Rebecca woke up to the sound of her sisters chattering. “Rebecca, it is the cornhusking day!” Annie called happily. Immediately Rebecca jumped out of bed. She pulled on her simple red cotton dress and waited as Annie buttoned it.
“I am so excited for the cornhusking,” Amelia said.
“Yes, because Walter is going!” Annie added.
“Annie!” Amelia admonished, blushing.
“Girls, hurry down!” they heard Father call, and the girls scurried down the stairs. Fifteen-year-old Sarah carried the hotcakes to the table. Rachel came with the butter and syrup, and they all ate. Mother was very far along in her pregnancy. After breakfast she went to her room to rest. Rebecca grabbed her bonnet and left for the Bradley’s house. She loved being outside. She headed down the Boston roads. She usually loved going to the Bradley’s house, but today she could not wait to return home and go to the cornhusking.
The day dragged on and finally she was finished with work. She ran home, as she often did. When she came through the door, she saw Amelia heading up the stairs.
“Good, you are here, Rebecca,” she said. “We are about to get ready to leave.” Rebecca took off her bonnet, washed up, and went up after Amelia. Annie was already up there. They pulled on their nicer dresses and went downstairs to get their shawls. Soon Joshua, Matthew, Rachel, and Sarah were ready to go too. Mother wanted to stay home, so Father decided to stay with her and the little children. Joshua drove the wagon to the front of the house, and the children climbed in. Soon they were off to the cornhusking.
They arrived at the Parker’s farm, where the cornhusking was to be held. Joshua took care of the horses while Matthew ran to the other boys. Sarah and Rachel joined the other girls their ages. Annie went over to her friends. Rebecca found her friend Blanche Parker.
“Hello, Blanche,” she said.
“Hello, Rebecca, how are you doing?” Blanche replied.
“Well. And how are you?” Rebecca answered.
“Fine, thank you. How are the Bradley children?” Blanche asked.
“Oh, wonderful. Shall we find a seat?” Rebecca asked. The girls found a hay bale inside the entrance of the brightly lit barn. A pile of corn, taller than Rebecca, was inside the barn door. Another pile, just as big, sat at the far end of the barn. Straw covered the floor. Amelia entered the barn after putting her cornbread on the large table outside. As she was standing there, Walter came over to her.
“May I escort you to a seat?” he asked.
“Oh, hello, Walter. Yes, you may,” Amelia replied, blushing. They strolled over to a hay bale opposite the girls. Sarah, Rachel, and their friends came in and took a seat by the corn pile at the far end of the barn. Annie, Abigail, and Patience Parker entered and sat by Blanche and Rebecca. Everyone started to husk.
“Do you see them?” Annie excitedly whispered to Rebecca.
“Yes. Amelia really likes him,” Rebecca answered, seeing Amelia laugh at something Walter had said.
“And he really likes her too,” Abigail said. “He was excited to come.”
“All of us know why,” Blanche said, her brown eyes laughing. The piles of corn were getting smaller as they all cheerfully worked. It was so much fun to talk and work with neighbors. Blanche talked of her family’s happenings and Rebecca talked of hers. Rebecca stated that Mother was going to have the baby soon, and that she and her sisters were doing all the cooking.
As soon as the mountains of corn were husked, Blanche stood up and said, “Let us eat!” Everyone cheered and made their way to the table. While Rebecca was deciding what to eat, she saw Walter walking to the table with Amelia. Amelia looked beautiful, her light brown curls and face shining brightly in the light. She and Walter got their food and sat back down together. Blanche led Rebecca back to the hay bales. Smiling, Abigail, Annie, and Patience sat closer to where Walter and Amelia were sitting. Soon everyone was done eating.
“Let us dance!” Mrs. Parker called. Mr. Hopkins, who played the fiddle, started to play. Everyone paired off. Joshua asked Rebecca for the first dance, which was a simple quadrille. Many other fun dance songs were played. Some other young men danced with Rebecca as well. She saw Blanche, Abigail, and Annie throughout the night as she was spinning and spinning. Walter danced almost every time with Amelia. They were so happy together. Then the last dance was announced. Although Rebecca was tired, she was sad that the party was almost over. It had been so much fun!
Soon they were driving back into the starry night. The party had lasted six hours, and it was much colder than it had been when they had come. They saw the light of candles coming from their house. Rebecca was happy that they were home. As they walked inside, Ben greeted them, “Mama had the baby!” Within five minutes everyone was in Mother and Father’s room, with the new baby boy.
“Mother!” Amelia said. “So soon? We did not expect this! Did everything go well?” Before Mother could answer, everyone else started asking questions.
“What is his name?”
“What was it like?”
“Why did you not tell us?”
“His name is Joseph Mark,” Mother answered. “I did not know that he was coming so quickly. I started labor soon after you left, and I am fine.”
Rebecca looked with wonder at her cute, chubby, little brother. It was so exciting, the perfect ending to a wonderful night.
See complete list of chapters here.