What’s happening with the Pierce girls?
It is June 2, 1860, two days since Hannah left Westport in search of her future. With no means of support, she had to leave her nieces with their other aunts. In this seven part blog series, you’ll see what life is like for Lucy, 14; Ella 10; and Jennie, 8, as they adjust to their new circumstances.
It had been two days since my sisters and I said goodbye to Aunt Hannah. Jennie and Ella had gone to live with Aunt Hilda while I had gone with Aunt May. Life with her and Uncle Edmond was not what I had imagined. It wasn’t quite the nonstop drudgery I’d had with Pa when I’d gone to live with him all starry-eyed, thinking he loved me and that’s why he wanted me home. What he’d really wanted was for me to do the woman’s work until he found me a suitable husband, someone with money and influence. If I married well, he’d be proud of me. Until then, there were meals to be cooked and clothes to be washed. I’d been only thirteen. I was fourteen now, and I wasn’t any more ready for marriage than I had been last summer. That wasn’t stopping Aunt May though. She was ticking through her social list looking for a suitable match for me. I wasn’t ready, but she wasn’t listening.
Aunt Hannah would have listened. Yes, she was, according to Aunt May, an old maid. She didn’t look old. She didn’t act old either. She had spent years running the family’s hotel and taking care of Grandma True, and all she got was a few dollars when Pa and my uncles sold the hotel.
I was on my way to see Ella and Jennie, and the way to the parsonage ran by the hotel. I stopped and looked at the front entrance, remembering how I sometimes helped Wesley, our old desk clerk, check in guests.
Startled, I turned to see Jake Owens grinning at me. I couldn’t stop smiling, it was so good to see him. “Hey, Jake.”
“Homesick for the old place?”
“The hotel? Not really. Aunt Hannah? Yes.”
“They’re converting your old room to a guest room. I found something when I was cleaning it out. I have it in the stable. Do you want to wait while I get it for you?”
“Can I get it on my way home? I’m late to see my sisters, and Aunt Hilda has a strict schedule at her house.”
“Sure. I’ll be in the stable later, so you’ll find me there.”
“What did I leave?”
“A comb. It has broken teeth, but I figured it might be a keepsake.”
Ma’s comb. How could I have left it? “You’re right. It was my mother’s. Thank you for saving it for me. I’ll be back in an hour or so.”
“I’ll be in the stable.”
I went on to Aunt Hilda’s. When I got there, Ella was alone in the parlor.
“Where’s Jennie?” I asked.
Ella looked up from her Bible. Her eyes were red from crying. She wiped a tear from her cheek. “In her room. She can’t come out until tomorrow.”
“She had a dream about Uncle Graham’s horse getting hurt, and she told him not to ride yesterday, and he did. A rattlesnake bit his horse.”
“Oh, my. That’s awful. But why is Jennie banished to her room?”
“Because Uncle Graham said an evil spirit had possessed her. That’s the only way she could have known. He whipped her with a belt something terrible.” Ella buried her face in her hands. Her shoulders shook as she sobbed.
I wrapped an arm around her shoulder and drew her to me. “We warned her not to tell her dreams to anyone.”
“But she says if she doesn’t and something bad happens, it will be her fault.”
“I’m going to see her.”
“You really shouldn’t. If Uncle Graham finds out, it’ll just be worse.”
Free Prequel: The Courtship of Hannah True is still available.
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2 thoughts on “Life with the Aunts: Part 1”
Well Hazel you have my attention again! Can’t wait for the next book!
I just want to save those poor girls from all their horrible, judgemental relatives. Love the story and the hint of romance with Jake.