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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)

TITLE: Worst of Times, Best of Times
By cheryl schoenberger


The sun’s first rays trickled through the lace curtains, caressing her cheeks with warmth and hope for the new day. It took the aroma of hot biscuits tickling her nose and encouraging her stomach to loudly complain to get her out of bed.

“There you are Karen. Here’s the basket; please go collect the eggs for me. We’re running low on flour and milk, and we need to bring Mr. Pearson some eggs in exchange for our groceries. The biscuits will be ready soon."

“Yes Ma’am. I miss Daddy. We haven’t received a letter in such a long time. He promised he would write every week.”

“I know sweetie. Dad is busy looking for work. In the meantime, we must work hard to cut corners to keep our house.”

“If Dad doesn’t find work soon, we may even have to take in boarders to help out.”

“Boarders? Where will they sleep?” Karen asked.

“Well, sweetie, I was thinking I would move you into my room with me and rent out your room.”

“I hate this! I want Daddy to come home!” Karen yelled running out of the house.

Mrs. Watson wiped her hands on her apron and sat down at the table sobbing uncontrollably.

“God please have mercy on us. Bring Tom home safely and help us get through this. I know you don’t give us more then we can handle, Lord, but I am getting weary. I just don’t know how much longer we can go on,” she prayed and sobbed intermittently.

A warm inner peace saturated her soul as a comforting voice said, “I am with you always.”

“Thank You Lord for uplifting me,” she whispered.

She used the last of the flour, milk, and potatoes and made potato pancakes for supper. The flour sack had such a pretty pattern on it that she started a new dress for Karen in hopes of cheering her up after school. But she knew the only thing that would really make Karen happy would be a letter from her Dad. Tom always had a way of making Karen smile even through the rough times.

“Did we get a letter today?” Karen asked with child-like wonder in her eyes.

“Not today sweetie. But look, I’m making you a dress. Isn’t it pretty?”
“Yes Ma’am,” she answered in a low, despondent tone.

Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, and still no word. It had been 3 months since the last correspondence. Praying for God’s continued love and support was the only comfort they had. In order to make ends meet, three boarders were taken in. Boarders and bartering for groceries were the survival tools at their disposal. Despite the sadness, Sundays were good days. Chicken was fried up after church, and eating and socializing in the backyard was anticipated. One of the boarders, Jessie, played the harmonica and his son played drums with a pot and spoon. The stress of the week paled as everyone pretended all was right with the world.


“Mom I’m home. What’s the matter?”

Mrs. Watson was sitting at the wooden table crying holding a letter.

“It’s your Father. He’s ok now; but apparently he was working at a car factory and was mugged on his first payday,” she said holding back the tears.

“He’s going to be ok though, right?”

“Yes. He was hit in the head and had amnesia for a week, but he is coming home as soon as he is released from the hospital,” she explained letting out a long sigh.

“There is a letter here for you, sweetie.”

My sweet Karen,
I know I promised to write every week, but I had a bit of trouble here and lost all my money. I am fine now and will be home soon. As I was trying to recover from the blow to my head, I would see memory triggers of our lives together. I saw you and your mother laughing and running in the hay fields. I miss those times so much. I also saw my Lord carrying me through the streets after I was injured. I survived thanks to God and the help of your prayers to our Father.

I love you with all my heart.

See you soon.

“I can’t wait to see him! But Dad lost his money. How will we make it?”

She smiled and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll get by, our Lord is not through carrying us yet. “

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This article has been read 390 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lollie Hofer10/29/10
This little family did have a rough time of things. I like how their faith was still in tact at the end of the story even though there were still obvious struggles ahead of them.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/30/10
This is a great story with just the right amount of suspense. It was a pleasant surprise to see that he was away working. I thought for sure he was a solider.
Philippa Geaney 11/01/10
I thought he had left 'um. Nice suspense and well written.
Jan Ackerson 11/01/10
Glad this one had a happy ending!

I'd have liked a few more details to help me place the time period.

I liked your main characters; you wrote them well.