Far from Home

     

My name is Lindsey. I am nine years old. I used to live in Pittsburgh, but I moved to South Haven a short time ago with my family. My brother James is 4, and we are very close. We’ve always wanted another sibling, but Momma said that she has enough children already. I can’t wait to explore our new house. Pop said it was a good investment to buy an apple orchard because we could be completely self-reliant. We could provide our own food, and trade with others around us if we needed anything. I agreed that it was a good idea, and I was excited that we wouldn’t have to live in a crowded city.

 

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When we first got to the new house, it was not what I expected. It was smaller than our old home in pennsylvania, but it felt bigger somehow. Momma and Pop got their own room, and James and I had to share one. Unlike our old house which was all on one level, the new one had two stories. On the first level was the kitchen, living room, and Momma and Pop’s bedroom. On the second floor there was mine and James’ bedroom. James suggested that we should go explore the orchard. I immediately jumped off my bed and we left our bedroom. We ran into the long rows of apple trees. The trees were tall and full of almost ripe apples. My stomach growled loudly, so I found the ripest apple I could, and picked it off of a tree. I ate the whole thing quicker than I thought I could, and imagined all of the delicious apple desserts Momma and I could make. It was getting dark, so we walked back to the house, and went to bed.

The next day, Momma and Pop said they needed us out of the house so they could start cleaning. James and I had bad allergies, so we didn’t have to clean because the dust made us sneeze a lot. It turns out that apple orchards get boring quite quickly. The fields are uniform so there isn’t much to explore. Luckily, Momma called us in for lunch before James and I died of boredom. During lunch, Pop suggested we go around and meet the neighbors. Momma also thought that was a great idea, so once again we were kicked out of the house once we had finished our meal.

James and I walked for about ten minutes until we came across another house. We came across a house with a white picket fence. We saw kids our age running around in the front yard. They invited us to play tag with them and we gladly accepted. Their names were Jenna and Joseph. Their Momma came out of their front door and introduced herself. Her name was Deborah Meneli, but she told us to call her Mrs. M. Once it started getting dark, we said goodbye to Jenna, Joseph, and Mrs. M, and walked home. Momma and Pop were happy to find out that we had found new friends. James and I went to bed, but were woken abruptly the next morning. Momma came into our room, telling us that Joseph and Jenna were here. James, being a morning person, leaped up and pulled on a pair of overalls. He tied his shoes, and went down to greet our new friends. I slowly rolled out of bed and put on a flowered dress that Momma made me. I slipped my feet into a pair of brown shoes and walked downstairs. While all four of us were eating breakfast, Joseph told us about a stream that was a couple of miles away. Momma said we could go as long as we didn’t wade in too deep.

As we set off  to the stream, Joseph asked us about Pennsylvania. James told Joseph about his friend Alex. I could see that James, having to talk about Alex, made him miss him more. I tried to change the subject, so I asked Jenna about her dress. Somehow, our conversation floated back to James’ old friends. Luckily, we finally had reached the stream. It was beautiful, surrounded by trees and flowers. Joseph suggested we stick our feet into the water, so we sat on the edge of the grass and did as he suggested. Jenna and I shrieked as the cold water rushed over our toes. All four of us ended up jumping in, not going too deep like Momma told us. We splashed each other as we ran out of the water. It was past noon by the time we got back home. After lunch, Jenna and Joseph left because they had to go do their chores. Pop told us kids that we also had to do our chores. We spent the rest of the afternoon picking ripe apples and putting them in our store room. As James and I were walking through the door, we heard rushed whispers in the kitchen. We ran back outside and pressed our ears against the back window. Once we reached the kitchen, the whispers stopped. I suppose Momma heard us run around the house, so she stopped her conversation with Pop. We entered the house and Momma gave us an expectant look. James tried to convince Momma that we saw a furry creature run around the house and we wanted to see what it was, but she didn’t believe us. Momma sent us to bed and she didn’t even tell us about what her conversation was about.

The weeks kept passing and the night Momma and Pop had their secret conversation, completely slipped my mind. We had to harvest the apples in our orchard, so we never had time to play with Joseph and Jenna for a while. Day after day my whole family went out to pick apples, until one day, we had picked them all. We celebrated by making apple pie, and apple cider. That night while we were sitting around the table, Pop said he had some news to share with us. He glanced at Momma, and then back at us. He told us that soon, we would have a new baby brother or sister that they were expecting in the Spring. James and I sprang out of our chairs and danced around the kitchen table. Pop laughed at this and got up to dance with us. We were so excited we could barely sleep that night.

A couple of weeks later, the first snowfall arrived. James and I made snowmen, snow angels, and we had lots of snowball fights. We were excited because snow, meant Christmas. Christmas is everyone’s favorite holiday in my house. James loves the Christmas cookies, and I love decorating the tree. Every year James and Pop go cut down a pine tree, so Momma and I can decorate it. While we cover the tree with tinsel and ornaments, James and Pop pig out on Christmas cookies. However, James and I’s favorite thing about Christmas, is our stockings. We get candies, chocolates, and sometimes we even get fresh fruit. Fresh fruit is hard to come by in the winter months, because none of it can grow with all of the snow and ice. One year, James and I both got two oranges each! This year, James and I created a carefully constructed plan. We are planning to sneak into the living room on Christmas Eve, and peek into our stockings. I can’t wait for Christmas!

After more piles and piles of snow, it was finally Christmas Eve. Pop was sitting in the kitchen reading a book, and Momma had gone to bed. James and I were waiting quietly on the stairs, waiting for Pop to leave the kitchen so we could sneak to the living room. After what seemed like hours, Pop set down his book, and went to bed. James and I slowly snuck downstairs, making sure to be very quiet so we didn’t wake up our parents. Tip toeing into the living room, James and I raced to our stockings and quickly peeked inside. Everything was wrapped! It was too dark to make out all of the shapes, and we were disappointed. We couldn’t see even what was in our stockings! Our plan had failed, but it made Christmas morning even more exciting.

On Christmas day, James and I woke very early. We ran down to Momma and Pop’s room and were screaming, “IT’S CHRISTMAS,WAKE UP!” They slowly rolled out of bed while we ran to the living room. James being the youngest, got to open his stocking first. He unwrapped small toys and candies, but when he got to the bottom of his stocking, he pulled out a round ball covered in wrapping paper. He quickly tore the paper off to reveal a ripe, juicy, orange. Now it was my turn. I also had received chocolates, candies, and a beautifully ripe orange. James and I were so excited. We couldn’t wait to sink our teeth into our fresh fruit. We thanked Momma and Pop and gave them large hugs. I’m glad that we didn’t see the presents in our stockings on Christmas Eve. It was a much larger surprise when we got to open our gifts with Momma and Pop. That was the best day of the whole year. Everything went down from there.

In the weeks following Christmas, James and I noticed that Momma was getting reasonably larger. We were very happy to see that she was happy and healthy, but then one day, she got sick. For a couple of days we thought that she had just caught a cold, but after a week or so, James and I began to worry. James and I decided to go visit Joseph and Jenna’s house to see if they knew anyone that could help Momma. When we arrived, we knocked on the door and Mrs. M answered. We told her about Momma and all of the problems she was having. Mrs. M’s face lit up. She told us that she used to be a midwife, and she delivered babies all the time. Then she spoke more seriously. She explained that with the symptoms Momma was experiencing, she needed to get to her right away. We ran back to the house and found Momma in bed crying out in pain. Mrs. M. rushed over to her and explained who she was. Momma sent us outside, not wanting us to see what happened next. That evening I had a new life was brought into the world. My baby sister Emma.  

When I first got to hold Emma, I was very concerned. She was too small. Mrs. M said she only weighed two pounds. She explained that Emma was born too early, but there wasn’t anything we could do about it. Everyone in my family was sad at the thought of losing Emma. Then, I noticed that Mrs. M seemed to be thinking of a way to save my new baby sister. I asked her what was on her mind. All she said, was that Emma was not dying today.

It seemed that she said that everyday as she nursed Emma back to health. At first, I was very skeptical at the idea she suggested, but it actually seemed to work. Mrs. M told us to burn the coals in the wood stove down to almost nothing. Then she made a small bed out of a shoe box and blankets. She laid down Emma in the shoe box and set the box in the oven. Mrs. M never shut the oven door, and took Emma out if she cried. My first thought was that she was going to cook my baby sister! But Mrs. M explained that the oven would keep her warm, and it would help her to get stronger. Momma and Pop were also very worried about the idea, but Mrs. M explained that it was their only option. They finally agreed to the crazy idea too.

Two months after we started “baking” Emma, we noticed that she didn’t even fit in the shoe box anymore. Momma was so happy she started crying. She thanked Mrs. M with more hugs than she’s ever given me, and paid her a considerable amount of money. Mrs. M was too kind to take the money, and she politely returned it. Since Mrs. M didn’t leave our house for a while, Momma let Joseph and Jenna stay over. It was like a sleepover that never ended. It was great fun, but after Emma was healthy again, they had to leave. I was very sad Joseph and Jenna had to leave, but I was very happy because Emma was doing  well.

Emma kept growing and growing. I remember when she took her first steps, and the first time she lost a set of teeth. Jenna, Joseph, James, and I continued to go to the stream and enjoy each other’s company. When Emma was old enough she joined us on our adventures too. Our orchard continued to grow large amounts of apples, so we sold them in the Winter. We made enough money to buy even more trees, so our orchard grew larger and larger until we had to hire more workers. We even had enough money to sponsor a grant to build a school in our small area. We all started school on the same day. Even when we grew up, we stayed in contact with each other. Emma ended up getting married when she was 22, and she had four kids of her own. She became a teacher and taught for many, many years. I will always be thankful for Mrs. M, saving my sister’s life.

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