I wake up to the sound of banging on the door. Father shot out of bed to answer the door and mother came to my room. I could hear father talking quite loudly with the people who came to the door.
“What’s going on?” I ask mother.
“You don’t need to worry, George,” she calmly replies while stroking her hand through my hair just the way I like it. I knew I should be worried. Father never raises his voice like I heard him. He isn’t a large man, so he isn’t the type of person to shout. He’s about five feet and ten inches tall. He has dark brown hair and a rather large, pointy nose with the softest, kindest blue eyes anyone has seen. Mother is the nicest person I will ever know. She is about five feet and five inches tall. She has long, beautiful, curly blonde hair and calming green eyes. I am more like my mother. I have green eyes and wavy blonde hair. But I get my large nose from my father.
“Mother, I’m scared,” I said quite frightened.
“Don’t be. Your father, Harold, will take care of us,” she replied assuringly. Mother always knows how to make me feel better. After father and the people at the door stopped talking, father slammed the door shut and loudly walks up the stairs to go get ready for work. The whole house shook. Our house is a two story home in Philadelphia, with two bedrooms upstairs and a two room downstairs, a room with a fireplace and a room to eat. Our kitchen was in a separate building to prevent the spread of fires.
“Damn redcoats,” I heard father murmur to himself. He isn’t one to use that kind of language. The first time I said something like that, I was spanked. I never get spanked. I am the “perfect child”, as mother usually calls me. I get my work done when I’m told, I am always polite to people, I help clean up the dishes, and I do whatever needs to be done.
“George!” yelled father,”Get ready for school!” I don’t like going to school. I would rather work with my father. He works as a gunsmith. Sometimes I would go to work with him but he didn’t let me touch anything or help him. He always says that guns are dangerous.
“I can’t find Eskimo,” I shouted to father. Eskimo is our dog and I usually take him to school with me. I feel safer with him. Eskimo is a bolognese. We have had him since I was five.
“I found him!” I exclaimed.
“Good. Now put on your clothing dear,” mother said to me. I went to my room to get my clothing. I put on my cotton shirt, then my breeches, my stockings, and my vest. Mother made all my clothes. She is very good at it. After I put my clothes on, I went downstairs to eat breakfast. I had eggs, like always. I get tired of always having eggs. I occasionally ask mother and father if I can have something else. And like always, they say no. I finished my breakfast then went off to school.
Before school, I meet up with my friend, Charles. He is a short, plump kid with stubby, dirty blonde hair. He dresses very nice. He wears a cotton shirt, breeches, stockings and a very stylish wool coat with shiny buttons. All of his clothes are imported from England. Charles is very rich. His father makes him wear a wig to represent his wealthiness. But Charles gets bullied for it. He gets called names like “blighter” and “Yankee Doodle”. I don’t care what they thought of him. He is a great friend.
We got to school. My school is a one room building. The class fits approximately fifteen kids. I know everybody in my class but only talk to one person. School is very boring. All we do is read and write. There are two reasons why I like going to school. The first is that I like to talk to Charles. The second is that I find the teacher attractive. She is a short young lady with dark brown hair and beautiful brown eyes.
School ended around three o’clock, right when father comes home. After that, I went back home to wash up then help mother prepare dinner. I enjoy cooking but father always told me that cooking is a feminine thing and boys should not cook. I don’t listen to him. I enjoy cooking and I love helping my mother cook.
“George, can you run out to the well and fetch a pail of water?” asked mother.
“Yes, mother,” I replied.
“And when you come back, can you help set up a fire?”
“George, don’t help your mother. She can do it herself,” father said, “Come help me do what real men do. We can go build a doghouse for Eskimo.”
“That sounds like much fun!” I exclaimed. I really wanted to build a doghouse but I wanted to help mother too. But I have to listen to father. He is in charge and everyone does what he says.
“Have fun you two,” mother said in a sweet voice even though she wanted me to help her instead of building a doghouse. Father and I walked to the back yard and went to the shed to grab some wood. I was always scared to go in the shed. Father said there are a bunch of insects and animals living in there like gnats, bats, rats, and he keeps his collection of top hats in there. I never knew why. So I decided to ask.
“Father, why do you keep your top hats in there?” I asked.
“Oh, these are no ordinary top hats. These hats were all worn by relatives of the family. Your father’s hat will be here,” he pointed to an empty space on the shelf,” My father’s hat is there, his father’s hat is there, his father’s hat is there, his father’s hat is there,” he says while he points to each one,” And your great great great great grandfather’s hat is there. I was never told why, but I was told to keep the hats and continue the tradition.”
I kept thinking about the day when I would get my hat and tell my son about this. I was really excited. But I don’t know how to talk to girls or how to marry one.
“Father, how did you and mother meet?” I asked.
“It’s a long story and you won’t understand until you are older. When you get to be the age when I met your mother, I will tell you the story and you will understand.”
He walked out of the shed with a large pile of wood, a hammer, and some nails. I was really excited.
“Why don’t you go get Eskimo and have him watch us build his home,” father told me.
“That’s a great idea father!” I said with much joy in my voice. I went back to the house to look for Eskimo. I know he loves to lay on my bed so thats where I checked first. He wasn’t there. The next place I thought he would be was the kitchen. Mother always feeds him scraps of food that she doesn’t cook. And of course he was there. He loves eating. I picked him up and took him out to the backyard.
“Ready to start?” asked father.
Father and I worked on the dog house for what seemed like forever. It was really only a few hours. But when we finished, I loved it. And so did Eskimo. His tail was wagging more than I have ever seen.
“Dinner is ready,” mom said from the door.
“Coming,” father and I replied at the same time. We got in the house and I went to wash up. I grabbed the pail of water and threw it on my face. The water was ice cold but it felt great on this warm september day. i went to grab a towel when all of a sudden, I heard gun shots. Lots of them. People screaming louder than they would during a cricket game.
“George! Get in your room and lock the door! Don’t come out until the noise stops!” mother shouted. I ran upstairs to my room and locked the door. The sounds of the guns resonated through the town. I looked out the window. Bodies everywhere. Blood everywhere. Redcoats everywhere. I kept thinking to myself that this is the end. I heard the door of my house get kicked down. Father and mother both screaming. I unlocked the door and looked out. Mother and father were on their knees both crying and screaming. Then, I heard the two sounds that I will remember for the rest of my life. BANG. BANG.
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