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>19. Wisdom May 27, 1912 Dear Mother, Before dad died, did you ever wake up in the morning with the feeling your husband had somehow disappeared through the window during the night and a man who looked like him had taken his place? I scrubbed the floors until well after midnight, mostly because I did not want to lie next to the stranger in my bed. Coral had a miscarriage. I will never forget the look on her face as she stood on the screen porch and realized what was happening. I didn’t know what to do. I’m afraid I might have neglected something that may have made a difference. I kept trying to imagine some subtle blend of herbs brewed into an infusion that might stop her contractions and ease her pain, but my mind went white. Since, I’ve looked my herbal companion backward and forward and now wonder if I should have tried some fennel or anise. Goldenseal and shepherd ’s purse are noted for stopping heavy bleeding, but I grow neither, and both tend to stimulate contractions.Raspberry is sometimes used, but only in the last month of pregnancy, and of course, it is too early for raspberries. I still feel helpless. I don’t know if she will ever come back to work again. I couldn’t blame her if she didn’t.Andrew would miss her singing, and I would miss working with her in the garden. You would appreciate her style of gardening. I don’t know if I can explain it, but the way she digs up the soil with such wonder in her dark eyes is a sheer delight to watch. She so earnestly expects to find 164 magic in the raw earth that she inevitably always does. She has me watching the seizing and stretching of earthworms with so much empathy I almost relive the whole nine months of pregnancy and childbirth with each soil-infused breath I take.When she makes cuttings , she subtly lays each of them in her apron—arranging such an artistic treasure that would surely inspire Monet to mix a new palette. She pulls weeds and prunes wilted roses with such a solemn air of respect and serenity, I sometimes find myself watching her with an inexplicable sense of envy. It looks as if it might rain today. I hope it does.The past couple of weeks have been incredibly hot and dry, and I’m tired of lugging the watering can through the yard.Truthfully, I’m getting sick of the way the sun beats relentlessly down on everything. It’s so oppressive and utterly inescapable. My days will be especially limited without Coral, because it’s intolerable to be out after ten in the morning or before seven in the evening, and those are the times when Brooks expects his meals.This summer I will be a prisoner to this house. I won’t even be able to enjoy shopping along Congress Avenue any more.The only shade there backs up insultingly close to the purveyors of finery and the ice cream parlors. All of a sudden, this city feels sticky and dirty. Sometimes I just want to come home. But I know things could never be the same, and Brooks would never leaveTexas. He’s taken to wearing a black western hat from time to time. He thinks he looks like some sort of mysteriously intellectual outlaw, but I think he looks ridiculous. I couldn ’t bring the baby up to Seattle by myself, for the trip would be too arduous for him and he would miss his father terribly. He adores Brooks. Yesterday, he spoke his first word. Of course, he said, “Dada.”That’s typical, isn’t it? Maybe it was cruel of me, but I didn ’t tell Brooks when he finally got home. His only concern was whether or not Samuel would sue us. I told him even though he probably should, I felt sure he would not.Then I didn’t feel like talking any more. 165 Wisdom I also didn’t tell him I have decided to learn to drive. And, if Coral ever comes back to help me with Andrew, I’m going to join the suffragist movement.I hope to attend a rally inWooldridge Park next weekend with Eveline and some of the other women who attended my dinner party. I want to vote in the upcoming elections. I’m interested in...


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MARC Record
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