Step inside the past with a new Vintage Daze Short Story, Amana Rag Balls. This snippet is written for Tuesday Tales, where a group of authors write to a word or picture prompt each week. This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘mad.’ Keep reading to take a peek at Elsie Ackerman’s life in Middle Amana, Iowa in 1890. Then go check out the other delightful tales you’ll find at Tuesday Tales.
Elsie thought she would miss attending classes with her friends and classmates. Yet, something had shifted with the decision of where she’d be working, now that she was of the age of fourteen. There were brief moments over the next few days where she found an empty spot, as if something vital were missing. But she didn’t feel bursts of anger and mad emotions like she expected. Instead, she felt a jumble of excitement as she thought of her new duties and she wondered what they’d entail.
At the next church meeting on Sabbath day, Elsie offered up a silent prayer of thanks to the Lord. She was thankful for having such a loving father that he’d intercede with the Council on her behalf. She also expressed her thanks and gratitude that Herr Klein was so compassionate in rendering his final decision.
It took her a long time to fall asleep that night, anxious about what the new day would bring. Despite getting a late start to her slumber, when she heard the rooster crowing she flew out of bed, lit the kerosene lamp and dressed in a flash. She scurried to the kitchen where her mother stood at the stove tending a sizzling pan of frying bacon.
“You’re up bright and early, daughter. Are you excited about your first day of work with Fraeulein Helga?”
“I am. I could hardly sleep last night. I hope I’ll be an able student and will learn the task of rug weaving well.”
Elsie’s mother laid the fork down on the iron trivet and retrieved a wrapped item sitting on the counter. “Here. Tuck this into your skirt pocket when you leave. A slice of bread and two cookies.”
“I’m sure we’ll partake of a noon meal at one of the community kitchens.”
“Most likely. But in case you get hungry before your appointed meal time. Always nice to have a little nibble available should the need arise. Now grab a plate and sit. Bacon’s ready and so is your egg.”
Elsie polished her plate clean, yet never realized it. Her mind was spinning in a flurry, apprehensive thoughts sparking new worries and concerns. After placing her dirty plate in the enamelware wash tub, she tucked her packet of nourishment in a pocket, gave her mother a peck on the cheek and dashed out the door.
She was out of breath when she arrived at Fraeulein’s large weaving shed. Not sure if she’d hurried too quickly, or if she was just nervous, Elsie turned the knob and tentatively pushed the door open. She barely stepped inside before halting, as if afraid to venture further into the strange room.
A plump, red-cheeked woman turned from a loom where she was passing a shuttle. The wisps of gray hair that dangled around her face defied containment to the tight bun on top of her head. She smiled broadly and merriment shone from her eyes. “Come in, come in. You must be little Elsie. I’ve been expecting you, dear.”
In the dim morning light, Elsie saw two other young girls sitting at looms in the back. Their motions had stopped as they turned to access the newest member of the weaving team.
Elsie stepped up to shake hand held out a shaky hand. “Guten Morgen, Fraeulein Helga. Yes, I’m Elsie. Here to learn how to weave. I haven’t before. Is it difficult? Shall I take a seat at an empty loom?”
Check out the other delightful tales you’ll find at Tuesday Tales.