Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Ballad of Lucy Whipple

Last night I was wandering through the children's room at Vroman's and saw a book titled The Ballad of Lucy Whipple. When I saw it was a Gold Rush adventure, I hesitated about 2 seconds before buying it. The story presents an alternate perspective on those who traveled to the Gold Rush. Quite unlike Master Jack Flagg in By the Great Horn Spoon, Lucy Whipple does not want to leave her home in Massachusetts and embark on this adventure.

I've already read the first chapter to Gregory. It tells the story of a young girl who travels with her mother from Massachusetts to the Gold Rush. Her father has died, she is homesick and very unhappy to be in California, and her mother takes a job working in a boarding house in Lucky Diggins. I can't wait to read Chapter 2.

May 15th
On days when Gregory outright refuses to read, I read to him. This is our pick for now when he tires of The Return of the Indian. So we've gotten through four chapters. Lucy Whipple comes out to California by ship with her mother and younger siblings. Her father has died of pneumonia, and her mother has fulfilled their lifelong dream of heading West. She runs a boarding house for miners in the Gold Rush at a camp called Lucky Diggins. Lucy, who was born California Morning Whipple, has decided to change her name because she finds it ridiculous to be called California now that she lives there. She hates everything about California and writes constantly to her grandparents back home in Massachusetts. Through her letters, the reader has a window into her thoughts.

June ??
Chapter 6, pg. 194 Houghton Mifflin's History of Social Science
Lo and behold, I was reading Gregory's social science book to help him answer questions about how California became a state, and I found an excerpt from The Ballad of Lucy Whipple by Karen Cushman. I haven't read the excerpt yet because I am just at Chapter 11, and this is taken from further on. Last night, while reading, I believe I reached my favorite part of the story. Lucy befriends a "brown man." Actually, he befriends her because he fills her berry buckets for her while she is busy reading. This is the first time she has ever met an African American. She learns about slavery and freedom from him. He calls himself Joe because that's what his slaveowner called all his slaves. Lucy gives him her father's name....Bernard and a new last name: Freedom. I'm eager to see where the story goes next.

While Lucy is busy reading The Count of Monte Cristo, Joe quietly fills her buckets with berries. (adverbial of time and sequence).

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