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Friday, August 21, 2009

"Home Fires of the Great War"

Good Morning Faithful Friday Fiction Fans,
I realized last night that today was Friday again, and I didn't have a new story. Don't get me wrong, I have been writing, but on the "letters from the front" for my book. I have also been checking writing assignments for the writing class I'm teaching. If you had told me years ago, that I would one day be teaching a writing class and loving it, I would have laughed and said, "dream on!" Never did I dream that I would do such a thing. Nor did I ever think that I would actually write a book for publication. Now I'm doing both.

For a time, after the last "letter" was written, I was unsure of how to go about finding the info I needed for my "letters from the front" but yesterday I had time to get on the Internet to look. I had told Sarah what I wished I had, and the very first site I looked at was exactly what I wanted! Isn't God good? I was able to find all that I needed and now things are rolling. I wonder how quickly I can get these done so I can go on to the background? I don't think it will take too long. This is fun writing a book. You ought to try it some time.:)

Hank and Abigail, thanks for taking a minute to drop me a comment. :) The next time I feel like I am talking to Outer Space or to myself, I will try to remember the Faithful Friday Fiction Fans might still be there on the other end though I hear nothing from them.

And now I need to post something. Hmmmmm, Sarah suggested that I just pick something from my book. . . Ah, how about the beginning of the very first chapter? Will that do? I hope so, because here it is.

CHAPTER ONE

“Maria and Lydia, you will be partners. Lucas and Andrew...”
Ria didn’t listen to the rest of the partner list. After all she knew who she was with. Glancing across the school room she caught her friend’s eyes and smiled. Lydia returned the smile. They were to do this project, whatever it was, together. It would be such fun! Much more interesting than alone.
“All right class,” Miss Bryant’s voice broke into Ria’s thoughts. “And now for your assignment. Together with your partner, I want you to prepare a report on some hero or heroine of the Great War. We have studied the war quite a bit, and you should have no trouble. I want a five hundred word written report as well as an oral report to the class. You have two weeks in which to get this done. Are there any questions? Yes, Max.”
“What if we choose someone that someone else chose?”
Miss Bryant smiled. “Then we should know a lot about that person when you are done. Yes, Hannah,”
“Can we do it on a group of people, like the lost battalion or the Choctaw code talkers?”
“Well, I suppose that would be all right, but it must be a very special group of heroes or heroines without a prominent figure. Are there any more questions? Grace.”
“Can one person write and one person do the oral report?”
“Only if you both worked on both parts.”
A few more questions were asked and then class was dismissed.
“Oh, Lydia!” Ria exclaimed, grabbing her friend’s hand and almost dragging her out into the bright sunshine. “Just think! We get to do this together! Now, who shall we choose?”
Lydia tossed her blonde braids back over her shoulder and squinted around at all the other groups that had formed around the yard. “I don’t know.”
“Well, I don’t want to do anyone really famous like General Pershing, Eddie Rickenbacker or Alvin York. Some others are bound to do them. I’d rather do someone that no one else would think of doing. Some forgotten hero.” Ria’s dark eyes sparkled and she gave a little skip of excitement which caused her dark hair to bounce as well. Her eagerness was contagious, and Lydia, usually quiet and more reserved, squeezed her friend’s hand and sighed,
“Wouldn’t that be grand! But who could we do?”
The two friends fell silent and their steps slowed as they pondered. They still hadn’t said a word more when some five minutes later they turned up a shady walk to Lydia’s house.
“Why don’t we ask your mother?” Ria suggested. “Perhaps she knows someone we could do”
Lydia looked a little doubtful, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask. Mrs. Smith shook her head when the question was put to her.
“Girls,” Mrs. Smith spoke slowly and with a strong French accent, “I was just nine years old when the war ended. I don’t know of anyone except General Pershing or one of those well known figures. Maria, perhaps your mother would be of more help.”
Ria caught at the suggestion breathlessly. “Mrs. Smith, may Lydia come home with me? Perhaps Mom does know someone and then we could get started. I’m sure one of my brothers would come with me to see her safely home later.” She looked wishfully at Mrs. Smith.
“Oh, please Mama,” Lydia begged.
“If you are sure your mama wouldn’t mind.” Mrs. Smith said, hesitating a little. She knew Maria Mitchell quite well, as she nearly always stopped by for Lydia before school and walked home with her afterwards. And Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell weren’t complete strangers to her, yet she didn’t know them really well. She didn’t want her daughter to be a bother.
“Oh, Mom won’t mind at all!” Ria exclaimed, sure now that Lydia could go. “She loves having us bring our friends over. And my cousins are always stopping by, but they are all boys, and sometimes Mom and I wish for at least one other girl.”
Mrs. Smith smiled. “All right. Lydia, just make sure you are home by 5:00.”
“Yes, ma’am.”

It was two very excited but out of breath girls that arrived panting at the Mitchell home several minutes later. Ria’s home was set back a little ways from the tree lined street in the little town of Plainville, Kansas. The house was in a quiet neighborhood where everyone knew and watched out for each other The Mitchell home, with its wide front porch and large windows, was the usual gathering place for all Ria’s brothers and cousins, but no one was home when the girls reached the house except Mrs. Mitchell.
“Come on, Lydia,” Ria urged opening the screen door. “Mom, where are you?”
“Right here,” a cheery voice sounded from the kitchen.
Ria rushed in followed a little more slowly by Lydia. “Oh, ginger cookies!” Ria dumped her books on the table and quickly sat down and reached for a fresh, hot cookie that was filling the air with its spicy aroma.
Mrs. Mitchell laughed, “Make sure you save a few for the gang. Hello Lydia, come, sit down and have a few cookies. How was school today?” she asked sitting down herself after pouring two glasses of milk for the girls.
Ria nodded, her mouth too full of cookie to talk at the moment. But as soon as she was able, she began. “Mom, we need your help. We are supposed to do a report on a hero or heroine of the Great War, and we don’t know who to do it on. We don’t want to do it on any of the usual famous people. We were hoping you knew of someone.”
“Do you each have to do a report?”
“No, we’re doing it together. We are partners. Can you think of anyone, Mom?”
Mrs. Mitchell became thoughtful. Ria finished her last swallow of milk and waited in silent anticipation for her mother’s answer.
“Well,” Mrs. Mitchell began slowly. “I can’t think of anyone, but,” she added as she saw the look of disappointment pass between the two friends, “I do have some old letters that I wrote to my cousin Maria during the war. Perhaps we could find someone in those, but don’t get your hopes up too high.”
“Oh,” Lydia sighed. “Mama says that there are mysteries in some old letters. She has one from someone she has never met. It is really old and only signed with a first name. She doesn’t know where it came from, but it is addressed to her. She said one of her sisters found it somewhere and sent it to her. She wrote to ask where it came from, but no one has answered.”
“Maybe we will find a mystery about a long forgotten hero or heroine that we can report on!” Ria was all eagerness.
Mrs. Mitchell laughed. “I don’t think you’ll find any mysteries, Girls.” She stood up and untied her apron. “But if you are ready to go help me look, we’ll see if we can find those old letters.”

And to read the rest of the book, be sure you request a preview copy now. Or you'll have to wait until it is published.

2 comments:

---- Big J Photography all rights reserved ---- said...

Requesting preview copy, please!

After reading that I want some old letters to go through, and I'm going upstairs to find some cookies!!

Thanks for sharing Bekah, it's fun to see how your book starts, I'm glad you picked that for your latest post!

Rebekah said...

Your preview copy has been reserved.:)

I hope you found some old letters and cookies to enjoy.:)