Currently viewing the tag: "Margaret Rosensteel"

written by James Rada, Jr.

A new serial fiction romance story for your enjoyment

6: A Life to Live

Margaret Rosensteel walked home to the family farm west of Emmitsburg. She walked in a daze, stunned at what Mrs. Sachs had said to her about not being able to see Caleb Sachs. How could Caleb’s mother say Margaret wasn’t good enough for her son? Margaret was a good person. She and Caleb were just friends. Well, maybe there was more there, but they hadn’t explored the possibility. They hadn’t the chance. Everyone was against them. Did they see something between her and Caleb that they didn’t see?

Margaret hadn’t taken an interest in a boy in quite a while. She avoided those feelings. Her interest in Caleb had just snuck up on her, but it seemed like she wasn’t the only one with a destiny, at least according to Mrs. Sachs.

Dinner was quiet. No one said much except for the younger children. Margaret’s parents kept looking at each other. After dinner was finished and the dishes washed, Margaret’s parents called her into the parlor.

“We need to talk to you about a decision we’ve made,” Samuel Rosensteel said. Margaret’s mother laid a hand on her husband’s shoulder. “But first, we want you to know that we think nothing inappropriate happened.”

Inappropriate? So were her parents now going to come out against her and Caleb?

Her father said, “That’s right. We know you’re a good girl, but nothing can come of this relationship between you and Caleb Sachs.”

“What relationship?” Margaret asked. “I admit I like him, but we only met for the first time at the dance.”

“Well, that’s fine. Then this shouldn’t be a problem for you. Your life has been committed to God, so we have decided to send you to the sisters early.”

Margaret jumped up. “What?”

“You are getting to the age where boys can turn your head. Your brothers and sisters certainly seem to think you’ve taken an interest in Caleb. Sending you away now will avoid that problem.”

Margaret nodded. “I understand… but I’m not sure I want to go.”

“That’s why we’re sending you away. You’re letting your emotions get the better of you.”

Margaret shook her head. She stood up and left the house for a second time today without a word. Outside, she ran off into the fields. She didn’t know where she was going. She didn’t care. She just wanted to get away.

When she tired of running, she started walking until she reached Gettysburg Road. She turned south and headed into town. She saw St. Joseph’s Church and went inside.

It was dim, except near the front of the church where candles burned. She walked up to the first pew, genuflected, and slid into the seat. Then she bowed her head and prayed. She needed help. She didn’t understand what was going on, not with Caleb, not with everyone else. What should she do?

Rosa Sachs walked upstairs to Caleb’s bedroom. He was sitting on the edge of his bed, staring out his window. He wasn’t looking at anything in the street, just staring off into the distance.

“Caleb, how are you feeling?” Rosa asked.

Caleb looked over his shoulder. “I’m sore, but I’ll be fine.”

“We should call the sheriff.”

“Why? I don’t know who did this to me.”

“I think you do.” She paused. “Even so, I know who they were. We can’t go around letting men beat up children.”

“How do you know?”

“That girl you’re mooning over came to see how you were.”

Caleb stood up. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because she’s not the girl for you. I told her the same thing I told you. She’s not Jewish, so she won’t be marrying you.”

Caleb shook his head. “You’re putting the cart before the horse.”

“I am not.”

“I don’t know what life has in store for me. It’s not like I’m on a train going along a fixed path where the destination is the most important thing. I want to enjoy the journey and explore my life.”

His mother scoffed. “And you want to explore it with that girl? She’ll lead you in the wrong direction.”

“How do you know that? How do you know what my life is going to be? It’s my life, and I don’t know. You’re no better than her brothers. They tried to scare me off. You tried to scare her off. What is everyone so afraid of? That we’ll be happy?”

“Happy? You will be miserable. Both of you. That’s what we want to help you avoid,” Rosa said.

“I like her. I like her a lot. I want to spend time with her. I don’t know if I love her, but I suspect I might. If not now, certainly in the future.”

“And what has that brought you? A beating. Arguments with your mother who loves you.”

“Neither of which I caused.”

He sat back down and stared back out the window. Rosa stared at him for a few moments more and then turned and left.

Caleb walked into a church for the first time. Only a few people filled the pews, and he quickly found Margaret near the front. He walked up the aisle and sat down next to her. He said nothing because it looked like she was praying.

She finished and looked up.

“Caleb, what are you doing here?”

“I figured you might be here after what my mother said to you.”

Margaret frowned. “Not just her. My parents want to send me to sisters early.”

“Because of me?”

She nodded. “Are we wrong?”

“Does it feel wrong?”

She shook her head. “No.”

He took her hand in his. “Then I don’t think it’s wrong. It’s not easy, but no one has had it easy since Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden.”

“But everything is so confusing now. It seems like everyone is against us.”

She leaned her head on his shoulder.

“I saw you praying,” Caleb said. “Did it help?”

“Not yet.”

“I want you to know that I won’t hold you back from your promise, but while you’re still free, I want to be with you and get to know you better. I want to have lots of wonderful memories to look back on and comfort me after you leave.”

“But it would break my heart,” Margaret said.

“And mine, too. I think that will tell me it’s worth it. If you were to leave, and I felt nothing, it would be like I had nothing invested in our relationship. I’m willing to hurt for a long time if it means I can be truly happy for a short time with you.”

She stared at him, her eyes glistening with tears. She nodded. “Yes.”

He smiled. Then he leaned down and kissed her. He pulled back, smiling.

“I said what I needed to say. I’ll leave you to your praying now,” Caleb told her.

He got up and left the church.

Father Harmon stood up from the pew where he had been sitting and doing his own praying. He walked over to where Margaret sat. She looked up, a bit startled.

“Forgive me, Margaret. I didn’t want to intrude.”

“You heard me talking with Caleb?”

He nodded. “Yes. Well, the young man has stated his intentions. Now the decision is yours.”

“What should I do?”

He motioned to the pew. “May I sit?”

“Please.”

The priest sat down and leaned against the back of the pew. “You have two admirable choices: Become a Daughter of Charity and be married to God or become a wife and raise a family in faith.”

“We haven’t talked about marriage. We barely know each other.”

“That may be true, but if it is, why does the decision trouble you? Your choice would be between an honorable life of service and a relationship you don’t think will last.”

“I don’t know how my life will be if I stay for him, but I do know what it will be like with the sisters.”

Father Harmon nodded. “Do you believe in Jesus?”

“Yes, Father, of course.”

“Well, he was a Jew. So loving a Jew must not be a sin, and I know your particular Jew. He is a good boy from a good family. If you were not committed to the sisters, your family might not worry.”

“But his family…”

Father Martin nodded. “Yes, that could be a problem, but those types of problems often resolve themselves, particularly when grandchildren come along.”

Margaret gasped. “Father, you have me married with children, and I don’t even know if I love him.”

“Then you need to decide that.”

“But would it be fair to get involved with him and then leave him?”

“Would it be fair to commit yourself to the Daughters with unresolved feelings? You must make that decision. That is why we are given life on earth, to make decisions and hopefully make the correct ones.”

Hot Weather Safety Tips for Our Furry Friends

Give them plenty of fresh, clean water. Pets can get dehydrated quickly. Make sure they have some shade. Your pet needs to have a shady place to get out of the sun and take a break from the heat. Don’t over-exercise them. When it’s hot out, shorten your walk or make sure you give your best buddy breaks in the shade during exercise. Keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot. Maybe take your walk in the evening when it cools down a bit. Your furry friend will thank you. It’s important to know the symptoms of overheating in pets: excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea, and vomit, along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.

And, of course, never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle in the summer heat.

Our pets love being with us all the time, even when it’s hot and uncomfortable for them outside. They will never complain! So, let’s make sure we keep them safe and happy outdoors during the summer.

written by James Rada, Jr.

A new serial fiction romance story for your enjoyment

5: Warnings

Caleb Sachs could see Emmitsburg in the distance as he drove his wagon along the dirt road. He’d spent the day making deliveries for this father to some farmers outside of town. His father offered the service, but it fell on Caleb to make the deliveries when the orders came in.

Caleb didn’t mind it so much on a day like today, warm and sunny. It was the wintry days or rainy ones that made him miserable, although he doubted much could have made him miserable today.

He was head over heels… what? In love? He wasn’t sure about that, but he definitely liked Margaret Rosensteel more than any other girl he had ever met. She understood what he was feeling, and she had had a great sense of humor. It didn’t hurt that she was also pretty.

He was so lost in his thoughts, he let the horses drive themselves back to town.

Two men on horses rode up on either side of the wagon and stopped the horses.

“What’s going on?” Caleb said. Then he recognized the two men as Margaret’s older brothers, Jack and Paul Rosensteel.

“We need to talk,” Jack said.

“Then ride along beside me. I need to get home,” Caleb replied.

The older men didn’t let go of Caleb’s horse, nor did they start walking alongside the wagon.

“People saw you and Margaret on the hill north of town yesterday,” Jack said.

Caleb shrugged. “So? We did nothing wrong. We were right out in the open where anyone could see us.”

“You need to stay away from her,” Paul said. “She has bigger plans for this life than being with a cheating shopkeeper’s son.”

Caleb wasn’t sure what angered him more: that these men had called his father a cheater or that they thought Caleb wasn’t good enough for their sister.

“I’d say that’s for Margaret and me to decide. It’s none of your business.” He picked up the reins and clucked at the horses, but the Rosensteel brothers held onto them.

“She’s our sister, so that makes it our business,” Paul told him.

“I’m not talking about this with you,” Caleb said. “Now let go of my horses.”

Jack poked Caleb in the shoulder. “We aren’t going to talk with you about it. We’re warning you. Stay away from Margaret.” He poked Caleb again, and Caleb knocked the hand aside.

“Get out of my way,” he said.

Caleb reached out to slap Paul’s horse on the rump so that Caleb could get the wagon moving. Paul grabbed his arm and yanked, pulling Caleb off the wagon. Caleb fell onto the road as Paul laughed. Caleb jumped up and pulled the bigger man off his horse.

“Not so funny now, is it?” Caleb said.

Jack rode his horse around the wagon and kicked Caleb, sending him sprawling. Then he jumped from the horse. Jack grabbed Caleb by the shirt and punched him in the stomach and the face.

“Some people just have to learn the hard way,” Jack said.

Paul jumped up and landed a few punches of his own. Caleb tried to defend himself, but these men were taller and heavier than he was. He hit back, but his punches didn’t seem to hurt them. They pounded him to the ground, and Caleb rolled under the wagon to shield himself.

The brothers mounted their horses, and Jack said, “You’ll get more of that if you don’t leave her alone.”

Then they rode off.

Caleb hoped he could sneak in the back of the store and up to his room before anyone saw him. His mother happened to be retrieving something in the back room when he came in.

“Caleb! What happened?” She rushed over to him. “Are you all right? Do you need a doctor?”

Caleb shook his head. “I’m fine, Mother. I just came out on the wrong end of a fight.”

“A fight! Why were you fighting? With whom?”

She grabbed a towel off the shelf. She pumped water into the sink, then soaked the cloth, wrung it out, and wiped at Caleb’s face.

He tried to shake off her ministrations. “It doesn’t matter. I just want to lie down for a little while.”

He could name Jack and Paul as his attackers. What good would it accomplish? They might get in trouble, but how would that make Margaret feel? Word would get out about him and Margaret, and it might damage her reputation or get her in trouble with her father.

“Who were you fighting?” his mother asked.

“It doesn’t matter. Some of the boys were roughhousing, and things just got out of hand. I landed my own punches.”

He hadn’t, but it made him sound like he was just as much to blame. His mother couldn’t get his attackers in trouble without getting him in trouble.

He walked upstairs, holding the towel to his face.

Margaret was kneading dough in the kitchen when her brothers came in. They were in a good mood, laughing and kissing their wives on the cheeks. They washed their hands in the sink and sat down at the table.

“You will not have to worry about that Jew boy distracting you from your calling anymore,” Paul said.

Jack elbowed his brother and glared at him.

Margaret paused. This did not sound good. “What are you talking about?”

Jack and Paul looked at each other.

“You might as well tell her. You let the cat out of the bag,” Jack said.

Paul grinned. “We gave Caleb Sachs a message to leave you alone. I think he understood.”

Margaret hefted the dough and considered throwing it at her brothers. “What did you do?”

Jack shrugged. “Nothing permanent.”

Margaret remembered how her brothers had handled the situation with Caleb’s friends at the dance. They were too eager to fight. She slapped the dough onto the table. Then she washed her hands and pulled off her apron.

“You’re not done yet,” her mother said.

“I need to go into town,” Margaret told her.

Paul said, “Don’t let her go, Mother.”

Margaret spun around. “If you did what I think you did, you had better hope the sheriff doesn’t come for you.”

“What are you talking about?” her mother asked.

“I think they beat Caleb up like they did to his friends at dance.”

“Oh, Margaret, they’re grown, married men. They know better than that.”

Margaret rolled her eyes. “Didn’t you hear what I said, Mother? They beat up Caleb’s friends at the dance. They like to fight.”

She hurried out of the house and nearly ran to town. Margaret found the store on West Main Street and walked through the door. She saw a middle-aged woman behind the counter. She must have been Caleb’s mother.

“Hello, I’m looking for Caleb,” Margaret said.

“He can’t see anyone right now.”

“I wanted to see if he was all right.”

“All right? What do you know about what happened to him?” Mrs. Sachs asked.

“Nothing for sure, but I think my brothers may have attacked him.”

“Who are you?”

“Margaret Rosensteel.”

Mrs. Sachs nodded. “Let me guess. You’re the girl who Caleb has been so interested in?”

“We met at the dance Friday.”

“I definitely do not agree with what your brothers did, but they were right in one respect: You and my Caleb can’t be together.”

Margaret felt her cheeks redden. “We’re not together.”

“Yet. Your brothers must see it in you. I can see it in Caleb. There’s more than a healthy interest. Look at what happened to him because of you. I’m sure you are a very nice girl, but you aren’t Jewish.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Nothing except that your children would not be Jewish. When Caleb marries, it will be to an appropriate woman. Now I think you had better go.”

Margaret’s shoulders sagged. She had thought it was only her family that wanted to keep her and Caleb apart. Was what she and Caleb wanted so wrong?

…to be continued next month

written by James Rada, Jr.

4: Feuding

Margaret Rosensteel had been enjoying a magical evening at the town dance in Emmitsburg before everything fell apart. The decorations hung from buildings and strung over the street had been lovely. The weather was warm and pleasant. All the practicing the band had done paid off because they sounded wonderful.

She had danced, which she loved doing, but rarely got to do because her parents thought a future Daughter of Charity should be more serious. And she had met a boy. Not just any boy, either. This one liked her, not because he thought she was cute. He had loved her personality before he ever met her. He had seen her dancing and thought it suited her.

They had danced together, and after that initial uneasiness, they had felt comfortable with each other. She hadn’t restrained her enthusiasm for dancing, which had only made Caleb Sachs smile.

Then, her brothers and Caleb’s friends had gotten into an argument and spoiled the whole evening for her. Caleb had gone to see what was happening with his friends and had gotten swept up in a fight.

Wasn’t that just like boys?

Margaret and her sister Rebecca had left, and Margaret had felt like crying.

Margaret felt no better when she woke up the next morning. She poured water into her basin and washed off, making sure to remove the remains of the makeup she had worn last night. Otherwise, her parents were sure to comment on it. She dressed and went downstairs for breakfast.

Her brothers, Jack and Paul, were sitting at the table talking to her father. What were they doing here? They had their own homes and wives. They all went quiet when she came down. That wasn’t a good sign.

“So did you fight any other children last night?” Margaret said.

“They weren’t children,” Jack said.

“They were my age, and you two are both over twenty. You two looked ridiculous last night.”

“They were spiking the punch,” Paul said.

“Then you should have got their parents and made sure only the adults drank the punch. The last I saw last night was you rolling in cherry pie and yellow cake.”

Jack blushed. Paul colored, too, but he was getting angry.

“I didn’t mean for that to happen, but we didn’t start the fight,” Jack said.

“I was having a wonderful time until you two ruined it.”

“And why were you having such a wonderful time? Was it that boy you were dancing with? It was his friends that caused the problem.”

“From what I saw, Caleb tried to calm things down and you all caught him in the middle. He was acting more like an adult than either of you.”

“Well, your beau is the son of the shopkeeper that is always overcharging us,” Paul said.

Caleb was a shopkeeper’s son. Well, that was a little more she now knew about him.

“If his father overcharges you, then why do you buy from him?” she asked.

“Well, he’s the only one in town who carries some of the things we like.”

“Then how do you know he’s overcharging?”

“Because clothes shouldn’t cost what he charges.”

“I thought you said he sold things other merchants didn’t,” Margaret said. “Everyone sells clothes.”

Paul shook his head. “Sarah likes the fabrics Mrs. Sachs sells. We tried getting them other places, but no one carries them. We’d have to go to Baltimore or Frederick.” Sarah was Paul’s wife.

Samuel Rosensteel stood. “Enough of this arguing. You all are acting like you did when you were in grade school.

“Sorry, Papa,” they all murmured.

“I’ve already spoken to your brothers about their behavior last night, and I’m sure I’ll be hearing plenty more at church tomorrow. What concerns me now is this boy you were dancing with.”

“I danced with three boys, including Caleb,” Margaret said, sounding more defensive than she meant to.

“Apparently only one of them caught your attention enough that both your brothers and Rebecca remarked on it.”

Had her happiness last night been so obvious? What had she been doing that gave away her feelings?

“Let me remind you, Margaret, boys are not for you. Next year, you will become a Daughter of Charity.”

“I know, Papa, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have fun now.”

“It’s what that fun can lead to that I’m concerned about. You need to be preparing yourself for your future.”

“Why must I be reminded about my future all the time? It keeps me from enjoying my life now. I just want to be a girl for a little while longer.”

“You will be when you’re a sister.”

Margaret shook her head. “No, I’ll be a sister, and everyone will treat me differently and expect me to behave in a certain way.”

“You should be proud to be a Daughter of Charity. It’s a sacred calling.”

“But I didn’t get the calling. You did.”

She turned and ran out the back door, ignoring her father calling behind her. She ran until she reached the road, and then she walked toward Emmitsburg.

Her father was sure to scold her when she returned home. She needed to make sure she calmed down before she did, or she might get into an argument with him. She looked around and found herself where she had been dancing yesterday morning…where Caleb had first seen her.

He had watched her dance, and she hadn’t even realized it. She didn’t feel like dancing today. Such a difference in just a day. Even half a day because she had started out last night so happy.

As she crested the hill, she saw Caleb sitting on the ground and staring back into town.

“Caleb,” she said.

He turned his head. He saw her and waved. “I was hoping you might come,” he said.

She walked over and sat down next to him.

“Are you all right?”

He chuckled. “Yes. I just got knocked down. No one hit me. They were aiming at each other.”

“Two of them were my brothers.”

“Two of them were my friends.” He paused. “So, are your brothers angry?”

“Yes.”

He sighed. “My father caught me coming in last night. He wasn’t too happy I went out.”

“Why?”

“I’m Jewish. Friday night starts the Sabbath for us. It would be like you going to a dance on Sunday.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

Caleb smiled at her. “It was worth it. I got to meet you.”

Margaret sighed. “Why can’t things be simple?”

“Because we’d never learn if they were, and we would never appreciate the times things were simple.”

“That makes little sense.”

“Sure it does.” He lay on his back. “Here, lay back.”

Margaret copied him. He pointed to the sky.

“What do you see?

“Clouds.”

“I see a horse.” He pointed to one cloud. “And over there, I see a funny face.”

“Oh, you are trying to see shapes in the clouds.”

Caleb nodded. “You dance. I stare at clouds. We both have our ways of relaxing.”

“So, if I cloud-watch with you, will you dance on the hill with me without any music?”

“In a minuet.”

Margaret laughed at the pun and felt some of the tension drain out of her. She pointed at the sky.

“I see the sun.”

“That is the sun.”

Now, it was Caleb’s turn to laugh at her joke. When she lowered her hand, she found Caleb’s and held it lightly.

written by James Rada, Jr.

A new serial fiction romance story for your enjoyment

2: Anticipation

Margaret Rosensteel washed the dishes from her family’s dinner while she stared out the kitchen window at nothing. The next farm was over half a mile away to the west, and Emmitsburg was a mile or so to the southeast. She couldn’t see lights from either.

She scrubbed the remains of chicken and gravy from the plates and set them aside.

She remembered the young man she had watched drive past St. Joseph’s Church in town. He was her age, but she had never seen him before. Nothing surprising about that. Margaret doubted she knew everyone in town, but it probably meant the teenage boy wasn’t a Catholic. Between Mass and church socials, Margaret did know all the Catholic boys by sight. She even knew a lot of the other boys in town from her school classes. So, why hadn’t she ever noticed that boy before?

What did it matter? Why was she even thinking of him? Nothing could come of it.

Rebecca came downstairs in a blue calico dress Margaret had never seen her wear. She spun around, making the skirt flare.

“How do I look?” Rebecca asked.

“You look wonderful,” Margaret told her.

“I’ve been working on this all day. I saved for the fabric for two months, but could only buy it yesterday. I wanted to show it off tonight.”

“Tonight?”

Rebecca put her hands on her hips. “Yes. Tonight. The spring dance in town. How could you forget?”

Margaret hadn’t so much forgotten as put it out of her mind. She was going to be a Daughter of Charity, and Daughters of Charity didn’t go dancing, at least none she knew.

“Why was it so important to finish it for the dance?” Margaret asked.

“I want the boys to see me in it. Do you think they’ll like me in it?”

Margaret smiled. “Of course, they will. You look beautiful.” Her younger sister was a cute blonde with an outgoing personality. She was already catching the attention of the boys in town.

“You need to get ready now, so we can go,” Rebecca said.

Margaret shook her head. “I’m not going.”

“You have to, Margaret. You skipped the last two dances. I need someone to talk to. It’s no fun without you.”

“You’ll be too busy dancing and talking with the boys. Besides, other girls will be there.”

“Please, come. I won’t have any fun without you.”

That was a lie, but Margaret and Rebecca did have fun together. They were the middle children in the Rosensteel family, only a year apart in age. Jack and Paul were the eldest, and they were married and starting families of their own. David, Sarah, and Michael were all under 12 years old.

The problem was that Margaret would become a sister in another year. She needed to prepare herself for that. No use dancing with boys when there was no possibility of anything more. Her parents had planned her future already, more than they had any of their other children.

Rebecca took her sister by the hand and pulled her upstairs to their bedroom. She opened the armoire that both of them shared and took out Margaret’s Sunday dress and looked at it.

“Too churchy,” the younger girl said, as she tossed it on the bed.

“It’s my best dress.”

“But not one for a dance.”

Rebecca pulled out the second work dress Margaret owned and tossed it on the bed.

“Not that one either,” Rebecca said.

She pulled out the final dress. It was a light blue dress Margaret had made for Elizabeth’s wedding last year. She hadn’t found an occasion to wear it since. Her mother considered it “too casual” for church.

Rebecca shoved the dress into her sister’s arms. “There, now get dressed. You’re going to go with me, and you’re going to have a good time.”

                      ***

Caleb Sachs sat in his room above his father’s store on East Main Street. His parents had the room at the back of the building because it was quieter, but Caleb’s room looked onto the street. He didn’t mind. He could look outside and see what was happening, and tonight, a lot was happening.

People on the sidewalks headed toward the town square, where the spring dance was being held. Everyone would be there celebrating and having fun. Everyone except the Sachs family. It was Friday night, and the Sachs, being Jewish, began celebrating the Sabbath at sundown.

Weekends were never any fun for Caleb. His was the only Jewish family in Emmitsburg, so while his family observed the Sabbath on Friday night and Saturday, he was stuck at home unless his parents went to bed early, and he could sneak off to enjoy time with his friends. Then, on Sunday, when Caleb was free to do something, his friends’ parents were making his friends observe their Sabbath. With nothing to do during the weekend, it felt as long as the week to Caleb.

He walked out of his room to the parlor where his parents sat. His mother played a song he didn’t recognize, but she often composed her own music. His father sat in his armchair reading a book.

“I can hear the band warming up at the square,” Caleb said.

“Mmm-hmmm,” his father said, as he puffed on his pipe.

“I was thinking that since it’s a special occasion, I could go to the dance for a little while.”

His father removed his pipe. “Just make sure to come home at sundown.”

“But Papa, it won’t even be getting going by then. My friends might not even be there. I won’t stay out late. I promise.”

His friends were more likely to arrive early and sneak out early as well, but Caleb wouldn’t tell his father that.

“It’s Friday, Caleb. You know that.”

His mother stopped her playing and turned around on the bench. “We can take the train to Baltimore next week, Caleb. We’ll visit your grandparents.”

“That’s not the same thing, Mama. I wanted to dance.”

She frowned, wrinkling her smooth, pale skin. “With a guy? Why would you want to do that?”

“I like to dance, Mama, and since we’re the only Jewish family in town, if I’m to do that, it would have to be with a Christian girl.”

“If you want to meet a girl, I will have your grandparents find a Jewish girl for you,” his mother said.

Caleb sighed. “Mama, I don’t want to get married. I just want to go to the dance tonight.”

His mother shook her head. “No, better you stay here and not get yourself attached to someone you can’t have.”

Caleb hung his head. His mother just didn’t understand the idea of having fun. For her, it was about finding him a wife since he would soon be 17.

As Caleb walked back to his room, he thought of the one advantage of being the only Jewish family in town, he wasn’t married yet. If there had been an eligible Jewish girl in Emmitsburg or even nearby, his mother would have already paired them up and been planning the wedding.

He looked out his window and saw Peter Wilhide walking down the street. Caleb slid open his window.

“Peter!”

Peter stopped and turned around. He saw Caleb in the window and waved. “Are you coming to the dance, Caleb?”

“My parents won’t let me.”

“Won’t let you? Oh, that’s right, it’s Friday. Then maybe… later?”

Caleb grinned. “Yes, I think so.”

Peter laughed. “I’ll let the others know.”

Caleb shut the window. He glanced at the clock on his wall. The dance would be starting in half an hour. Everyone would be there by 6:30 p.m. He had that long to plan on how he would get past his parents without them knowing.