Emerging Writers. Historical Fiction Part 4, by Mary Ann DiLorenzo
Journeying Back to What Used to Be, Part 4.
It was a grand time for Johnny and the Rebs. Manassas was theirs and the Federals were reeling from the defeat. The future was bright for the young Confederacy and the Southern boys were in high spirits. Along about this time, Johnny received the first and only letter from his mother. She missed him and told him so, and despite his not wanting to think about it, he missed her and home more than he could say. His mother told him how the farm became more and more shorthanded each day as one field hand after another enlisted with the Southern cause. It was all she could do to keep things going. “Don’t worry Ma,” he thought to himself, “this war will be over soon!”
His old dog had died, succumbing to the heat and missing him, his mother said. “I loved that old dog,” Johnny sighed, “things are changing so fast, too fast!” His mother filled him in on the goings on around their place and who in their neck of the woods had left for the war. His mother closed by saying, “Hurry up and get this war over, your Ma needs you back home. Mostly because I miss you.”
“We’ll get this over soon Ma, don’t you worry about that!” he determinedly told himself as if he could will it so. But they all knew it was so... the Federals were shattered and disillusioned at Manassas and they were soon to be finished off for sure by the Southern boys. But the summer of ’61 stretched long and the Federals hadn’t been finished off yet, and by then it didn’t look like there would be anything easy about it. “Don’t give up on us Ma, we’ll get them Yankees, don’t you worry about that!”
These memories ran through his mind as he found among the remains of what used to be, his mother’s old account book, back from when he was still there, before the war. Most of it was still intact--somehow, and he glanced through it, going back with it to a simpler time. Toward the end of the filled pages he noticed the different handwriting. It was no longer his mother’s but one of the hired hands. She got sick not long after Johnny left for war and had to get help with things she had always handled on her own. The next letter from home Johnny got was not from his mother but from a close friend, to let him know his mother had died.
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