Friday, April 12, 2013

K-L Post: Katrina Lang, part 1

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Katrina Launtenheimer was the thirteenth child of seventeen children whose parents were hard-working farmers, Klause and Helga Launtenheimer.  The three oldest boys died brutally in the early days of the Civil War.  The Ohio family grieved as stoic farm people grieve: privately, silently, chins high, shoulders back.

Katrina was chosen as the “take care” progeny, which meant simply that she would remain at the family home and take care of the parents as they aged and died.  All the other children were expected to marry and procreate, but not Katrina.

This had been understood as long as Katrina had been alive.  

It did not matter much to Katrina, until she watched siblings four, five, six, eight, nine, eleven, and twelve marry and leave.  Numbers seven and ten were boys and they would remain on the farm with their wives, if and when they married.  

Numbers fourteen, sixteen, and seventeen had died in a smallpox epidemic.  

Number fifteen ran away to Chicago, they thought.
Katrina sewed wedding dresses for her sisters, cooked and cleaned for her parents, and watched as her friends left.

A ruthless reality of wars is that a generation of men are killed, leaving fewer options for husbands.  

Some of her pretty friends married quickly when they hit marriageable age, but the other friends had few options:  be like Katrina or become a mail-order bride for the open territories to the West. 

Since the transcontinental railroad’s success in the 1870s, mail-order brides packed and left, searching for better lives.  One such friend was Mary Lannahan, whose beau Harold Finster had jilted her in favor of Gracie Smith.  

Disgraced, Mary was fleeing Ohio in tears.

Katrina hitched the wagon, and drove Mary to the train depot. 

As Mary prepared to say good-bye after her hefty trunk was loaded, Harold arrived on his horse, pleading with her to marry him.  He had made a mistake, clearly.  He loved Mary with all his heart and…

Mary looked at Harold and then at Katrina.  Shoving her tickets into Katrina’s hands, she insisted.  “Katrina, get the hell out of here.”

Katrina speculated for a moment, then leaped on the train.  “Don’t tell my folks!  I will write to you..."


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All persons, characters, places are fictional.  No resemblance to any person, living or dead, is intended.  What will happen?  Will Katrina find happiness?  What will her parents say?

11 comments:

  1. Agree, she had to get the hell out of there, one way or another she'll learn if she is happy away.

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  2. wow, i really love this susan--i can see it as a movie or mini series--great family story!

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  3. When I was reading, at first I thought her friend would tell Harold to get lost and get on the train and Katrina would hook up with Harold. :)

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  4. Oh, yes! What a delightful moment of serendipity! Love the story!

    Happy K day!
    tm

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  5. You tell gripping stories. I want to keep reading this one.

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  6. Wow..that took guts. I hope she found what she was looking for.

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  7. You have me wondering what happened to her...
    http://www.melanieschulz.blogspot.com

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  8. I want to know what happens next. Enjoy reading about life in this time period.

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  9. Mary was a true friend. I do hope that Katrina finds happiness. I suspect that one of her brother's wives will have to take on the job of caring for his parents. And I suspect they were not happy to be 'deserted' by Katrina. (Or perhaps his mother secretly was.) I am really looking forward to the next exciting installment...

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  10. Wow, this is quite a story! I too want to know what happens next.

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  11. All so reasonable, orderly, practical, well planned and arranged. Then, BOOM, the world changes. What is going to happen next? Wow!

    Blessings and Bear hugs!
    Bears Noting

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!