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New Mercies I See
"These days, I consider the happenings of yesteryear and it's as if I've climbed to the attic and begun sifting through relics, discolored and covered in dust. A few swipes of my hand clears that dust and I travel back to a much distant realm. All seems genuine there, as though occurring in present time and not past and I am able to see, hear, touch, and taste the whole of it."
In 1939, elderly Sarah Fischer writes the story of her life, the youngest of eight siblings born to Scotch-Irish immigrant parents. She stands as a witness to the Civil War, industrialization, and the wonders of new inventions. Throughout the decades, she must face her own adversities, economic as well as personal, while gaining strength from her faith and finding joy in simple things. As a grandmother might gently chat on a summer's evening, Sarah holds forth with her readers and offers the unassuming wisdom of her years.
The House on Hawthorne Street
"Dad carried on with his exposition, gripped the steering wheel with one hand and gestured with the other. 'Materials for the concrete are ready and everything's on track for the foundation. That's the most important part of the house. If you don't build a proper plumb foundation, you might as well not bother, and Jackie, sit down! Walter, grab your brother!' "
George Sparks builds his dream house in Pepperville, Texas, in the summer of 1924. Thus begins the saga of this special house and its many inhabitants. The story spans nine decades, as the house survives through acts of nature, family feuds, illnesses, deaths, and a succession of owners who all leave their distinctive marks.
"The farther I walked, the more Audelia was like a ghost town. I sensed a certain fear at every bump in the sidewalk and that fear seemed to snake everywhere, inside and out, as though it was a living creature. I decided Mama's admonition about the face mask might be wise counsel after all and kept it on."
In the fall of 1918, twelve-year-old Stella McFeeters lives in the Texas town of Audelia. The Great War in Europe is winding down, but soon the lives of Stella, her family, and her friends will be shattered by the worst influenza outbreak in history. Stella must shoulder duties far beyond her years and come to grips with the devastation influenza leaves behind.
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Contrary Don't Have No "i"
"Lord knows how we stayed friends. We were about as alike as a porcupine and a hummingbird. Frances had a pleasant enough face, but the rest of her was plain ragamuffin. . . I was quiet. Frances was loud. I was easy to please. Frances was particular. I was the leisurely pony ride. Frances was the barreling freight train."
Short stories covering the twentieth century from the 1920's to the 1970's and presenting such diverse characters as young flappers, old spinsters, a lonely boy, an overly busy housewife, college students, and a ringleader of neighborhood kids whose mind is too creative for her own good.