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 ‘green.’ 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.
Not used to working so studiously at a new task, Elsie’s stomach protested with annoying rumblings. She glanced furtively at Karin and Bridgett and was relieved to see that they wove away without seeming to notice. She was happy to have a piece of bread and a cookie tucked in her pocket. A nibble here and there pacified her angry tummy and soon only crumbs were left.
When Fraulein Helga called out for them to take a break, Elsie stretched and looked to her new friends.
They rose from their stools in unison. Karin flexed her fingers, shook her hands then motioned for Elsie to follow her. “Come Mausi – little mouse. We go eat.”
Bridgett stepped up beside them. “We’re lucky, working here with Fraeulein. Main Amana’s best community kitchen is just down the street.”
They strode down the meandering dirt lane. Elsie brushed her fingers along the brilliant colored hollyhocks lining the side of Fraeulein’s weaving hut. “I sure am glad I got to come work here. I was afraid I’d have to go work in one of the kitchens. I detest cooking. I would have hated to have to do that all day long.”
“Is this your first assignment?” Karin asked.
“Yes. My very first one. I told my dad I wanted to work in the wool mill with him, or the calico factory instead of being stuck in a kitchen.”
Karin shook her head in protest. “Ach, Liebling. No, you wouldn’t want to do that. Our Oma worked in the mill in Middle Amana. She was working there when it caught on fire. We were still little, but I remember how scared everyone was. They had to rebuild, so she started working here with Fraeulein Helga and worked here until her vision got so poor she couldn’t see well enough to continue. She always told us that this assignment was more pleasant.”
The road veered to the left and a cozy cottage appeared in Elsie’s view. As most of the buildings in the original village of Main Amana had, a riot of color exploded from mass of greenery in the flower beds surrounding the small brick building. The girls entered and found three empty seats together at one of the long tables lining the large common room. Elsie had a hard time deciding on what tempting goodies to put on her plate. As they ate, they chatted, getting to know one another.
The talk got back around to weaving and Bridgett spoke up. “If you do your work here well and Fraeulein’s happy with you, then you’ll probably be with us for a good long while. Why, we’ve been here almost four years now, haven’t we Karin?”
“Ja. Four years next month, on our 18th birthday.”
Elsie’s head swiveled, looking back and forth between the two girls. “You started together? Your birthday’s are in the same month?”
The girls grinned at each other and giggled.
Karin broke down first and offered an explanation. “Not only the same month. The same day.”
Elsie was still confused. “How funny. That’s unusual for two friends to have the same birthday.”
Bridgett leaned into Karin’s side and nudged her. “Not friends. Sisters. We’re twins.”
“You two are twins?” Elsie leaned back on her stool and furrowed her eyes, trying to see the resemblance.
Check out the other delightful tales you’ll find at Tuesday Tales.