Umber (19.2 – Vera’s Story)

March 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

“My mother — her name was Alice — still cooked, though, even  if it was the Sabbath.  She made roasts and stews and succotash.  And apricot tarts, because she knew how much I liked them. Her hands were small and rough from tending her garden and the cows.  She was soft-spoken, but she was a good storyteller.  Papa expected us to be serious, hardworking, God-fearing people who didn’t waste time on frivolous talk, but sometimes, when I helped her make noodles or shell peas in the kitchen and there was no one else to overhear us, she would tell me things that made me laugh so hard that I would fall right off my chair, onto the kitchen floor.

But one October, right after we had harvested the pumpkins from the field behind the barn, she became feverish and took to her bed.  The doctor came to see her, and told us she had influenza.  A lot of people came down with it that fall.  My mother and her sister, Agnes, both got so sick, so fast.”


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