Love Poems and Sad Stories - The Winter Coat
Forced to grow up too fast (Graduation), a young woman manages to escape from an abusive marriage (The Five Dollar Gold Piece) and returns with her two small children to her parents farm in North Central Wisconsin.
She is forced to watch her children go Hungry (The Church Picnic) and is finally returned by the county to Milwaukee (The Train Ride).
She manages to re-marry just as the Great Depression begins. Her husband soon loses his job and is forced to gather (Rags, Bottles and Paper) to feed his family.
Now, she has to keep her fourteen year old daughter home from school because she doesn't have a winter coat to wear.
The Winter Coat
She sat in the darkened room with the shades drawn, still in shock over the events that had taken place over the past few weeks. It all began when the weather started to grow cold and she had to keep her daughter, Geraldine, home from school because she didn’t have a winter coat to wear. At age fourteen, her daughter had outgrown the tattered coat that she had worn the year before and they didn’t have any money to buy her a new one.
The Depression had left a lot of people unemployed and her husband had been reduced to combing through rich people’s garbage for anything usable that he could sell to help put food on the table.While it was true that the county helped pay their rent and supplied them with flour, potatoes, cabbages and lard, there was no money to buy clothes.
She had gone to the Red Cross and the welfare department and begged them for a coat for her daughter, but they all told her that she had to wait her turn – everyone else needed things too. Meanwhile, her daughter stayed home each day and tried to study from the one book that she had managed to bring home with her on the last day she had gone to school.
Each week, the woman had contacted the agencies asking when they would have a coat and each week the answer was the same "You are still on the list and we will let you know when we find one". And then, to make matters worse her daughter had suddenly become ill. The pain in her side had begun slowly at first and kept getting worse until they finally had no choice but to take her to the county hospital. The doctor had said that she had a ruptured appendix and had rushed her into surgery.
What happened next was all a blur. The doctor came and told her that her daughter had died on the operating table. The woman screamed and fell on the floor. Only a few days ago she had had a healthy fourteen-year-old daughter, and now they would be looking for a place to bury her.
Fortunately, they found a funeral parlor that agreed to do the job for twenty-five dollars down and a small monthly payment over the next two years. The county had provided a simple pine coffin and an unmarked grave in the pauper’s cemetery. The ground had not frozen too deep yet, so the gravediggers were able to dig the hole. It had happened so fast that it all seemed to run together in her mind.
Now she sat alone in the darkened room with tears trickling down her cheeks thinking about a daughter that she would never see again and an unmarked grave with only a patch of dirt to protect it from the snow. Suddenly, she heard a knock at the door jarring her back to reality. Maybe if she didn’t answer it, whoever was there would go away. But the knocking only got louder and finally she pulled herself together and struggled to open the door. When she finally opened it she was shocked to see the lady from the welfare agency standing there. The woman was smiling as she said, "Good news ma’am. We finally found a coat for your daughter. Now she can go to school". In her arms the woman was holding a winter coat.
In memory of my step-sister, Geraldine Johnson. She won't need a coat in heaven.
The young woman and her family, manage to survive the Depression and have finally moved back to North Central Wisconsin where they buy an old house on an acre of land where they can grow vegetables and a few chickens.
Life gradually begins to get better until 1946, when the next chapter takes place.
Sad Stories - Halloween
Other Sad Stories by rjsadowski
- Sad Stories - Halloween (A Young Boy Discovers His B...
It is Halloween. A seven year old boy investigates a loud noise and finds his brother dead in the garage with a bullet hole in his chest. As events unfold, the boy paces in front of the house in denial, praying to make it go away.The ambulance comes
- Love Poems and Sad Stories - The Frog Prince
A frog prince, rejected in his search for love, is forced to wander the world for all eternity writing
- Sad Stories - December Is a Cold, Hard Month
He wasn't prepared when the call came saying that his brother was dying. They had planned to spend more time together after his brother retired in January and now he would be burying him instead. Only he and his wife showed up at the cemetary and he
- Sad Stories - New York, New York
A young man's plan to bring his mother to New York to fulfill her lifelong dream is crushed when he learns that she has broken her hip. Instead of bringing her to New York, he must now visit her in the hospital. When he cancels the trip, he finds tha
- Sad Stories - Rags, Bottles and Paper - The Great De...
During the Great Depression, a man is forced to sort through garbage to feed his family. He recalls growing up on a rural farm where he always had food to eat and longs to return. His feet are swollen and it is Sunday, but he cannot rest because his
- Sad Stories - Graduation
The true story of a young girl on a small farm in north central Wisconsin who is forced to grow up quickly. After graduating from the eighth grade, she is sent 60 miles away to be a nanny. When she can't stop crying, they send her home. Her parents m
- Sad Stories - The Train Ride
A woman and her two small children are being returned to the county they came from to avoid providing them with support. Cold and hungry, they wait for the train. At last they are handed a bag with food for the long ride home but it contains only a s
- Sad Stories - The Church Picnic
It was the annual church picnic. She had waited all year to spend the precious nickel she had saved. Her daughter had no money and her two small children saw the other children eating ice cream so she gave the nickel to them instead. There would alwa
- Sad Stories -The Five Dollar Gold Piece
Her husband abused her when he drank. Next would be her two small children. She had to escape,but how? -she had no money. Then she remembered the five-dollar gold piece that her father had given to her on her wedding night. It would buy her tickets t
- Sad Stories - Man of the House
His father and older brother had died of diptheria. That left him and his mother to run the farm. Although he was only eight years old, he would be the man of the house now. He would have to quit school to help plow the fields and plant the potatoes
Milwaukee, Wisconsin where this story takes place during The Great Depression
More by this Author
A teenage boy longs to be friends with the girl with the golden hair who sits in front of him in school. However, he is shy and overweight and he gradually realizes that his dreams will never be fulfilled. Suddenly,...
A young poet has a premonition of his death. He asks his young wife if she will be faithful to him. He then reassures her, that no matter what happens, he will always love her. This is a translation into English of the...
Whenever an outstanding young tenor comes along he is referred to as "the next Caruso". Enrico Caruso died in 1921 and more than 90 years later, he is still the benchmark by which all other tenors are judged....