July 18, 2010
The arthritis monster has reared its ugly head, and I hurt too much to think, much less write something new today. This was obviously written in 1999, and yes, I'm aware of the arguments over when the millennium actually began. The fun thing for me is that both little girls are real people, Sarah is Audra's great, great-grandmother, and the two women were born 100 years apart, in 1891 and 1991. Each of them actually faced the turn of a century at the age of eight. Happy reading. --Anne
Eight year old Sarah Peck sat in the living room of her house and pressed her forehead against the cold glass of the window. Tiny snowflakes gently drifted through the darkness, barely visible against the glass. Sarah shivered and pulled her shawl tighter around her shoulders, as she listened to the quiet chatter of her family gathered about the kitchen table playing games. Her parents, Sarah and Dorr raised their voices in a peaceful chorus. Joy to the World was one of her favorite songs, and she loved to listen to her parents sing. Someday she would have a piano, and she vowed to learn to play it.
The clock in the hall began to chime, and Sarah absently counted the hour. Five… six… seven… eight o’clock. Four hours until midnight. Sarah shivered again. The room had grown quite chilly. She left her seat at the window, and settled herself closer to the wood stove. Sarah pulled out the journal she had received for Christmas. Her grandmother Charlotte had given it to her. She looked again at the words just inside the front cover, tilting the book toward the kerosene lamp so that she could read them. “To Sarah on her eighth Christmas. Write the times of your life between these covers. You will see many wondrous happenings in your lifetime. Write now, while you’re young. Your grandchildren will want to know what life was like before the century turned. Love, Grandmother C V Peck.”
Sarah turned to the first page of the book. Last week at Christmas it had seemed a fine thing to begin her journal with the New Year, the new century. She carefully wrote the date in her best penmanship, “December 31, 1899.” Sarah stopped. She couldn’t think of anything to say. Life was pretty much the same every day. She wanted to write something important, something profound. After all, it wasn’t every day that a century ended. Her mind remained stubbornly blank. She set the book aside, dreaming what the world might be like in another hundred years.
* * * * *
Eight year old Audra B sat in the living room of her house and pressed her forehead against the cold glass of the window. Tiny snowflakes gently drifted through the darkness, looking for all the world like pinprick stars against the darkness of space as they drifted through the beam of the streetlight on the corner. The cool window felt good against her head.
She listened to the chatter of her family as they played scrabble and listened to a CD of holiday music. Joy to the World was one of her favorite songs, she had even taught herself to play it on the piano. The clock on the wall began to chime, and Audra absently counted the hour. Five… six… seven… eight o’clock. Four hours until midnight. Audra jumped as a sudden blast of warm air rose from the floor vent and struck her in the face. She pushed her toes into the stream and warmed them slightly through her socks. When the heater kicked off again, she turned away from the window, and settled herself on the couch.
Audra picked up the journal that her Grandma Becky had given her for Christmas, and began to write. “December 31, 1999. It’s New Year’s Eve, with four hours to go until midnight. Some people are afraid that the world is going to end, or that lots of the machines will stop at midnight. I’m not worried about it though, even if there are problems, Mom and Dad have followed the prophet, we have a good supply of food, and a whole lot of water, too. Mom’s pretty excited about this New Year’s though. She says it’s not everyone who gets to live in two different centuries. Not only that, but we’ll be living in two different millenniums. I guess that’s pretty exciting. The best part is that we get to stay up until midnight, and then we can go outside and make noise. Only four more long, boring hours left in the whole millennium. I wonder what life will be like in another hundred years?”