|Page 65, Scanned From These Happy Golden Years|
For those of you who may not remember, in the beginning of this story, Laura is 15. She goes away from home for the very first time, to teach an eight week term at a country school. It was a country school in an abandoned claim shanty, 12 miles south of her house. She boarded with the Brewsters.
Mr. and Mrs. Brewster were homesteaders who had come from the east. They had a toddler son, Johnny. Mrs. Brewster was miserable. She made her husband, son and Laura miserable, too. She wanted to go back east. She hated homesteading. She hated the prairie. She was depressed. She was constantly argumentative with her husband.
The climax happened in the middle of the night one night. Laura woke up to a scream. Mrs. Brewster was holding a kitchen knife at Mr. Brewster. Mr. Brewster was pretty calm and just kept telling her to put the knife back. Laura saw all this since her own bedroom was only on the other side of a curtain. (That seems so weird to me, sleeping for eight weeks on the other side of a curtain of some strange couple.)
Mrs. Brewster, I get it. I've never held a knife out to my husband in the middle of the night, or to anyone at anytime, for that matter. In fact, the thought has never even crossed my mind. But, I understand how it is to be miserable in the middle of no where on the strange prairie. I understand how it is to be financially trapped there, too. I get it.
You see, I really do hate Colorado and I do hate the bleak ugly prairie. I just try not to let it get to me anymore. I know that if we have a shot at farming, this is the place to do it. If we have a shot at making our ends meets, this is the place to do it where we can grow our own food and benefit from the low cost of living. I think it is cool that my children will be the fifth generation of [Insert My Last Name Here] farmers in Lincoln County. I really hate to be so far away from trees and family and friends.
But I've determined to make the best of it. I try not to let that bother me. Anymore.
There was a time that I wanted to just pick up and leave. I really was miserable. I was Mrs. Brewster. It had nothing to do with my wonderful husband. It was the ugly prairie. It was the lack of my culture here.
I turned it around. Reflecting on the Second Dolor of Mary really helped me. (For you non-Catholics out there that may be wondering what I'm talking about, the Seven Dolors of Mary is a chaplet reflecting on Mary's Seven Sorrows. The Second Dolor is their flight into Egypt. ) The angel told Joseph in the middle of the night to move to Egypt. They did. Divine Baby and all. They obediently moved to a different country in the middle of the night. They didn't have a telephone or a car or a computer. They probably spoke a different language. There was a different culture. Their move to Egypt makes my move to the prairie look happy.
Oh yeah. A lot of Confessions, also helped me.
So, Mrs. Brewster, I get it. I don't know what became of you. Hopefully you came to make the best out of the prairie. Hopefully you got over it. Hopefully, you had beautiful crops and your family was able to prove up on your claim.
May your soul rest in peace, Mrs. Brewster.