You find your great-great-grandmother’s diary. On June 16, 1856, she wrote:

June 16, 1856

The birds awoke me this morning. It was a cool morning and did not warm up much until the sun was at its highest. However, I went about my morning chores as I would any other morning. It’s still strange not having Papa around. Aside from making the beds and getting breakfast on the table, I’ve had to take over his chores with the animals. I really wish we could get rid of them. The goats nearly died this Spring because I hadn’t the slightest idea how to take care of them. That was always Papa’s job. Russia signed the peace treaty a few months ago so although our country is at peace now, the families still mourn. Everyone in the market lost someone close to them.

Speaking of the market, I saw Svid there again. Oh, how he makes my heart race! But now is not the time for men and I must keep reminding myself of that. Mama needs me now more than ever. She took over Papa’s job at the printing press and left me to attend to the younger children. It is Summer now so I do not have to give them lessons but come September, Mama says she will need me to help teach them. I always excelled at writing but I sure hope she doesn’t need me to teach them arithmetic.

I honestly cannot stop thinking about Svid. I think it’s the forbiddenness of the whole thing. He nodded at me from across the market. I nodded back but that is all that is allowed from us in public. He of course is not Jewish and any contact with goyim is unheard of.  We shared a wonderful kiss behind the hills just before the family got word of Papa’s death. I could never tell Mama about Svid. I sure hope she finds a suitable match for me. Someone as attractive as Svid. This is the year I am to be wed. At this point, I’ll take anyone to help me with the children. They are quite a handful and I find myself tired all the time.


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