Century 12: Summer Sunday

From the journal of Martin Way:

August 25, 1935

I noticed that Viola laughs a lot and had me and the boys laughing too. I was giving the boys an impromptu reading lesson, writing letters on a piece of paper and having them trace over it while saying it. We did the whole upper case alphabet this way. Bradley, who is six, did well and remembered them later in the day. Baxter is four and needs a little more time. Viola says she knows how to read a little but “never took to it much with all the other things to get done and all.” She seems quite intelligent and told a long story about a chicken and a fox that had the boys busting up, me as well. Mostly she just jokes about how hard life is. If you can laugh it makes a wall against despair and clears the mind for working on solving problems. Fear and self-pity shut down the thinking process. I have noticed that both Myra and Viola use humor like a torch to move through the dark places. The fear and discomfort must give way before it at least a little allowing room for hope. I am too serious much of the time.

I went to church with Viola and the boys. Viola insisted that if I was going to watch the boys I had to set a good example. I have not been to church since I was ten years old. That was when my father became an atheist. My mother attends church regularly to this day, but I was given a choice, and being ten, of course, chose to go swimming instead. I am an agnostic and told Viola so. She said it meant that there was still hope for me, but I had to go to church to be on the safe side. It was the church with the soup kitchen, so I saw Myra in the choir. She smiled and waved. Viola looked at me and raised her eyebrows. The boys wiggled and squirmed up and down the pew, until Viola flicked Bradley’s ear and straightened him up.

It was a glorious summer day walking back on the road to farm. Though I am often hungry here, I feel at home and like I am a different person than the college me. I am still afraid of facing my parents, but I can’t go back to the empty life I was leading. I have to somehow move forward on a different path. I will go home soon and talk to Dad. I am sure he will at least listen after he gets over the initial shock. Maybe I can work in the store again until I figure out my way in life.

It sure is a nice farm here Viola is showing me how to do some chores, but she says they have to leave by October, because they can’t weather another winter here without her husband. They will start packing soon and move to Allentown where her brother and cousins live. She said I was welcome to stay on and watch over the place until the new owners arrived in November. But, I am sure the place would not be nearly as much a home without a family. I can’t imagine rattling around this old farm on my own. I will go home when they leave, if not sooner.

 

This entry was posted in All part of the process, Century, conversations, developing relationships, Family, Fiction, House and home, novel projects, Pennsylvania, summer, Teaching and Learning, Telling Stories and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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