The tide was rising, as the rushing water turned a murky brown from all the debris picked up along the way. We watched the bridge sway and fall victim to the river’s rampage.
Will, you said you would return. You said for us to wait for you and we would be safe. Well, we’re not safe. The storm has washed away our home, and the river has become our enemy. We are not warriors to fight this kind of a battle against nature.
Margret gathered her children next to her. “Mommy, I’m hungry,” Joshua whined.
I smoothed my hand over his hair, falling down on his brow. I gave him a dry biscuit from my bag. “I want one too,” Sarah said.
My precious children, they should not know what real hunger feels like at only four years old. God show me what I should do, how can I keep my children safe.
Willard had no more than left that morning when my curiosity won. This is the perfect morning to investigate the attic. Willard was the fourth generation, Lowell, to live in this magnificent house, overlooking the water.
The door squeaked as if it had not been opened in years. The first thing my eyes fell on was a cradle, touching the smoothness of the wood. I wondered how many babies had slept in this cradle. One thing I knew, there would soon be another little one sleeping in, rubbing my hand over the gentle curve of my stomach.
Opening the lid of an old trunk, turning my head to keep from breathing in the dust, I gently lifted the things someone had tucked away. Three books had been wrapped in cloth. Opening the cover, I read, “this is the journal of Margret Lowell and dated ‘1906.’” Turning to head downstairs with my treasure, I noticed a second cradle that appeared to be a perfect match to the first one…were there twins in Willard’s family?
Settled in my favorite chair with a cup of tea, I began a trip into the past. I didn’t even notice when twilight settled in.
“Mommy, I want to go home.” Sarah rubbed her eyes.
“Margret,” I looked toward the sound of the voice.
“Clara, you’re a sight for sore eyes.” She held her baby in her arms and two children clung to her skirt has the hem picked up moisture and dust.
“Any sign of Will or James?” she said.
“I think we should head to higher ground.” Clara pointed toward the rolling hills on the other side of the valley.
How will the men know where to find us?”
“The main thing is to get these children to where it’s safe,” she said.
We walked until my feet felt like I couldn’t lift them; I carried Sarah a while and then she walked while I carried Joshua. “We have to stop for a while.”
“At least we’re away from the river’s edge.” Clara leaned her back against the trunk of the tree and closed her eyes.
“I’m worried about Will and James.”
“If I know our men, they are fighting their way to get back home,” Clara said.
We fell asleep with the heads of the children in our laps. I awoke with a start at the sound of my name from the lips of my husband. “You found us.”
“Did you think I wouldn’t?”
It startled me when Willard came in. “You’re never going to believe what I found in the attic.” I handed him the journals.
He read the inscription. “These appear to be my great-grandmother’s journals.” He sat on the arm of my chair.
“The first journal tells about a flood that destroyed their home.”
“According to my grandfather, Joshua, after the storm, my great-grandparents recovered what they could from the ramble and then built this house, choosing to build it on this hill overlooking the water. The story goes that my great-grandfather wanted to keep the family safe and out of harms way. Margie and I are named after our great-grandparents.” He wiped his hand across his face. “Maybe now you’ve opened the door to the past, it will help Margie find solace. Something she hasn’t had since our mother died.”
Willard took my hand and we walked out on the deck, the view of the water was different somehow, as if the past had merged with the present creating hope for the future.
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