Needing to stay busy for the summer and to stay out of trouble, my stepmom found me a job
as a nanny in Crab Orchard. I wasn’t to happy to be away from home for the summer, but again I needed the money and what my mom had said “An Adventure”.
I was a nervous wreck that morning as I said goodbye to my father as he left for work and my mother rushing around gathering a few items, I had overlooked while packing (Can’t remember everything).
Once we were on the road, she told me of some of my duties and the children that I would be taking care of and that the town was small. Which I learned to be the truth, I did a double look and stared at her and said if I had known, I would not be doing this. My mom said that her friend needed someone to just watch the two kids so she could work.
We drove into her friend Betty’s driveway and I just stared at the house I would be staying at for the summer. It was so tiny and old, I got the chills just staring at it. I looked over at mom and she just smiled and started opening up the driver side of the car and I very slowly opened my side of the car and then Betty came out of the house and said Welcome.
Betty and mom spoke and I just looked around at the area, in fact I wanted to get back into the car and drive away fast. Then in the front window, were two little faces peeking out, I melted at seeing how cute they were, told myself that I have this and its only for a couple of months.
Mom opened the trunk and I grabbed my suitcases and we walked into this tiny little house, which again I had the chills, it was ninety-nine degree’s not to mention the humidity. Betty introduced me to her children Alex, nine, and Jennifer,seven. They seemed shy and hid under the kitchen table, I just said hello. Betty told Alex to take my suitcase to his room where I would be staying. Mom and Betty sat and had coffee and I just listened and watch the kids watch me.
An hour later my mom said that she had to get going as she had to work in a few hours and didn’t want to be late. I asked her to take me home and she said no. I watched her leave and now I was here,in a town that I am not really sure if it was even a town, it was just so small.
The rest of the day was getting to know the kids and know where everything was as I would be in charge of all meals and cleaning and taking the kids for a walk.
I crawled into bed that night feeling a little overwhelmed as I was just a kid myself and I should be having fun for the summer. Yes, I was a teenager, it was my right to complain.
The next morning, Betty woke me up at six A.M. and said that she was off to work. Said she would call later to check on the kids.
The kids ate their breakfast in silence and I went about dusting the house, and doing some of the morning laundry. There was no exciting channel to watch except one station, radio was even worse, so took the kids for a small walk, then home again and played with Alex and Jennifer, the few games that they had.
So this would happen everyday for a couple of weeks, til Betty gave me some money and said the kids could go buy some penny candy at the store. I just looked at her and told her the store is more than a two miles away and she said there was a small store right down the block. I nodded my head and Alex piped in that he would show me. Betty again left for work and I was shaking my head.
The kids and I put on our shoes and walked to what they had considered their town, and to the store. I have only seen this type of store on “Little House On The Prairie” run by Harriet Olson, You all remember that mercantile, well that’s what this store looked like, with a bar/saloon connected it to it. I looked around at the surroundings and across from us was a park, well at least I think it was a park as it consisted of a picnic table and a swing. The kids bought their penny candy and went back home.
Next day I told the kids that we were going to for a longer walk for exercise and the older woman who worked the General Store had told me about the cemetery up the hill from there. I took the kid’s hands and walked up the road, which took a lot longer then I had thought, but it was a nice day and a bit cooler. The kids and I played tag around the cemetery and other games and this became our daily routine until the one day as I was walking the kids, some guys in uniforms were passing by( their uniforms were blue).I got excited as I thought they were doing re-enactment some where near by, but as they passed, one of these men tipped his hat to jennifer.
I looked at the kids and said they must be doing civil war re-enactment somewhere near by and I turned to ask the guys in uniform where we could go to watch, but the guys were gone.
The kids looked at me strange, we walked past the cemetery, and walked up the small hill and didn’t see anything. There were no film crews, no more uniforms,just a empty field. I was a little upset as I didn’t know what was happening.
I let the kids play around the cemetery for a while while I tried to understand what happened. I gave up trying to understand and called the kids to me and started walking home, keeping my head low as I was sulking still.
Alex told me to be happy and he told me a kid joke and I laughed, looked up at more guys in civil war blue uniforms. I really did think there was some kind of re-enactment going on somewhere, or have I totally lost my mind. I looked at the kids and they didn’t show any indication that they were seeing a few men on horses in blue. These men were so real that I had told Alex and Jennifer to say hello to the men. The kids looked at me and and looked around and said ” your crazy, I’m telling my mom on you’
I told the kids I was only joking with them, and we walked to the general store as I needed a few things for supper, as I payed for my items, I asked the clerk where they were doing the re-enactment,
The clerk gave me a look and asked what I was talking about, I told him thank you and started walking out the door, and he asked again if I was ok. I wasn’t about to say no, I’m not ok, that I was seeing men in uniforms. I told him that I was fine.
The next day again Alex, Jennifer and I made our way to the cemetery for exercise.it was becoming a part of the norm for the rest of the summer, Today was just a blah day and hot and very humid, I sat under a tree and watched the kids play around the gravestones, I must have been day dreaming as I didn’t hear see or hear the man approach me until he said” You shouldn’t let the young-ins do that’, I just looked at this man who had blue eyes and wore a white shirt and light blue overalls.
He continued to say ” The dead need to be respected and though they be dead, they don’t like their graves being stepped and jumped on”.
I told the man okay and called out to the kids and gestured for them to come and as they came over, I told the kids, what the old man had said and proceeded to have the man repeat what he had just told me and when he didn’t answer, I just turned around and again no one was there except for the kids. It was at that moment that the kids started laughing at me and it was the last time I had gone to that cemetery. I told Betty about what had happened and she told me about the history of the area and I am one of the lucky ones who had a chance to see some of the history. I stayed with her a couple more weeks til I had gotten very sick.