A Family to Love, Part 2

A little music for the soul.

The hunting cabin we stayed in.

Source

Alone at Last

Michael and I, after the wedding, drove the buggy to his father's hunting cabin to spend a week. We had stocked some things the day before the wedding and Mama had put a basket of food from the wedding feast in the back of the buggy. We probably wouldn't have to cook much. When we got to the hunting cabin, Michael went in and lit a lantern and the fire that was laid in the fireplace. It was just a tad chilly and the extra light would be welcome. We carried the bags and baskets in and I put things away. It was already after midnight so we needed to get settled.

Michael went back out to care for the horse, putting her into the corral, which had a lean-to attached to the cabin. He fed and watered her, and then brushed her. She was a gentle mare, with a good heart.

I pumped some water for a sponge bath and drew the curtain across between the kitchen part of the cabin and the main part. An indoor pump in a cabin was a nice luxury. Most of these little cabins, you had to carry water from the creek. The pot of water heated quickly and I used a cloth and some soap to wash the dirt of the day off. It had been hot out there dancing and we had all been perspiring.Then I slipped into a nightgown and robe that Mama had made for me from some fine cotton lawn.

It was thin but masked things. Mama and Cleo had embroidered flowers all around the edges of it. The neck of the robe was almost stiff with the embroidery. The sleeves were loose and flowing with embroidery all along the edges. This held the fabric out away from my wrists. There were pretty freshwater pearl buttons used as the center of the flowers. The placket down the front also had the flowers embroidered around the buttons and the crocheted loops were green and looked like stems and leaves.

I opened the curtain and Michael held his breath for a moment. I guess the outfit was a success. I switched with him so that he could wash up. I sat down in the chair by the fire and started brushing my hair. One hundred strokes, every night. My arm would get so tired from the action of taking those strokes all the way down my waist length hair. The waves from the hair style that my hair had been in made it fall in ringlets if I twisted the brush slightly. I was playing with one of the springy tendrils when Michael opened the curtain. He smiled and came over, bending down to kiss me on the temple. Then he took the brush and started to brush. I did not know it then, but this is what we would do every night for the rest of our lives together.

After it was brushed, I braided it to keep it from getting tangled and we sat and talked. Cuddling on the wooden settee in front of the fire was a wonderful way to end our day. Cuddling led to kissing and kissing led to passion. We made our way to the bed in the corner. Quilts were piled on it and pillows were piled high; on this, our first marriage bed.


We spent a lot of time walking along this creek. Picnicking under the tree in the shade was another pastime.
We spent a lot of time walking along this creek. Picnicking under the tree in the shade was another pastime. | Source

We Started our Family on the Honeymoon

The next week was spent loving, walking in the woods, along the creek, and being close together. We talked late into the night; discussing books, ideas, and children. When we went back, we would find that we had made our first child.

I was sick from the beginning of that pregnancy. I would wake up, eat crackers, and lay really still. I was hoping it would not come back on me. That stopped after just a couple of months and life was sublime. We lived in the upstairs of the General Store. There were three generous bedrooms and a parlor, with a generous sized kitchen. There was a door leading from the parlor onto the roof at the back of the store. We had some chairs out there for in the evening, when it was cool. The stars seemed so close. Michael's Mama and Papa had lived there until they built a house next door to the store. During the day, I spent time learning about the business and helping with whatever I could.

Mama Kate, which is what Michael's mama asked me to call her; helped me order some furniture to round out what we needed. There were cupboards and tables left there and my Mama had some furniture that she gave us. We also ordered a few rugs to warm the place up during the winter. The cradle was pulled out of storage and scrubbed. Thinking of Michael being in that cradle made me feel warm and comfortable. Mama gave me some dishes that were her mothers. Friends came with gifts to decorate our home and make it comfortable. We were set up to live a comfortable life.

We sold everything that people wanted in the General Store. If we did not have it, we ordered it. This had the effect of making us very prosperous. The community was growing and had a four block area with streets laid out. There was a school and even a town hall. We were going to be a township soon. The post office was in the General store and Michael was certified as the Postmaster.

The Whitewater Canal was being dug along the State line that ran along State Street, just a block away. Our little town was straddling the border of Ohio and Indiana. The canal was going to connect from Lawrenceburg, Indiana; to Hagerstown, Indiana. This was a really big thing for our town. We were one of the few towns in Ohio to benefit from it. It stretched seventy-six miles. The towns all along would not need to haul everything to Cincinnati by mule wagon to get it shipped on the Ohio River. They would only need to haul it to one of the canal stops and then it would go by barge, down the canal to Lawrenceburg and then it would be loaded onto bigger barges and go up and down the river. Bringing things in had become so much easier and faster. It used to take a week of traveling along muddy, rutted roads to go to Cincinnati and back. Now, we could order it and it would arrive on a barge a few days later.

Michael and several of the other shop owners along Market Street, decided to dig a tunnel between the basements and the canal. It was only a couple of hundred yards from our basement, at the far end, to the canal and the dock. We still had Indian attacks occasionally and it would be nice to send everyone down into the tunnels and out to safety. There was usually a barge down along there and it could be used to escape. We all felt a lot safer.

We Have a New Baby to Add to Our Family

Baby Michael was born on March 3, 1840 at eight o'clock at night. I had been in labor all day. This was a joyous occasion for us all. Mama and Papa came in with Cleo and Rosemary. My sisters just couldn't wait to see our baby boy. He was a big, healthy baby who screamed loudly for his supper. I nursed him in the bed with Mama and my sisters along to keep me company. Mama Kate also kept us company after they all fed the men at her house. The men had kept out of sight in the store all day. They didn't want anything to do with all that woman stuff and they wanted to keep Michael occupied.

Mama and my sisters left when Michael came in. They wanted to give us time together and needed to get something to eat. Michael was totally awestruck at the sight of our baby boy and fell instantly in love with him. He was such a beautiful boy, with downy dark curls all over his head. Michael lay next to me on the bed and we cuddled our baby boy between us.

Papa told Mama that every time they heard a scream from upstairs, every man in the store would head outside. Michael would turn white and look at the stairs. I laughed when Mama told me that. I thought it was so funny that these big, tough men could not handle a little baby business. Mama explained to me that so many young women died while giving birth that men just couldn't handle it. They did not like that they could not protect their womenfolk from everything. I am still learning, I guess.

Many of the town's women dropped in over the next few days, to see the baby and assure themselves that all was well. They brought gifts for baby Michael. Booties and dresses; some cloth nappies, washed and beaten soft; blankets stitched with such care and tiny little caps to keep his head warm. Some of the men brought handmade toys and rattles made from gourds, the handles smoothed and sanded. I felt so truly blessed by the people of our small community.

Sunday dawned and we all went to the church for our baby to be blessed and given to the Lord. We wanted to get this done as soon as possible because we never knew if some disease was going to come around and make him ill or worse. We wanted our baby in God's hands.

While we were there, a Doctor, who was traveling on the canal, asked to see our baby. We let him and watched anxiously as he looked at our son. He finally looked up with tears in his eyes and my heart stopped. Was there something wrong with Michael? But no, the Doctor explained, he had lost his own son at this age, along with his beloved wife. I felt so sorry for him and at the same time, felt so selfish for my joy. He was a good man.

Other parts to this story.

Part 1 of this story. http://hub.me/ae42C

Part 3 of this story. http://hub.me/aeeIF

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Comments 50 comments

Ghost32 4 years ago

More! More!

I can truly relate to the men not being able to handle the childbirth experience. When Vicky, my first wife, had our first daughter, I was at Army summer camp (Irwin). By the time I got back home, Kim was 10 days old. Nobody was home when I arrived; Vicky and a friend came in while I was sleeping on the couch and put Kimmie in her crib.

When I woke (minutes later), I got up, walked into the bedroom, took one quick look at the baby in the crib, then turned to ask my then-wife how she was doing.

She and her friend (she later told me) were in shock. Figured I hadn't paid much attention to the kid and maybe wouldn't end up being a good father.

But that wasn't it. I figured I had time to get to know the baby, and she was sleeping anyway. Vicky was wide awake and had endured a long, rough first delivery. I wanted to know SHE was all right.

Voted Up and More.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

Fred, Glad you enjoyed this. I was wondering if I was getting too historical and then thought "NO". I thought the historical was a great big part of that town in that era. I usually find that the men don't want a big part of the childbirth, with some exceptions. My son is more into it than his soon to be ex. He is more into the kids too. I can also understand why you switched to her after seeing that the baby was asleep. No big surprise to me. Glad you came by to visit.


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 4 years ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Wonderful story. I can see you developing this for a long time. Now it is my turn to wait. Looking forward to more.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Becky,

This piano music sets a beautiful mood for your truly lovely story.

I appreciate your tastefulness in tone, yet rich with the love of this growing family. I love the direction you are going and am so happy to follow along.

Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

cam, I am glad you know how it feels now. I am laughing over that. This could go right until the present day, and may. Thank you for coming to visit.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

Maria, Thank you so much for your encouragement. This feels like it may be the best thing I have written so far. It just feels good. I love classical music. It is so soothing and rejuvenating. I listen to it when I want to relax. I have gotten several cd's of classical music for Dennis to listen to when he is feeling stressed. They help him a lot. Thank you for coming to visit and leaving such a nice comment.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Your writing style, Becky, for this homespun story is as smooth and engaging as the Beethoven sonata which accompanies it. Brava, m'dear, and thank you for this exquisite treat.


William Young profile image

William Young 4 years ago from Eaglle Grove, Iowa

Wow! What a beautiful story, I really enjoyed reading that!


Wr1t3r profile image

Wr1t3r 4 years ago from Oregon

Wonderful. Excited to see what happens next. I was nervous for the baby for a minute there.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

drbj, Thank you for the really sweet comments. I am so encouraged by the comments of my friends that have come to read. I will try to get the next part out as soon as possible.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

William, I am so happy that you liked this. I am working on a longer story, so please check back in for more. Thank you for coming to visit.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

Wr1t3r, I know, that was mean of me but emphasizing the mortality rate for babies in that era is important. They sickened and died on a regular basis and many did not make it past their first year. I am so glad that you have enjoyed this. Thank you for coming by to visit.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Wonderful follow up and I am looking forward to the next chapter. WEll done!


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

teaches, I am so glad you are enjoying this. I will start on the next chapter shortly. I had some errands to do first. Thank you for coming to visit, and for the well done.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Becky your story has a nice texture and a nice friendly tone. I can see you are just getting warmed up with this style.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

mck,

so good to see your kind advice and help today. Thank you for your kind comments and for coming by to visit.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

Becky, your story telling flows well. The music creates a mood, and an additional historical reference. You are clever to tell the story through the main character. (She is so adorable and sweet.) By doing this you've left things open. Other characters could speak and give additional information, or share information with the reader that is unknown to the main character to add tension. You could keep this story going for generations the way you have it set up. Clearly you are enjoying the writing, and you've done your research, so it is believable, and interesting. I hope you will keep going. It looks to me like you are just getting started. What fun!


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

s'lane, Thank you for the kudos. I am so glad that you are enjoying this. I have tried to keep things historically relevant by adding the historical references. They are also important to give an idea of what life was like for these people. I can keep it going for quite a few generations, but I am not sure I will. I do have a story to tell towards the end that will surprise y'all. I had to do a couple of hours research last night before finishing this, so I could have the dates right. Thank you for coming to visit.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

I am enjoying this story Becky, you have such a lovely flow. I was worried for the baby there for a while. I might have ended on ' Was there something wrong with Michael?' and left a cliffhager with everyone eager for the next part to find out, just a thought.

Love the way he brushed her hair and continued with that ritual, so sweet.

Awesome Becky and waiting for the next


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

Rosemay, I appreciate that, I will have to remember to build cliffhangers, but not with babies. They are too precious. I am glad that you are enjoying this. You are the first to comment on the hair brushing, I thought it was a nice touch. I will work on the next one soo. Took a night off from writing it.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Becky, this really is a lovely story. I like how you handled the wedding night. So many authors feel they must get graphic with all the intimate details and even make them sordid. Great job here. I also would have like a bit of "what's next?' at the ending. But then we might have one with the doctor. I wonder now if he becomes part of the story. If not, he could have a story of his own.

I do have a suggestion for you. Rather than link to the other parts below, start a Group for them. Then they will all show up at the bottom of the Hub. You can do that by creating a Group from your Account page. The reason I suggest this is to prevent a long list of links once you have 5-6-7 chapters published.

Thank you for a wonderful story. I love good, nice, clean stories with a bit of drama and wonder.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

Brenda, I have already grouped these. Thank you for the advice though. I had not thought that through.

A wedding night is private, personal and nobody's business but theirs. I am sure we all know what happens and have no need for someone to tell us. A little romance to set the scene and then let people's imagination take over. I am not going to educate them. haha! I am a firm believer in allowing and even encouraging people to use their imaginations. I really appreciate you coming by to visit and give me some valuable advice and some encouragement. I will have to remember to leave some suspense at the end of each part.


austinhealy profile image

austinhealy 4 years ago from Treasure Coast, Florida

Way to go, Becky, now you're cruising and the story is getting a life of its own. I particularly enjoyed the way you handled the wedding night, very tasteful and leaving the reader to make up the rest. More soon, please ! And by the way, the cabin in the woods is a darling !


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

austinhealey, This story has a life y'all haven't even suspected yet. Surprises will be in store for you. Thanks for coming by to visit.


rodger katz 4 years ago

It was good, I miss that old building as weird as it was. Lol


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

Rodger, It definitely had some unusual aspects to it. Glad you like my story.


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

Becky this story is precious and so beautiful in its simplicity. I wish so much that we lived in those times. There is an innocence that has been lost but you have brought it back again. You have done such a great job and I look forward to chapter 3. Thank you my friend.

Sunnie.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

Sunnie, so nice that you like this. Your praise means so much to me. Did you notice my son came to read? He knows the building and remembers it well. That is your hint for the ending chapter. Now it can make you curious. Thanks for visiting.


writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

Yes definitely more because is an amazing story, Joyce. More More.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

Joyce, Thank you so much. I am so pleased that you like this. I am working on Part 3 now and hope it will be soon. Had to do some more research and date checking. Thank you for coming to visit.


shiningirisheyes profile image

shiningirisheyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

Fantastic continuation that I will ardently follow.

And yes, the Doctor was a good man - very sad for him.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

Hi shiningirisheyes, so glad you are enjoying this. Ardently is such a nice word, haha. I am working on Part 3 but it will be a few days. I am writing in between studying. Thanks for coming by to visit.


midget38 profile image

midget38 4 years ago from Singapore

Ok, Becky, we're waiting for part 3. This was excellent!!


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

midget, I am writing as fast as I can. Hahaha. This one is a little harder for me so it is taking longer. I have a bit more research to do. Thanks for coming to visit and I will get it out as soon as I can..


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Sponge bath, boy did i hear that one a lot from grandma. It wasn't so very long ago that the norm was one bath a week with everybody in the family sharing the same tub water. Girls first of course. Becky this story is really homey- very good. It instills a feel for the times and has a most involving story with Michael and Abby and now the baby. You got ya somethin' extra fine here, and so do we, the readers. Up n awe, absolutely.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

Alastar, I am so happy that you like this. The life that they are living is not that long ago. My grandmother was always talking sponge baths also. Heating enough water for a bath was a major undertaking that took forever. Thank you for coming to visit. I appreciate it.


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

Hi Becky,

Even though this wasn't so long ago...I don't think I would have like to Heat Water to Bath in...I'd have Invented the Shower! All kidding aside, it's a Wonderful Insight to those times...and I'm Loving your Story line, very Warm, and such a Rich read...very Poignant.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

b. malin, I am so delighted that you like this story. I am trying to keep things as historically accurate as I can. Some of the things that they had to do were not at all fun. We all appreciate the things we have now when we find out how they had to do things years ago. My grandmother used to tell me about a lot of it. Thank you for coming by to visit.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Hi Becky, the idea of men and the childbirth experience seems to be somewhat generational. I personally did not even think about being involved in it but my children' s generation got really involved in it even if they did not get involved with getting married. The men older than me do not seem to even know how to change a diaper.

Good story. shared


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

dahoglund, I love that men are more into their children. They help make them and they can help take care of them. My father and grandfather were very pro-active in helping with the kids. I think my father knew more than my mom as he was one of twelve and already had nieces and nephews. My mom was one of two and he didn't have any children. My mom had to learn from my dad. I am so glad that you like this. Thank you for coming by to visit and for sharing.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

You painted a lovely picture of the nightgown, it sounded as though a lot of work had gone into producing something so pretty!

The wedding night sounded so very beautiful....

Fabulous story, beautifully told thank you Becky.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

Leslie, you have been a busy lady this morning (your evening?). People put so much time into producing anything with embellishment on it. This is what they did when they sat still for a minute or two. They never quit working, I could not have done it. I am so happy that you have enjoyed this. I am working on part 4 and it should be just a day or two more.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Chapter 2 is just as engaging as the first one was, Becky. I loved the detail you described on the nightgown and remember my Grandmother always having a project of embroidery going on. What a magnificent time it was, despite the hard work and effort that was required just for daily living. You've captured it all quite nicely here. Loved every word. Also loved the curtain between the rooms and the sponge bath ritual and the brushing of the hair. Beautiful job. On to the next one.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

Peg, life was so hard and difficult that they found beauty everywhere they could. They also never quit working. When it was time to go in and relax a little, that is when the embroidery came out. So glad you came by to visit.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM

Becky: Lovely continuation of this story. Your description is phenomenal and I can picture this in my mind so easily because of your description. The photos that accompany this story are great. This is so heartwarming to read. I love stories in this early time period of the U.S. Life was so simpler then, or so it seemed!


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

Suzette, life was simpler because there was no time to make it hard. They were too busy working hard to make it complicated. So happy that you are enjoying this. Thank you for coming to visit.


klidstone1970 profile image

klidstone1970 3 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

Becky, this is just too sweet for words. I love it. Now on to the next!


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

klidstone, I am so happy that you like this. I am a little proud of my third fiction piece. I love fiction but finally got the courage to try writing some. Thank you so much for coming to visit.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

Am really enjoying this!


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 2 years ago from Hereford, AZ Author

So happy you are enjoying this. Thank you for coming to visit.

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