Tag Archive | The Vision of a Mother’s Heart by Katherine Hinchee Purdy

Egg Shampoo and Rainwater: Sample Chapter from The Vision of a Mother’s Heart (Katherine H. Purdy)

The weeks of rain showers reminde me of one of my favorite chapters in

The Vision of a Mother’s Heart!

 

 In 1924 some things were done differently. Isabel’s family had a pump in the kitchen but it only pumped cold water. Families who lived in the country only took a full bath once a week as well as washing their hair. In order to conserve water during a dry season, families kept a rain barrel under the gutter to catch rain water. If you were creative, you could turn a chore such as washing your hair into a play time. My grandmother talked about washing her hair in the rain and allowed her children to do the same. When I was a child, I wanted the same experience but was told there was too much pollution in the air.  So, lets enjoy Isabel and her two sisters experiencee from Chapter 22 of The Vision of a Mother’s Heart.

Egg Shampoo and Rainwater

“WELL,” MAMA said as she placed the last loaf of bread into the oven, “tomorrow is Sunday, so we need to wash your hair, girls.”

“May we wash our hair in the rain?” Isabel asked as she looked outside at the cool, steady rain from the kitchen window.

“You always say that rain water smells good and we won’t have to use up the well water for our hair.” Isabel smiled as she made the last comment, knowing Papa was worried that the well would go dry before the end of the summer.

“Well,” Mama said, “I suppose it would be alright as long as you agree to come back inside at the first sound of thunder.

Go upstairs, and put on your bathing clothes so you will not mess up your work clothes.”

“Yes, Mama,” Isabel said. She headed for the back steps to her room. Maggie and Sylvia followed and then passed her on the steps.

“Oh boy,” Sylvia raced to their room. “I love playing in the rain.”  ”Sylvia said as she quickly dressed.

“Well,” Isabel said, “we are not playing in the rain; we are washing our hair.”

Isabel said. She pulled out her bathing I wish Mama and Papa would allow us to wear the new style like everyone else.

These old things are heavier than our regular dresses. Besides, they look ugly, and they are no good for swimming.  The last time we went swimming, I nearly drowned because my clothes were full of water and dragging me under water.”

“I remember,” Maggie said. She giggled and watched Isabel make funny faces at the offending fabric.

“Ye gads,” Isabel said. She attempted to button the dress portion of her swimsuit.

“Isabel,” Maggie said, “you just used God’s name in vain.”

“No I didn’t. I just said the same thing everybody says.”

“Mama wouldn’t like it..”

“Oh, Maggie,” Isabel said to her sister, who was also struggling with her suit, “you are such a goody-goody sometimes.

Besides, I said g-a-ds and with a little g – like the Roman gods, you know.”

“That does not make it right, Isabel. It is still using God’s name in vain,” Maggie said.

 Isabel decided to drop the issue.

“I’m telling Mama you’re swearing,” Sylvia said as she headed for the bedroom door.

“Please don’t tell her.  It will only upset her, and I promise never to say that again.” Sylvia twisted the doorknob, and Isabel spoke up once more.

I will give you a nickel if you don’t tell.”

“Okay,” Sylvia said. She took the coin from Isabel and Now shut your eyes, and don’t peek!”

Even with her eyes closed, Isabel could hear Sylvia placing the coin under her mattress for safekeeping. Next, Isabel could hear a soft thud as Sylvia removed her hand from under the mattress and a trashing sound as her hands were smoothing out wrinkles from the covers.

As if we didn’t know where she keeps things she doesn’t want us to see,” Maggie said as Sylvia exited the room.

“What do you mean?” Isabel questioned with suspicion.

Sylvie always puts her money and other secret treasures under her mattress. Didn’t you know? ”

“No,” Isabel said.

Maggie said with a smile. “You keep your diary in that old hatbox in the far right corner of the closet,

and the key to unlock it is on a string hanging behind the picture on the wall.”

“Maggie Greene,” Isabel said, “you’ve been snooping.”

Maggie said sweetly as she walked to the window and pulled back the curtain, revealing the old climbing tree a few feet from the house.

“If you want to hide something in our room, you should close the curtain or make sure no one is sitting in the tree reading. ”

“Margaret Louise Greene,  it’s impolite to spy on people; you should have let me know ”

“I saw your diary and you wrote that you have a boyfriend.”

“I do not have a boyfriend!”

Isabel and Arnie sitting in a tree…” Maggie chanted as she took off down the steps with Isabel close behind.

“No running in the house, girls,” Mama said as they entered the kitchen. They slowed their pace to a quick walk as they stepped outside

into the pouring rain.

“Now girls,” Mama said as she stepped onto the back porch. “Lather your hair twice, and be sure to get the suds out.

I will mix up the rinse and be back in a few minutes.”

The three girls twirled around in the rain until their hair was completely wet and then stepped back onto the porch.

“Here,” Isabel said. She picked up the jar of shampoo. “I’ll pour some on your hair, and then you can pour some on mine.”

She poured the amber liquid onto Maggie’s head and massaged it into her sister’s hair. Next, Isabel turned and repeated the

 same for Sylvia. Then Maggie poured the slimy liquid onto Isabel’s head.

“Work up a good lather,” Isabel said as she worked the shampoo through her own long hair.

“Sylvie, it looks you’re wearing a crown on your head. Maggie, let’s see how high we can pile the suds on your head.”

The girls giggled as they made funny figurines on their heads.

“We should rinse it off or the suds will make our head itch.: Isabel quoted Mama, who warned them each time they washed their hair.

“We know that,” Maggie said and then raced off the porch to rinse the suds from her hair and was followed by her sisters.

 

The girls danced around in the rain again as they attempted to rinse out the offensive lather.

“Oh no,” Isabel said, “the rain is slacking off.”

“Let’s do the second lather before it stops altogether,” Maggie said.

 

They ran back to the porch and repeated the procedure. Just as they stepped off the porch, the sky seemed to open up

with the heaviest rain they had seen all year.

Sylvia said. She twirled around, allowing the rain to wash her face as well as whisk away the shampoo.

“My hair feels softer already and smells good too,” Isabel said.

 

Mama stepped onto the porch with a tray containing three jars. She handed Isabel the jar with an amber-colored liquid.

“Apple cider vinegar to rinse your pretty brown hair.”

Isabel wrinkled her nose as she drenched her hair with the pungent rinse. “It stinks,” she said.

“It will make your hair nice and shiny, and it will wash away the suds,” Mama said.

She handed the jar of lemon juice to Maggie and then poured the liquid from the remaining jar on Sylvia’s head and worked it through her hair.

“Why do we have to use lemon juice?” Sylvia asked.

“Because you have blonde hair; it will make it shine like the sun. Now, run back into the rain and rinse.”

The girls obeyed their mother and stepped back onto the porch to squeeze all of the water out of their hair.

Isabel ran her fingers through her hair as she pushed the water out and then squeezed.

“Do you hear that?” she said. “Squeaky clean.”

“Perfect!” Mama said and handed each daughter a dry towel. “Now squeeze the water out of your suits, and go inside.”

 

After changing from their wet clothes, Isabel and her sisters returned to the kitchen to sit by the stove to dry their hair as they

enjoyed freshly baked cookies and hot chocolate.

“I love washing my hair in the rain,” Isabel said.

“Me too,” the younger girls agreed.

“Yes,” Mama said, “I’m thankful for the rain which will help the crops grow and will help keep my family clean.”

 

The argument between Isabel and Maggie was lost in the suds and washed away with the raindrops.

 

The Watch (Part 3) Preview chapter for Hope Beyond The Sunset By Katherine Hinchee Purdy

Memorial Day is about the ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice – the ones who died in battle.  Earl Hamner portrayed this side of Memorial Day when he wrote about “Ben” who made a Memorial Day bench to honor the uncle for whom he was named. When Grandpa Walton sat on the bench and gently touched his sons name, his face said it all. 

We often forget about the suffering of the ones left behind. In todays society, the sorrow and rememberance  of Memorial Day has become a day for picnics and swimming.

The story below is from a chapter from the novel I am currently working on. Hope Beyond the Sunset which is a sequel to The Vision of a Mother’s Heart. The setting is 1926 in Vinton, Virginia where twelve-year-old Isabel attended school. Miss Merrideth is her teacher who overheard boys in the classroom boasting that they would have “Cleaned the Kiser’s clock.” They learned something very important that day.

The Watch
Preview chapter from Hope Beyond The Sunset by Kathreine Hinchee Purdy
(Isabel’s Story Book 2)

Alright class, that will be enough talk about things of which you know nothing.” Miss Meredith closed the classroom door and moved slowly, deliberately to her desk, pulling out her history book and an envelope before addressing the class.

“Now, open your history book to the chapter on The Great War. How many of you completed your assignment to interview a veteran of the Great War?”

Isabel raised her hand, slightly leaning to the right, hoping the boy sitting directly in front of her hid her. I hope she doesn’t call on me!

“Fine,” Miss Meredith said as she turned to write on the chalk board. “Your assignment tonight is to interview the wife, mother, sister or child of a Great War Veteran. I would like you to copy the questions from the board to include in your interview.”

Murmurs and groans filled the room. “Don’t know why we have to ask the women,” a boy from the back of the room stated boldly, “they didn’t do nothing!”

“They didn’t do anything, Timothy,” Miss Meredith corrected, “and your statement is false. Women made the sacrifice of their loved ones as well as doing all that they could to aid our troops. Many women took over running the farm or the family business, some went to work in factories to provide for their family, they knitted socks and scarves, rolled bandages, provided doughnuts and coffee for troops on the home front and many young women joined the Red Cross to give comfort and provide nursing skills to our wounded soldiers.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Timothy said and slouched in his chair.

“Sit up straight and listen to the story I am about to share with you.” Miss Meredith lifted up the watch necklace, ran her finger gently over the raised design, and allowed it to fall gently against her high collar shirtwaist.

Isabel looked at Millie across the aisle and both girls leaned forward, sensing a good story was forthcoming.

“Many years ago, two children sat at the very desks you are using today. The young ladies sat on one side of the room and the boys sat on the other. Both children loved school and looked forward to a bright future. As they matured, their friendship grew into a deep love for one another and the young man promised to marry the young lady after he graduated from the University of Virginia. Both sets of parents approved of the couple’s plans. While the young man studied at the University, the young lady also attended college while filling her hope chest with handmade linens and other items which would someday grace the home they had planned together.

Their plans came to a sudden halt one fateful day.” The teacher paused and looked around the room slowly before continuing the story. “One terrible three letter word shattered their dreams forever. War.”

“The young lady has given me permission to share this story and a letter written by her young man with you, today. I want you to listen carefully; you may be in the same situation someday. I pray that will not be the case,” she said as she took her seat at her desk, removed a slightly yellowed paper from its envelope and took a deep breath and began to read.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My darling,

Sun is beginning to set and the smoke from a recent battle still hangs in the air. There is no way of knowing when the sound of war will reconvene so I am taking this respite to write to you as I wait in a deep, damp trench. I hope you have received my letters. I have only received one from you but I know there are more as you promised to write me every day. I know you keep your promises; you always have. Even when we were children, you hid food in your pockets and climbed the old oak tree outside my room on the nights I had been in trouble for throwing spit balls at the teacher or fighting on the playground. The punishment was always to go to bed without supper and that always broke your tender heart. You always promised to bring me something to eat and you always did. Oh, if only you could bring some of your Mama’s delicious fried chicken and biscuits tonight. A piece of your cherry pie would be like a slice of heaven now. Just thinking of the delicious fragrances takes my mind off the horrors surrounding me.

Do you remember our pal Moose? He lost a leg this morning. Pray that gangrene will not set in and take his life. He was only a few paces ahead of me. I attempted to carry him to safety but was suddenly caught up in a barrage of gunfire. Just as the medics arrived, we took flack so thick I thought it would never end. I returned to fighting and my rifle was so hot it seared the skin. I won’t go into details about the battle. I know you are praying, and that we are not alone. The Lord is with us. So I will speak of more pleasant things, my dear.

Do you remember the little cottage over by the lake I showed you the summer before last? The one we dreamed of owning some day? I know you do. You had it decorated in your pretty little head before I had time to walk around the perimeters.  The next day, you showed me sketches of the changes you wanted to make to “our” cottage. I can still see that final drawing in my head.  The cottage painted blue with white trim, window boxes filled with flowers, white gingerbread trim, a red door and ivy growing up the side. A cobblestone walkway lined with flowers, fronted by a white picket fence with a swinging gate. We shall have that as our home, dear when I return. Arrangements were made with my parents and their lawyer to apply a large percentage of my soldier’s pay to go towards the cottage and for the renovations.  We will even be able to add two rooms downstairs and up and plumbing installed. Should anything happen to me, the cottage is yours.  I can see you now, standing in the large bay window, checking the time on your watch necklace, counting the minutes until I arrive home from work. Perhaps tapping your foot, as I drive up in our motor car twenty minutes late for dinner. Can’t you just see it? This is what keeps me sane as we march along, looking for jerry’s, doing the task at hand. Waiting, watching, fearing, praying and dreaming the day when this awful war is over and we can go home.

It is getting dark and I will try and muster up some imaginative food as I try to force down the horrible concoction they refer to as rations. I will think of Mother’s pot roast tonight, I think. If you have a chance, when you receive this letter, will you please make a batch of your famous fudge and take it to Mother and Father? Visit with them for a while and please, have two pieces of that sweet delicacy for me; accompanied by two mugs of that good coffee from the store down the street?

I know I don’t have to ask. The letter I received from Mother said that you visit often and are always wearing our promise watch – the watch you promised to wear always until we meet again. I can still remember when I gave it to you. It was the night before I shipped out. You didn’t say so but I know you were expecting a ring. You covered your surprise well, my dear, but I knew you were disappointed. I couldn’t place a ring of promise on your finger under sad circumstances. I will save that joy until I come home. We can get married and live in our little cottage together for the rest of our lives. Just think of it, growing old together in our dream cottage.

Your words still ring in my ears as I remember you gently tracing the designing of the silver watch. “I will wear this near my heart and every tick of the watch will remind me of your heartbeat. Then you will not seem so far away. You will be just as near as my heart!”

I still have the locket you gave me with your image smiling at me inside and my parents on the other side. It too lies near my heart, carefully protected by my uniform and a small Bible I keep in my left pocket.

Something is happening ahead. I must put this away for now. Remember, I am only a heartbeat away. There is something else God is prompting me to remind you.

“To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

We shall meet again; here on earth or in our cottage in Heaven.

Forever yours,

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Isabel dabbed her eyes with the corner of her hankie as Miss Meredith gently folded the letter and placed it carefully into the envelope.

“This letter was delivered with a box of his belongings a month later. He didn’t even get to sign his name. A German bullet pierced his heart – I am told that he never felt pain. He was immediately transported from the trenches of war to the splendor of Heaven.”

The class sat in stunned silence as the school bell alerted them that the school day was at an end. No one moved for minutes and then as the spell was broken by a girl’s gentle sob. Students quietly gathered their books and walked past Miss Meredith with lowered heads.

Summer Reading

Are you looking for something different for your young daughter to read this summer? You and Grandma might enjoy it as well.

The Vision of a Mother's Heart by Katherine Hinchee Purdy (2)

Family and Christ centered fiction inspired by a true story. Setting is rural Virginia in 1924-25. Laugh at the children’s silly antics, sing with Mama, cry with Isabel and her family when tragedy strikes and imagine how you would have taken care of two-month twins and other siblings when you were only ten years old.

Life was far from perfect but filled with love.

The Vision of a Mother’s Heart is available in paperback through Amazon.com.

 

Perfect Model for Jim’s House!

Photograph  by Kathie Trent Kingery. (Photo used with permission.) Check out her facebook page at Miss K’s Photography or send an email: ktkingery@hotmail.com

When I first saw this photograph, I knew this would be the perfect model house for Isabel’s half-brother Jim. If you have read The Vision of a Mother’s Heart, you may remember Isabel’s surprise birthday party. A BIRTHDAY SURPRISE is posted under The Vision of a Mother’s Heart Sample Chapters.

I don’t know about you, but I love looking at houses – especially older abandoned homes. There is something sad about seeing a house or cabin that used to be someone’s home. If I am a passenger in the car, I scour the scenery for “homes” that may be appropriate for characters in my book. Some old houses have so much character – rotting gingerbread trim, bay windows, wide, wrap-around porches. Any of the above elements will grab my attention and my imagination. “I wonder who lived there?” A story begins to take shape in my mind. I visualize the house as it must have looked when it was new. Children playing in the yard, dogs, kittens, flowers and Mama watching the activities from the porch swing while stringing beans.

I’m not sure how much research most authors do when writing a novel. An author of historic fiction must spend a lot of time in research in order to have a story that is historically correct and appealing to readers. I spend a lot of time in research, including reading local history books, visiting local historic sites on-line and checking census records for the time period.

I look at houses on the internet, go to realtor sites who have slide shows of older homes and browse through the rooms. I especially like sites with vintage or antique furniture, restored homes, Pinterest is a wonderful site for getting ideas for a character’s setting. Magazines are also a good resource when researching period homes and appliances.

When I saw this photograph taken by my friend, I just knew it was “Jim’s house!”  A printed copy is on my story board for inspiration for the sequel. She has other wonderful pictures on her facebook page.

Last night, someone posted the picture of an old abandoned cabin. It was exactly as I imagined Grandpa Greene’s cabin in The Vision of a Mother’s Heart. I wasn’t the only one with that thought. A good friend who had read the book posted that it was just like the cabin in the book and she could see Isabel coming to the door. (Most likely with a baby brother in her arms!) It was perfect! Just as this house is perfect for Jim!

Be sure to look for Jim’s house in the sequel, Hope Beyond the Sunset. It may play an important part in our story!

Early Telephones

Isn’t this a lovely print from Art.com? I love looking at pictures of life in the early twentieth century.

What kind of telephone was available when Isabel’s brother needed to call the hospital to check on their “Mama”? One like this one! He had to ride his horse to the nearest house with a telephone.

Difficult to imagine today, isn’t it? We are so used to using our cell phones for everything from talking, texting, checking email, connecting with friends on facebook, playing games, checking the weather and even watching movies.

Isabel’s family didn’t have electricity, a telephone and had a privy outside. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? If you know someone who lived in the early days of industry and technology, give them a call! They may have a great story to share with you. =-)

A Birthday Surprise Conclusion

 

A Birthday Surprise Conclusion

Isabel joined her family in Papa’s car just as the sun was
beginning to set upon the day. “Thank you, Papa, for such a
beautiful day. I’ll never forget it.”
Isabel cuddled Raymond in her arms and sat back in her seat to remember her first birthday
without Mama, and yet, Mama’s presence seemed to permeate
the day. She breathed a prayer of thanksgiving for Mama, for
Papa, and for a loving family and friends, asking a special blessing
upon each person.

Isabel’s Birthday Sample I from The Vision of a Mother’s Heart

Last August, I published a sample chapter of The Vision of a Mother’s Heart in my Winepress blog. I thought I would share this with you in three installments. Happy reading!
The Vision of a Mother’s Heart
By Katherine Hinchee Purdy

A Birthday Surprise

ISABEL LOOKED AT the date on the newspaper, and her
eyes filled with tears: August 24, 1925. “It’s my birthday,” she
whispered to little Ralph, who lay quietly in her arms as he
teetered between sleep and wakefulness. He jumped slightly as
he edged closer to slumber, fighting to stay awake. Isabel smiled
as she looked down at her eight-month-old brother and thought
back in time to last year, when she had been so excited to enter
the grownup world of “double digits.”
“I wish Mama were here,” she whispered. A tear slid down
her cheek.

“I wish she were here too, Pumpkin,” said a deep voice from
the shadows, startling Isabel and the baby.
“Papa, I didn’t know you were awake. The rooster hasn’t
even crowed yet,” Isabel said with a hint of teasing in her voice.
She rose gently from the rocker.

“No, don’t worry about getting breakfast yet; it’s too early,”
Papa said. He took the slumbering baby and laid him in his crib.
“Besides, Lena is fixing a breakfast fit for a queen this morning,
and she said to be sure to have you and the children at her house
there in time to enjoy it while it’s hot. Did you get any sleep
last night? I think I heard the little ones exercising their lungs
a couple of times, but they had stopped before I could get up
to see to them.”

“They just needed a diaper change and their regular
4:00 A.M. feeding,” Isabel said. She stretched and yawned and
then walked to the sink to start a pot of coffee.”

“Now what did I just tell you?” Papa said with mock consternation
in his voice as he watched his eleven-year-old daughter
make a strong pot of coffee just the way he liked it—with nutmeg
and egg shells to make even the cheapest coffee taste full and
rich, just as her Mama had taught her. Isabel looked up just as
he was wiping away a tear with his handkerchief.

“Something wrong, Papa?”
“Not today, child. Just had something in my eye, that’s all.”
He wiped at his eye again and then blew his nose before folding
his white cotton fabric and putting it back into his pocket.

“Well,” Isabel said, “since Lena is fixing our breakfast, I’ll
just make some muffins to tide us over and may be the boys
will want to eat an apple with their glass of milk since they have
to milk the cow and take care of the outside chores before we
go. They will really be hungry, and it will take almost an hour
to get to Jim and Lena’s house.”

“That sounds reasonable to me. Just don’t tell Lena,” Papa
said. “She’ll skin me alive if she knows I let ya’ll eat before we
got to her house.”

Isabel rushed to get everyone dressed and ready for the trip.

No sooner was she ready to step out the door than one twin
needed changing and then the next. When everyone was finally
squeezed into the seats of the Tin Lizzie and on the road to
Roanoke, Isabel breathed a sigh of relief and enjoyed the view.
She hoped it would push back the beautiful memories of her
last birthday with Mama.

Isabel’s Tenth Birthday

The Vision of a Mother’s Heart by Katherine H. Purdy

Isabel felt like a queen dressed in the cornflower
blue, drop-waist dress with a wide, white sash bow she had
helped Mama make just for today. She turned around in circles
just to watch the skirt flare out, just as she had done when she
was a small child, and smiled with pleasure.

She looked up to see Mama returning her smile.
After church, the family met for a picnic with a lovely view of
the Blue Ridge Mountains. Isabel looked at the smoky blue and
green mountains as she listened to the happy voices surrounding
her and suddenly felt wrapped in a quilt of love.

Cleo, handed Isabel a small
gift and hugged her tightly. She said, “Well, how does it feel to
be ten years old, Isabel? Do you feel any older?”
“Oh, yes,” Isabel said. “I’m in double digits now, you know.”

1920 Knitting Pattern for Baby Sweater and Hat

This 1920’s knitting pattern for a baby sweater and hat might have been one used by Isabel’s “Mama” when preparing for the birth of Isabel’s brothers in The Vision of a Mother’s Heart.

1170_baby_sweater_hat_knitting_PDF.pdf (application/pdf Object).

I wonder if Grandma Lizzie knitted this outfit for baby Eugene?

The Watch Part 2 (A Preview) by Katherine Hinchee Purdy

Isabel finished her lunch and replaced the napkin in her lunch tin, shaking away crumbs from her dress and lined up with the rest of the class behind Miss. Meredith

“Alright class,” Miss Meredith said as she looked at the watch she wore on a silver chain around her neck. “You may quietly get a drink of water at the water fountain and walk softly to your seat. Take out your history book alone with your assignment,” she added.

“I don’t like studying about war,” Isabel whispered to the girl behind her in line.

“Me either,” Millie said, pulling her long hair to the side as she anticipated her turn at the fountain. “War is boys stuff!”

“I like it,” a male voice chirped in. “We cleaned the Kiser’s clock for good!”

“Yeah,” another boy joined the conversation. “Wish we had been there!”

“That will be enough, children! You know you are not allowed to talk in the hallway,” Miss Meredith said as she arched her eyebrows. “Hurry up now, we are wasting time!”

Isabel quickly sipped tepid water from the fountain, walked into the class, and took her seat. “I hope Miss Meredith likes my report,” she said as she pulled out her history book from the desk and smoothed out the single sheet of paper pressed between the pages, marking the chapter.

“My brother, Jim didn’t have much to say about the war. Not even a page worth!”

“Daddy didn’t say much either, except France must be beautiful with they’re not at war,” Millie said and wrinkled her nose at the boys across the room who boasted of the ways they would have “stick it to the Kiser.”