Things Get Hot
Image from: ClipArt Library; http://clipart-library.com/clipart/2086430.htm, Boiling Water Cliparts #2539806 (License: Personal Use)
Well... things are certainly heating up between Maggie and Frankie. To pick up where the last blog left off, Frankie is fighting to move into an adult life, while Maggie is trying to keep her impulsive daughter safe. It’s kind one of those typical mother-daughter moments.
But even Eli jumps into the fray somewhat with Patrick. (If you have any doubt about Eli’s paternal feelings for Frankie, check out his “chat” with Patrick in 1863 after he discovers that the couple had fallen asleep in the barn and spent the night there. It’s in Book 3, A Time to Heal.)
Now, here’s the current scene, set in 1864, when the tension comes to a rolling boil.
“Where will you live?” Maggie asked.
“What’re you going to use for money?” Eli wanted to know.
Maggie added, “Someone will need to earn money, so you have a roof over your heads and food on the table. You two simply cannot live off air.”
“I’ll get a job,” Frankie shot back.
Maggie looked doubtful. “Doing what?”
“Teaching, Mama! I’ve taught school. Remember? Surely some school in Chicago must need a teacher. It’s a big city!”
Patrick added, “I can take a job, too.”
“While you’re attending medical school?” Eli challenged.
“Right. And when do you intend to sleep?”
The young man rolled his eyes. “Eli!”
Maggie took up the interrogation. “And, Frankie, what if you get in the family way before you move?”
“So what?” Frustrated, Frankie wondered why they were talking about all this now.
“You won’t be able to work when you get bigger,” Maggie continued. “And then there’s the morning sickness and …”
The young woman suddenly threw her head back and laughed, stopping Maggie in mid-lecture. “Mama!” the young woman chortled. “You ran a boarding house while you were in the family way! Four times! And it never slowed you down. You set the example for me!”
Maggie was undeterred. “But you’ve never had a child. Who will you go to for advice? Who will help you if you feel ill or when the baby’s newly born?”
That was enough. Frankie hopped to her feet. “Mama, stop it! I’m not a child! For heaven’s sake, I was in Gettysburg during the battle.”
Maggie rose and faced her daughter. “And may I remind you that you got yourself separated from us – all because you and Gus wanted to run off and watch the soldiers march into town! I was worried sick about you!”
“Yes, I did that. It was a foolish thing to do. I freely admit it. But when I got separated from you, I did not dissolve into helpless tears and cry for my mother! I took care of wounded soldiers. I gave them food and water. I prayed with them. I held their hands when they were in pain. And I sat with them when they died. I am strong, Mama. I’m not a little girl anymore, I am a woman!
Gob smacked, Patrick and Eli sat wide-eyed, not knowing how to defuse the mother-daughter confrontation.
Undeterred, Maggie sought another line of argument. “From what I’ve heard, Chicago is a big city. How will you find your way around? What if it’s dangerous? What if you get hurt? What if –”
Frankie cut her off. “Mama! Let me say this as clearly as I can. Patrick and I are adults. We’re young, yes. We’re inexperienced, yes. But that’s part of being young. We will be married soon, and we’ll make our own way in the world. While I’m at it, may I remind you that you were only a year older than I am now when you eloped? Your family disowned you! You and my father ended up living with Aunty Letty because you two had nowhere else to go!”
Maggie was stunned into silence. Her daughter was right.
Turning to her fiancé, Frankie grumbled, “Come on, Pat! I need to take a walk to cool down.”
And she marched out of the parlor.
Patrick, knowing what was good for him, cleared his throat, stood, and said to the two older adults, “Uh… I need to go.”
Now Eli and Patrick must calm the women in their lives and encourage them to make up.
Will Maggie and Frankie come to an accord?
We’ll see in my next blog.
Janet R. Stafford
Comments are closed.
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder