I still remember the first gun shot, the first war report, and the first explosion. My town was a major city during this time, where the men of America were fighting for independence against the British.
I would try to sleep at night, but was unable to due to thoughts of my brothers and father in the army, and my Mom and I, Cecil, were left to take care of the house.
The day I remember the most was when the war came to my home city, Boston. I was 10 years old, but I was extremely obedient; I was walking home from gathering a few groceries, and an explosion nearby made me drop the food on the dusty road.
A woman, who I did not recognize, came out of the house and helped me pick up the fallen produce. "Where is your house sweet-heart?" she asked.
I pointed down the road, and answered, "Just a little ways." Two more gunshots rang out, and I flinched.
"The battle grows closer, come into the house." The woman told me. She gestured me inside into the house, and sat me down. Yells came from outside and I grew more frightened. "James!" The woman called. A young boy about my age appeared in the dining room doorway. "Yes mama?" he replied.
The woman nudged me towards him, and I turned around to find her face growing pale while she looked out the window. "What is your name, sweetheart?" she asked.
"Cecil, Ma'am." I answered. "Alright, James honey, take Cecil to the cellar, lock it ,and wait there until I come get you." The woman told her son.
"Okay, Mommy." James said, making a gesture for me to follow him. I looked back at the woman one more time, before following James. We descended down some wooden stair, before we reached the cellar. James took a key out of pocket, closed the cellar door, and locked it.
It was dark in the cellar, also still and quiet. I was curled up in a corner with my knees held up to my chest. When I heard several more explosions outside, I couldn't help myself but sobbed into my knees.
"My Mommy could be in danger....and there's nothing I can do about it!" I exclaimed. I head James sit next to me and felt him pat my shoulder. "My daddy used to tell me that there is always something you can do to help. You just got to think about it sometimes." he said.
I sniffed and looked up at James; another explosion shook the cellar, and I yelped before jumping into James. I felt him shaking too, and it made me feel better that I wasn't the only one scared during this time.
"Ma....Maybe we can distract our minds." I heard James stutter. I sat back up and tilted my head in confusion. James looked around the cellar, and I saw him pick up a small rock that had tumbled from the outside door in the cellar.
"A rock?" I asked, scratching my cheek. James gave me a small smile as he dragged the rock on the dirt ground. A line formed in the dirt, and I watched as he drew a picture of what looked like a sun. My eyes lit up as realization dawned in me.
When he finished, he handed me the stone; I took it and felt it's cool surface. Under the sun I drew a tree, and a line resembling the ground. The cellar shook again as another explosion sounded, and I squeezed my eyes shut and clenched my jaw.
What caused me to open my eyes again was when I felt James's hand take the stone. I looked down and I saw him draw a cloud next to the sun. He then came to my side, and drew a boy stick figure.
I saw him smile as I took the rock and started to draw a girl stick figure. When I was done I sat the stone on the ground beside, and smiled at our little art creation. Both of us weren't really talented when it came to drawings, and our small picture wasn't the best, but it had calmed us down.
As we examined our art-work, James and I were startled by the sound of screaming. "That was Mommy!" James exclaimed. He got to his feet, unlocked the door, and disappeared up the stairs; I followed him with no hesitation.
"Mama!" James called, when we go to the hallways. I stayed close to him, as we wandered through house; the light seemed grayish and filled with dust.
We came to the kitchen, and found the woman sitting in a a wooden chair at what was left of a wooden table, patching up a wound on her side. We ran to her and she embraced us both.
"Mommy, what happened?" James asked.
"Just a British Soldier son, he's gone now." she reassured. She then looked at me and asked, "You're the daughter of Elizabeth Cato, aren't you Cecil." I nodded, wondering why that was important.
My curiosity grew when I saw her sigh and shake her head.
"I've just gotten word that when the city was under attack some houses were destroyed, your home was one of them. I'm sorry Cecil, but your Mother was killed." she told me.
It sunk in in a span of a few moments, and when it finally did. I sobbed into the woman's shoulder. "I'm so sorry honey." she whispered, as my tears soaked her sleeve. I continued to sob for a reasonable amount of time.
I still remember the first gun shot, the first war report, and the first explosion. Even 13 year later when the war finally came to an end; I stayed with that kind woman and her son until my brothers and father came back from the war.
I've always felt sad since Mama's death, and sometimes struggle with waves of sadness, but when I'm really sad I draw like I did when I was stuck in the cellar with James.
By the time the war ended I had a whole stack of art work, and years later I showed them to my kids, and names the series of work, "My War Drawings."