We moved into the house in the dead of night. Quietly, secretly, lifting, carting and carrying whatever our hands could hold: bunches of clothes and shoes, tied in sheets. Pots and pans in a box. A lamp.
The heavier furniture was lifted by Momma and Mr Mac, our current stepfather. It was his house that we were moving to, a prospect that my brother and I did not relish. We didn’t have much to take as Mr Mac stated “His things would do nicely ” to which Momma immediately agreed. She contended it was “a good thing for us to do; things would get better, you’ll see”. We were each to have our own rooms, a fact not lost to us but which somehow did not seem like anything to celebrate.
We used to sit on our porch, looking up at its imposing structure. It stood out amongst the wattle and daub constructs of the neighbourhood, a three level house made of mortar, brick and expensive cedar wood. Quite an uncommon sight in our community. The walk leading to the house was hedged with hibiscus and crocus, ending at a front door with a large brass knocker. The brick was white washed every Easter and Christmas, something that only the well-to-do could afford.
We often wondered what it looked like inside. She’d describe the fancy furniture Mr Mac had created for his home. The large armchair in the reading room. The ornate armoire he had made for his wife; the dining table which seated eight comfortably for dinner parties. Momma would recount those fancy parties held at the house as she feed us food left over from that day’s work. We would listen to the laughter and conversations as they went on late into the night, waiting for Momma to return home so we could eat. These parties ceased, however, when Eleanor Macintosh fell ill.
She often mused on ‘How nice it would be to live in a house like that’ and noted that Mr Mac took such beautiful care of the home, even though his wife had passed.
Now this was to be our home.