Love Poems and Sad Stories - Graduation

Graduation - A Young Girl is Forced to Grow up Too Fast

School House
School House
Leaving Home
Leaving Home
The Train Station
The Train Station

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The first in a series of sad but true stories from the book "Love Poems and Sad Stories" by rjsadowski.

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It is 1908 in a small farming town in North Central Wisconsin. The young girl has just graduated from the eighth grade and she is preparing to leave, never to return to the one-room school house where she has spent the last eight years of her life. She wonders what the future has in store for her.

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GRADUATION

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She had mixed feelings as she gathered her few belongings together. She was going home never to return to the one room schoolhouse where she had spent the last eight years. Her teacher had wanted her to go on to high school, but that was impossible. The nearest high school was ten miles away, more than half a day’s ride by horse and buggy.

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She would have to get a room and live there and her parents had barely enough money to put food on the table for her and her brother and sisters. Besides, she would soon be leaving home to take a job as a live-in nanny for a rich family in Rhinelander, which was over sixty miles away.

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As she walked home to their small farm she looked at the rows of young potato plants growing in the rocky fields which she had helped to clear. So much depended on having a good crop so that they would have enough money to survive through the winter. Her three older sisters had already moved to Milwaukee where they had found work as waitresses.

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Her mother had managed to find a job for her closer to home since she was only fourteen. The thought of leaving her brother and younger sisters played on her mind. This was the only home she had ever known and she didn’t know how long it would be before she would see them again.

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It was her first train ride. Her father had taken her to the station so she had said good-bye to the rest of her family before she left home. She had tried to be brave, holding back her tears, but now that she was finally alone, she started to cry uncontrollably. Her life would never be the same. Eventually, she cried herself to sleep.

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She was awakened as the train pulled up to the station in Rhinelander. She gathered her belongings and moved toward the door. As she came down the steps a voice called out her name. At first she wondered who would know her this far from home, but then she realized that it was the family where she would be working.

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They had all come to welcome her; the mother and father and their two small children. They were all very nice and they pointed out the various stores and shops as they slowly rode through town in their horse-drawn buggy. She had never been outside of the small village where she grew up and was in awe of the buildings that were two and three stories high.

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Soon they arrived at her new home and again she was amazed at how large it was. The children and the parents each had a bedroom and she also had a room of her own. At home she had had to share a room with four of her sisters and there was never any privacy. They even had a bathroom with a real toilet and tub so she would not have to wear a coat in winter when she hurried out to their chilly outhouse. All of this should have made her happy, but it didn’t. All she could think about was her home and her family’

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The days passed slowly. Summer was almost over and she thought about her brother and sisters and how everyone would be busy harvesting the potatoes. Soon school would start up again in the little one room schoolhouse that she would never go back to. She desperately missed her friends and her teacher. She continued to do her job, babysitting the two small boys and helping out with the housework, but her thoughts were always back home.

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Halloween came and went. She wished that she were home. The family that she stayed with was very nice to her. They even gave her candy the same as if she was part of their own family, but she continued to cry herself to sleep. Thanksgiving was even worse. At home, her family was very poor, but somehow they always managed to have a chicken and a large meal for Thanksgiving. She missed helping with the preparations and everyone sitting around the table eating and talking.

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Soon it would be Christmas. The house had been decorated and the Christmas tree was already up. She wondered if her parents still waited until Christmas Eve to put up the tree while the little ones were asleep. She remembered how wonderful it was to come downstairs Christmas morning and find that the tree had miraculously appeared over night.

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She would rush to her stocking to get the orange, the hard candy and the handful of nuts that had been used to stuff it. She had cried for days when her mother had finally told her that there was no Santa Claus and that she would have to stay up and help decorate the tree that year.

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Now she not only cried at night, but often during the day as well. She sometimes even cried while she was at the dinner table. Finally, the family she was working for could no longer stand it. They told her that they were going to send her home.

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They put her on the next train home so that she would be there for Christmas Eve. She cried as she thanked them, but this time they were tears of joy.

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When she arrived home, her parents were not as happy to see her as she was to see them. It had not been a good year for them since the potato crop had not been as good as usual. They could barely afford to get a little fruit and candy for the small children. She would not have anything in her stocking Christmas morning, but at least she was home. She asked her parents where she would be sleeping. They said that it didn’t matter because she would not be staying long. They had already contacted her sisters in Milwaukee and she would be leaving to join them as soon as they could send her enough money to buy a ticket for the train trip.

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She cried herself to sleep.

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The young girl is now a woman. She has married a handsome young engineer and has two small children but her husband turns out to be an abusive drunk. Each week he becomes more violent until she fears for her life and the safety of her children. but how can she escape? She has no money and nowhere to go - and then she remembers:

Sad Stories - The Five Dollar Gold Piece

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North Central Wisconsin - where this true story takes place.

show route and directions
A markerWausau, Wisconsin -
Wausau, WI, USA
[get directions]

B markerRhinelander, Wisconsin -
Rhinelander, WI 54501, USA
[get directions]

C markerMilwaukee, Wisconsin -
Milwaukee, WI, USA
[get directions]

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Comments 6 comments

FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 5 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

Sad indeed.


rjsadowski profile image

rjsadowski 5 years ago Author

Sad but true. This is not fiction.


Binaya.Ghimire 5 years ago

I see you have some painful memories and you have tried to sublimate pain by sharing with the world.


ubanichijioke profile image

ubanichijioke 5 years ago from Lagos

Oh such a sad story. But have faith all will be well. You ve a great writing talent written all over your face. The way you told your story leave me in awe. You re awesome! Voted all


rjsadowski profile image

rjsadowski 5 years ago Author

Thank you for taking the time to read my hub. All of my short stories are sad but true and almost all of my love poems are dedicated to the people and dogs in my life that have brought me great pleasure. The most important points in my life are truly a series of "Love Poems and Sad Stories".


pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin

This is a sad story.A short lived homecoming that did not live up to her hopes. Such a young age to face such harsh reality. Thanks for sharing. I hope it is cathartic for you.

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