Morning arose and everyone staying in the Martin house was up early. Everyone had been informed of the Goldschmidts' announcement, and no one knew what it could be.
Elizabeth, Ingrid, and Samantha were in the kitchen cooking breakfast. Cooking was one of their most favorite things to do, and whenever offered the chance, always did it.
As Samantha flipped a pancake, she said to Ingrid and Elizabeth, "I sure am glad all that mess with the Klan is over with."
"I know," Elizabeth replied. "So am I."
"You know," Ingrid said, "I hate that group."
"So do we," Samantha replied. "Elizabeth and I have been into trouble with them more than a dog digs holes."
"Must've been awfully scary," said Ingrid.
"It sure was," answered Samantha.
Soon, breakfast was ready, and the girls set the table. The Parkers were coming over for breakfast, too, so the table would be crowded. Although it was big and round, fourteen people could fill the seats fast.
Once the food was on the table and the blessing was said, everyone began to eat. For breakfast, Samantha, Elizabeth, and Ingrid had fixed pancakes, bacon, eggs, and sausage. They had also fixed biscuits, which sat in a small plate next to the pancakes.
"This food sure is good," Tommy said after swallowing a mouthful of eggs. "They don't cook it like this in the Army."
"I have heard talk of how bad the food tasted over there," Samantha said as she passed the plate of biscuits.
"It's been a long time since I ate anything this good," Tommy replied. "Once in a while, we would get pork-chops or some kind of meat, but just before the Germans shot up our camp, food was getting a little slow. Maybe that's why I got shot. So that I could come home and get some good cooking for a change."
"Could've been," Samantha said.
Breakfast went by just as it did most times, with the dining room filled with the aromas of freshly cooked food. Everyone discussed different topics, such as the events of the war overseas and the news locally in Atlanta.
Ingrid sat quietly at her seat at the table. Her family's announcement would bring mixed emotions to her friends sitting around the table, and she wasn't sure how Samantha and Elizabeth would take the news.
Finally, the chance came for the Goldschmidts' announcement, and Ingrid stood up. She had been given permission to say the announcement, and she was very nervous.
"Everyone," Ingrid said.
All those sitting at the kitchen table turned to face the speaker.
"My mother asked me to tell you all what I'm about to say. She told me and my sisters last night, and we think it's very important that you know."
"What is it, Ingrid?" Elizabeth asked.
"My mother, my sisters and me, we're going back to Germany," Ingrid blurted out sadly.
A look of surprise came over Samantha's face, and Elizabeth jumped up from the table.
"Why?" Elizabeth asked suddenly. "Why are you leaving?"
Ingrid hung her head low and answered Elizabeth's question. "Because it's not safe here. It'd just be better if we went back to Frieden and stayed with our relatives."
"You could stay with us, right here in Atlanta. The Klan won't bother you again, because Henry's dead," Elizabeth said.
"We've saved up our money, and we're to be taking the ferry back home. It would be the best thing to do, and it's not safe here. If we belonged here, we would be welcome," replied Ingrid. "Mother says we're going to leave next Sunday, right after church."
"Can't you stay?" Elizabeth asked hopelessly.
"No," Ingrid answered. "We're going home."
Elizabeth and Ingrid sat back down, and everyone finished eating their breakfast in silence.
The days of the week passed by quickly, faster than Samantha, Elizabeth, and Ingrid hoped it would. Samantha and Elizabeth hated for their friend to leave, and they wished Ingrid didn't have to go. Chrystal had been informed of the Goldschmidts' plan to return to Germany, and she wasn't happy about it, either.
The circle of friends seemed to be falling apart, and there was nothing to be done about it.
The day before the leaving of the Goldschmidt family came and went fast. The Goldschmidts spent most of the day packing up clothes and the little luggage they had. Elizabeth, Samantha, and Chrystal helped them.
When the day was over and night time had come, Samantha and Chrystal stayed overnight at Elizabeth's house. This was their last chance for a perfect sleepover, unlike the ruined one on Ingrid's birthday.
"I wish you didn't have to go."
Samantha, Elizabeth, Chrystal, and Ingrid sat in Elizabeth's bedroom.
"It's for my family's safety. I wish we could stay here, too, but we couldn't risk losing anymore family members than we already have," Ingrid replied.
Nobody said anything after Ingrid said that. They didn't have anything to talk about, and of course, they didn't want to talk about Ingrid's return to her homeland.
"Let's just go to bed," Samantha suggested. "Morning will be here soon enough, and we're going to be facing a long train ride here to Savannah and back."
"All right." All the girls agreed, and they went to bed earlier than usual.
Morning arose quickly, and everyone prepared to go to church. Ingrid and her sisters put on their best Sunday dresses, and so did Samantha, Elizabeth, and Chrystal. The Martins, the Parkers, the Goldschmidts, and Chrystal would all be going to church together. They were going to the Baptist church, where the Martins went every Sunday.
The large group of families walked to church, quietly and fast. The Baptist church wasn't far from the Martins' house, unlike the Methodist church that the Parkers went to. Actually, the Baptist church was on the next block down the street from Henry Houston's former home.
When the church service started, everyone listened intently to the pastor speak the sermon. And it just so happened that at the end of the service, the congregation sang "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God". Ingrid beamed as she sang the words to her favorite hymn.
"A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and,
Armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not His equal."
It was a perfect ending to the last church service that Ingrid would go to in America. She would miss the United States and its freedoms, but it wasn't safe for her or her family to be there.
Right after church, everyone returned to the Martins' house to get the Goldschmidts' luggage. It was a sorrowful walk to the train station, but it had to be done.
When everyone boarded the train, they rode in silence. Samantha and Elizabeth had taken the trip over a week before, and dreaded to take it again. It was quite a long train ride from Atlanta to Savannah. At least two hours long it was all together, and the sights along the route were terribly boring. The only things to be seen during the ride were trees, a few houses, and an occasional pond or lake.
The train ride that Samantha and Elizabeth had taken was long and boring, but this ride was unusually fast. The reason of the rapid journey was probably because they didn't want the time to fly, and wanted their friendship with Ingrid to last a lifetime.
Finally, the train pulled into the Savannah station. The Martins, Parkers, Goldschmidts, and Chrystal were the last to disembark the train. They walked slowly from the train station to the harbor. Once they reached the dock, they had to wait for the ferry. The next ferry would be arriving at the dock at three thirty in the afternoon, so everyone had to wait about fifteen minutes.
It wasn't long before Ingrid heard the low rumble of the ferry horn, and she knew it was time for her and her family to return to Germany. She watched as the people flocked off the ship and knew that soon she would be boarding the ship and leaving.
The Goldschmidts stood up as soon as they saw other people getting on the ship. Ingrid went over to Samantha, Elizabeth, and Chrystal, her only American friends.
"I don't want to leave, but I've got to," she said.
"We know," Samantha replied. "We're going to miss you."
"I'm going to miss you all, too," Ingrid answered. She gave each of her friends a hug and asked, "Promise you'll write?"
"Yes." Samantha, Elizabeth, and Chrystal agreed.
"You three are going to be my best friends forever," said Ingrid.
"That's good," Elizabeth replied. "Let's teach you the oath of friendship."
"What's that?" Ingrid asked suddenly.
Elizabeth answered, "It's an oath to assure that we're best friends for life. Chrystal's taken it, and now it's your turn. Repeat after us...."
"Neither rain nor snow or any kind of weather
Will sep'rate our friendship together.
Always friends, always true,
We'll stick together like glue."
Ingrid carefully repeated the words and looked up at her friends. "Best friends forever?"
"Best friends forever," Samantha, Elizabeth, and Chrystal replied.
Then the ferry horn blew once more, signaling that the boat was about to set sail. Ingrid, her mother, and her sisters scrambled to get on the boat.
"Bye!" she called to her friends standing on the dock.
"Bye!" they called back.
The Martins, Parkers, and Chrystal stood and watched as Ingrid and the Goldschmidts disappeared from sight. The ferry boat grew smaller and smaller as it moved off into the horizon and eventually was out of sight.
And yet another try of a new life in a new country was unable to happen, only because of the evils of inequality and the foolishness of some people.
Those victims of the harassments of inequality and its supporters learned that the world would be a better place if people got along, and up from that crowd would rise some of inequality's biggest enemies, who would someday have plans and dreams to end it.
Ingrid and her family returned home to Germany safely, and the friends that they had left behind in America would help to clear a pathway to make sure that all immigrants were welcome in the States.
The Goldschmidts' dream of a better life in a new land may have been shattered, but things would be better for those newcomers to follow.
Hopefully, those like the Klan and their supporters had learned their lesson, but Elizabeth and Samantha knew that there would always be some who just can't get along, and they felt it was their job to fix that.
Someday, they knew, equality would come to America.
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
- Romans 12:18, KJV
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