Rebecca came home from the Bradley’s house one day and started to help Mother with dinner. As she peeled potatoes, Rebecca looked out the window. There was snow here and there, not typical for a Bostonian February day. “Make sure you don’t cut yourself, Rebecca,” Mother said. “You are looking outside more than your are looking at the potatoes.”
“Yes, Mother,” she replied, and looked at the potatoes.
“Did Father go to town?” Matthew asked, as he and Ben came down the stairs. “I was hoping to show him the castle I made out of our blocks.”
“We made, you mean!” Ben said.
“Oh, you are correct,” Matthew answered.
“Yes, he went to town,” Mother said. “He will be back for supper. You can show him your castle later.”
“Yes, Mother,” Matthew said.
“Mother?” Ben asked. “How much longer till Gabriel and Rose come?”
“Ben, they will not come till April,” Mother said. “So you had better be patient.”
Late that afternoon, supper was ready. Father came home, washed up, sat down, and said the prayer. Then they all started to eat.
“I have decided to enlarge our house,” Father said. “We shall start in a few weeks. The Parkers and the Olsens will both be invited to help.”
“Hooray,” the children called. “A bigger house!”
“Oh, children, having a bigger house will mean lots of work,” Father said. “We will start chopping down the logs we need tomorrow. I was thinking we needed more space in this house, and Gabriel and Rose coming gave me a good excuse.”
“Oh, yes, Father, we know we will need to work,” Sarah assured him.
“Good,” Father said.
Within two weeks, all the logs needed were chopped. Father went to town one day to invite the Parkers and the Olsens, and to get some supplies.
Late that afternoon, Rebecca was stirring the soup, Mother was kneading bread, Annie was adding spices to the soup, Amelia was setting the table, Sarah and Rachel were cutting vegetables, Matthew and Ben were playing checkers, Joshua was whittling, and Ruth and Joseph were playing with blocks when Father came in and said, “We got a letter from Gabriel.” Everyone ran over to Father. He handed the letter to Mother, and she read it.
February 8, 1844
To my dearest family,
I shall be coming to you sooner than I expected. I shall arrive in March,
due to the fair weather we have been getting. I hope you will be prepared for my
arrival to your house. Rose is excited to meet you all. This is short because I am
preparing to leave.
Your humble son,
Everyone was so excited. “We had better build the expansion quickly!” Mother called. “We must prepare the house.”
“The Olsens and Parkers are coming in a week, so we should be fine,” Father said. It was a great evening at the Peters home.
A week later it was time to start the house expansion. The Olsens would come the first day, the Parkers the next, then the Olsens, and so on until the new room was built. The Olsens arrived early in the morning on the first day. Walter jumped out of the wagon and started talking to Amelia. Mr. Olsen helped his wife off the wagon seat. She carried a blackberry pie. She went inside with Mother. Walter, his brother James, Father, Robert, and Mr. Olsen went over to the stacks of logs. Mary, the four-year-old, jumped out of the wagon and ran to Ruth. They went inside to play. Aaron, the eight-year-old, Matthew, and Ben went to the men. They were going to hand the nails to the men, and pick up anything that fell to the ground. Abigail, Annie, and Rebecca decided to take a long walk before they were needed in the kitchen.
“Walter is madly in love,” Abigail said. “It seems he only talks about Amelia.”
“Amelia only talks of him,” Rebecca said.
As they were talking and walking, Sarah and Rachel came to join them. “Hello,” they said. “We would like to join you.”
“You may,” Rebecca said.
“I love to take walks,” Sarah said.
“Yes, it is so lovely outside,” Abigail said, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. There was no snow on the ground, and the girls only needed light coats.
“How long do you think your family will stay, Abigail?” Annie asked.
“Oh, till after supper probably,” Abigail said.
They took a long walk, then they heard Mother calling, “Girls, come and help!” They all headed to the house.
When dinner was ready, Mother rung the bell and the men came in. The men ate first, so that they could get back to work. Then the women ate. It was so delicious!
After dinner, the girls talked while they sewed. Mrs. Olsen and Abigail had brought mending to do, and the afternoon passed pleasantly. All too soon it was time to get supper ready. They prepared potatoes, meat, and green beans from the cellar.
When the meal was ready, Rebecca rung the bell. All the men came in. They were very tired.
“Thank you for the food,” Mr. Olsen said.
“Thank you for helping us build the expansion,” Father said. “And we will see you the day after the next.”
“Yes, we will be here in two days,” Mr. Olsen replied.
After supper the Olsens prepared to leave. “Father, may I stay and have some time with Amelia?” Walter asked.
“Son, how would you get home?” Mr. Olsen asked.
“You are right, Father. I was not thinking clearly,” Walter said. Then they all got in the wagon and rode off.
The next day the Parkers came to work on the expansion. As the wagon rolled up, the Peters familly went out to greet them. Blanche was the oldest child, being Rebecca’s age, then came seventeen-year-old Patience, fifteen-year-old Peter, thirteen-year-old Clemency, ten-year old Jamisson, seven-year-old Emma, and three-year-old Beatrice. The children started running around. Mrs. Parker went inside. Mr. Parker, Peter, and Jamisson went to start building. Blanche and Rebecca sat on a log and talked. The other Parker girls talked with Annie, Sarah, and Rachel. It was a lovely morning, but all too soon they had to go inside to prepare dinner.
Blanche was a good cook, even better than her mother. She was in charge of the meal. It was all so good. The men came over to eat.
“It was very nice of you to come, ladies,” Mother said.
“Oh, we love to come here!” Patience said.
“Yes!” the other girls chimed. Soon it was time for time for the ladies to eat. Rebecca found out that the food tasted as good as it looked. When they were done, they cleaned up. The ladies sewed, knitted, talked, and took turns taking water to the men. The men were working hard, and the work was getting done quickly.
After a lovely supper, also planned by Blanche, the Parker family left.
When it was time to go to bed, Rebecca asked Annie, “Is it not fun to have guests every day?”
“Yes, it is fun,” Annie replied.
“I am excited to see Walter again tomorrow,” Amelia said. “It is very nice to see him so much!”
The Olsens did come the next day. They got plenty of work done. The Parkers came the following day. The work was going so quickly that the next day with the Olsons would be the last day of work on the expansion.
When the Olsens arrived, Aaron came out of the wagon and declared, “Father said we could stay after supper so that Walter could spend time with Amelia!”
“Wonderful!” Sarah said, but no one was as happy about it as Amelia. She stood there smiling. The day passed happily, and the work was finished. Rebecca went to look at the new room. She knew Gabriel and Rose would like it.
They had good fellowship with the Olsens, but all too soon it was time for the Olsens to leave.
“Goodbye, Abigail,” Rebecca said. “Goodbye, Walter.”
“Goodbye!” they called.
“Goodbye, Rebecca,” James said.
“Goodbye, James,” she replied. She had never realized how beautifully blue James’s eyes were.
See complete list of chapters here.