Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the HISTORICAL genre (05/03/07)
TITLE: A Letter for Nettie
By Marita Vandertogt
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August 14, 1933
I am writing you this letter, though I’m 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 couldn’t do it no more. That the dust is too thick and that it will never rain again. They said they couldn’t live like this, they were hungry every day, and that moving to another part of the country was the only hope they had.
It’s not even so much being hungry all the time, as the dust. You can’t 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 he’s having a hard time deciding what to do. He worries about momma and me. Worries that maybe if we take the trip, momma won’t be able to make it. She’s been feeling worse since Dottie was born, and it’s extra hard with a new baby around. Nothing to feed her but momma’s milk, and she keeps saying how that’s 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. It’s not much better here.
We have some food stored away still from momma’s 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. We’re glad for that now, though it can’t last us much longer either.
We’ve 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 doesn’t 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 aren’t new to God, and helping people live through them, well, that’s not new to Him either.
Anyway, I shouldn’t write too much. It’s starting to get dark, and I don’t 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.
It’s what I pray every day.
With much love, Emily
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