Thank you III Word Wednesday! This might be
what I needed
to get started on the story…
how did you know?
Oona was the kind of woman that could not revealed what was on her mind. Born of German parent in the woods of Oregon and raised working in a kitchen that fed hungry loggers and sawmill workers, she had seen and heard just about everything. Her father had disappeared soon after Oona was born. Considering his bad temper it was not a bad thing. Her forbidding demeanor left most men cold, even when she had grown into a young woman. Smiles for invitation to intimate conversation never, never showed in her eyes or in the curves around her mouth. She had once dreamed of a man but time had passed and she had grown tired and hard. Then she saw a gray hair or two in her eye brows and at her temple when she raced by the mirror one morning. Oona had given up the idea of any change in her fortunes. Leaving was not possible and her mother’s stern nein always frightened her a little. She had learned well from her disappointed, bitter mother.
When Mr. Erikson had smiled on that day, Oona was startled. The blush that crossed her cheeks gave away the need to be at least tolerated by a man. Mr. Eriksson was a small balding man. He lived in company housing near the mill and kept the books carefully for the man that owned, operated and bossed the cutting of old growth timber.
The courting took such a short while that Oona barely had time to think what she was doing. She was so flattered by Mr. Ericksson attention that she dove into the river of marriage without a thought. He had brought her a beautiful clear blue Amethyse stone set in a ring surrounded by white and yellow gold. A bouquet of flower always found it’s way into his hands when he stood at the door and when she sat on the front porch on that summer afternoon he had knelt beside her asking in a quiet voice if she would share his life. For one brief moment she was beautiful. The curve of her chin was perfectly matched to the waves in her hair. So a small ceremony was held close to the small stream that ran at the back of the boarding house and Oona’s waiting was over.
Mr. Ericksson was not what he seemed to be. Even though his stature was small and he seemed insignificant to those that knew him, he had another life. In the logging world a small man was considered weak. But in the other corners of the world a man was measured by his mind and determination. In the lonely valleys of the eastern part of the state his family waited. The little girl was only a baby still and the older brother was making sure in his way that she was safe. The neighbor Aunties watched carefully each day and they too waited…Mr. Eriksson had promised to come home with a wife. He had needed one that didn’t know their history, one that would not ask about where the girl had come from, a religious woman to bring stature to the family and someone not lovely, or charming…he needed a strong woman to care for the little girl. He needed a woman that did not want his intimate touch and was grateful enough for the ring that she would not expect anything more. Oona loved the ring even though the stone cut into the top of her finger and she could not wear it everyday or blood would run down the palm of her hand. Honestly, she did not expect much from her marriage. It was, in the end an escape and nothing more.
When Oona and Mr. Eriksson arrived that day on the train, no one was there to meet them. They had vanished one evening from the logging camp and the bunk house where he had lived showed no sign that he had ever been there. Oona mother grunted with Anna was not there that morning to make the biscuits. Her day continued as though it were a normal day.
The little town was quiet. The train had stopped briefly at the train station and railroad yard workers looked up from their place along the wall to notice. No one exchanged a greeting or gave notice of Mr. Eriksson’s return. They had focused on the small black headed woman with him, a bun fixed closely at her neck and a small black mole on the edge of her upper lip with the beginnings of a small mustache showing over her lip. There was a small jerk of the men’s brow that led Oona to believe that they feared Mr. Ericksson but it could have been her imagination. Maybe it was respect that crossed their faces. Or maybe they knew from one glance who would be the boss in the end.
A short walk led them across the road, up the hill past the church and a brick building that housed the school. A lovely white house lay at the end of the road. The “other” beautiful house in town. Mr. Ericksson was very careful.
His job at the plant was waiting for him and when he rose in the morning to go to work, Oona was left alone with the little girl. Aunties watched from near by and the boy slipped out the back door to the pool hall. It was the new start they both needed so Anna and Oona would learn to live together. Each dependent on the other for a place in this house. Each a new comer to town.
to be continued….