Our wagon is rocking nearly as much as the boat to America did. My parents, my four remaining siblings and I started off with nothing. We came to America to get away from the famine. The famine that ruined our lives. Today we had started our journey to Oregon. We had packed the essentials including sugar, bacon and flower. I can't remember-
"Abigail Laurens?" A figure says. Drat. I hope I get to finish this later. I set down my quill and look up.
"Yes, father?" I reply, hoping I'm not in trouble.
"You should get out of the wagon. We need to fit more food." He says. "Before you ask, we will be walking most of the trip."
I sigh, getting out of the wagon. Not forgetting to pick up my story. I like to write, quite a lot. I hope mother will like my story. She probably will, as I am the baby of the family. I just now realize how quick the day goes by, as the sun starts to set.
I share a bed with my siblings. I look into a mirror, seeing a small, auburn haired girl. My parents say I look most like my father, but act like James. He is headstrong, and more brave than I will ever be, and that's okay. I get on my white, cotton night clothes and wedge myself into the small bed. There isn't very much room. We start our journey tomorrow at dawn.
The months go by slow, but smooth. In our caravan, there have been at least ten deaths per day. We have been lucky, none of our family has passed on. Our family prays that it won't happen. It has happened before, I used to have ten siblings, but six of them died from a cholera outbreak, before we left Ireland. I was nearly one of them. It was painfully agonizing, but I survived somehow. If I can survive the demon that is cholera, I can survive this.
June 18th, 1849,
My brother, James, falls sick with the measles. Food supplies are running low. I pray that we don't run out. I also pray that James doesn't parish, as he is getting weaker as the time passes on. I am unbearably starved. Hunting hasn't gone well. In fact, our rations are getting smaller by the day. My feet hurt, but it is worth it, right? I hope that all of this wasn't in vain. I-
My family stops our wagon. Something is very wrong. I had been told that if we have to stop our wagon, it means someone is dying. I hear my brothers raspy breath. His breath is slowing. We had hopes he would get better. He is getting weaker. His strength fades, as he is getting closer to death. Suddenly his breath stops, and I realize. I realize I now have only three siblings. James has died. I can't believe it. I don't realize tears are streaming down my face until my sister, Mary, wraps her arms around me.
He used to be strong, our family's foundation. The weak, lifeless body of him pales in comparison of who he used to be. He had smooth auburn hair down to his shoulders, now reduced to dry and brittle hair. He was famished, we all were, but lifting his shirt I can count his ribs. He had a small, nimble build reduced to a frail, dead body.
We have to dump his body on the trail. I look away, not being able to stomach the sight of my brother. My dead brother. The one that use teach me horse riding. The one who our family had depended on when father was gone. The one that kept us going. We bury him. His body will soon be another bump on the road.
Mother is distraught, but we have to keep going on. He would have wanted us to go on. We go on for his sake and ours. That's what he would have wanted.
July 2nd, 1849
We have passed Independence rock, my family breathes a sigh of relief. We are ahead of schedule. We have a chance of making it before the snow falls. It has been a rough two weeks. Two weeks since James's death. We shall make it to the Sierra Nevada mountains. We shall overcome.
Many months go by. We have made it to the Sierra Nevada mountains. My parents and I are overjoyed. No one else has died yet. Mary, Joseph and Samuel Jr., are hopeful for a better future. We still remember James. We will always remember James, but we have overcame his death. Hunting has gone well, our rations are getting larger. We went from one piece of deer meat, I forget what it's called, to three! This is the best eating we've had since April.
I pick up a quill and start to write.
November 4th, 1849, I look to my right, remembering the sight in the dead of night. Rise and fall, he stood tall, until the very end. I look into my mother's eyes and see the fact we shall rise. Rise and fall, we stand tall, no matter what it cost. No matter who lives or dies, we must see, standing in the circle of unity. Rise and fall, our family stands tall, until our very end.
I place my quill down. Our family has survived, only because we overcame it together. Had we been divided the outcome would have been much worse. We overcame the imaginable a second time.
January 1st, 1850,
It is the new year. This year we have the chance to start over, like we did when we first arrived to America. Our family is united, more so than it has been in years. The world may destroy one of us, but it won't destroy all of us. It's us against the world.