The Bootlegger's Daughter

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An Old Diary

When we did get home I walked in the house first and just threw off my coat and hat. Yes, I did hang them up but it wasn’t neat or careful. I then started my search for Father. The house isn’t terribly big but it sure isn’t small either. I looked in the parlor and the sitting room. I even looked in Father’s office. But he wasn’t in any of those places.

I went upstairs thinking that I would try Father’s bedroom and if he wasn’t there then I would just go to my room and put down my things. I knocked on Father’s door and stood outside of it awkwardly. There was no answer but I was anxious to get started so I opened the door gingerly.

The room looked like any other bedroom with a bed and a dresser and such. No one was in the room. I knew I should leave, that I wasn’t meant to be here, but I stayed. My mind was terrified that Father would come over and yell at me to go chase myself. Granted that wasn’t really in Father’s character and even at the time I did realize that. It was odd because half of me was scared that I would get myself in trouble while the other half wanted to look around because I had remembered David had been in his room lately. I wanted to know what he had done or what he was looking for. So I stayed.

I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, just something. I set down my things on the floor and went to the nightstand. There was a small drawer on the nightstand that I opened. Nothing exciting was inside of it, only some matches a journal. I knew it was wrong to read it so I was content to just flip through the pages. It was a very long journal that went back all the way to the year my mother died. Out of curiosity I flipped to her death day and read the first few lines. It said “Time has stopped. My dearest Minnie has been taken. If it wasn’t for the children I would wish I was with her. Forgive me for that last line was a lie, even with the children I wish I was with her.”

It was sad to see that. Tears started to swell in my eyes and even recording this now months later it still upsets me. I couldn’t bear to read more. I know unless you have lost someone the entry probably wouldn’t upset you like it did me. Even if you had I’m sure there is a disconnect by you being a third party. But for me it hurt because it was a vulnerable side that my father never showed.

I flipped again to one of the newest entries, the one from Grandfather’s death day. This one said “Oh the world loves to take people from me. First Mother, then Minnie, and now Father. Minnie was natural, the world truly did take her. But Father, Father was taken by men. And for that I will get my revenge.” That was all that was written in that entry. On Mother’s there was more but this was short.

I wanted to look more and more but I couldn’t as I heard footsteps in the hall. I cursed under my breath as I shoved the journal in the drawer and tried to close it quietly. I picked up my things and pretended to look like I had just gotten in the room and was looking for Father.

“What are you doing here?” Father asked once he walked in his room and saw me standing there.

“I was just looking for you.” I said innocently.

“Well let’s get started. I think using John’s clothes would be best. Do you agree?” Father said as we walked up the stairs to get to Robert and John’s room.

“Yes, he’s not too tall like David or Robert.”

Their room was like any other with the only difference being that they had two of everything instead of one. I sat down on one of them, I believe it was John’s as Father went through one of the dressers. Father took out the smallest suit he could find. It was tan but otherwise simple. You could tell that it had been well worn, probably John’s suit he wears when he goes to play in the street with the other boys.

“Put this one on. I will be out in the hall; come get me when you finish.” Father said as he laid the suit down on the bed I was sitting on. He walked out of the room and closed the door behind him.

I took off my dress but was unsure of what to do with my undergarments because my bloomers were a bit poofy against the pants. I had never realized how skinny John’s legs were until I tried on his clothes. Nevertheless I got dressed and I looked at myself in the mirror. It was odd to see me dressed up as a man as I had never dreamed of doing so. It never crossed my mind to wear men’s clothes. I was and still am perfectly content with wearing my normal fashion, but it was different to try something new.

The suit did not look good on me. The pants were too long and too tight. The vest was a bit too tight as well and both the vest and jacket were too long. In conclusion I looked like a girl who stole her cousin’s suit to go do goodness knows what. But I still went outside to show Father.

“Well that might not work. That doesn’t fit you at all.” He said. Father knelt down and tucked the end of the pants up around my ankle to see if it was possible to hem them. He also looked at the cuffs of the jacket which were a bit too long as well. “It might be possible to bring them in and have it fit better by tonight.”

“That could work but the vest is too tight and the pants don’t fit around my legs very well.” I said. Father moved the jacket out of the way and looked at the vest.

“You are right, that is a bit tight. Can that be loosened?”

“Sometimes it can be done but it is hard to do. It didn’t look like there was a lot of a hem so to fix it you would need extra fabric. But if you add the fabric then it wouldn’t look good.” I explained. Father sighed and rubbed his eyes with his hand.

“Well, I’m sorry Lucy. It looks like we’ll have to put off your trip to the McKays. We need to get you to the tailor.” Father said.

“Are you sure a tailor would make a suit for me?” I asked.

“Men would do anything for money, and if the need be, some persuasion from me. But thankfully that shouldn’t be needed as I have an old friend of mine who is a tailor. We’ll go to his shop after supper.” Father said right before he walked away. I went to my room without saying a word. I did some school work and read before supper. Overall it was nothing exciting.

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