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The Lawrence Children: Chapter 12

Hello, Life

The mystery was over, but all the Lawrences' problems were not.
The very next day, during lunch, Lucy heard a wagon. Immediately her heart jumped with fear. The children were at school (or should be). Vern was in the mines. It wasn't time for Tom and Mary to bring milk – why would anybody be coming?
Lucy searched the room for Julie. Her little sister was sitting by the fireplace playing with the rag doll they had found in the mine's secret room. Lucy wiped her hands on her apron and walked to the door, trying to calm her fear.
She didn't recognize the small buggy. But when it drew even closer she knew them to be some of the women from church.
Lucy drew in a quick and painful breath.
This could not be good – and she was all alone. There was no possible way she could go get Vern.
“Hello, Lucy!” One of the women in the buggy waved. Lucy recognized the woman to be Delta, a well known lady from the church whose husband had recently retired from the Revenue.
Lucy forced herself to return the wave. No sense expecting bad before it actually happened. “Hello!”
Three women jumped out of the buggy, tying their horse beside the barn. Lucy did not know who the other two were. They walked toward the house, where Lucy still stood outside the door.
“How are you doing, dear?” Mrs Delta asked.
Lucy didn't like the woman's tone, but she smiled anyways, “I am good. I was just fixing a light lunch for Julie and I. Please, come in, and I'll set some extra plates.”
“Oh, you don't need to do that.” But all three women pushed past Lucy into the house and sat themselves at her table.
They wouldn't have dared to act so forward and confident had she been older, or had she been her mother.
Lucy pushed her frustrations aside, and followed the women inside.
One of the women noticed Julie sitting on the floor. She stood up from the table and quickly walked to Julie scooping up the toddler into her arms much too roughly.
Julie cried out and Lucy winced.
Julie cradled her sprained wrist.
“Oh, what's the matter?” the woman cooed as she looked at Julie's arm.
Lucy didn't know what to do. Everyone was looking at her. “She… fell.” There was no reason to volunteer extra information and say how or where. “Her wrist is sprained, but not badly.”
“Oh, poor baby!”
Lucy felt nervous.
She set the table, cutting into a fresh loaf of bread. She added some more water and salt to the stew and found a jar of preserves. There was still some butter left from the last batch she had made.
For an improvised meal, Lucy was happy with her results. But she couldn't make her nervousness dissipate.
The women didn't say anything at first. The one held Julie tightly. Lucy watched, uncomfortable. She could tell Julie wanted to escape. But the woman would not let her go.
Lucy let the church women bless the meal. They ate, silently, as Lucy kept her eyes on her baby sister.
Finally one of the women spoke, “Lucy, I'm sure you must wonder why we are here.”
Lucy nodded, keeping her words inside. How she wanted to say, Not as much as I want you to not be here.
“To be honest, we are concerned about your welfare – all of you.”
“There is no need for concern,” Lucy didn't look at the woman as she spoke, but Julie. “We are doing quite well.”
“I'm sure you are doing the utmost best you can. But that's not always enough,” said the woman that held Julie. She looked down at Julie and smiled. “Babies need mothers.”
“We all need a lot of things,” Lucy replied. “But sometimes God sees best to give us otherwise.”
The woman continued smiling, “Or puts people in our lives to help us receive what we need.”
“I don't think I understand,” though Lucy was sure she understood all too well.
“What we are saying – our motive for coming here,” the third woman said, “Was to help. We have been searching for families to help out with your situation. I'm sure Vern will be happy to continue here, but you and the others need parents who can overlook your education and growth.”
Lucy felt trapped in fear. Her voice was lost. She couldn't move, couldn't say a word. She wasn't strong enough to stop these women...she would fail all her family in the end.
“We have already found a home for Julie and Fred-O. Mrs Smith here has agreed to take both of them and -”
The woman's words drowned out as Lucy watched the other woman smile and pat Julie's head. As if she already owned her baby sister. What right did these women have? To barge into her home and tell her she was not doing a good enough job just because she was 15? Her fear was replaced by anger.
“-and we already have several other willing families for the rest of you -”
Lucy rose up and calmly said, “Absolutely not.” She surprised even herself.
One would have thought Lucy had yelled at the women, the way they looked at her. Their faces showed shock and displeasure. As if she had wronged them, or acted disrespectfully.
“Now, Lucy. Be reasonable-”
“No, I will not.” Lucy walked around the table and reached out for Julie.
Julie reached her hands up to Lucy.
Mrs Smith held tightly to Julie, not willing to give her up.
Lucy reached down and grabbed a hold of her sister.
Mrs Smith acted as if she were not going to let go. There was a moment of tension. Lucy sent up a silent prayer – she did not want to fight over her sister. But she would do what she had to do.
The woman let Julie go, surprising Lucy. She hugged her sister, making her relief hide.
“I appreciate your concern,” Lucy said. “But it is not needed.”
“Now, Lucy -”
“I am serious,” Lucy interrupted once more. “We have done quite well these last months. We shall continue to do well.”
“But it is not healthy to live on your own.”
“There are many things that are not considered healthy, but God has willed this. And don't tell me that He has sent you to make this better. Because those words are simply personal opinion that violate my family's privacy. I will not hear them.” Lucy felt braver as she spoke.
“You need to be in school. In church.”
“I do school. And I think we are all very aware of what my father thought of your church. And I am starting to form a like opinion.”
“Excuse me?” all three women blinked, as if terribly offended.
Lucy tried to be respectful, but it was hard being a young girl standing up to three do-gooder women. “I mean that a church was not designed to control, but love and support.”
“I think you misunderstand -”
“I am sorry to keep interrupting,” though Lucy did not sincerely mean her apology. “I assure you my parents taught me correct etiquette toward my elders. And I hope you will excuse me as I say, I do understand. Too well. I do not mind if you come with gifts of sympathy – though those are not needed. Or come for a meal, like you did today, for company and neighborly love and support. But I will not have you controlling my family's lives.”
Lucy felt as if all breath were drawn from herself.
All three women looked at her hard. Mrs Delta opened her mouth as if to say more. But instead she said, “I am sorry, Lucy. I can see you are doing much better than we thought. You make very good bread.”
She didn't feel quite ready to breath yet, but she forced a smile, “Thank you.”
Mrs Delta took another slice of the homemade bread, spreading both butter and preserves on it.
Mrs Smith stared hard at Julie. She did not seem so easily resigned.
Lucy sat at the table once more, Julie on her own lap this time.
The rest of the meal felt strained, but at least there was no more talk about the unpleasant topic of their interfering in her life. Even though all three women looked angry and unconvinced Lucy hoped they would realize there was nothing they could do.

Vern laughed so hard he choked on his bread.
Everyone stared at him, not able to laugh any more as they watched him cough.
“Bring him something to drink!” Noah said to Ann.
Ann quickly left the table and filled a metal mug with milk.
“Here,” Ann said.
Vern took the cup, but he wasn't able to drink from it yet.
Finally, the bread dislodged from his throat and he gulped the whole cup of milk down without a breath. “Oh,” he said at last. “I wish I could have seen their faces!”
“They looked almost as funny as you did,” Lucy said.
Everyone laughed once more, Vern the loudest of all.
“I haven't laughed so much in so long,” he finally said. “Worth the choking.”
Ann laughed, “Laughter isn't supposed to make you die, but like a medicine heal you. I think you read that in Proverbs the other day.”
“That I did,” Vern laughed once more. “I guess laughter isn't worth dying over, but worth having so that one might not die!”
“Exactly,” Ann smiled.
Vern smiled – how happy Ann looked. Was it the mystery? Or times like tonight that had healed her emptiness? Or all of it?
He looked around the table at his siblings. Lucy smiling, content as she helped Julie eat. Fred-O grinning – just like his old self. Noah smiling over something clever. Ann looking satisfied.
And himself? Laughing even though life was hard. As hard as choking over his bread had been. Some things – like their parents' deaths, would never get better. Yet they were learning to live life.
And live it strong.
Even nosy church women couldn't take their life away.
They were a strong, happy family.
“Do you think they'll come back?” Noah asked. “It seems too easy for them to just give up.”
“They sure seemed scared off,” Lucy said, as if hoping to convince herself, too.
“From what I heard I'd assume they were scared off,” Vern said. “They thought they could come and make Lucy do what they wanted – they weren't expecting to make the acquaintance of a tough Lawrence.” Vern nodded to himself.
His siblings had all proved their strength. Of course they would have to continue on – a process that is ongoing is never easy. But small victories like what they had experienced today were just what they needed – a hope to see that continuing on was worth doing.
Life was worth it, because they were together and they had everything they needed.

This is the last installment of the mystery. I hope you enjoyed it - I would love to hear how you liked the whole story! Next month I will be sharing some fun details and behind the scene facts. And talking about the next serial!!! So keep an eye out for that post :) 

Father Tells a Story posted 10/9/17
No More Good-nights posted 11/13/17
Lucy Learns to Live posted 12/11/17
Never Know, Noah posted 1/8/18
Grandpa's Mystery  posted 2/12/18
Ann Finds Answers posted 3/12/18
Vern Lead's An Adventure posted 4/9/18
A Friendly Visit posted 5/14/18
A Real Clue? posted 6/11/18
Fred-O is Frightened  posted 7/9/18
Good Job, Julie! posted 8/13/18
Hello, Life posted 9/10/18


  1. I still think it's cool that you've started and completed an entire serial!! I've toyed with the idea but I don't think I could ever follow it through to the end. (Plus, I don't know if I have the extra time.) I've enjoyed reading along, though!! (And if you ever feel like doing a how-to post for serials, that would be epic!)

    1. Thanks! I do have a secret to how it was possible - I wrote it last year, and waited to schedule the posts until it was all done. It took me about two months to write, edit, and schedule. I'm so glad you've enjoyed reading! And yes, I will totally write a post on how I did it ;) Thanks for the inspiration :)

    2. I kinda figured that's how you did it, as that seemed the most logical way. But I'd still love to see you do a post on the whole process!

    3. Will certainly do a post ;) So excited about it, actually ;D


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