Abigail Watson grew up in Superior, Wisconsin. Her Dad drove one of the big oar boats on Lake Superior for many years. One day, while loading the boat in Sioux Ste Marie, he got into a fight with a man over a card game. When the boat left port the next morning, he rode home in the infirmary in pretty bad shape. He died in the hospital a few days later.
Abigail’s Mom, Marie, decided that Abigail wasn’t going to sit around and watch the world go by, so she started looking for things for her to do. She found Abigail work as a waitress at the Superior Diner for a while and then helping Mrs. Dennison, who lived down the street, with household chores and tasks. But those jobs were just busy work for Abigail. They were not helping her to move out of the house and be able to live on her own.
Smart in school she was. She finished all of her high school classes by the time she turned 16. With diploma in hand, Marie decided to find her a tutoring job. She heard that the Baxters, a rich family who lived outside of town, would be sending their young daughter off to boarding school. They would be needing someone to tutor and get her ready to go. She thought Abigail could be the person to do just that. She hoped that if Abigail could get in with the Baxters, they may be able to help her daughter find success.
Abigail met with Mr and Mrs Baxter and was hired on just after the nanny, Claire Baker, left in January. Claire had raised Sally from birth, but could not teach her the subjects that Sally had to learn for school. Abigail had sent her mom letters once a week after she got settled there. For the first couple of months, she received replies from her and it helped her to not feel so homesick. Abigail got busy and started writing less but still wrote from time to time. The replies slowed down and then stopped all together.
To celebrate her second Christmas with the Baxters, she decided to send a Christmas card to her mom. Even with all of the holiday parties that Mrs Baxter hosted at the house, Abigail still missed having her own family around her.
Just as the snow was melting and the brown grass was starting to show through, Abigail received a response back from Superior in the form of a small box, but wasn’t from her mom. The address was was written in a different hand. She opened the box and found an enevelop on top. She opened it and it was a letter written by Mrs. Worthington, the owner of the boardinghouse where Abigail and her mom lived after her dad’s death.
It is so nice to hear from you. Glad that things are going so well with you at the Baxters.
Your mom no longer lives here at the boarding house. She left here about four months after you left. I’m sorry dear, but I have no forwarding information from her either. I saved all of the letters that you sent after she left and kept them in this box, in case she came back. I want you to have them, since they are really yours.
Good luck to you Abigail. I wish you all the best.
Abigail was glad to know that her letters did get there, but then became concerned about where her mom was. Not only because she missed her, but now where would she go? Where would she call home?
She glanced up at the clock on the mantle in her sitting room. Looking at the box and letters she had lost track of time. After putting the box on her nightstand, she quickly got herself cleaned up and ran towards the main house for dinner.
Abigail climbed the stairs to her room above the carriage house after classes with Sally on a sunny April day. She was thinking about how her and Sally were a lot alike. She was also an only child, but didn’t have all of the things that Sally had. Abigail was going to turn eighteen next month and knew how lonely it was to not have any siblings or friends. She hoped that Sally was going to have the chance to make friends at boarding school. To help her escape the loneliness that she had felt for so long. Abigail knew how she was feeling. Lately, it was feeling worse for her, especially not knowing where her mom was.
The stories that Sally was writing showed the strength of her imagination. The adventures she came up with for her and Lila were things that Abigail wanted to do with a friend. She wished that she had one, but didn’t have time with all of the jobs her Mom was having her do. And once she moved in with the Baxters, she didn’t have a lot of free time, but she was so far out in the country away from other people, she would probably never find that friend to do things with.
Abigail looked out the window of the carriage house towards the garden. She saw Sally wearing her rain slicker, carrying her light green backpack, walking towards the woods at the back of the property. She always wondered where Sally was sneaking off to. Maybe one day, she would have to follow her and find out.