Hello! This is Kirsten’s last adventure being Historical Girl of the Year. She went to the White Pines Village in Ludington MI with Heather. She felt right at home right away….
or maybe not so much at home because living in a new country and going to school was so hard for Kirsten. She had just arrived from Sweden and didn’t speak English. Her cousins Anna and Lisbeth told her tales of the teacher punching students and hitting them with a ruler or even a cane, or having to sit in front of the class wearing a dunce cap for the whole day!
Kirsten was so nervous about going to school in America she felt dizzy.
When she arrived at school, Miss Winston asked her to introduce herself and she couldn’t even to do that! Her mispronunciation made some of the boys snicker and her face got red with embarrassment.
Kirsten continued feeling lost at school. Even her younger brother Peter seemed to catch on to English and be able to spell and write words better than she could.
Then when Miss Winston announced that every student was going to have to recite a poem from memory she had to fight back tears. Wishing she could vanish from the school. She couldn’t even read her poem! How could she possibly memorize it? And even if she could memorize it, she was sure to forget it once she stood up in front of the stove to recite it!
She was sure to burst into tears and get tittered at even worse than the first day of school! How could she possibly be made to do such a thing?
But then, when she was finished eating, Miss Winston asked her if she would like to switch to a different poem that might be a little easier.
Miss Winston had come on a ship from a different country just like Kirsten had.
“I want you to recite this with feeling,” Miss Winston said, handing her a slip of paper that said,
‘Swiftly Swiftly flew the ship.
Yet she sailed softly too.
Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze
On me alone it blew.’ (Rime of the Ancient Mariner)
Kirsten copied it many times on her slate to help her memorize it and when the time came to recite it, she felt nervous, but there was something else too.
Standing in front of the class, she pictured herself back on the Eagle, the ship that had carried her here from Sweden. She could feel the breeze on her skin, waving through her hair.
On her alone it blew.
One summer Kirsten got to go to town with her family. She had discovered a bee tree and after an exciting adventure dodging bears, she and her father and mother took the bees from the tree and made their own bee colony. Because of Kirsten’s discovery, they went to the general store to sell their honey.
Kirsten looked at the all the things lining the shelves of the store.
Everything you could possibly want or need! Even food!
A huge meat cutter that took two people to work!
Since Kirsten had discovered the bee tree, her father allowed her to choose one thing just for herself from the store that he’d be willing to buy with the extra money. Kirsten chose a straw hat.
Her family received much needed extra money the next year too. Their cabin had burned down because Kirsten had tried to take care of an injured baby raccoon. She had let it in the house, where it knocked over a kerosene lamp, lighting the cabin on fire. Somehow, Kirsten was able to save their heirloom trunk with all their precious things in it, but the rest of the cabin burned down. Her father had hoped to buy land, but now they would need the money to build another cabin.
One winter day, she and her brother, Lars went out trapping. They saw some foot tracks and followed them to another cabin. They saw the cabin looked like it hadn’t been lived in for a long time.
After knocking, they pushed the door open and went in. Kirsten screamed.
It actually wasn’t the bear’s head that made her scream, it was a man, staring straight at her, except –
“It’s okay, Kirsten, that’s Old Jack and he’s dead.”
A man was sitting, propped up in a corner and now that she looked more closely, she realized he was indeed dead.
“How did he die?”
“He’s old. He probably sat down and his heart stopped beating and his body froze.”
Kirsten looked around the room, “What are we going to do?”
“We should bury the body, but the ground is frozen, so we’ll have to come back in the spring. But I think, because Old Jack was all along by himself, we were the ones to find his house, which means these furs are ours now.”
Old Jack was a hunter and trapper and his cabin was full of them.
Skunk, beaver, deer and fox pelts along with the bear.
Kirsten realized how much this would help her family. They could buy a house just outside of town and the land her father wanted!
She and Lars put their snowshoes back on and hurried as fast as they could to tell their father the news!
Kirsten had seen and experienced a building being raised. Just before her birthday, all the neighbors had gotten together for a barn raising! They had all brought their saws.
And sawed the logs that had come from the wagon to build their barn.
Tall strong men helped to cut and stack the logs to make the building.
And they filled in the spaces with a mixture of clay and dirt so the outside air would stay out.
Inside the barn, the barn, Kirsten had to help milk the cows,
And churn the butter!
It was a lot of work, being a pioneer in 1854, but Kirsten had her family to support and love each other, a whole community who helped each other out and celebrated with them, and surprising blessings from the Lord right when they needed them most!
Kirsten had a lot of fun at the White Pines Village and she had a lot of fun being Historical Girl of the Year. Stay tuned because next month I will introduce a new HGOTY!!!
And stay tuned for more posts to come in between!