So it was that, despite my frantic mother’s tears and entreaties, when the end of September came and most of the harvest was complete, I packed my small valise with clean collars and other necessities for the week, and clambered into the wagon with Pa. My older brothers loaded the wagon with my precious box of books and foodstuffs and jars of preserves for Uncle John and Cousin Will, Pa slapped the reins on the back of our old brown horse, the wagon lurched forward and we were on our way. I knew there was no turning back now. If nothing else, my stubborn pride prevented me from jumping out and running back to my tearful mother.
When we arrived in town, I felt small and frightened as I looked up at Uncle John’s tall brick house, but this was my chance at more education and the only one I would get. I had got my way and I was determined to do well and make Pa proud of me. He was not given to displays of emotion, and had said little to me on the journey to town, beyond reminding me that I was to mind my manners, work hard at school and be sure to have the tea ready for Uncle John each day. He worked each afternoon job as a Church warden. Now, Pa patted me gently on the shoulder, then lifted me down and gathered up several boxes of food. I hefted my valise and a bag of tomatoes to carry up the walkway and across the narrow porch.