Gardening with Evelyn
Author's note: My inspiration was mainly a portrait of a woman staring at her daughter in her bassinet. The... Show full author's note »
Charlotte's DiaryJune 4, 1890-
Hello, I’m Charlotte. My mommy is helping me learn my spelling; she helped me learn to spell my name. I’m five now, I start school soon. I’m so happy. I’m gonna go play with my doll. Bye bye.
April 15, 1894-
I am ten years old now, sitting on the floor playing with my doll who I named Sophie. My mother is knitting on the sofa. My brother walks in carrying logs for the fire. It is really cold outside, for April it really shouldn’t be as cold as it is. I’m so happy because he started to make a fire, I really hate cold weather. Well I shouldn’t say hate, my mother dislikes when I use foul language, so I dislike cold weather. I can tell it’s getting later; the sky is getting darker, so my father should be home soon. This makes me so happy; I love it when he comes home after a long day of work. Even if he is really tired, he always gives me and my brother the best hugs. I can hear footsteps walking up the front porch now. I know it’s him; I’m smiling so big it reaches ear to ear. He opens the door, and my mother, brother and I are greeted by a giant smile. I love it when my dad smiles. His cheeks puff out like a chipmunk and all you see is his large white teeth. I’m going to run up to him and give him a big hug before my brother finishes with the wood. I hope my dad picks me up and swings me around; I love it when he does that. Well I’ll write back later, I want to go see my dad.
April 16, 1894-
Today it really warmed up outside. I love waking up to warm weather. When I walked outside I hear the sound of birds chirping and saw so many flowers. I love this time of year, it means me and my mother can work in the garden, picking and planting flowers. Before breakfast I sat in the garden for a little bit, writing, I like to write nature poems here, one of my favorite topics is nature. It just so peaceful and nothing can corrupt the beauty of it. My favorite is this one I wrote:
“Roses are red
Violets are blue,
Orchids are white,
Grass is green,
And nature is beautiful in every scene.”
I smelt the breakfast being cooked so I walk inside to get some; there was nothing on the counter, but I did see my mother and she was wearing her big floppy hat. I knew what that meant; we were going to garden! We walk outside, and I just took a deep breath of air. It was so crisp and all you can smell is the grass. Chasing butterflies is my favorite, catching them is so fun, I like holding them. They are just so delicate, and they always have the most beautiful patterns. I love the monarchs. Such a long eventful day made me so tired, goodnight.
August 13, 1897~
School is starting up again soon, and I’m so not excited. All I do is chores and school work. I never have time for a social life. I barely even write anymore. It really hurts, because it is something I love to do. I can’t deal with this. I have to tell my mother I would like an hour free a day to write, knowing she loves to write she should be okay with it. I need to get back in the knack of writing. She’s calling my name; the laundry must be ready to fold. See you later.
December 26, 1903-
Reading back to my last journal entry, I was supposed to ask my mother for writing time that never happened. My life was so crazy of the years; all this book did was collect dust. I found it rummaging for pictures. To catch you up, we just celebrated my nineteenth birthday. It wasn’t such a big deal, I had already been considered a woman for a few years now, but this year was especially special because this year I am going to marry. His name is John Harris. His family is very wealthy. Not only do they own many properties in New York, but they own them in several other states. The idea of marrying John became even better when you notice his stunningly good looks. I didn’t mind at all it is a set marriage; he is attractive and also has some money. I suppose saying it like that makes me sound like a terrible person, but I’m not; I’m just lucky. I must go; I have lots of planning to do tomorrow.
May 5, 1903-
Planning this wedding I would have to say is one of the easiest activities I had to do. Since it is basically all about me that day, I know exactly what I want. I plan on being married in St. Patrick’s Cathedral; it is such an exquisite building, it has so much detail in every part. My gown is already set to be made, a giant ball gown, overflowing with lace. White roses will be everywhere, and I want doves to fly when my fiancé and I kiss. Some people would call it over the top, but I say it is acceptable for the love we share together.
April 27, 1904-
The planning really caught me with some vice grips. I got very caught up, but my name now is Charlotte Harris. My husband John and I have been married for about a year now. Since I moved across town, I don’t see my mother as often as I would like, but I do call her every day. Other than that everything seems to be going very smoothly, he is sweet to me. He always comes home with flowers, and gives me a kiss on the cheek. He treats me really well. I feel like he always wants the best for me. The best clothes, the best homes, the best everything. He has such a good personality, kind, generous, and trustworthy. It almost four o’clock, time to prepare dinner, till next time…
October 12, 1907-
Have been really busy lately, I had taken up some community hobbies, such as helping at the church, and some business’ in town. I am a hot commodity, always helping with children at the school; I love children, they are always so full of life, ignorant to poor choices and the evils of society. With all this I haven’t really written, but I suppose since it’s all for other people, it’s the best.
February 25, 1908-
I have been quite busy in the passing months. All my charitable work I have written about in my last entry, gained me a seat on the Board of Selectman. It tends to be a manly job, but since I always try and do what’s best for this little section of town, they thought I would be perfect. My first job is to clean up the parks, and town; the cleaner it is, the more friendly it will seem. I feel this will attract many more families, and that’s exactly what the other board members want to see.
April 27, 1909-
John and I just celebrated our five year anniversary. It is different now; the whole family dynamic has changed. Since we have been married he has climbed up, what he calls the corporate ladder. He works now at the top, he’s the president of his company. He doesn’t really talk to me about work, and being married this long, there’s nothing he doesn’t know about me. So you can say we really don’t talk much at all, only when he asks me to make him a drink.
July 13, 1909-
From tonight’s occurrence I cannot leave the house for a fortnight at least. My face has a blemish I don’t want anyone to see. My husband, well he has some anger issues. It’s always been because of his job, so I don’t think much of it. He came home mad about how a new company building wasn’t being constructed on-time. Apparently, the contractor said it wouldn’t be built until next year. That’s the only piece of information has shared with me so far. I guess because it was something that was really bothering him. I try so hard to make him happy. Tonight I put on his favorite dress; I cooked his favorite dinner, and played his favorite music. During dinner he seemed quite content until I asked if he should take the day off tomorrow, so he can clear his mind. I received a hint that the question wasn’t appropriate when my face was numb. I have no doubt a bruise will surface in the morning. Until then...
July 14, 1909-
Today I called my mother; she is the only one who I could talk to. I’m so confused at this point. Since John hit me, I have had mixed feelings about all sorts of things. I want to leave him, but I know he didn’t mean it, it slipped out. He swears it would never happen again, I certainly hope not at least. When I told my mom, she was completely shocked. She thought so highly of him, and after the last word came out the phone was overcome with silence. I asked her what to do, but she didn’t know what to say, she didn’t to do. She said “keep calm.” Keep calm?! How can I feel calm, my husband just hit me. She said “through society’s judgments you need to stay with him, but if I continue to be unbearable, seek refuge elsewhere.” I took that as her wisdom filled way as darling’, you can come back home. That seems real nice right about now.
September 22, 1909-
It is the happiest day of my life; I found out that I am bearing a child. I am nervous to tell John, I’m still not sure if he is going to be excited or angry. The last thing I want to do is make him angry, just in case he has another outburst like a few months ago. Earlier today, in order to prepare myself I sat on the sofa reading, anticipating his arrival. I heard his footsteps walking up the front porch, with each step my stomach sank more and more. When the door finally opened he walked him, put down his briefcase and walked into the room I was in. I immediately asked him if he wanted a drink, he replied no. It must have been a good day at work, so now would be a great time. I sat down on the sofa and it was next to him, I gave him a little peck on the cheek, and whispered guess what. He stared at me, blankly, waiting for me to speak.
I told him the news; I told him I was having his child. For the first time in several months he smiled. Maybe this child is a glimpse he is going to change. Our family is going to change, hopefully for the better. He will be the man I fell in love with, and maybe the physical and emotion abuse will cease to exist. His smile made today that much better.
February 14, 1910-
I am a few months along now; my stomach has doubled in size. I feel her in there, moving around ever so frequently. She kicks a great deal too, every time she does it makes me giggle, because all I can picture her saying is get me out of here. I can’t wait to hold her, if she is going to be as energetic as she is now; I have a lot of work cut out for me, especially since she will be my first.
June 20, 1910-
I have neglected to write for a while but I gave birth to my daughter on June seventeenth. It was a beautiful day outside, the sun was shining without a cloud in the sky, through the windows you can smell the flowers, as well as the crisp summer air. John and I decided to name her Evelyn. It was a beautiful name; it was perfect for my beautiful little girl. I am just so proud; we created his beautiful little person. She is as wonderful as I knew she would be, her smile fills my heart with love every time I see it. When my husband saw her for the first time, he picked her up and smiled. I had never seen him so happy, he was just as proud as I was. He loves her just as much as I do, and that makes me blissful.
November 22, 1910-
Sitting in this house day by day, it’s getting really exhausting. I love my child with all my heart but I know from to bottom of my soul it’s not safe here. It will never be safe around him. He has done it again; he hit me. All I do is stay here and take care of my little girl, but sometimes I’m just not good enough. My face, and arms re-tell the story of how I let him down; I upset him so bad he had no choice but to lay his hands on me again. It’s no body’s fault but my own. I try so hard to make him happy but it doesn’t seem to work, I thought we had gotten past this. I thought we could be a happy family, but I guess not. I fear for the safety of my child. What if one day she lets him down and he hits her? I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if that happened. She is so innocent and I don’t want to subject her to this violence but I have no choice. If I did choose to leave, society wouldn’t accept me. I wouldn’t have a home, I wouldn’t have any money, but now it surely seems like my only choice. I haven’t even spoken to my parents in months. It breaks my heart that they missed the birth of my child but there must have been a reason, since my mother knows about my situation; their absence I completely blame on John. I better get back to bed, if he notices I’m not there, I’ll receive punishment. I can’t bear to be struck again.
November 23, 1910-
Only if we could go back to simpler days, like when I was a child. I would play in the garden, in the summer sun with my mother. We would plant all the flowers, and chase butterflies. When my father would come home, it would be smiles all around, and hug after hug. I miss those days. Why can’t my family be like that? Those fond memories keep me alive; they give me the hope that someday my daughter will have that. I would love to garden with my daughter, I want to share every enjoyment in my life with her. I want her to carry me on in life even when I’m gone, because we never know when that will be. I think I will try and get back to myself; I will start writing again every day. If my daughter doesn’t want to carry on through me by gardening, at least she has my journals.
January 12, 1911-
Day after day, when I’m getting sadder, I just hope she grows up happy. I still haven’t spoken to my mother, and when I called their phone, it continued to ring. I need them so much right now; I need their love and support. Even if I don’t get theirs, my daughter will always have mine, no matter what. She will look like me; she will have brown hair, brown eyes, and be of average height. I hope she will grow up strong, and prosperous. I hope she will be smart, and will marry someone who will love her, and treat her well. That’s all I really want in my life. If she shall succeed, I will die a happy woman.