Emerging Writers. Historical Fiction by Mary Ann DiLorenzo
Journeying Back to What Used to Be. Part 15.
Johnny was jolted out of his thoughts by the sound of running behind him, and turning, he saw young Willie Smith with an envelope in his hand running full speed and kicking up the dirt. “Hey wait up Johnny!” Willie cried at the top of his lungs.
“What do you have there Willie?” Johnny asked him.
“It’s a letter for your Ma. Miss Ames at the general store wanted me to get it to you. Just came in this morning she said. Guess whoever sent it doesn’t know your Ma died.”
Johnny took the letter from Willie and something about the handwriting was familiar to him. He thanked Willie and after the boy ran off, he remembered. It was his father’s writing. “Well if this don’t beat all!” Johnny tucked the envelope inside his pocket beside Emily’s letter and continued on home. Once there, he sat down on the porch, opened the envelope and found a letter inside. He started reading.
August 15, 1865
San Francisco, California
My dearest Sallie,
I expect your getting this letter will upset you, but I want you to know I have never forgotten you and Johnny after all these years. I had to leave, farming wasn’t for me, too much of the wanderlust still in me to stay settled down. So I struck out west and wound up smack in the middle of the Gold Rush! I actually did well for myself prospecting, saved what I could and built myself up a business selling supplies to the mining companies. Once the Rush ended, I took what I had and invested it in the railroad. All in all, I suppose I have been resourceful and done the best I could. You will be glad to know I have managed to stay out of scrapes, for the most part, and done the family name proud.
How are you and Johnny getting on there now that the War is over? I heard when Sherman came through those parts he burned everything to the ground that he could get his hands on. But I remember how tough you were and I reckon Sherman would have thought twice before tangling with you! Suppose Johnny ought to be a grown man by now, bet he even fought in the War, hope he made it back. Hope you still have that same sweet smile that I been missing all these years. What a fool I was leaving you and the boy. I know you can’t undo things once they are done, but I want you to know I am sorry for it. I was too young and the responsibilities seemed too large and I hadn’t done all my childish living yet. Have you ever been able to understand, to forgive me?
Well I just wanted you to know how I was getting on and what I’ve made of myself, expect you have a right to know after all these years. I’ve never stopped loving you Sallie, and the boy too, suppose I always will.
Journeying Back to What Used to Be. Original historical fiction that follows a Confederate soldier back from War. Delivered in brief vignettes, the series depicts this defining time in the history of our nation. Follow this Civil War Story About Going Home.
Journeying Back to What Used to Be, Part 15 (This one)