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Secrets of The Old Farmhouse - Part VI

 
 
Uncle Jake continued sharing Catherine's story with Jill and Seth, saying that Catherine and her mother Naomi exchanged letters while she was away, but her father would not permit Naomi to visit their daughter no matter how much she begged him.  "Catherine needs to learn that disobedience comes at a cost," he decreed staunchly. 
 
When the time finally came for the baby to be born, Catherine had a very difficult labor and delivery, and although the doctor who was summoned did all he could, he was unable to save Catherine; she died shortly after her son was born, never having had a chance to hold him in her arms.  When the telegram came to Catherine's parents informing them of her passing, they were devastated; Catherine's father could not refuse Naomi's pleas that they raise Catherine's son as their own. 
  
On a warm day in Spring, Catherine's uncle drove his horse-drawn wagon slowly into the farmyard, bringing Catherine's body home in the pine box he had made in addition to the cradle he had lovingly crafted for her son who was bundled snugly in a quilt and held close by Catherine's aunt. 
 
When news of the tragedy reached the neighbors, Catherine's boyfriend was overcome with guilt and sorrow; slipping quietly into the barn he hung himself.
 
(To be continued) 
 
Disclaimer: I apologize for the sometimes somber tone of  this story, but there is no way to sugar-coat how it unfolded.  The events that occurred in this family left an imprint on the farmhouse that will remain as long as it is standing.
 
 ~Image Source~
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 I'm joining Ivy Walker at "Uncharted"
where the cue this week is "pine"
Come and read some other great stories and share one of your own!

14 comments:

  1. What a shock of an ending. To be continued, indeed. I was feeling some peace and reconciliation in the sadness of losing Catherine, taking care of the baby was a bit of redemption - and then wham. So interesting that birth out of wedlock, deliveries of high risk preganancies and unmarried couples living together are so prevalent in society today. Times were so different back then. I love the historical perspective and I'm glad you continue to write this tale.

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    1. I am sure that the loss of not one but two young people rocked this small farming community, Val, and yet it is understandable that the boyfriend would feel overwhelming responsibility and guilt for what had transpired. It is incredible to think of how times and ways of doing things have changed, even in my lifetime, much less in the past hundred years. Life was very black and white then, but many lives don't fall within those strict guidelines, causing endless heartache and endless guilt. I am grateful there is more compassion now.

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  2. lol
    I laugh in respect. I read your Six with that kind of enjoyment(some of us) experience when a story is about people who demonstrate both the very bad and the good in human nature. Felt like, 'ok Catherine's father is a bit of a dick.... but at least her mother has the level of qualities that, while restoring some faith in human potential, still makes one think, how does she put up with him.'
    Then the last line. Nicely done. ( no! really. from a story-writing perspective I really get a kick from watching someone practice the craft so effectively. The idea (of the boyfriend) killing himself is not, like from out of left field. The fact of it is not so surprising as to account to the effect (on the Reader). I must assume it (the effectiveness) is found in the preceding 5 sentences. A manipulation of the Reader's emotional identification with the scene leading up to the last sentence.
    very cool (lol yes, comment and writing questions all in one!)

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    1. Thank you so much for this comment, Clark. Like you, I enjoy a bit of unexpected twist in the plot, which is difficult to pull of in six sentences. I was aware that I was throwing a heavy curve with this one, but I do think it fits and is a very plausible scenario. I totally agree that Catherine's father was as you described. Back then marriage was generally viewed as for life and wives, especially with children, had little option but to endure whoever they married. I am sure Catherine's mother wept many secret tears over her husband's treatment of their daughter. I am certain it broke her heart.

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  3. Very sad that this played out more often than we want to think.

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    1. I agree, Mimi, this isn't a far-fetched story, but a picture of the harsh realities of those times.

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  4. You have to be careful how your words and actions affect those that have made a mistake. We all make mistakes it is part of learning but punishment is inappropriate when love and goodness could ensue. Punishment in this case caused a tragedy far worse than the first mistake.

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    1. Amen to that thought, Old Egg. Because of Catherine's father being so staunch in his beliefs as to not allow for compassion or forgiveness, he is responsible for so much hurt and loss. While it wasn't his fault that Catherine died in childbirth, she should have been at home with her family, and married to her boyfriend. It might have made all the difference, most definitely in his life.

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  5. I think the fact that her father so lovingly crafted both cradle and coffin is so tragically striking and beautiful. Well done.

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    1. It was her uncle that made them, but I liked the juxtaposition of the coffin and cradle too. This part of the story is largely about loss, but there is also new life, and new hope... at least for the time being.

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  6. OMG didnt expect that....papa must have been teasing you about your killer instinct on this one!

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    1. It was a harsh turn of events, most assuredly, Zoe! I asked myself how her boyfriend might have reacted to the news of her death, and I picture him as distraught, consumed with grief and the belief that he alone was responsible for the tragedy. He also knew that he would never be allowed to raise the child that was rightly his, so in his mind he had little to live for. Maybe in passing he would rejoin Catherine, we shall see. ;-)

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  7. I look forward to reading your continuing six sentence story. When I know of very difficult pregnancies and deliveries in this time of so many medical advancements, and even still some mothers and some babies don't make it, I cringe to think of the pain and difficulties those mothers of the past must have endured. Then there is the emotional suffering that comes knowing that your child is noted as a bastard on the early birth registrations and on some census records.

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  8. Such a useless tragedy! Two young people who still had an entire life before them... but back then I know the attitude was that you ruined your life if such things happened. So sad.

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)