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Mountain of Despair (standard:romance, 1076 words)
Author: Elizabeth RAdded: Oct 04 2004Views/Reads: 1966/1158Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A poor family living in the mountains with all the hardships.

Mountain Of Despair 

This is a story about a poor family who lived in the mountains of
Tennessee.  There were shacks all along the roads going up in the 
mountains.  People lived in these shacks with their families.  Jessie 
was 16 and had only gone to grade school but she could read and write.  
Her brother was one year younger and he helped his Pa doing chores 
around the shack.  A little sister and brother were school age but 
didn't go.  Jessie was trying to teach them what she knew.  There was 
never enough to eat.  Ma had taken off last summer in a rage and Pa 
said she wouldn't be back, so Jessie took over her Ma's place.  She did 
the washing in a tub and hung clothes from a line her father had put 
up.  She cooked the meager meals of beans, biscuits and gravy.  There 
never was enough but Jessie ate less so the younger children could have 

Pa worked as a driver for the lumber company. He had worked years but he
would take his wages and drink and visit the local brothel.  He bought 
groceries for the family but he only bought enough to last a couple of 
weeks if Jessie stretched it.  Pa never remembered to get food and 
sometimes he would go for a month or more and would stay away some 
place.  Jessie and Ben would walk to town with the younger children 
sometimes to see if they could have some food from the church ladies.  
They usually gave them some beans, some canned fruit and flour.  The 
little ones always wanted something they didn't have.   Jessie wanted 
to get them something good to eat but she didn't have any money.  Pa 
would buy a few oranges or apples and that was a treat for them all. 

Jessie never seemed to have enough to eat or clothes to wear.  She did
the best she could out of flour sacks and her mother's discarded 
clothes...  She always made a dress for Betsy and a shirt for Joey.  
She and Ben just wore their old clothes and Jessie patched them the 
best she could.  Pa bought his own clothes for driving Mr. Sampson's 
truck...  Pa knew the roads so well in this area and he proved to be 
valuable to Mr. Sampson.  Mr. Sampson paid him a modest amount but not 
as much as other employees made. 

Johnny Bridges was the best looking guy that Jessie had ever seen.  He
lived in town and she would look at him and think that no one that 
looked like him would notice her in her raggedy clothes and long blonde 
hair always looking windblown.  Jessie was pretty but not so anyone 
could tell.  Johnny saw her and thought she was beautiful.  Even in 
shabby clothes and tumbled hair she was striking.  He thought maybe he 
could be friends with her and buy her some decent clothes and get her 
hair fixed.  He also wanted to help out her family. 

When approached by Johnny, Jessie looked down at her bare feet.  He was
asking her to have a soda with him and also her brothers and sisters.  
She couldn't believe he would want to be seen with them.  Of course 
Betsy and Joey were jumping up and down begging to go.  Ben looked like 
he wanted to go also so she said okay.  What a treat that was for all 
of them.  They thanked Johnny and he invited them to go next week, too. 
It was too good to be true. 

All the two little ones could talk about was Johnny and ice cream sodas.
 Jessie still couldn't understand why Johnny, who was popular in high 
school, would bother with them.  It must be pity or something.  If it 
made the other children happy, she would go along. 

They were running low on supplies and Pa hadn't come home, yet.  Jessie
thought about going to the church to get groceries and wondered if they 
could do this very often.  They had to eat and no one seemed to care in 
the mountains.  Pa just didn't think about them that much any more.  He 
did provide but not enough for all of them.  She needed shoes and a new 
dress and Ben needed a new shirt and pants.  She would try to grab a 
couple of Pa's things for Ben. 

To Jessie's surprise, Johnny's mother came with them on the ice cream
soda day.  She was very nice and offered to give Jessie some material 
that she had and wasn't going to use.  She also had some shoes and some 
pants and shirts that Johnny had outgrown for Ben.  She gave Jessie 
some dresses she no longer wore but were in good condition.  Jessie was 
embarrassed but they needed these things so she just said thank you. 

Jessie fixed the dresses to fit her and made some new clothes for Betsy

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