fighting against our own south!” she cried, her voice rising in anger with every word.
            My mouth dropped open. No wonder he wanted her away from them and out of the south!
            “My husband and I couldn’t fathom having a child like that be known as our own relative. We wouldn’t let our reputation be ruined because of her. Out of the kindness of our hearts we let her stay as a domestic slave. I could have sent her into those tobacco fields to be under the overseer, do you hear? She could have been out there working from dawn till dusk. But I let stay in my house as long as she didn’t utter one single word about her father.”
            “How cruel can you be?” I exclaimed. My heart ached for this poor child.
            “You would only understand if you were in my position. Hadessah is gone and that’s all that matters. I don’t know where she is, and frankly, I don’t care. You may now kindly remove yourself from these premises or I shall have you thrown out!” she huffed.
            I walked quickly through the parlor and the hall and out onto the porch. She came to the door and said, “And don’t bring that girl back when you find out what she’s really like!”
            The door slammed behind me as I hurried down the front steps. I was extremely frustrated and disappointed. How on earth was I to find her now? There was one good thing… I knew her name. Hadessah. 
 To be continued!
Kathryn (aka Chatty Kathy)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dessa, Part 1

This is part one of a story entitled Dessa, which I wrote last week for school. It stars a Union Army nurse named Charlotte (Charlie). Please keep in mind that I wrote this in only a week...

February, 1865
Thick smoke from the artillery still lingered in the air. I flew through the swarms of battle-fatigued men, my mind focused on a single thing.
“More bandages!” I cried, bursting through the flap of the medical tent. Dr. Winston, the surgeon, wheeled around and looked me straight in the eye.
“We’re running low on supplies, Charlie. How bad is it?”
I panted from exhaustion and shook my head from side to side.
“Bad. There are hundreds of men who are to be dead in a minute unless we get some help to them.”
Suddenly two soldiers brushed past me with a makeshift stretcher. On it lie a man covered in blood.
“I’ve got patients piling up. Take these bandages and do what you can out there,” Winston ordered, thrusting a pile of cloths in my hands.
I raced back outside, towards the front lines. I could barely hear myself think, there was so much noise. Men were shouting orders and in the distance I could still hear the cracking of muskets. My stomach churned, uneasily. I feared for the life of my husband, Jack, a lieutenant of the Union army. Every time I saw a dead body being carried away, my heart pounded with a fear that it might be him.
I wasn’t a trained nurse. In fact, I knew very little about medical things. But when I marched along side my husband to war, I knew I would be tending to the wounded. They needed all the help they could get.
The battle was over, but my work had just begun. So many men scattered on the ground, dying. Each one of their faces seemed to plead with me to come. Where to go first? They all needed immediate care.
I knelt down to the nearest man. I reached out to his neck with my cold hands and felt his pulse. Nothing.
            My head shot up and I looked around. Who said that? I scanned the battlefield.
            “Nurse…” the weak voice came again.
I turned around to see a middle-aged man lying still on the cold ground. I took in a quick breath as I saw his chest red with blood. I knew at that moment there was no way I could save him. Yet I hurried over anyway.
“Shh, shh, it’ll be all right,” I comforted. I began to place some cloths on his open wound, when he grabbed my hand.
“Please,” he begged. “You must help me…”
“I will, if you let go of my wrist,” I said softly, although he was so weak I could easily remove his hand myself.
“I’m Edward Bryers… My daughter. You must get her… Please…”
“What? Where?” I exclaimed, looking around.
“Tennessee…. Belmont… You must save her from them…” he panted.
I stared at the soldier in shock. What did he just say? He wanted me to go to Tennessee to get his daughter? I whisked away a strand of brown hair that had fallen from my bun and leaned in closer.
“Save her from whom?”
“Great aunt… uncle… Harriet and Thomas Sorenson…” he whispered. Suddenly he grabbed both my hands and looked up with pitiful eyes.
“Promise, please!”
“I-I promise, I promise,” I exclaimed, my hands trembling. With my words his face suddenly changed. His eyes closed and he leaned back slowly. I felt the tenseness in his hands disappear. A smile formed on his pale, chapped lips. Before I could say another word, his hands dropped lifelessly to the ground.
My mind was in a blur. What had just happened? Our conversation played over in my head. What were those names again?
“Charlie! What are you doing?” I turned to see Jonathon, one of Winston’s nurses.
“Coming, I’m coming…” I mumbled. I stood up, taking one last glance at Edward, then hurried off to help the soldiers.
Night came, and most of the men had been brought to the medical tent. Winston was still working feverishly. I remember walking past the tent and seeing his shadow in the flickering lantern light, performing operation after operation on our wounded boys.
With the last of my energy I stumbled into the small tent where Jack and I slept. My heart sunk. The same bedrolls were laid on the cold ground and the same tin mugs and plates set between them. Nothing had been moved. I dropped to my knees in exhaustion. Why wasn’t he here yet?
As the minutes went by, worry turned to fear. I sat in the dark tent, the ticking from Jack’s stopwatch driving me mad. I was about to go looking for him when a tall silhouette appeared in the tent opening.
“Jack!” I cried, jumping up.
“I’m sorry to worry you, dear. I had to stay and discuss things with some officers. Are you hungry?”
Jack walked over to the lantern and lit it. The tent flooded with light and I saw him gather up our tin plates and cups. I was a bit frustrated and upset that he didn’t realize exactly how worried I really was.
“I’m starved… lets eat in the tent though, okay? I have something I want to talk about,” I said, as he left to go get our supper.
A few minutes later he returned with two plates of hardtack and some coffee. I eagerly took it. We sat down, and in the flickering light we began to eat.
Jack was a unique man. He wasn’t one for flowery words or speeches, but he had a heart of gold. We had been married for two years, and I didn’t regret one minute of it. We didn’t always agree on things and I knew convincing him that I needed to go get that little girl would be difficult.
“Well?” he finally asked. I took a sip of coffee and held tight onto the warm cup.
“I made a promise to a dying soldier…” I said, looking pleadingly into his blue eyes. “I told him I would get his daughter from his great aunt and uncle… I guess he doesn’t like them, I don’t know… What was I supposed to do, Jack? He was dying! You can’t very well deny a dying man’s last request. And about his own daughter… I just couldn’t say no!”
Jack stopped chewing.
“You what?”
“Look, I just have to go to Belmont, Tennessee and bring her back-“
“Belmont? You want to go down south to get some girl who’s name you don’t even know, and bring her here?” Jack laughed. “I don’t think so.”
“But Jack, I promised!”
The arguing continued for quite some time until we both agreed to settle it in the morning. The stress of war was wearing on us both. We were utterly exhausted and needed a good night's sleep. But even as I lie in my bedroll all I could see was Edward’s face after I promised to get his daughter. There was no way I could break that promise.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I don't know about you, but I love weddings.

So when my mom asked me to post a picture of my grandparents' wedding so my great-aunt could see it, I got this idea to post a few pictures of some weddings in my family. And for some of them, I uploaded a picture of them now.

Grandma and Grandpa (my mom's parents): Married November 8th, 1963



 Mema and Papa (my dad's parents): Married July 20th, 1968


 Aunt Elaine and Uncle Brian: Married August 15, 1987

That's my mom in the pink dress LOL!

Mom and Dad: Married March 7th, 1992

Left to Right: Mema, Mom, Dad, Papa
(sorry it's blurry)

Uncle Steven and Aunt Erica: Married August 11th, 2001

I'm the little girl sitting on my Mema's lap.

Uncle Danny and Aunt Bree: Married May 2005

See the flower girl? That's me!

Megan (my cousin) and Adam: Married January 2010


The girls and I played music for their wedding!

Levi (my cousin) and Beth: Married August 4th, 2012

We played for their wedding too.
Kathryn (aka Chatty Kathy)

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