Angels Watching Over Me: Chapter 3 Part 1

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 1st Dec 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3uauxg8b/
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Chick Lit

Where we left off. The young Carissa is a lonely child who is alienated from her peers at school. She develops an imaginary friend, and has dreams of her dead father who talks to her in her dreams.

Tell me about Mama

“Tell me about Mama,” Carissa asked one cold winter evening while her sister washed the supper dishes.

Katie-Ann was taken by surprise, she answered, “Whatever do you mean Carissa? Mama was sick and she…,”

“I don’t mean that, Carissa interjected. “I just mean what was she like when she was well.”

“Oh, goodness child, you never had a chance to know Mama when she was well. I am so sorry I should have told you a long time ago about her,” sighed Katie-Ann “ I tell you what, you go and get washed up for bed and don’t forget to wash your hair. When you are ready, I will be finished up in the kitchen and we will go into the living and I will tell you all about her while I brush your hair. “

Carissa obediently skipped off to get ready. The windows were frosted up. The old house was drafty. Carissa bundled up in her flannel nightdress. She was wearing her big woolen socks and the handmade knitted slippers Erin gave her for Christmas last year. She did not feel the cold. When she was ready, Katie-Ann was already sitting in the big red cedar wooden rocking chair she loved so much. The child sat at her feet while her sister lovingly brushed her silky hair.

Katie-Ann began her story.

“Mama was so happy when you were born. She thought she would never have another child and then you came along. Can you imagine her surprise when she saw how light-skinned and how long your straight black hair was even from birth? You were the only child who favoured Papa’s side of the family. Mama said she was happy. Finally, a child was born to look just like her husband.” Katie Anne paused, ... “You know child, I think I am going to go right back to the beginning. I think it is time you know a little bit more about our family history.”

What is a family history?

“What is a family history?”

“It’s about how Mama and Papa first met. You see, Papa was a very handsome man and all the girls on Cape Breton Island wanted him. Everywhere he went girls swooned all over him. Only, he was a very shy man and was embarrassed that these girls would want to pay him any mind.”

“What does swoon mean?”

“It means all the girls were crazy over him.”

“Really?” Carissa giggled. She couldn’t imagine girls being crazy over her Papa.

“Yes really” her sister said as she once again took her hand and messed up the child’s hair. “Mama lived right next door to him. Since Mama was so dark-skinned, she felt Papa could never like her in that special way. She never tried to get his attention. Mama was a big girl for her age and not so pretty. Mama thought a handsome man such as Papa would not give her the time of day. Yet Papa was always kind to her. He helped her with her chores whenever he had the chance.”


“Mama did chores? What chores did Grammy make her do?”

“Well Mama was always sickly. She couldn’t do much around the house because she got out of breath so easily. So, when Papa helped her bring in the mail, or take the laundry down from the big clothes line, Mama felt Papa was just being neighbourly. He knew about her condition; the whole community did. He also knew it was the reason why she never went to school. Mama felt very stupid in his presence. She knew although he had to work hard to help his family, he did have a chance to go to school. He knew how to read and write some; Mama couldn’t even write her name.“

“Mama couldn’t write her name, wow!”

“But what Mama could do was sing. She had the voice of an angel. One Christmas, Mama was the solo singer in the Christmas choir at church. She sang better than ever before. She never lost her breath at all. The whole church was amazed by her singing. Papa was there with his family just like always. After service when everyone was talking and eating, Papa asked Mama to sing just for him. That was the beginning of their courtship and they were together ever since.”

“How old were they?” Carissa asked.

“I believe they were about 15 years old at the time. Papa and Mama were seen everywhere together after that. The other girls soon gave up chasing him. They knew Mama claimed him for herself.”

Mrs. Kate Bassum Forbes

“Mama musta been so happy. She got the cutest man in all of Cape Breton.”

“She sure was. Papa and Mama wanted to marry right away but Mama’s family would have none of it. They loved Papa like a son, but they were worried that Mama was too sick to get married and have children. They were afraid she might die. Papa and Mama listened to them as long as they could, but time was movin on and Mama felt if she didn’t have babies soon she never would. So on a Saturday, Papa came to pick up Mama and told the family they were into town for the day. Which they did do, but when they came back from Sydney, Mama was sporting a wedding ring. Kate Bassum was now Mrs. Kate Bassum Forbes and there was nothin her family could do about it.”

“Wow she was only 15. She musta got a real whooping.”

“No child, by this time Papa and Mama were both 23 years old. They felt it was time they made a life of their own. They had listened to their family long enough. Mama wanted children and she longer could wait. All the other girls her age were already married and had a child or two by then and her she was 23 and not even married.”

“Her Mama and Papa musta been so mad!” exclaimed Carissa.

“That is exactly what Mama and Papa thought. But you know, the family was okay about it. Well actually Grammy wasn’t happy and started to yell; but, Grampy told her to to hush Kate was a woman now and certainly old enough to make her own decisions.”

“Did Mama and Papa still live in that old yucky house?”

“It wasn’t such an old yucky house back then and yes Mama and Papa stayed with Grammy and Grampy until Winn was born. By that time Papa and Grampy and even Papa’s daddy and brothers had built this house.

“I’m glad I love this house.”

Kate-Ann smiled and messed up her little sister’s hair yet again before she continued,

“Everybody was so nervous when Mama had Winn because of her health, but Mama did just fine, the family had the biggest celebration that the coloured folk of Cape Breton Island had ever seen. The whole congregation came to the house to celebrate. It took Papa six months just to pay for it.”


“I bet there was a thousand people there.”

“Well not quite that much; it was more like 60 people. Mama loved children and she was happy that everyone of us came along. Mama used to sing to us all the time. She always sang when she was doing housework and she’d get all us girls to sing along with her. Her favourite song was The old Rugged Cross.”

“What about Winn, did he sing too?”

“Nope, he was like Papa. He couldn’t sing for beans, or he just didn’t want to. I don’t know which it was. Mama used to tease them and tell them they sounded like an old crow cackling every time they sang.”

“Ha, ha, ha, Winn is an old crow.”

“Now Carissa, I didn’t say he was an old crow. I said he sounded like one. And don’t you be tell him that do you hear me?” Katie-Ann said in a stern voice and furrowed brow, although she couldn’t contain the smile that crept upon her face.

“Mama was the greatest cook. She could make anything and she never used a recipe. It was all from her head. The church ladies made sure she was always the head of the ladies auxiliary just so she would head all the cooking activities and share her wonderful food. Mama taught me how to cook; but, I could never cook good like her.”

“But you cook so good Katie-Ann."

“Maybe so child, but not as good as Mama. Nobody could. Mama also taught me how to sew. She wanted to teach Jean, but that lazy sod, never wanted to learn. Louisa and the twins were too young to learn, so I was the one that learned how to and I am so happy I did. Else, I would have to send you to school wearing a sheet for a dress with a hole cut out so we could see your face.”

“Oh Katie-Ann you are so silly. You would never do that,” giggled Carissa.

“You wanna bet,” Katie-Ann laughed.

To be continued

Previous link:
Angels Watching Over Me: Chapter 2 Part 7


All photos taken from the public domain


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Tags

Book Review, Book Review Angels Watching Over Me, Cape Breton Island, Chick Lit, Country Living, Family History, Rural Life, Rural Nova Scotia

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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Comments

author avatar Kingwell
6th Dec 2015 (#)

I'm pleased that Carissa is learning about her family history. Katie Ann is a wonderful sister. Blessings.

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