The next morning Sarah’s mother didn’t feel well. She called Sarah to her bedroom to give her instructions for the day.
After breakfast Sarah took a piece of toast and a cup of tea in to her mother. The four school children were walking up the hill towards the school. Baby Mary was playing on the floor with three-year-old Amanda. Sarah asked her mother if she needed anything else. “No, not right now,” her mother said.
“I don’t know what will become of us,” her mother said with a heavy sigh.
“You get some rest and I will take care of the work,” Sarah said as she closed the door softly and left. She hummed as she washed the breakfast dishes, swept the floor, made the beds, and then prepared the midday meal. The morning went by quickly.
After the midday meal, when the menfolk had gone to the barn, Sarah picked up Amanda and put her down for her nap. She changed Mary’s diaper, then rocked and sang softly to her until she fell asleep. She laid her gently in her crib.
Sarah listened to the clock ticking on the wall as she wrote:
March 22, 1919
The house is quiet, with the little ones sleeping. The school children will be home in an hour.
Mem is in bed sick today. I’ve baked bread, cookies, a cake, and made vanilla pudding for supper. I tasted it before I took it to the spring house to cool. It came out as good as the pudding I made at Martha’s that time. Probably because I was thinking of you. I can’t wait until Sunday! It seems so long since I have seen you.
I liked walking to your sugar bush the last time I was there. You must have had lot of sap to gather the next day, since the buckets were half full on Sunday afternoon. Don’t eat too much maple syrup, you are sweet enough as it is. I’ve been so absent-minded around here, when I think of you. It is only six more days until I visit. I’ll be counting.
I want to have this letter in the mailbox before the children come home, so they don’t tease me. Mem is calling me, so I must go. I will see you on Sunday.
Sarah’s mother felt worse by the next day. She had a dry, hacking cough that came up from her chest. She vomited and had a burning fever. She said in a weak voice to Sarah, Go ask Dad to bring a doctor.”
Sarah ran to the barn where her father was forking straw into the stalls for the horses.
Dad, Mem says to get a doctor. Can you go right now? She is really sick.
“Okay, as soon as I am done here.”
“But, Dad, don’t wait too long.”
“Don’t tell me what to do!” he said.
Sarah ran from the barn. On her way out she saw her brother Andy. She told him to make sure the doctor was called. Then she went to her mother who lay shivering under the covers. “I’m going for help, Mom, I will be right back!” Sarah said. She ran the short distance to Emma Yoder’s house and asked her if she could come right away. Emma was making pie dough. She gave her daughter instructions as she took off her apron, washed her hands, and grabbed her jacket from the hook at the back door.
“We need to get her fever down,” Emma said as soon as she saw Sarah’s mother. She took a bowl of water and a cloth to mop her face. Go get fresh water from the pump. She needs to keep drinking water.”
To be continued…