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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the HISTORICAL genre (05/03/07)

TITLE: A Letter for Nettie
By Marita Vandertogt



August 14, 1933

Dear Nettie:
I am writing you this letter, though Iím not sure what your address is, or if it will ever get to you. My momma told me to go ahead and write it anyway, and when your family has found a place to live, I can send it to you then. Meanwhile, this is the best way I know to talk to you. I miss you very much my friend. The farm next to ours is so empty now without you, and Jessie and Annabelle.

I know that my momma and poppa are trying to decide whether we should stay on our land or go, like everybody seems to be doing. You remember the Browns? Well, they packed up and left almost the day after you did. Came to my poppa and told him they couldnít do it no more. That the dust is too thick and that it will never rain again. They said they couldnít live like this, they were hungry every day, and that moving to another part of the country was the only hope they had.

Itís not even so much being hungry all the time, as the dust. You canít get away from it Nettie. It seems to get thicker and thicker, no matter how much momma wipes it away. I see it getting to her as well.

And poppa, well, he just stands outside some days and looks out across his land. I know heís having a hard time deciding what to do. He worries about momma and me. Worries that maybe if we take the trip, momma wonít be able to make it. Sheís been feeling worse since Dottie was born, and itís extra hard with a new baby around. Nothing to feed her but mommaís milk, and she keeps saying how thatís drying up too.

Uncle Harry came to live with us. He made his way here on foot from the city. He's been living on the streets since he lost his job. Too many people don't have jobs or homes anymore and he said it was making people do desparate things. Said he could hardly sleep at night for fear someone would take his coat, or his shoes right off of his feet. He said that lots of people were starting to leave the city as well, traveling on foot, looking for relatives in the country to help them. Itís not much better here.

We have some food stored away still from mommaís preserves that she did last year. Remember when she had us helping her day after day and we got so tired and told her there was plenty in the pantry now. She said back then that the Lord seemed to tell her to stock up. Weíre glad for that now, though it canít last us much longer either.

Weíve been holding praying meetings down at the church, almost every night of the week now, just asking God to let the rains come and bring our crops back. After one of those meetings, we thought we saw a small white puff of a cloud forming in the sky. Wilber Smith said it was probably just another angel, coming with bad news. It ended up blowing away out the sky. I guess he was sort of right.

Do you think Nettie, that God can just make it rain if He wants, and if so, then why doesnít He? Some people are having a hard time staying believing. My momma says we have to keep believing. It happened in the Bible, in the Old Testament. Droughts arenít new to God, and helping people live through them, well, thatís not new to Him either.

Anyway, I shouldnít write too much. Itís starting to get dark, and I donít want to use too much of this candle. I will write again tomorrow. Who knows, maybe by then the rain will have started and this will be all behind us. And maybe your family can come back home, along with all the others.

Itís what I pray every day.

With much love, Emily

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This article has been read 733 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Chrissi Dunn05/10/07
A very well written letter. This sentence summed up the desparation of the situation and even perhaps loss of faith/hope, perfectly:

'Wilber Smith said it was probably just another angel, coming with bad news.'
Kaylee Blake 05/12/07
How heartbreaking! I love this little narrorators voice. So like a child. I really think that making this a letter to anthor girl her age was a very wise hcoice that played up the little girl's innocence. Keep up the great work!
Sharlyn Guthrie05/13/07
You captured the time and the feeling of the characters well. Nice job!
Bonnie Way05/14/07
Well written! I loved this story, the little girl's perspective on things.
Mariane Holbrook 05/15/07
Awww how touching and sweet. I love this kind of story and I feel sure you'll place with this one. Kudos.
Lynda Schultz 05/15/07
You made the period live. Well done.
Joy Faire Stewart05/16/07
Your descriptions are excellent. I could feel the sorrow. Wonderful entry!
Rita Garcia05/17/07
Charming and a great read...thanks for sharing this story!