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  • Writer's pictureMj Pettengill

It Was the Good Too

Lewis Hine
Lewis Hine


My voice trailed off when my eyes were drawn to Mamma, sittin’ on the ground, surrounded by a group of curious folks. I tried to see what she was holdin’ in her arms, but she was too far away. I wondered why it was usually Mamma in the middle. Why was she the one who raised a fuss, fought everyone else’s battles by standin’ up for ’em when they were too weak in body or mind to do so themselves? It wasn’t only the bad. It was the good too.

She tried to come up with ways to make things better at the Farm. She said that she wasn’t always like that, but she promised Nellie that she would do her bit. They had different ways of lookin’ at things. Nellie honored the Creator of all livin’ things while Mamma prayed to God and trusted angels. She said that it was her faith that lifted her up and kept her there.

I didn’t understand until much later what the difference was, and then again why it was all the same. Apparently, it isn’t who or what you worship, or where and why. It is about somethin’ much bigger than us, and we’re in it together. It’s everywhere and has been inside you all along. Back then, Mamma said to be grateful, even if I didn’t get it. I stopped tryin’ to sort it out. It was better that way. Samuel J. Hodgdon, June 17, 1878, ~ County Poor Farm, Ossipee, NH Excerpt: Down from the Tree (Book Three, EIG Historical Fiction Series) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ From the Author's Pen One of the primary reasons for my deep connection to Samuel is his love and respect for his mother. Yes, he lost her at a young age, but her lessons stay with him. Not only does he imprint her wisdom, but he also honors and respects her after she is gone, even if he did not understand in real-time. This is something that I instilled in my own children when they were at stages in development that prevented them from comprehending certain situations. I asked them to trust me and also said that I hoped (and believed) that when they were older, and at the right time, they would understand. It was a positive way of navigating through challenging circumstances. We maintained an open dialogue, but there would be times when we must rely on (in this case) maternal trust. Respect your elders. Significantly, Samuel shows that Nellie's teachings have been carried on via his mother Abigail and that he too follows the Earth Walk of the Ancients. He is fortunate enough to be able to alchemize spiritual teachings from more than one source. The key is that he comprehends the importance of elder wisdom. This is not only blatantly missing in these times, but often harshly rejected as well. For me, the powerful characters in EIG must maintain a presence in the continuing stories; they don't just vanish at the turn of a page. In truth, those who have impacted us, both good and bad, will shape the days ahead. The final point that I wish to emphasize, especially during these turbulent times, is that we can learn from Samuel. He is aware and accepting of the differences in faith and beliefs. He honors all that he encounters as they dwell in their own truth. This is just one example of seeing through the eyes of a child. May he lead by example. May you open your heart. Mj Pettengill


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