Explore a scene or story from your memory by reimagining it from an alternate perspective.
Archie and his wife Lulu wearily descended the steps of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy train searching for the familiar face of his brother, Fred. It had been a long and circuitous train ride from Glenullin, North Dakota to Nodaway, Iowa and Archie was fearful to learn of his father’s condition. The telegram had said only that he was gravely ill.
“Lulu, I don’t see Freddy so let’s get you inside out of the cold to wait. I’m sure he will be here shortly.”
“Archie, perhaps we can get some coffee inside to warm us and there is still some bread left in the satchel.”
The two trudged up the steps and through the depot doors, stepping into the warmth and escaping the bitter cold. After settling Lulu, Archie, a tall man, well over six feet, and strong with it, returned outside to claim their several pieces of luggage from the baggage area.
Hearing a clomping of hooves and rattle of harness, Archie looked up. There was his brother driving the farm wagon into the station. Sitting along side Fred was Albert, the youngest son of the Wise family. Archie searched their faces looking for something, some hint of his father’s condition. He could see Albert had been crying and Fred’s eyes held nothing but grief and exhaustion. Well, he was here to help, to take some of the pressure off Fred, to console their mother and take care of his father even if it had taken him longer to get here then anticipated.
“Hello Freddy, thanks so much for meeting us. Let’s get the bags loaded. I’ll get Lulu and we can be on our way.”
“Suits me fine. It’ll be a cold ride to the farm, brought along some blankets for us all.”
Archie and his brothers quickly loaded the wagon with the luggage and handed Lulu up to sit between Fred and Archie with the blankets tucked in all around. Albert, a nimble 12 year old, climbed into the bed of the wagon to make room up front. With the station behind them Archie could put the questions off no longer.
“How is Papa doing? How did this happen, what is happening? Archie asked glancing over at Fred.
Without looking at Archie and with tears tracking down his cheeks Fred replied “he is not good. He’s in terrible pain with headaches and nausea. The doctor doesn’t seem to be able to do anything for him. Sometimes he doesn’t even recognize us.”
“How are Genevieve and Mother doing? Is Aunt Mary able to come help?” Archie asked. “Does the doctor know what is causing this?” he continued. “I’m sorry it took us so long to get here, but we can stay as long as needed, whatever is needed.”
“I don’t know what to think. Nothing is helping, he is only getting worse. Mother is beside herself and poor little Genevieve, she doesn’t know what’s happening and we can’t tell her.” Fred quickly glanced back at Albert who had fallen asleep to be sure he wasn’t hearing the conversation. The wagon continued on the road to the Wise farm, the occupants silent, each with their own thoughts and fears.
It was a little over two months later when James Wise died of a brain abscess at the age of 59. He left his widow Sarah with two young children, Albert and Genevieve to raise without their loving father. From letters and further research it seems this tragedy forged an especially strong bond between mother and the two young children. Genevieve and her mother lived together throughout the remainder of their lives. Letters home from Albert during WWI show a strong attachment to his mother.
See footnote for image use – Historic1
|Footnote Title||Footnote Description|
|1Historic||Photo found on ebay at https://i.ebayimg.com/thumbs/images/g/c64AAOSwl9RZ6ouW/s-l225.jpg|