I am Jamie MaCuell and I am a 14 year old female from Bailey, Tennessee. I was raised near the capital of Tennessee. My childhood was riddled with strained relationships and false truths. I tried hunting before I was 12 but found out washing with a washboard I was better at. While I begot higher education, my school was a one room school shack with a bell to ring. In the 6th grade, I met a lone gent. His name forward was Tat Stevens. Tat was a striking young gent who just moved to Bailey this summer. His parents did ride in on the railroad from out east. Tat had long stockings and knee highs with a nice white shirt. Looked strait out of the 1700's but out of place here in 1883. I mean, its been almost 100 years. My families property was destroyed by the Union troops during the war. "The Bluecoats" we called them left us food-less an took our farm animals. Many families here had to recover from the war back then.
Well those Bluecoats left many years of till to get our land back in a fertile state papa says. My father, Ben MaCuell says, the military camps destroyed our farm ground. The soldiers ruined the land. Even our dispute with enjines' didn't destroy our land. They respected the land to much. So, today, I cannot dwell on broken farms, I must continue on the path of getting myself a suitor.
My eye is on Tat, now let me tell you bout Tat. Tat was a tall nice built farmer material guy. He could plow a field and plant it at the same time. Laughing [:)] Not even my Paw could do that, but don't tell my Paw. Tat has shiny brown hair and is close to 6 feet tall. When he first came into view I felt like a princess from the old country palace. Tat wears long wool socks with leather heel shoes. His shoes look like they were made in New England by the shoe barons.
Tat likes to wear white sailor style shirts. They are long sleeve with pockets. One day Tat and I was walking the road after school. We did this everyday since school started this year. On this early October day, Tat's hair was blowing in the cool breeze. His hat was black and looked distinguished on him. I wanted him to kiss me but I knew a good girl didn't do those such things. But I could think about it. I was smiling on the outside but thinking about his arms around me. Tat, totally unaware was talking about how him an his pa was going to rein the mules later an pull some sprouting tree's out of the garden so that they could plant the following year. We got to Tat's trail, I shook his hand and Tat went to his house, I went to mine.
That night at supper time I finally got the courage to tell my Pa an Ma about Tat. Pa said he's a pretty good hand but needed to lower his ears! Pa says Tat needs to learn how to work a mule. Ma told me I needed to go upstairs to work on my studies. So after my bowl of beans and bread I went and did my chores out to the barn, fed the goats an chickens. After my chores I went to my bunk and began my studies. As I worked on my schoolwork I found myself thinking about Tat. Was he thinking of me? I wouldn't know. It kept crossing my mind how to I find out? This is going to take awhile to hatch a plan to find out, so I began to think. Days go by...
The following week Tat and I was walking to school, about halfway there Jimmy and Marilou Dicken's joined us on our walk to school. It was muddy from the nights before rain shower. Jimmy was a year younger than I and Marilou was the same in years as Tat. I know that Marilou had sweets for Tat too. Tat I was afraid was looking at me as a child. I am a woman, fertile, and pretty. Marilou being Tat's age, was all over us, I couldn't get a word in edgewise. I really didn't like Marilou. She was beautiful. A head full of blond hair and busty. She was using her looks against me I felt. How could I win Tat's heart?
The winter was hard that year, each day we walked in the snow and ice. I had a stocking and scarf that Ma knitted for me. Ma was a good knitter and quilter. She spun wool sometimes that we were able get but wool was rare here. Not much livestock survived the war. The soldiers on both sides robbed our farm many times. Sometimes they only left us a chicken or 2. By this time Tat and I was close. He would offer to carry my book bag sometimes. Marilou was still in my way though. The cold nights by the candle, doing my chores in the evening, and blowing snow gave me time to think about Tat. My heart burned as hot as the candle that was on my nightstand. Mom made candles for us to use as light at night.
Finally winter broke to spring. Tat and I was walking home and discussing the nights homework that our teacher Mrs. Ruth Penrod gave us for the evening. Tat had trouble with Anglish he called it. We had an assignment to write a report on a story that Mrs. Penrod had us read. Tat spent so many evenings helping his Pa that he couldn't concentrate on his studies. I went home and asked Ma an Pa if I could go help him with his report. They said no! I cryed. Why couldn't I. Pa came up to my bunk and began to talk to me. He asked me how much I liked Tat, I told him that I loved Tat. He told me I had a lot to learn about love. He then told me to go do my chores but to first run to Tat's house and tell Tat he could come to our house till 8 o'clock. Ma always heated water at 7:30 for bathing. We had a round tub to get in an warsh in.
I ran as quick as I could to Tat's house and told him, he asked his Pa, an he let him come over for an hour. Tat an I worked on his paper and mine. I enjoyed that hour so much. Tat and I finished up an Tat told us goodnight and thanked my Pa an Ma then went out the door. I looked at my Pa with pitiful eyes, he grinned then I bolted for the door. As I got out the door I yelled at Tat, "Hey Tat", he turned around and said "yes Jamie", then I ran to him an gave him a hug. He hugged me back.
[Next write turning in the paper, graded with marilou getting a better grade, her trying to steal Tat.]
The evening was a special evening for me since I was on top of the world with Tat coming over. I didn't want to see him go but he did. So I got my bath after my brother and we settled in for the evening. Before my bed I helped my mother fold some linens from the clothes line from the days wash. I slept most of the night but woke up periodically thinking of Tat. Finally, the morning sun began to rise and Pa had the coal stove burning and when I came down from the loft. Mother had flour rolls baking on top of the stove and Pa was working in the barn. After our breakfast my brother and I began our morning walk to school.