Creative Writing On Like What Did He Die

Published: 2021-06-22 00:20:02
essay essay

Category: Life, Parents, Family, Learning, World, Women, Farm, Farmer

Type of paper: Essay

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Marissa opened her eyes to darkness, not needing an alarm clock to know it was time to get out of bed. The wind whistled in the windows, and she shivered as she sat up and wrapped an old terrycloth robe around herself. Her two younger brothers slept in a bunk bed, and she gently shook their shoulders to rouse them. Already, she could hear the clattering of dishes and silverware downstairs; mother was always awake before everyone else, making sure breakfast was ready for the entire family.
Four o’clock in the morning was time to hurry because the cows could not wait. They needed to be milked, fed, their pens cleaned, checked to make sure they were healthy, and all of the hard work that went along with keeping Oak Branch Dairy Farm running smoothly. Marissa, her seven brothers and sisters, her parents, and a multitude of aunts and uncles were all part of the family crew that ran Oak Branch. One day, her eldest brother would inherit the farm, and Marissa would be one of the aunts helping him keep up the business and family traditions.
At least, that was what everyone expected of her, she thought as she herded the younger children down the stairs and toward the kitchen. Before following them in for breakfast, she turned toward the antique mirror that her great-great-great grandparents brought from the old country when they cleared the land to found the family farm. Big brown eyes and a clean-scrubbed face framed with wavy black hair gazed back at her. At fifteen, she was already taller than her mother, thin and wiry from work.
Through the mirror, she could see the tintype portrait of her Uncle Willis. It was not until she was older that she’d wondered what had happened to the young man in the photograph. No one ever spoke of him. When she was nine years old, she asked her grandpa who the man in the photo was.
“Well now,” her grandfather said, gazing wistfully into the distance, smoking his pipe. “That would be my brother Willis. He would be your Uncle Willis.”
“Where is he?” Marissa imagined he must have died, because no one ever left the farm for there was plenty of work for all to do.
“Well now, we don’t rightly know. When he was eighteen and our father died in an accident, he was suppos’t to inherit the farm for himself, but he didn’t want it. He left a message on the kitchen table sayin’ that he was gone for good and that the farm belonged to me. We never heard a word from him after that, but rumors from the town folks say lots of different things.”
“Not that. Some say he joined the circus. Others said they saw him in an Army uniform. We even heard he hopped on a train heading west to join the California gold-rush. He could be anywhere in the world. No one knows what’s happened to him.”
Marissa tried to find out more, but her grandfather would not speak of his brother again. Asking the rest of the family didn’t help either, because they’d silence her with a, “Hush, child!”
Where in the world was Uncle Willis? Marissa tried to imagine a circus, an Army soldier, or a gold-miner, none of which she’d ever seen in her life. When no one was paying attention, she paged through the encyclopedia volumes that told about the places and things in the world she’d never seen or heard of or the adventure romances her mother kept on the top shelf of the bookcase. It had to be done secretly, though, because if her mother or an aunt caught her reading, they soon found “something better” for her to be doing. Yet, the little she learned of Uncle Willis sparked her imagination. Even though she was expected to spend the rest of her life at Oak Branch, tending to cows, she couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to see the Queen of England, to travel on a boat down a river, to walk the streets of a big city, to swim in an ocean, and all the other things she’d learned about from the books she’d perused.

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