Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Friend For Grace- Part TEN

Hand in hand, Wilhelm and I walked out of the barn and into the house looking for Papa. As we neared our wooden home I sent up a heartfelt prayer, hoping Papa would be in an agreeable mood. Sure, lately, he'd been a bit more approachable and slightly kind but he still wasn't the father I knew he could be to my sisters and I or even to Wilhelm. He was still distant and his face was always creased with unhappiness. It seemed that music was the only thing that could cheer him up. And having Wilhelm here also cheered him up. Maybe Wilhelm's arrival wasn't only a blessing for me but for Papa as well. Maybe Wilhelm was the son Papa never had but always wanted. Maybe, just maybe, this little German boy was the answer to prayers long petitioned and not yet answered. I hoped that this was the case

Wilhelm must have noticed the small tear that had escaped and now rolled down my face. 

"You a'right Miss Grace?"

I quickly swiped away a second tear with the back of my hand and answered, "You don't have to keep calling me Miss Grace, you know. I'm you're sister now okay? And yes Wilhelm, I'm fine. I was just thinking about how happy I am that you're here, living with us. I truly believe that God sent you because He knows that we need you.

Wilhelm's eyes clouded at the mention of God and the muscles in his jaw tightened, but before I could ask why, he quickly answered, "Really Miss Grace? You're glad I'm here?"

I raised and eyebrow at his using the term Miss again but let it go. He was trying to get used to having a loving family again. I understood that. "Yes I am Wilhelm. Your coming here has softened my Papa's calloused heart, if even only a bit. Seeing this change in him, as slight as it may be, I know that greater things are still to come of him and for our family and that includes you Wilhelm."

I smiled down at him and opened the door jamp. It was nigh mid day so Papa should be in washing up for lunch. I heard a rustle in the kitchen and knew that was him. In all honesty, my father was a frightening man of 6'2 with long, powerful strides. I could tell that once upon a time his now dim blue eyes sparkled with good humored mischief and fun. Now, his scowl alone could make any perfectly poised girl cry. I was used to it though.

I silently inched closer to him and said, "Excuse me Papa."

He grunted something along the lines of, "What do you want." while drying his hands on a checkered dishrag.

Instead of shrieking back in fear at his lack of enthusiasm, I held my head up high and asked, "Will you allow Wilhelm to play the violin for us tonight? He's very good and has even played under the teaching of Johannes Brahms, an accomplished violinist from Germany.

Papa's already deeply set scowl became even more feirce… if that were possible but his response shocked me. "Well, I don't see why not. He'd better be real careful with it though."

Though it wasn't the ecstatic response I hoped for, he had still given his permission. That was a big step in the right direction.
"Wilhelm, did you enjoy dinner tonight?" Mama asked with a smirk on her face as she began clearing the dishes. The boy had scarfed down his steak and onions and this plate was as shiny as a mirror. Mama's cooking was the best and she knew it. Hearing Wilhelm, muffled "Yes'm"confirmed what she already knew to be true. 

"Well Wilhelm, are you going to play or not. We're all waiting to hear what that fancy man taught you." Papa's comment, as rough as it sounded was surprisingly, an eager petition to begin the evening ritual of violin playing at our house.

Wilhelm nodded and got up to the where Papa kept his violin safely tucked away as we all gathered around him. He pulled the instrument out and caressed the shined wooden handle and horse hair strings. His hands moved to the tuning pegs and he rotated several of them until he smiled and said sheepishly, "This song, Hungarian Dance No. 1" was one of Mater's favorites.

He bagan playing. I held my breath hoping that the skills he told me has possessed were indeed as refined as I had imagined. He played a beautiful tune, one that was so alive! It lacked the melancholy I saw etched on Wilhelm face. Perhaps it was the unhappy memories this particular song brought to his mind. But as he reached the climax of this piece, I saw him smile and his eyes twinkled like never before. He was enjoying himself. I looked around the room, at the faces of my family members and saw that they too were genuinely enjoying themselves and Wilhelm's playing. I smiled at him as he began playing more rapidly; his chords sounding like a buzzing bumblebee. When he had finished, he took a bow and walked back the upper shelf where Papa kept the violin. As he faced us all again we clapped for him. I sat there amazed at what I had just witnessed. Wilhelm was a young boy, yes, but his talents were obvious. The boy was a prodigy! 

Papa congratulated him with neutral words, "That was pretty impressive boy. I liked it. Maybe you can play again tomorrow night." 
If you'd like to hear Johannes Brahms' "Hungarian Dance No. 1", the piece Wilhelm played in the story, just click here to hear the audio on YouTube.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Friend for Grace~Part 9~

Hi, everyone! This is Jan, and my first post! Yay! :). I hope you like A Friend for Grace, part 9! :)

Wilhelm didn't pull away. One more thought flashed through my mind. The violin! When Papa had played his violin, Wilhelm's eyes had lit up. Why, I wondered. Should I even bring it up?
"Wilhelm, um, I..." I broke off, then began again. "Wilhelm, do you like the violin?" Maybe he'd tell me why.
"Yes. I...." Now Wilhelm broke off, and his face took on a dreamy, happy look. He gave a deep sigh and began talking. "When Mutter, Vater, and I lived in Deutschland, I used to visit a man named Johannes Brahms. I ran into him one day while out, and apologized, but he didn't care. He invited me to his house for a lunch. He was a very nice man, and a famous violinist too. He used to allow me to play on his violin, and he said I had talent. He was going to help me get on the stage, but.." his voice turned into a whisper. "...when we left, the violin was gone for me too." Suddenly I understood. Hmmm, I thought. Maybe Papa could let him practice on his violin. You never know unless you try! I jumped to my feet.
"Come on!" I said. "Lets go see Papa!"

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Friend for Grace~Part Eight~

Hi everyone! I'm Alivia--one of the new contributors! I just thought I'd share my bio  with you! I hope you like my part!
Hi! My name is Alivia.  I am almost 13 and I have 3 sisters!  I like to read, play piano, play outside because I love nature, go on walks around our neighborhood!  I love animals especially horses and puppies.  I love writing stories!!  I love my family and I am a Christian who loves God so much!!

I held my breath and looked at Papa. The expression on his face changed, his eyes softened. "Well, Wilhelm, there's a first time for everything, isn't there?" Wilhelm looked up at Papa, his eyes wide and scared. He nodded slowly. "In-in Germany,  my Mutter and Vater and I would-would go to-to church on Sonntag. Then, Vater decided to-to move to Amerika and then--" he stopped and looked around at everyone, like he had said more than he had intended to say. Papa cleared his throat. "Well, then I guess you'll be able to fit right in, then." Wilhelm nodded slowly and climbed into the wagon and sat as close to me as he could.

That afternoon, after getting home from church, Wilhelm and I went outside. We sat against my favorite old oak tree and just listened to the wind. Then, Wilhelm started talking again, slowly at first, but then it came pouring out. "After Vater decided to move to Amerika, we pack and pack. Mutter did not want to go, she like our home in Deutschland. But Vater said, "We go to Amerika," so we go. On the schiff, Mutter and Vater be very sick. Then, Mutter--she, she died. Vater died soon after. I was alone. A kind lady helped me find my way to an Waisenhaus and they sent me here to your family." I sat there, stunned. Wilhelm had just told me what was the inner source of all his sorrows. I didn't know what else to do but to put my arm around him.

Translation for German words:


Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Friend For Grace - Part Seven

By Madeline. :)

''Get up, get up! It's time to rise and shine,'' Mother sang. The sounds of her melody drifted into my room, even though it was up in the attic.
I groaned, and moved stiffly. I opened my eyes sleepily and peeked at the bed Lily and Margaret shared. It was empty.
''Grace, if I have to come up there...,'' Mother warned. I was out of my bed in a flash. I quickly threw a dress on--a nicer one, because it was Sunday-- and ran down the steps to the kitchen.
''Eat quickly Grace; it's almost time to leave for church,'' Mother said. I sat down at the table and she put a plate loaded with eggs, sausage and potatoes in front of me. ''Thanks,'' I said, my words mixed because of the food already in my mouth.

''Where's Wilhelm?'' Papa asked. We were all at the front door, ready to leave--except for Wilhelm, that was. ''I'll find him,'' Lily volunteered. She walked off, her blonde curls bouncing. Several thumps, sounds of glass breaking and sighs later, Lily appeared, marching Wilhelm behind her. ''Your China vase broke and the books all spilled out of the bookshelf,'' Lily said apologetically to Mother. Mother only sighed and closed her eyes.
''Are you ready to leave for church, Wilhelm?'' Papa asked, tactfully avoiding the topic of the vase and the bookshelf. Wilhelm shook his head wildly, his wide eyes staring at me. It's almost like he's trying to tell me something, I thought. I racked my brain for what it could be.
I cleared my throat. ''Uh, I don't think Wilhelm has ever, uh, been to church before,'' I said feebly. Wilhelm nodded.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Friend For Grace... Part 6

By Hannah  :)

I got up early the next morning. Although I had gotten hardly any sleep last night I had to be by myself. So many thoughts raced through my head pushing around trying to get the first answer; but I had no answers. I slipped into a pale green dress, faded brown boots, tied my hair up halfway and grabbed a knitted shawl. I  quietly made my way downstairs, crossed through the parlor, and slipped through the front door, when I knew it had closed silently behind me I started to run. I would never dare run when someone was looking. I was considered to old for it. But the good morning tweets from the near by birds couldn't give me away. I ran for our barn, all thoughts, worries, and unanswered questions about Wilhelm and Papa flew away in the morning breeze. I was chilled and panting as I came upon our barn.

     "Gud mornin' miss Grace." I jumped as Wilhelm interrupted the peace of the morning in a accented voice I had never heard before. I'm afraid I was quite rude for I stood there shocked, with my mouth open, not replying. " 'm sorra miss Grace to give yu a startle." I finally regained myself enough to reply. " It's fine. I just hadn't heard you speak. I didn't even know you spoke English!" He blushed and answered " Well 'm quite aroun' folks, and-an' ... such." He sounded sad and tired and for the first time I realized how rude I had been. "Wilhelm, I'm so very sorry about your parents. I can't imagine how hard it must be for you." He nodded and changed the subject."

 "Is it your books miss Grace in the top of the barn?" I was very confused. The top of the barn? " I'm not sure what you mean." I answered truthfully. He walked over to the barn entrance and pointed upward. I almost laughed out loud but, managed to cough instead. " The loft , Wilhelm, Yes, I keep my books and other treasures up there. I like to get away sometimes." He looked curious. "Than it is your kittens as well?" "I don't have any kittens, Wilhelm, and there are none up there." He frowned and nodded sternly. "Oh ya, there are. At least 6, all in a box with a gray mother and..." He stopped there, for I had started toward the ladder up toward the loft.


Dear Diary,
     This morning Wilhelm and I became friends. He is very quiet and will not talk about his parents or his life in Germany. He can't write or read English, only speak it.  He always calls me Miss Grace. He is very scared of every one in our family and won't talk to me in front of others. He is odd but had some curious trinkets in his knapsack. Mother is calling.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Friend for Grace: Part 5

      Grace's room was quite large, but felt oddly tiny since she shared it with two of her sisters. That was usually the first thing that Grace thought before going to sleep, but today was different. She couldn't stop thinking about that night. How Wilhelm's eye's lit up. She wanted to see that again, more than anything.
        "But maybe that was the only time that would ever happen," Grace thought. His whole personality had changed when Papa played the fiddle. When the music came on, he was warm and friendly. Thoughts like that whirled through Grace's head all night.

        Can't wait to see what happens next!



Friday, March 8, 2013

A Friend for Grace: Part Four

Hello girls! Emma (Masse:) here with part four! I hope you like it!

Once in her own room, (actually, the room that she shared with Lily and Margaret) Grace threw herself onto her bed, her thoughts swirling round and round. Why is Wilhelm here? Will he stay long? What is he really like? Then, a sudden thought struck Grace and she smiled. "Maybe, just maybe, he's the brother that I've been praying for!" For a long time, Grace had prayed and asked God for a brother. When He had given her twin sisters instead, she prayed even harder.  Maybe now, her prayer was being answered in a most unexpected way. 


At the dinner table that night, Wilhelm didn't say anything-just nodded yes or no and shoveled food in like he hadn't eaten in days. Grace herself only picked at the chicken, mashed potatoes and creamed carrots-her favorite. She managed to eat some of the rice pudding for dessert-to please her mother. After they had all finished eating, Grace, her mother and her sisters rose to clear the table. As Grace carried dishes back to the kitchen, she heard her papa, trying to talk with Wilhelm, trying to get him to open up a little, but it was no use. He remained as quiet as a mouse, and he looked like one too-so shy and small, Grace guessed him to be of about eleven or twelve, around her own age. As she dried the dishes her sisters handed her, she thought again of the thought that had occurred to her in her bedroom. She imagined her and Wilhelm racing each other across fields in the spring, riding horses together down woodsy trails, and maybe even playing some baseball, when she could sneak past her mother's watchful eye. She looked at Wilhelm sitting at the table, his eyes downcast, his hands folded, and she hoped with all her heart that she would be right.


As soon as the dishes had been taken care of, the family eased themselves into comfortable positions in the parlor, the ladies bringing out knitting or sewing projects and Papa leaning back into his armchair to light his pipe. The fire crackled cheerily upon the hearth, and for a moment, Grace forgot all about Wilhelm-that is until she caught sight of him sitting on a small footstool, tucked away in a corner. She walked over to him and stood beside him. "Would you like to come sit with us?" she asked quietly. Wilhelm looked up at her, a puzzled expression on her face. Then Grace remembered-he didn't speak English! He was from Germany! Oh dear, this is going to be difficult! thought Grace. She smiled again at Wilhelm, and motioned with her hand towards the fire. Wilhelm shook his head, his eyes still on her face. She nodded her head and walked back to her seat. "Well!" Papa declared after a few moments. "Who's up for a little music?" "We are! Oh, please Papa!" Lily and Margaret cried. Grace herself grinned and joined in the pleading. Papa's green eyes twinkled as he carefully pulled the fiddle out of it's beautiful brown case. This was Grace's favorite part of the day-the time her father seemed to come out of his shell. After tuning it and plucking a few strings, he played a lively tune he had learned as a boy. At once, Lily and Margaret jumped up and began to dance with each other. Trula and Evie, both teenagers, considered themselves far above child's play. Even though Grace considered herself to old for games as well, she smiled and allowed herself to be pulled into the small ring and danced and laughed until she was out of breath. When Papa had finished that, he played a German folk song-another one that he had learned as a boy. As soon as he heard the tune, Wilhelm's eyes lit up and his foot began to tap to the music. Again, Grace walked over to him, but this time, she didn't have to say anything. He jumped up and grabbed her hand and whirled her around the room. Then he let go and began dancing by himself-a complicated dance, full of twists and turns. Grace's mama quickly reached for a hankie and Papa smile was so wide, Grace feared his face might burst. Lily and Margaret shyly crept over to watch and Wilhelm danced with them too. Trula and Evie stayed seated, but their pretty faces were lighted with smiles as well. They danced and danced and Papa played and played and finally the song ended. Wilhelm sat down again, but this time, his cheeks were pink and his eyes sparkled. Maybe this won't be so hard after all! Grace smiled to herself-maybe Wilhelm was the answer to her prayers

I hope you enjoyed it! I can't wait to see what happens next!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Friend for Grace: Part 3

Once Papa had all of the horses prepared for their ride home, he beckoned for Grace and Wilhelm to come.  Grace couldn't help but smile and just imagine the life ahead of her, with Wilhelm.  She knew that it would be very different with another person living with them, but she could just feel that it was a good different.

Once they arrived home, Grace showed Wilhelm the guest room, where he would be staying.  She helped him unpack, and get settled in.  She tried to be as kind as possible, and tried to get him to smile.  However, he still couldn't understand her and showed no emotions of sadness, or happiness.

Grace decided he might just want to be alone, so she left the room without saying a word.