Hope everyone had a great weekend. My weekend was quite productive, I managed to accomplish a few chores that needed to be done, as well as completed a special order bride and groom bear set that is in the mail on it's way to Minnesota. I made some mini flower arrangements for the bride and for 1 the grad bears that is going to a female grad. The little red roses are made of bread dough, the arrangement is on a button... They turned out quite nice, so I made a few to have on hand for future orders.
We'll wrap up Chapter 1 of Winter Wheat today... finally -
Emilie followed the priest out to the foyer where her belongings lay waiting on the floor. He scooped up the heavy carpetbag and together they set off for his car.
They motored to an area of the city in direct opposition to the one where the Tober’s resided. Here the houses here were small wooden structures built close together on small lots. Some were bungalows and others two-storied; all shared the same inadequate appearance of peeling paint, crooked porches and lawns that were uneven and ragged. There were few trees to be seen anywhere along their route and Emilie immediately knew that the people who lived in this area of town would be more sympathetic to her plight than those of the neighborhood she had just left.
They stopped in front of a small wooden frame home which was in desperate need of a coat of paint and a new front step. Scattered across the small yard were several old bicycles and a little red wagon that was colored more by rust than paint.
“Here we are,” Father Richard climbed out of the car and reached behind his seat for Emilie’s luggage.
Emilie followed the priest up the uneven sidewalk that was broken in several places to the front door of the house where a very plump young woman waited expectantly.
“Father Richard! Welcome!” The woman leaned against the door to hold it open and reached out to shake the priest’s hand as he passed through the door. “You must be Emilie. Please, come in.” She gestured for Emilie to move past into the house. “Please, come into the parlor.”
The parlor was a tiny room smaller than the bedroom she had occupied in the Tober’s home. Along one wall sat a well-worn chesterfield ,a chair and two small occasional tables. A floor lamp with a yellowed cloth shade stood alone in one corner and in the opposite corner a beautiful maidenhair fern sat atop a sewing machine cabinet. There were two pictures on the wall, one of an older couple that was nicely framed in a dark oval frame and the other an embroidered picture of a pair of deer standing in the woods. A doll with matted hair and tattered clothes lay carelessly thrown on the floor beside a small crocheted doll blanket. Emilie had a sudden urge to reach down and pick the doll up in her arms and comfort it.
Emilie couldn’t help comparing the parlor in the Tober’s home to that of this home. Mrs. Tober’s parlor had been impeccably decorated with beautiful mahogany furniture and a full size grand piano. When you entered the room you had the distinct impression that your hands would be slapped if you so much as reached to touch the keys. Emilie found she much preferred this room.
“Emilie, I’d like you to meet Martha Brown. Martha, this is the young woman I told you about.” Father Richard formally introduced the two women.
“I’m so pleased to meet you, Emilie. Father Richard told me a little about your situation - I’m so very sorry about your brother.”
“Danke . . . Thank you.” Emilie didn’t know what else to say to the woman who would most likely become her new employer. She noticed two sets of curious eyes peering through the door from the hallway. She smiled at the cherub faces and was rewarded with two shy smiles in return.
“Come children,” their mother called them into the room. “These are my two youngest,” she said proudly of the two little boys that had entered the room. “This is Miss Freiheit, boys. She will be staying with us for a while.”
The children eyed Emilie a moment, nodded their heads silently and then ran out of the room in a hurry to get back to their play.
“Emilie, as I told Father Richard, I could use your help here with my large family. But I was really hoping you would consider a more permanent position caring for my brother’s children.”
Emilie looked at the priest in confusion. “But I thought you wanted me here,” she said, before returning her attention back to Martha Brown.
“Oh I do, Emilie. I would love to be able to keep you here, but my poor brother needs you so much more than I ever could. You see, his wife died some time ago and he has been left alone to care for his two children and try to run his farm at the same time. His neighbors have been helping him as much as possible but the children are young and they desperately need a woman in the home to care for them.”
“How old are these children?” Emilie asked quietly, her heart already going out to the poor motherless children.
“Raymond is five and Anne-Marie is two.”
Dear Gott! What must life be like for those two small children living alone with a grieving father and no mother to love them?
“My brother Karl is a good man - strong, hardworking; but he cannot cope with the children,” Martha continued, “He has been doing his best but they need so much that he alone cannot provide.”
He’s like me, Emilie thought to herself. Life has dealt him too much pain and disappointment. Maybe she could help this man after all.
“Could you live on a farm, Emilie?” It was Father Richard’s voice that stirred her back to the present. He knew full well that life would not be easy; isolated as she would be on a farm in rural Manitoba.
“I suppose I could,” Emilie answered honestly. “I have stayed on my Uncle’s farm many times - but it was a very large farm, with many workers,” she added, not entirely sure what a farm here would be like.
Martha coughed nervously. “I’m afraid my brother’s farm is nothing like that. There is no running water or furnace, or even electricity like here in the city.”
“But this is 1929!” Emilie declared, unable to believe what she was being told.
“Unfortunately, some parts of Manitoba haven’t figured that out yet!” Martha said, a soft chuckle accompanying her words.
“Well Emilie, I will leave you in Martha’s capable hands. Please take care of yourself and come and see me before you leave - if indeed you decide to go out to country.” Father Richard rose from his chair and made his way to the front door with Martha trailing close behind him.
Emilie sat alone in the small parlor and deliberated over her current situation. There were many things she needed to consider before making a decision to travel to an unknown destination; but in the end what choice did she really have? She would much rather stay in the city than venture out to the prairie where Martha’s brother supposedly lived, but still there was a man and small children out there who really needed her help.
She would take some time before coming to a decision because this time she was determined to make the right one. Yes that’s what she’d do - she’d take her time and be absolutely sure that this was what she really wanted to do before she left the comfort of Martha Brown’s home and family behind her.