Historical Fiction Teens & Young Adult Romance

“Dad, how did grandpa meet grandma?”

“I imagine it kinda went

like this.”




“Hey! Are youse ok?”

“No thanks to you!”

“I’m sorry! It’s

almost dark and with this snow still coming down I couldn’t see youse walking


“Pearl! Help get us


“We’re coming, Ruth!”

“Miss, don’t struggle

so much. Gimme a chance. You’re making it worse. Let me help ya. Youse must be


“Okay! Don’t pull my

arm outta socket. Who do youse think you are, President Harding, hisself?”

“No ma’am. My name is

Chauncey. I just work for the county. I was just clearing snow.”

“Well, Mr. Chauncey,

I’m Pearl and these are my little sisters Ethel, Edna, and that’s Ruth way over

there still crawling out.”

“What are youse doing

walking out here? It’s almost dark.”

“Not everyone is rich

and can drive along all high and mighty. Some folks have to walk to work or the


“Ha! If I was rich I

wouldn’t have bothered to stop for ya.”


“Okay now. I got ya

out. Just brushin’ the snow off.”

“Never mind me, go

fish’em outta the ditch. We’re already soaked.”

“Are you’uns in the

house up on the corner?”

“Lord no, we’re down

the road half a mile past that.”

“It’s not safe ta be

walking out here. It’s gonna be a little crowded, but climb up in the cab and

I’ll get ya home.”

“Thank you much, Mr.

Chauncey. You just keep ya hands on the steering wheel.”

“Watch yer fingers

while I close this door.”


“We’ll get ya home.

We already cleared ta middle. Now I gotta do the sides.”

“Mr. Chauncey, youse

know how to run this thing? I’m scardt.”

“Ruth, don’t be

scardt. Course he knows how.”

“Miss Pearl, is it?

My name is Mr. Taylor.”

“I thought youse said

your name was Chauncey. So which is it?”

“Chauncey is my first


“Don’t giggle, Edna.”

“But Chauncey sounds


“Just ignore my

sister Edna. She’s almost ten. That’s Ruth on her lap. She’s seven and a half

and Ethel over here squeezing my arm is eleven. She don’t talk much, when she

does youse probably won’t be able to make it out. We’s McCormicks.”

“We’re gonna have to

set here some and warm ‘er up. Ya know Ethel was my momma’s name, least the

woman who raised me. I can see she’s a little different than the rest of

you’uns. But, Miss Ethel, I can see you’ve got a pretty smile. Are you sure

you’uns are comfortable over there?”

“Pearl, slide over

some. Ethel’s pushing me ‘ginsta door.”

“Don’t push, Edna.

“Mr. Chauncey, I

mean, Mr. Taylor, needs room to steer.”

“How old are you,


“I’ll be fourteen

March eight. What about youse?”

“I’ll be twenty-two

next Saturday, February ninth. I gots a little sister ‘bout your age named

Hannah, but we call by ‘er middle name Annetta”

“I didn’t think youse

that young.”

“Got my winter


“What brought you’uns

out in the snow?”

“When we can, we work

at the coal sorter, but closed t’day ‘cause the snow. We went by the store for

flour. Closed as well and not taking milk. Mr. Yoder might have to start

dumping it if we can’t get it ta market.”

“Looks like it’s

cabbage and potato soup with cornbread again tonight.”

“Soup and cornbread

sounds great. Last I had was half a hoagie ‘bout noon.”


“Think she’s warmed

up. I’ve gotta back ‘er up ta get a running start up this hill. When I hit that

snow bank she’ll wanna buck to the left and I’ll have to fight ‘er. Brace

yourself. Don’t hit the glass.”

“Never been in a

truck this big.”

“What? You’ll have to

shout. I can’t hear you’uns.”


“I’m scardt, Pearl.”

“Wow, looky! He’s

clearing the road!”

“Pearl, I can’t see

‘causa Ruth.”

“Ain’t a big deal,

Edna. Ethel, loosen up my arm.”


“Let me know when we

get to yur road, Miss Pearl.”

“It’s coming up on

the right. Uh-oh. I think ya passed it.”

“I’ll back ‘er up.

Looks pretty far up there. I better drive you’uns, so ya don’t freeze t’death.”


“You’uns own this


“Lord, no. “We’re in

the little house next ta the farmhouse. My mom helps the farmer and his wife.

Laundry, cleaning, watching her children, and such. We also milk the cows.”

“And what’s your pa


“Stove installer, but

he left ta work in Ohio. We hope he’ll come home ta visit in the spring.”

“Was that yur house?”

“Yep. Overshot


“I’ll clear it up to

the farmhouse and turn ‘er around there.”

“That’s Mr. Yoder

waving the lantern on the porch.”

“Best go say, hi ta

him. Don’t touch anything, okay?”


“Pearl, I think he’s

kinda cute. Youse ought a scooch-closer.”

“Edna, hush up. Here

he comes.”


“Mr. Yoder said the

electricity is down. He seemed more glad to have his road cleared than to have

you’uns back home safe.”

“Sounds like him. And

we don’t have electricity at our house anyway. Now he knows how we feel. He

uses horses to get the milk cans to town.”


“I’m gonna stop it here

and let the engine rest. You’uns need to get out from my side.”

“Pearl, Ruth is


“Let me help Ethel

out first, then ya can pass me little Ruth, I’ll carry her to ta house. That

your ma at the door?”

“We’re coming, ma!”

“I told ya not to go

to town, it was too deep.”

“Sorry, ma. The store

was closed.”

“Who's this ya got?”

“His name is Chauncey

Taylor. He buried us in ta snow with his plow.”

“Lord, are you’uns


“Just wet ma’am. He

dug us out and give us a ride.”

“Shouldn’ta been out

walking. Foolishness.”

“Yintz kick your

boots off at the door, and get those wet clothes off. Edna, help Ruth get ta

bed. Pearl help Ethel get her clothes off.”

“Looks like ya got

yer hands full here, Mrs. McCormick.”

“Ya don’t know the

half of it. These kids ‘bout worried me to death.”

“Nice and cozy in

here. Ma’am.”

“I just put the last

of ta wood in the stove ta warm the soup.”

“If there’s more wood

outside I’ll fetch some while I’m here, ma’am.”

“Don’t know if you

can even find the wood pile under that snow.”

“Pearl, take the

lantern and show him the woodpile and pump. Remember that stick by the door in

case that mountain lion comes back around.”

“Mr. Taylor, I don’t

see any red eyes out there, do you?”

“Na. I’d reckon it’s

too cold, and you can call me Chauncey. So it’s just yer mom and the four


“Our sister Helen is

asleep in the back room. She’s six and a half.

“There’s the ax,

stuck on the chopping block over there, so the wood pile outta be right ‘bout …



“That’s one armload.

Lead me back ta the door. You can wait here and I’ll get a few more armloads to

keep outside by the door.”


“Here’s some empty

buckets for water.”


“This handle needs a

shot of grease. Gotta be gentle too. I’ve seen a pump handle snap in two in

cold weather.”

“You’ve been around a


“My dad’s an engineer

on the railroad and I used to go with him a lot.”

“Are ya married, Mr.


“Not yet. Pass me

that bucket while it’s flowing.”

“Ya not dating


“Thank ya. I’m too

busy working. ‘Sides, my dad says, ‘Take it from me, don’t go kissing girls

unless I’m ready to marry ‘em.’”

“So yer almost

fourteen, heh? Won’t be long ‘til you’re a woman.”

“Beg yer pardon. I

been a woman least two years. Shoot even Ethel became a woman just last month.

“What’s so funny?”

“That’s not what I

meant. I was thinking more about being married and raising a family.”

“Oh, I thought you

were talking about … you know…”

“Nah. That’s all the buckets,

hold ya for a while.”


“That didn’t take

that long, Mr. Taylor. Come in and warm up ‘n have some stew. I know yer in a

hurry ta get on yer way.”

“Yes, ma’am. I could

use something inside me. Ya never know when that old truck is gonna get stuck

and I have to sleep in the cab.”

“Pearl, dish Mr.

Taylor out a bowl of stew, and dig deep. Hope you don’t mind if she gets the

piece of venison that’s in there for flavoring.”

“Ha. Nom’em, I

wouldn’t argue with that ‘tol.”

“I took two

six-pointers ta first week of the season, but then I might as wella stayed

home. When I get back this way, I’ll bring ya some to pay yer back.”

“We wouldn’t argue

with that ‘tol either.”

“Maw, Ruth laughed at

Chauncey’s name, but I think it’s kinda fancy.”

“Yes, Pearl. It is.

Chauncey, my name is also unusual. It’s Viola. My maiden name is Spickler, but

I guess I’ll stay a McCormick since that’s the girl’s last name.”

“Yes ma’am. So how

are you’uns getting by out here without Mr. McCormick?”

“It ain’t been easy. He

said he’ll keep sending money, but don’t know how long that’ll keep up. His

brother Harry and his wife Mary have, what, six kids now. He’s got a good farm

and furniture shop not too far. They check in on us and help us out. And the

Yoders have been good to us.”

“Umm. Hope you’ll

pardon my manners for drinking the last bit of that stew.”

“Pearl, get Mr.

Taylor another bowl. Dish one for yerself, Edna, and Ethel. Now that you’uns

brought in some water, we have plenty of stew, if ya know what I mean!”

“Momma! That wasn’t


“Relax, Pearl. I know

what she means. We’ve all had some lean times, what with the war, that Spanish

flu, prices going up through the roof last year, now these snow storms and


“Chauncey, why didn’t

ya go off ta Europe ta fight?”

“I was born in 1900,

so I was only eighteen when the draft started and ya had to be twenty-one. When

I was almost ready ta go, the flu hit. Within a year my dad’s mom and dad , and

my step-mom all died. It was just me, dad, and Annetta who was only eleven.”

“Don’t blame yer a

bit for staying. My ex-husband Castor registered, but he was already thirty

years old, almost too old. Besides that, we had five girls, so that probably

kept him from getting drafted.”

“Maw. Chauncey’ll be

twenty-two next Saturday.”

“Well don’t you just

know it all, Pearl?”

“We should bake him a


“Gotta get some flour

and sugar first.”

“My sister Ardelle is

about two years younger than you, Chauncey. She married Sam Bartlett and they

live down in Lewistown. She’s a sweetie and we named our Pearl after her middle

name. Ardelle and Sam had a baby girl last July; named it Clara, but the poor

thing caught a cold on the first snowfall and died. Just four months old. My

little brother Earl George who would have been about your age. He worked in the

steel mill in Lewistown, but got sick and died last January.” 

“That’s so sad. Mrs.

McCormick, my little sister will be fifteen in April, just about Pearl’s age.”

“Well, don’t go

getting any ideas about Pearl here. She’s still only thirteen. Chauncey, do you

have a place of yer own or do you still live with your folks?”

“When I’m not out

working, I live with my dad, his new wife, Alberta, and my little sister

Annetta, well, my half-sister. Her mother Ethel raised me since I was six, but

she died ‘bout back in 1917 before the Spanish flu. Last year my dad married a

lady named Alberta Branen. Since my dad travels with the railroad, I can help

while he’s gone. It’s a nice house, but it always needs fixin-up.”

“Do ya know your

birth mom?”

“Her name was Nelly

Stelly. She lived next door, then after I was born she showed up with me. She

was nineteen and my dad was twenty-one. Said she wasn’t ready ta be a mother and

just gave me to my dad and grandparents, Archie and Sarah Taylor.

“They already had four

sons and six daughters. They just threw me in with the other kids, kinda like I

was the eleventh child even though my dad was the second child.”

“So where’s Nelly


“She took up with a

man named Campbell. They live up in this area and have a few half-brothers. I

never see ‘em.

“This stew is really


“Maw, do we have any


“No, Edna, none that

I know of. You need to go get ready for bed now.”


“Chauncey, truth is I

expect Castor’ll get married again. Probably already has someone picked out. My

girls’ll have some halves.”


“This cornbread is

the best at soaking up the rest of the stew.”

“Campbell, ya say, in

Mifflintown? I think I saw that name on the death list for the flu at the post


“We don’t get many

visitors. Sometimes we go ta the Yoders and listen to the radio. You listen to


“Some. There was a

memorial few days ago for the theater that collapsed last year. Remember that?”

“Yea. Killt, what,

‘bout a hundred folks in that theater in Washington. Couple of feet of snow on the


“It was the

Knickerbocker Theater, so they’re calling it the Knickerbocker storm.”

“I remember it because

that was when I got the divorce papers, someone saw me crying and I said it was

cause the theater, but it was cause of Castor. I was thirty-one years old with

five little girls.”

“I’m sorry Mrs.


“It’s alright

Chauncey. I’m kinda used to hardship. My daddy died when I was about sixteen. Earl

was seven and little Ardella Pearl was only five, so it was tougher on them. I

had to quit school, but I met Castor and we got married when I was seventeen. My

grandpa George’s wife Eliza died back in ’14 so he lived with us until he died.

Tough old civil war veteran. Lived to ninety-two years old.

“I’m ramblin’. We’re

kinda cut off out here. What’s that Mr. Harding doing in Washington to help


“Since it’s February

first. He’s talking to congress tonight. Some places have twenty-foot drifts

and they're calling out the Army to help clear the roads.”

“It’s ‘bout time the

government did something good. Anything else?”

“For the last few

years, some knuckleheads in Punxatany have been watching a groundhog.”

“Where’s that?”

“’Bout a hunert miles west. Anyway, they say if it sees its shadow it gets scared and we all get six more weeks of winter, otherwise it will be an early spring.”

“Foolishness! If a

groundhog's crazy 'nuff ta come out around here that cougar’ll get it.” 

“Yes, Ma’am. Thank ye

all for warming me up inside and out. After I start the truck, I’m gonna shoot

some grease on your well pump. I also could use a refill on my canteen out in truck.”

“Our night pots need

to be emptied down the outhouse.” 

“No problem, I need

to use the privy anyway. Just set them outside.”


“Thank you again, Mr.

Taylor. You don’t be a stranger around here. Especially if you’re gonna bring

some venison.”

“Hope to be back when

we get the road’s clear. Bye-bye Pearl.”




“Chauncey, it stopped

raining. Please open that window some more.

“Yes Ma’am. It’s

gonna be a hot one today, but that was a half-inch of rain. Lord knows the

gardens needed it. Almost two weeks ta Independence Day. One-hundred

forty-eight years, two more years ta what they're calling the


“Chauncey, enough

small talk. It’s time you held your beautiful baby boy so Pearl can go to the


“Yes, ma’am. Thank

you for doing the delivery.”

“Thank you, momma. I

think I can walk now. It’s been a few hours. I’m sorry I screamed at you so

much last night.”

“What's the poem? ‘Wednesday's

child is full of woe.’ He doesn’t look full of woe to me. Youse should have

been screaming at that Chauncey here. It’s his fault.”


“You’re only fifteen by three months. I was eighteen when I had youse.”

“And now, youse an

aunt and a grandma.”

“Ardella’s little

Margaret May is over a year old. That’s a comfort after their loss of Clara.

Now they have another one due in a few months.” 

“Momma, I hope she

has a boy like we did. We’re gonna name him James after grandpa McCormick and

Clayton after Chauncey’s father’s middle name. Think Papa will make it out ta

see us?”

“I wouldn’t hold my

breath. I heard your Papa's new wife Lucile is nine years younger than him.

Chauncey is only eight years older than ya. Don’t think she’s gonna let Castor leave

home. She knows the kind of man he is.”

“Chauncey, what about

your dad and Alberta?”

“I’ll get word to

him, but he stays busy.”

“But it’s his first grandchild.”

“Maybe after a few

months, we can all go down there ta visit my dad, grandma Rhoda and all his

Spickler and Taylor cousins. Glad you’re here ta help, Viola. I need ta get

back down on the Penn Highway. I’ll sleep in the crew house tonight, so I can

get full days tomorrow be back Friday late.”



“Your grandpa

Chauncey Taylor and grandma Pearl had nine boys and one girl. Most lived long

lives and had a lot of children.”

February 23, 2023 04:47

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Mary Bendickson
19:58 Mar 02, 2023

Cute story. It was just me but I got a little lost in some of the relationships. I am a total newbie but will go back and read through more of your stories. Best of luck with all your writing.


Dan Taylor
03:06 Mar 03, 2023

Thank you. It is challenging to not use “said”.


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Wally Schmidt
18:12 Feb 28, 2023

I loved this story! It is so charming and took me back to a place and time where I have never been, but was so happy to visit for awhile. It is amazing how much life you bought to the characters through the dialogue and I hope more readers will discover your story.


Dan Taylor
03:08 Mar 03, 2023

Thank you. It’s based on my dad’s parents and our research. Probably too many characters for a short story.


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