She Carried Her Mother’s Secret

Helen pulled her sunbonnet snugly over her head as she walked through town, being careful to look down, hoping nobody would look closely at her tan skin as people scurried back and forth tending to their affairs.

The midday sun beat down on her and sweat began to trickle down her sides and under her full breasts. Her corset was so tight it was hard to breath, and the weight of her petticoats made walking quite a chore, but she was used to it.

She darted a furtive glance across the street, where all the people of color walked. She wondered if her grandmother might be amongst them, for her father never allowed any communication with her, so she had to content herself with the stories her mother told her.

She carried a package for her grandmother her mother had given her to take to the post  office. Father was a circuit rider, off on a mission for the last two months, and could be home any time now.

Mother was at home with her younger brother and sisters, all working in the garden today. Harvest time was just around the corner, watermelons plump and juicy hanging from their vines next to the squash, the rows of green beans and Indian corn.

Mother never ventured into town if she could help it, especially now that Helen was old enough to take care of the errands. For Mother’s skin was a shade darker and the risk of being discovered much greater.

Her grandmother had been a slave but was now free and living with her husband. The Emancipation Proclamation had granted them their freedom papers not long before Father met Mother and asked for her hand in marriage.

To Be Continued . . .



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