I hope you've been doing a few "Christmasy" things this week. I know I have. I've worked a lot on decorating. Since I'm pretty much the only one doing it, it takes a while. Especially since I still am trying to finish hand quilting a small quilt for someone, trying to write a few Christmas stories, practicing the violin for our church's Christmas program, proof listening to my audio of "Pirates," and babysitting the kiddos, plus all the usual things, like reading Christmas stories, it takes a while. :) But much of it is done.
I got my proof copy of TCR-4 this week! It looks really nice. Now it has to be read and checked, corrections made and then a new file uploaded and the book can be approved. I'm still hoping it will be out by Christmas though I don't know if I'll have my first order. The last order I placed took almost two weeks just to be shipped out!
And about the audio, I'm hoping that I'll be able to tell you next week that it is ready for purchase and listening to. :) This would make a great Christmas gift to younger siblings, or even yourself if you are life me and like to listen to many things. :)
If you haven't entered the giveaway here on my blog, you still have time. Just keep reading past this post. :) The movie I'm giving away is not a "Christian" movie and there is one scene with some drinking of whiskey and playing poker, but it is so mild with no drunken brawl or anything that I didn't even think about it until my mom asked if I had mentioned it. I don't think it'll be a problem but you might want to watch it with only older ones first to see if it's something younger ones in your family can watch. Each family has a different standard. What might be perfectly fine for one, may be banned in another. However, we are rather picky when it comes to movies.
So, I'm writing my 3rd Christmas story. We'll see how long it is. I was going to try to get a short one written so you could enjoy two stories this year, but so far they've been too long to give you a double. We'll see about this one. :)
And now I hope you will enjoy this next part of:
First Christmas in America
“Klara,” Polina called.
Starting, Klara nearly ran the rest of the way to the front of the house where the others were waiting.
“Ah, my Klara who vants to see and hear everything,” Papa teased. “Does she not vish to see the inside of this house?”
“Oh yes, Papa!”
From his pocket, Papa pulled out the key he had received in town and unlocked the door. The hinges creaked as it swung slowly open. The room they entered ran the width of the house. There was no furniture, no fire and no wood stacked up to make a fire. The sound of their footsteps on the bare wood floors was loud and Kristina shivered, clinging to Polina’s hand.
“Let’s see all of the house, Papa,” Polina whispered. Somehow it seemed wrong to speak loudly in that still room.
“Shouldn’t we start a fire first, Papa, so as to take the chill off the room?” Anastasiya had set down her load and pulled Marina’s thin coat closer about her.
“Always the practical von, mine Ana,” Papa said, fondly. “Yes, ve must start a fire right away. Then, Polina, mine impatient von, ve shall see the rest of the house.” Quickly he disappeared into a farther room.
Klara was as eager to see what the other rooms held in store for them as her ten-year-old sister, but she was also cold. She wrapped her arms around her younger brother and waited. Did Papa know where to find wood? He must have, for soon he had reappeared and before long a bright blaze was burning in the large fireplace.
“There is a woodshed right off the kitchen door, children, and it is full of vood. The man who sold the house told me so vhen I got the key,” he explained as the family stood around warming their cold hands.
“That is good,” Polina nodded. “Now may we see the rest of the house?”
With a laugh, Papa agreed and led the way from room to room. Everything was bare and empty, and their voices and steps echoed strangely, but the girls had fun talking about what they would put in each room, until they at last came back down the stairs and returned to the front room. To them the rooms weren’t small, and Nikolay said he might get lost. The fire had taken some of the chill off the front room though it was still plenty cold.
“The man said there is a furnace down in the basement, Papa remarked. “But ve vill vait until morning to start it.” Klara thought he looked a little unsure and wondered if Papa knew how to make the furnace work. “And ve have no electricity.”
“That will not matter, Papa,” Klara told him. “We didn’t have any in the Old Country.” She smiled.
“True, my Klara. Ve vill not find things to complain.” It was then that Papa looked around as though he were lost. “He is missing Mama,” Klara thought, feeling a lump rise in her own throat at the thought. “I wish she and Victor, Lidiya, Yury and Sofia were here too.”
But Ana was there. In no time at all she had a pail of water heating before the fire and her coat off. “Papa, where are the soap and the brushes you bought in town?”
“But we are not going to clean tonight, Ana!” Klara, Kristina and Polina exclaimed simultaneously.
“Only part of the room. This floor is too dirty. We must have a clean place to sleep on tonight. Tomorrow, when there is more light, we shall clean the rest of the house. Come now, girls, roll up your sleeves and let us get to work.”
There was nothing Klara wanted to do less at that moment than scrub the floor of their new house, but she knew it was useless to argue. At that moment she glanced up and saw the relieved look come over Papa’s face. “Poor Papa,” she thought, “he needs someone like Ana to fill Mama’s place while she is away.” Feeling happier about her task because she knew it would make Papa feel better, she began to scrub and soon broke into a Christmas song from the Old Country. Her sisters quickly joined in the singing and even Nikolay, who was helping Papa bring in more wood, warbled away in his own off-key fashion.
“There!” Anastasiya exclaimed at last, sitting back on her heels and eyeing the newly scrubbed floor. “That will be enough for today. Polina, go empty the pail. Klara, set the scrub brushes in the kitchen to dry. Kristina and Marina, help me fetch our bundles to the clean side of the room. Then we shall get supper.”
That first meal was cooked over the fire and eaten while the family sat on the floor, but the Ivanskis were used to that from the ship coming over to America. But now they were not crowded and it was clean. Papa shook his head over the request to light a lamp or a candle. “No, ve must vait. All are tired and vhen supper is over, ve must go to bed. Tomorrow will bring much work.” He didn’t add that they had no candle or lamp, but Klara knew. She had helped Kristina unpack their bundles before they ate.
There were not enough blankets to keep really warm, so the children used their coats and lay close together. The long trip and the excitement of their new house had made everyone tired, and it wasn’t long before they were all sleeping.
Sometime during the night, Klara woke up. It was so strange and quiet. Not at all like the big city where Uncle Peter and Aunt Anna lived. There seemed to be constant noise there. Nor was it like the ship coming over. She thought of the long train ride they had from the city and of the long delay because the tracks were blocked by snow. But now they were home. But what about Mama and the others? It was almost Christmas and suppose they too should become stuck in the snow? Suppose Lidiya and Yury weren’t well enough to travel until after Christmas? They should have all stayed behind and waited. “But Papa has to start his job,” she reminded herself. “And he wanted to be settled before Christmas.”
What would you have been thinking if you were one of the Ivanski children?
What would it be like to move to a different country?
How would you feel moving into such a house?