Saturday, February 15, 2014

Day 15 - Laura Isabelle Rhea

Laura Isabelle Rhea was born on February 15, 1870. She was the second girl, two years younger than Leona. She had been a baby when the family moved to the Home Place.

She was five when Luvenia was born and seven when Della was came along. She had visited the Cliff House with Andrew hundreds of times and was glad they didn’t live there anymore. It was way too small and the bedroom at the Home Place was big enough for all the girls. By the time Lillie was born she was already 14 years old and had more concerns than just another baby moving into the bedroom.

Her daddy had been murdered and there were times when she thought she couldn’t stand it anymore. Fortunately, there were many tasks to do daily that helped her keep her thoughts at bay.

There were also cousins who came to visit. Carolyn’s kids were younger; Ida was 5 years behind her and a pain in the backside. She liked it when they came from Virginia to visit but Ida was closer to her brother Victor. It seemed the two of them were on a campaign to drive not only her and Leona crazy but their parents as well.

Caroline and Robert made the trip to Sneedville in the summer of 1890. Laura was 20-years-old by the time and had conned Leona into helping her make fruit pies for the guests. The apple tree next to the house had produced an abundance of apples and they needed to use them up.

Leona explained to her husband how Laura needed to learn some basic baking skills and needed her help. Columbus only smiled and said he would spend the day with their year-old-daughter, Bobbie, while she went off to bake pies.

Laura and Leona spent the entire morning working together to make enough pies to serve at the big family dinner planned. The fact that Caroline and Robert brought all eight of their children added to the overabundance of family already gathering at The Home Place. 

The kitchen smelled delicious and although it seem cliched, they set the pies on the window sill to cool. They were proud of their handiwork and were looking forward to the compliments they knew they’d receive.
What they didn’t count on was Victor and Ida. When they were smaller, they took delight into dumping the older girls into the river from the boat. The older girls had learned never to get in a boat with them.

Leona took off to check on Bobbie and Columbus. Laura made the trek to Polly’s house. It was her job to make sure her grandmother got to dinner safely. Neither gave any thought to the pies left out to cool.
Victor and Ida had been watching. They were hoping to get a piece of pie but the girls had shooed them away. The stalked away, taking up a hiding place to watch. If they had a chance, they were going to get some pie when no one was looking.

The opportunity arrived when they watch them leave the house. The kitchen was empty and the pies were on the window sill. They crawled to the window and snatched a pie. Sitting with their backs to the side of the house, they took a slice each. It was so good and before they knew it, the pie was history. In fact, it was so yummy, they decided another taste was in order and grabbed one more. They polished that off in no time flat and were reaching for the third when they heard voices. Scrambling through the bushes that lined the house, they disappeared from view.

It was Jane who noticed that there were only six pies on the window sill. Surely Laura and Leona had made enough for the whole family. She set off to find one of them. Six pies were cutting it close. As she came around the side of the house, she noticed two empty pie tins on the ground below the kitchen window and knew immediately who had taken the pies.

When Laura came back with Polly, Jane pulled her aside to tell her about the pie theft.  Laura was mad. Ida and Victor had crossed the line. It was too late to make more so Jane decided that when it came time for dessert, the two of them wouldn't get any. They needed have worried; Victor and Ida didn’t eat dinner. After consuming both pies, neither of them was hungry.

As they got older, Laura and Ida became good friends. In letters Ida wrote letters to family, she shared several things she and Victor did as kids usually at the expense of Laura and Leona.

Laura looked back on those times with fondness. Two years after the pie fiasco, Laura married Hamilton Green. He was 10 years her senior and had grown up in Sneedville too. His farm was not far from theirs and he was a family friend. They first eight children were born in Sneedville and the ninth when they moved to Narcissa, Oklahoma in 1910.

Hamilton died at age 60 in 1920, ten years after they moved. Laura lived to age 95. 

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