First Snow

The Williams House; Chapter 5: Uncles, Aunts, Nephews, and Nieces; Pgs. 126-130

.     It was a long time later when several people started to file into their bedrooms. The uncles and aunts did a good job at tracking down their own children and preparing them for sleep. As for the Williams children, they were soon directed for sleep themselves, only the boys could not seem to settle down at first.
.     “Let’s talk for a little while,” whispered Will. “Everyone will probably sleep in, anyway.”
.     “No one can hear us, that’s for sure,” said Johnathon. “Do you think it’s snowing yet?”
.     “I think it is,” said Will. “This will probably be the first time Oliver, Tabitha, Orla, or Isaac have seen and felt this much snow.”
.     “You mean they’ve never been sledding?” asked Timothy.
.     “Neither had you till we moved here,” said Will.
.     “I say,” said Johnathon, “it is great to sleep in the attic. What an adventure!”
.     “Isn’t it, though,” said Will and Timothy.
.     “I ate too much sugar to go to sleep, though,” continued Will. “What books do we have up here?”
.     A lamp was turned on, and the boys shuffled around a little. The dim light shined murkily out and shone on several books on a shelf and scattered elsewhere throughout the attic.
.     “What about on the shelf by the chimney,” said Will who was still in bed.
.     Johnathon walked over to the shelf, putting his hand on the warm stone that was radiating heat into the room. “Several good titles here,” he said as he started going through them one at a time. Then he started listing them by author to save time. “We have Burnett, Nesbit, Dickens, Dodge, Stephenson, Lewis, Henty—”
.     Will interrupted and suggested one of the titles, and soon Johnathon had brought over the book.
.     “Do you think it’s all right?” asked Timothy.
.     “We might as well do something if we’re already wide awake,” said Will, “and it could help us to fall asleep.”
.     Johnathon and Timothy slunk back to their makeshift beds and rolled themselves up in their covers, exchanging excited glances with one another. The wind continued to blow against the side of the house, and they could tell it was definitely sleeting now, yet the attic was warm from the chimney and furnace vent, and the murky light of the lamp cast a dim light about the long expanse of the room.
.     Will started reading, imitating perfectly an old British accent, as though telling his life’s long tale. It was nearly an hour later when the murky glow of the lamp shone down upon three sleeping forms, Will still holding the book in his hands.
.     “Wake up, wake up!” whispered a voice, shaking Will from side to side.
.     Will sat up with a jerk, looking about the room in a single glance. A dim grayness was lighting up a little of the outside. “What time is it?” he said as he looked for the clock.
.     “Seven,” said Timothy, “and you left the light on last night. I just switched it off.”
.     “Oh, thank you, Cap!” said Will. “But why wake me? Everyone will probably be asleep for a couple more hours.”
.     “Look outside,” said Timothy. “It’s white.”
.     “So it is,” said Will strangely as he rose from bed. “Just look at it shine.” Then Will looked over at Johnathon and saw him still sleeping. A mischievous gleam entered Will’s eye, and he mouthed and motioned to Timothy. They both crept over to the window and opened it. Then they reached out to the short ledge and took some of the snow off from it, quickly closing the window with a slight squeak. Both cringed, but Jonathon only stirred slightly and then resumed his normal breathing.
.     Will crept over to Johnathon’s bed, raising his hand and throwing the snowball plop onto Johnathon’s face. Yes I know, this is the second time that Johnathon has woken up coughing and spluttering in this story. Let us hope it is the last. In any case, after the laughter and explanations, all three boys moved over to the window and looked out, gathering as much snow on the outer sill as possible.
.     “Should we all go downstairs now?” asked Timothy after a while.
.     “I suppose so,” said Will, “though not many people will be up yet.”
.     All three of them traipsed down the attic stairs and down the other flights to the kitchen, where they found their mother just stirring.
.     I sadly cannot go through all the events of the day, as there were so many things that happened that it would be impossible to write them all down. The large feast happened around noon, and before then, all the families spent a lot of time out in the snow, throwing snowballs and even treading barefoot through it for a few moments. There was not a large amount of it, perhaps three inches or so, but what was there was used well. All the meals were scrumptious, and the conversation cheering. Many of the foods were traditional for Thanksgiving, with turkey, bread and butter, cranberry sauce, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, and many, many, many pies for dessert. However, there were also a few English foods such as pigeon pie and English tea for drink. Hot cocoa was also served in good cheer of the cold outside.
.     The extended family stayed over the weekend and some of them then left. The boys were able to move back to their room, much to their disappointment. Then others left, and finally, after a couple weeks, the rest left, having used up all of their vacation time.
.     “They will be missed,” said Will one late afternoon, “but it is good to have one’s house to oneself again. I say, isn’t it extra quiet?”
.     “Yes,” said Lilly, “like old times.”

A Visit From Relatives

The Williams House; Chapter 5: Uncles, Aunts, Nephews, and Nieces; Pgs. 118-121

.     Then across the halls of the second floor did all the children travel, and they could hear many voices talking and laughing and telling stories as they neared the stairs, and they were all thinking about what a great and joyous time this was going to be, with great merriment and holiday festivities.
.     There was a flood of children pouring into the foyer, with the uncles and aunts, and umbrellas were being shaken, raincoats were dripping, and everyone was attempting to take off their muddy boots without getting their feet wet.
.     “Come in, come in!” Mr. Williams was shouting, greeting and hugging everyone he could see. “Hello Jim! Hi Isaac. Welcome Loretta, Louise, and Peter! Greetings Elizabeth. I hope Homer hasn’t been trampled in the crowd?”
.     More and more people were filing in every moment, coming upstairs and going downstairs and flooding the foyer and out the door under the roof overhang. The children were greeting everyone they could, most getting reacquainted and some making introductions.
.     “This is Maria?” a voice was saying. “Wow, you look much grown! How old are you? Four?”
.     Others were extending handshakes and hugs, and William was talking with Oliver, who was just slightly older than Will.
.     I will have to list the names of everyone who was present, because most if not all of these names will be popping back up in this story. You do not have to keep these names memorized, but only look back here when you need to. Of course, everyone’s last name was Williams, and there were more Williamses packed in that house than there ever had been before. I will have to list the children with their parents here not to get them confused. Uncle Jim and Aunt Elinor had four children, and their names were Oliver, Tabitha, Orla, and Isaac. Uncle Henry and Aunt Mary had six children, and their names were Loretta, Peter, Carol, Jane, Sam, and Trevor. Uncle Homer and Aunt Elizabeth had five children, and their names were Winton, Louise, Beatrice, Mark, and Gertrude.
.     Everyone was talking with everyone, and hardly anyone could hear each other (normally in such a situation, all one needs to do is nod one’s head and make a few general remarks—now you know in case this happens to you). Will was currently speaking with Oliver and Orla—now to Uncle Homer and Winton. Then Mr. Williams was shouting for the boys to help with the rain and winter gear (for they were all prepared for snow, and several remarks were to the weather and the expectant snow to come). It took a while for the children to make it through the crowd, and when they had, it took even longer for them to carry the wet coats and umbrellas to the back hall, making several trips and stumbling along the way.
.     When all the coats had been hung and the raingear stowed away, Mrs. Williams announced that supper was ready for one and all. It was to be a lighter meal in light of the coming feasts on the following days, and to give the guests a different taste before the great Thanksgiving traditions, the main course of the meal was fish, one well suited for the north. The side dishes were more common, with thick bread and butter and warm rolls and even a mushroom soup (food that the Englanders would be more used to).
.     Though lighter, the feast still lasted a long time, and the Williams children (for I must continue to call our children the Williams children throughout this story) had to eat in the large dinner hall upstairs, as oppose to the grand dining hall on the first floor. Even so, both areas were crowded, yet comfortable. Many dishes of the food were placed on both large tables (and a few smaller tables as well), and everyone had more than enough. The storm continued to blow, and Will cast his eyes in the direction of the window, looking out at the storm clouds every now and then.
.     “So this is America,” said Oliver. “I cannot wait for the rain to turn to snow! Do you think it will tonight?”
.     “I believe so,” said Will. “It is lucky. This will be the first snow of the season if it does. But never mind the weather for a moment. Tell me about England! Has anything changed much since we have last been there? It is good to see you again.” And Johnathon and Timothy were emphatically agreeing.
.     Oliver began by telling of a couple families who had moved to another part of the country, “and the old Broker house has finally been restored,” he continued, “and the window shop at the corner of Hampton and West Street has been moved a couple blocks down, in the old empty brick place that no one had occupied for several years.”
.     “You mean the one we used to play and read books in,” said Johnathon excitedly. “I remember once when you . . .” and here Johnathon began to tell another story. (That always happens when old friends reunite and have so much to say.)

Audio Continuation of Story; Pgs. 121-125

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