Reed & Kathy Sue

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Our House, Grantville!

Tuesday, June 12, 1635

Dear Reed,

        I miss you so much already.  Wish you could have stayed, but they need you.  I’m so proud of you.

        Thank you so much for moving us back to Grantville.  It was a hassle you didn’t need just before you deployed, but I appreciate it so much.  Lydia and Thomas do, too.  We went for a walk around town—your mom and the kids and I.  Grantville has changed so much just this past year!  But Lydia recognized the park.  She, Thomas, and Mark had a ball.  Well, up until she met another little girl and told her she’d just turned six.  Apparently the girl told Lydia that she’s not really six yet, because “up-timers skipped whole years.”  She was all worried about not being allowed to go to first grade.  Once we got home, and I got Mark and Mary down for a nap, we looked at the calendar.  I showed her that we skipped ahead only fifty-three days.  She was very excited about counting fifty-three days on the calendar.

        I think Mark is developing faster than Lydia and Thomas did, probably because Thomas is “helping” him “grow up” so much.  I’ve reminded Thomas that Mark isn’t even two yet, and he just can’t do everything Thomas can, yet.  These two are going to be a handful when they get older.

        Mary is doing great.  She woke up only once the last two nights in a row.  So I’m not quite a zombie.  By number four, it’s practically routine.  Being a stay-at-home mom in the seventeenth century is a ton of work, but every once in a while I wouldn’t mind finding something I could do from home.  The girls who are renting from us are all perfect dears.  Anna Maria and Rosina are so happy to have the kids around again.  I’m still getting to know Magdalena but Anna Maria and Rosina both said she’s fitting in fine.

They were nice enough to keep an eye on the kids for half an hour last night while I went for a run.  Two miles.  It’s great to start getting back in shape.  Magdalena asked me if I was going out in public dressed like that. T-shirt and shorts.

        Your mom has the victory garden all in.  Your Aunt Janet and Uncle Freeman stopped by and gave us a lot of seeds.  Lydia helped.  Thomas and Mark mostly played in the dirt.  I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have running hot and cold water in the bathtub.  As soon as all four kids were in bed, I had a bath, too.

        A memory—I remember when we first bought the house and moved everything over from the apartment in one day and stacked so much on the bed we ended up in sleeping bags on the carpet the first night.  I was so disoriented when I woke up.

        A verse—Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

        Be careful, Reed.  The whole town knows war is coming.

                                                                                            I love you. ♥

                                                                                            Kathy Sue

****

Camp Halle

Monday, July 2, 1635

Dear Kathy Sue,

        How are you and the kids?  Are you sure you’re okay?  Not overdoing it?

        Hi, Lydia.  Hi, Thomas.  Hi, Mark.  Hi, Mary.  I’m in camp.  We live in a big tent and eat outdoors.  Daddy misses you.  Hugs and kisses.

        Your letter came Saturday.  That was pretty fast.  I’m afraid it’s going to slow way down once we start moving.  Having stamps again is great.  The little things, right?

RaKS-lthrbbl        I preached yesterday.  Nothing fancy—I’m not interested in lecturing on who believes what about which issue, and I don’t know all that stuff, anyway.  Just focusing on Jesus.  I told them I’ve got a Lutherbibel, a NASB, and a Strong’s concordance.  I’ll do my best to explain a passage, and if anyone else wants a turn, they’re welcome to it.  Jimmy Dunn, Charlie McDow, Hans Moschel, and Alexander Ebenhöch all came.  Still can’t get Bruce Reynolds to come out.  A few others checked us out, too.

        Two Bibles and a concordance gives me a nice heavy pack to run with, so maybe by the time I get home, I’ll be able to keep up with you.  Sorry I missed the bath, though.

        I’m doing what I do.  It’s pretty much the hardware store all over again, only bigger.  There are some problem areas, but mostly just because it’s on a bigger scale than anything we’ve done before.  Many of the men are veterans of last year’s campaign, so they know how things work.  We just have to make sure they don’t requisition too many spares.  But every once in a while, there’s a weird one.  Like that shipment of . . . let’s call them grid squares . . . that just disappeared.  Logged in, never signed for, just gone.  It’s mind-boggling how an entire shipment can go missing.

        Don’t worry about me.  I’m surrounded by lots of people with rifles.  You and the kids, be safe.  I don’t think the enemy could reach Grantville this time, but you know the drill if they do.  Try not to dwell on it, though.  Bad memories.

        Please tell Mark Happy Birthday from Daddy.

        A memory: You having this idea that we’d write each other.  There’d be nothing for weeks, and then a whole bunch of letters would get to Wismar at once.

        A verse: Proverbs 31:10 “An excellent wife, who can find?  For her worth is far above jewels.”

                                                                                            Love you, Sugar.

                                                                                            Reed

****

Our House, Grantville

Sunday, July 22, 1635

Dear Reed,

        Proverbs 31?  You’re a sap!  Seriously, though, I did read the whole chapter, and I get your point.  It’s okay if I find a way to work from home.  It would have to be part-time and not on a deadline.  I’ll try to look around.

        And, yes, I’m thinking about it because things are a little tight.  It’s not a crisis.  I just have to be careful.  We got the quarterly statement from OPM.  Our investments made enough for the mortgage payments and the taxes with a couple hundred dollars left over.  This whole idea of taking out a mortgage to make money isn’t something that ever would have occurred to me, but I’m glad we heard about it.  And it still wouldn’t have worked if the Emergency Committee hadn’t canceled our first mortgage right after the Ring of Fire, since it was through the bank in Fairmont.  I know we couldn’t have kept the house otherwise.

        And Rosina, Anna Maria, and Dorothea couldn’t have afforded it if we had to charge the going rate for rent.  Magdalena was really concerned when I explained how the investments work.  She thought if we were making money, then someone had to be losing it.  I told her what the OPM people told us, that good investments help create wealth—and that I didn’t really understand it, either, until they explained it to me.

Oh—Dorothea and Johann are doing fine.  She’s expecting in December.  I restarted the Bible study.  Dorothea came and brought her friend Elisabetha.  Elisabetha is Lutheran, too, and knows the Bible pretty well.  She’s not entirely comfortable with a bunch of ladies having a Bible study on their own.  I told her everybody’s welcome, regardless of what church they go to.  I don’t have any formal training, but how hard is observe, interpret, apply?  And the unwritten fourth step: go ask the pastor’s wife if we really get stuck.

        Mark had a very happy birthday.  I wish we could give the kids the sort of presents we got when we were kids up-time.  But they really don’t understand yet how different it is down-time.  Your parents dug out your old blocks, and he’s quite content to build towers and knock them down.

        The kids loved the Fourth of July parade.  Lydia wants to be in the marching band.  This week.  The adults—I think a lot of us were a little teary-eyed.  It’s one thing we still have from up-time.   And we remember why it matters.  We’re set.  Don’t worry about us.

        A memory—Our non-dates running together at cross-country practice.  You know, it took me a few runs to realize that you had to be faster and were hanging back so you could flirt with me.

        I’m sorry you missed the bath, too.  Find any pictures yet?

        A verse—Jude 24-25 “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever.  Amen.”

                                                                                            I love you,

                                                                                            Kathy Sue ♥

****

Our House, Grantville

Monday, July 30, 1635

Dear Reed,

        Are you okay?  We heard there was fighting along the river.  Please tell me you’re okay.

        The kids say, Hi, Daddy.

                                                                                            I love you,

                                                                                            Kathy Sue

****

Camp Halle

Wednesday, August 1, 1635

Dear Kathy Sue,

        I just got your July 22 letter and package.  Thank you so much!  I don’t know if this will make it through or not.  It’s completely quiet here, but there have been skirmishes elsewhere.  We didn’t get any supply trains from Grantville or Erfurt on Saturday, but one made it through Sunday night.  It’s been crazy busy.

        If you’re sure you’re okay?  Please ask my parents if you need anything.  Be careful, but try not to worry.  No use both of us having nightmares.  I started having the one about the big open-field battle again.

        Sounds like you’re on top of the finances.  Yeah, the original mortgage being canceled was a blessing.  I’m glad we could pay it forward and give the girls a place to live.

That’s great news about the Bible study.  Church is going pretty well here.  A few more people have started coming.

        I’m still looking for those . . . grid squares.  I’d swear it was just an Army legend if I hadn’t seen the paperwork myself.  You know I’m supposed to watch for stuff like that.  And another crazy thing—this little shipment of paper and ink shows up out of nowhere.  It’s not on the manifest.  There’s no requisition.  It’s just there.  Addressed to an infantry regiment, no less.  And then it was gone.  You see the darnedest things in Supply.

        Yep, I found a picture.  I should have figured you’d put one there.  I’m tempted to send you 4:5.

        A memory: Since you mentioned running . . .  I remember when you first came out for cross-country.  You were putting your hair in a ponytail.  Not the ditzy kind way up on top of your head or the I’ve-got-an-attitude kind right at the neck, but the girl next door kind of ponytail.  I remember thinking, I need to keep an eye on this girl.

        A verse: Matthew 10:29-31 “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?  And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”

        Hi, kids!  Happy Birthday, Thomas!

                                                                                            Love you, Sugar.

                                                                                            Reed

****

Our House, Grantville

Thursday, August 16, 1635

Dear Reed,

        Voice of America broke into their regular program to announce that there’s been a big battle at Zwenkau, and that we won.  They said Mike Stearns’ division was in the thick of it, and something about Polish cavalry, but that’s really all we know.  You’re okay, right?

        Don’t worry about us.  Some people are a little panicky about the Saxon border being so close, and now this Polish cavalry.  Well, attacking Grantville seemed like a good idea to the Croats, too.  We had a defense drill last week.  I put Mary in the baby carrier and grabbed my deer rifle.  Lydia held both her brothers’ hands, and we went to our assigned building.  Your parents met up with us there.  Your mom took the kids while your dad and I each set up at a window.  Way smoother than in ’32.  Safer, too—it’d be much harder to get into Grantville now.  I’m not supposed to write down what I know about that.

        Being back at a window with a deer rifle sure did bring back the nightmares, though.  Watching men go down and not knowing if I was the one who hit them.  It’s worse than knowing for sure, because sometimes I can almost convince myself I missed.  Except I don’t miss shots like that, not under fifty yards.  Mary has settled into a routine of waking up at 1 AM just about every night to nurse.  That gives me a chance to calm down.  Stupid Croats.

        Lydia is ready to start first grade.  We bought school supplies.  That’s . . . different.  She’s met a couple other girls who will be in first grade, hopefully in the same class.

        Thomas had a very happy birthday.  I gave him a couple of my books, and your parents gave him a big old plastic baseball bat and a wiffle ball. He’s mostly hitting off a tee, but he’s also very impressed that Mommy can pitch.

        A memory—After I figured out you were slowing down to run with me at practice, I spent two weeks trying to decide if I had the guts to ask you to come to church.  And then you said yes right away.

        A verse—Since it’s starting, Ephesians 6:12 and that whole passage.  “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

                                                                                            I love you, Reed. ♥

                                                                                            Kathy Sue

****

Zwenkau

Friday, August 17, 1635

Dear Kathy Sue,

        I’m fine.  As far as I know, everybody else you know is fine.  You probably already heard there was a battle here at Zwenkau.  We won big.  I wasn’t actually anywhere near it, but I’ve been doing my thing since then.  It’s . . . pretty bad.  The field here is kind of like in my nightmare.  That’s probably as detailed as I should get.

        If you see Jimmy Dunn, Charlie McDow, Bruce Reynolds, Hans Moschel, and Alexander Ebenhöch’s families, they’re all okay.  We’re all working together.  I ran into Voss Gordon and Cody Jones, too.

        I’m not sure what I’m going to preach Sunday.  Things like this, I just don’t know what to say.  We’ll be praying for the wounded and the families.  Appreciate it if Grantville was, too.  I think I better make sure everybody has a chance to believe in Jesus.  Not much else I can do.

        Anything you’ve written since July 22 hasn’t caught up to me yet.  I hope you and the kids are doing well.  Daddy loves you.

        A memory: Meeting you at the bookstore.  Thank you for taking your break late so we could have lunch together between my last class at Fairmont State and my shift at the hardware store.

        A verse: Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”

                                                                                            Love you, Sugar.

                                                                                            Reed

****

Our House, Grantville

Saturday, August 25, 1635

Dear Reed,

        Your August 1 letter arrived today.  It’s so good to hear from you.  I’ve been listening to the radio news and reading the papers when I can.  It sounds like there haven’t been any more big battles.  I ‘spose the little ones are just as dangerous.  Stay safe!

        Lydia likes the school bus.  First grade is the most exciting thing ever—so far.  Thomas wants to go, too.  I’m trying to set aside some time each day to read a book with him and work on the words.  Mark likes exploring.  It’s a good thing we’ve got that gate to put across the stairs.  Mary is getting big.  She slept through the night Tuesday.

        We had a dozen ladies at the Bible study this week.  We had a lively discussion—by which I mean there was some hollering until the Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, and the rest of us all had a chance to explain what we really believe.  I think it cleared the air a bit.  We’d been dancing around it for too long.

        The kids all say Hi.  Hi Daddy! From Lydia

        A memory—Continuing from my last letter:  The first time you came to church with us.  All the old bats All the dignified older ladies decided to give you a hard time.  I almost died of a giggle fit when you told one of them, “Bless your heart.”

        A verse—2 Corinthians 13:14 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.”

                                                                                            I love you, Reed. ♥

                                                                                            Kathy Sue

****

Dresden, Saxony

Monday, September 3, 1635

Dear Kathy Sue,

        Your July 30 note just showed up at mail call today.  To be fair, it had further to go.  I’m pretty sure it came overland.  Hopefully anything you’ve written since then will come most of the way by rail.

        The fighting along the river was pretty minimal compared to Zwenkau.  There hasn’t been anything major since Zwenkau, either.  Not sure what’s coming up next.  I’m running around trying to get supplies to the right places.  It’d be a lot easier if people wouldn’t “help” us with the supply system.  It’s more broken after they fiddle with it.

        Tell everyone in Grantville not to worry.

        Yesterday I talked about how God knows everything including what’s going to happen.  Or maybe I should say what He sees happening in the future.  Including the Ring of Fire, however that fits in.  It’s the sort of thing that can give you a headache after a while.

        A memory: Our dads taking us hunting.  Nothing like getting used to each other’s hunting styles while everyone’s trying to have a non-awkward relationship discussion.  Good thing our dads are both sane.

        A verse: John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

                                                                                            Love you, Sugar.

                                                                                            Reed

****

Our House, Grantville

Saturday, September 8, 1635

Dear Reed,

        I’m so glad you’re safe!  Stay that way, please!

        I’m glad your letter arrived today.  The kids have just about worn me out this week.  They’re passing around a cold, and whoever doesn’t have the cold at the moment wants to run around full speed ahead.  Not really at my best.

        There’s nothing like being a touch under the weather and generally feeling inadequate when the doorbell rings, and it’s a couple public health people on a let’s-not-overpopulate-Europe kick.  They may have made one or two snide remarks about having four kids before I went from feeling inadequate to getting a good mad on.

        I asked them if they really thought limiting the number of descendants of up-timers was such a good idea.  Seems to me that’s a good way for us to die out.  They gave me some nonsense about overpopulation and somebody named Malthus.  So I reminded them how many times I heard my dad and his buddies complaining about how the government used to pay farmers to not grow food back up-time.  And then I told them “Bless your hearts” and showed them out.

        Well, that ended my pity party right quick.  I can handle four kids.  In fact, if you would hurry up with the war and get home, I could handle five.

        The garden is keeping all of us busy.  Thomas likes helping Grandma pick beans and peas.  Hopefully that will last.

        Bible study is going well.  Elisabetha says that I ask different kinds of questions and that she would like to send them to her sisters.  I really don’t think I’m doing anything special.  But I asked Sister Claudette about it, and she said that up-timers and down-timers have different approaches to interpreting the Bible.  So I started writing out a couple extra copies of my questions and notes, and we’re sending them to Elisabetha’s sisters.

RaKS-ltrrmn        A memory—Aw, I miss the bookstore and lunch breaks with you, too.  And going to home football games with you.  It’s starting to get cooler here, and I got my letter jacket out the other day.  I had to explain what it was to Magdalena.  She said, “Oh!  It’s livery, for your school.”  Which got me thinking.  I called Calvert High, and they still do letter jackets.  They’re different, of course.  The secretary said that some of the kids remember how their older brothers and sisters used to wear them with the hood unzipped down the middle so the two halves could lay over their shoulders.  I agreed that was the style and that I didn’t see any reason somebody couldn’t put a zipper in.  She asked me if I’d be willing to try it.  I said sure, as long as somebody brings me the jacket and the zipper.  So there’s a Class of ’36 varsity jacket next to the sewing machine right now.  Wow, that got out of hand for a memory.  Hopefully this year’s high schoolers will have as many good memories as we do.

        A verse—Psalm 46:7 “The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.”  And that whole Psalm.  It’s the one “A Mighty Fortress” is based on.

                                                                                            I love you, Reed. ♥

                                                                                            Kathy Sue

****

Saxony

Wednesday, September 26, 1635

Dear Kathy Sue,

        I just got two letters from you, dated August 16 and August 25.  Don’t know what caused the delay, but we should have a pretty good system in place now.

        I’m so sorry you’re having nightmares.  I wish I were there to hold you.  Not sure if it will make a difference, but the Saxons are not going to be attacking Grantville.  General von Arnim still has an army, but they’re sitting in Leipzig.  I don’t think they want to tangle with us again, and they’ve probably heard the news:  Duke John George and his wife are dead.  Their carriage got blown up.  It’s like something from Beirut or Northern Ireland.  Please pray for Saxony.  A lot of people are shocked and upset.  Captain-General Gustav—Captain-General Vasa—Captain-General Gars?  What’s the proper way to say it?  Anyway, he’s ordered Duke Ernst Wettin, the prime minister’s brother, to Saxony to be the provincial administrator.  Most of the men I’ve talked to from the regiments that marched down to Ingolstadt last summer say the duke is all right.  But he’s supposed to bring General Johan Banér with him.  Banér doesn’t like the Committees of Correspondence, and they’re basically running Dresden right now.  Good thing, too.  They may be rough around the edges—no more than West Virginians, really—but Dresden’s still standing.  No fires, no epidemics.

        We’re . . . not going to be here to keep the lid on.  I guess the generals have other things for us to do.

        Hi, Lydia!  I’m glad you like school.  Hi, Thomas!  Mommy says you’re reading books.  Hi, Mark!  How high are you building the blocks?  Hi, Mary!  I bet you’re getting big.

        Thanks for sending Ephesians 6.  When you’ve got no shortage of firepower, it’s hard to remember that.  We’re seeing attitudes and beliefs that are different from the rest of the USE.  Well, not different, but a couple years behind—like when we first got to Wismar.  But truth, righteousness, faith—I can talk with Saxons about those, and after a while we understand each other.

A memory: Our parents blindsiding us with that sit-down talk about how they wanted us to join the military, go to college, or have steady jobs before we got married.  Looking back on it, I see why they wanted us to wait.  If I’d known the Ring of Fire was coming, I probably would’ve joined the Army.  But then we would have gotten married three years into a four-year enlistment, and I might have stayed in, and we’d have missed the Ring of Fire.  But we’re here, so no use worrying about it.  And having those three years to become best friends first was a pretty good idea.

A verse: John 8:36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

I miss you.

                                                                                              Love you, Sugar.

                                                                                              Reed

****

Our House, Grantville

Tuesday, October 2, 1635

Dear Reed,

        Your September 3rd letter arrived today.  It’s late, and both Mark and Mary are awake and fussing.  Mary’s teething.  So I’m holding Mary, occasionally rocking Mark, and writing.

        Grantville’s fine.  Just about everybody has figured out that the Saxons aren’t actually going to attack us.  The radio makes it sound like the USE pretty much controls Saxony and Brandenburg, so I hope you can come home soon.

        Things are going pretty well here.  Some kid was being mean at school and asked Lydia if Burroughs were for rabbits.  She doesn’t actually understand he was being mean and has started signing her work “Lydia Bunny Rabbit”. ☺Mrs. Reardon was a little concerned, of course.  I explained to Lydia that for worksheets she has to use her grown-up name, but when she colors or paints she can use Lydia Bunny Rabbit as her artist name if she wants to.  So everybody’s happy.

        Letter jackets are tricky.  So are down-time zippers.  But I’ve finished two and have a third to do.

        I’m having to really work hard preparing for Bible study because Elisabetha and the others ask such good questions.  I went to ask Pastor Green if I could borrow a couple books.  He even said he’d see if the Bibelgesellschaft could look up some more information for me.  And that’s how I met a really neat bunch of high school girls.  I’m still getting to know them, but Clyde and Bettina Rice’s daughter Alicia has already offered to babysit.

        While I was waiting to talk to Pastor Green, I overheard some things that I don’t think I was supposed to.  Some folks at First Baptist are not happy with Green.  It’s not where we chose to go before the Ring of Fire.  I miss our church in Fairmont, but I think Green’s doing as well as can be expected.  Some people . . .

        So we could use some prayers here.  You know my dad.  He thinks we ought to have a house church, but he’s in Erfurt.  Not sure what to do but I did find this:

        A verse—Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

        I hope everything’s going well.  I miss you, Reed.  How are you doing?  Really doing?  Package on the way.

        A memory—Go pull your rifle rounds out of the box.  I’ll wait.

Swimming at summer youth camp. ☺

        The kids all want me to tell you, “We love you, Daddy.”  Well, Mary is mostly just blowing bubbles in your general direction.  She’s a cutie.

                                                                                            I love you, Reed. ♥

                                                                                            Kathy Sue

****

Swiebodzin, Poland

Monday, October 8, 1635

Dear Kathy Sue,

        I’m so sorry people were giving you a hard time about having kids.  I wish I were there with you.  You handled it perfectly.

        I hope you’re all feeling better.  Sounds like you’ve been pretty busy.  Don’t overdo it, okay?

        I’m sure you noticed I’m writing from Poland.  The censors were going to take it out, but word came down from Headquarters not to go overboard.  We invaded Poland.  It’s not much of a secret.  I’m sure you’ve already heard.  And trust me, the Poles know, too.  There was a battle here three days ago.  Medium-sized and vicious.  Kathy, HQ actually told us to put this next part in.  Some of our guys from a couple units went off the deep end and started committing atrocities.  Mike Stearns killed them dead.  That ought to make sure there’s no more of that crap.  I mean there’s really not going to be any more of that crap.  Stearns formed a new unit to prevent it.  It’s called the Hangman Regiment, and he put Jeff Higgins in command of it.  I’ve read my guys the riot act, just to be sure.

        Poland is a whole different thing than Saxony.  You’re probably going to hear that the supply line got attacked.  I’m not allowed to write details about that.  I’m fine.  Alex got hit.  It truly is only a flesh wound.  He’s going to be fine, although I might have to sit on him to get him from trying to do too much.  Jimmy, Charles, Hans, and Bruce are all fine.  The other side, not so much.  I know you’ll worry.  I’m sorry about that.  But I figured if you were going to hear anyway, I ought to tell you what I can so you can worry less than if you just had to wonder about it.

        So the church service yesterday was downright crowded.  It needed to be a salvation message, so I preached from John 4 about how Jews and Samaritans didn’t like each other, but Jesus talked to the woman at the well anyway.  Mentioned the Good Samaritan and Philip, Peter, and John going to them in Acts.  Made a couple officers mad.  They don’t think we should treat the Poles like Jesus died for them, too.  Len Straley heard about it and told them to stuff it.  They were unaware the colonel of the volley gun regiment is Pentecostal.  I heard it was exciting.

        I’m sorry this letter is so grim.  I’ll try to lighten up.

        Hug the kids for me, please.  Daddy misses all of you.

        Sounds like the Bible study is going really well.  Way to go, Kathy.

        A memory: You mentioned the bookstore.  You working at the bookstore and me working at the hardware store.  And Lydia being born.  We have almost all happy memories from up-time.  Down-time has been hard, but we have pretty happy memories here, too.  Thomas and Mark and Mary.  Coming home from all the times I’ve had to be away.  You and the kids arriving in Wismar in that covered wagon.

        A verse: John 4:24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

                                                                                             Love you, Sugar.

                                                                                             Reed

****

Our House, Grantville

Saturday, October 20, 1635

Dear Reed,

I got your September 26 letter yesterday.  Voice of America announced a couple weeks ago that the USE Army had entered Poland.  Some folks here don’t think it’s a good idea, but VOA said that Poland sent a small force to Zwenkau and took in the Brandenburg army.  And took land from Brandenburg and Saxony.  I’m not wild about it, but I don’t see that there was much choice.  If you wouldn’t mind explaining what you can about it?

A couple days ago, VOA said there was a battle at a town called Zalanogora, or something like that.  Then today they were talking about some place called Warta River.  I’m no expert, but they really didn’t seem to have very much information.  You be safe, ok?

        It’s getting cold here.  The kids like playing in the leaves.  I’m wearing sweatpants to run.  I’m back down to 130.

        Lydia and her friends have been playing princess at school during recess.  Apparently that’s a problem.

        She told me they ended up playing senator this week instead.  I asked her why she and her friends changed their game, and she said, “Rahel and Maria’s mommies said they’re not allowed to be princesses because they’re not adel.  So we play senators instead.  First you have to be a ‘volutiony and then you have to get ‘lected.”  Then she leaned in close and whispered, “Then you’re a senator and you can do all the same things as a princess.  Shh.  Don’t tell.”

        I tucked our little revolutionary in at 7:30 tonight.

        Thomas and Mark wanted to play football yesterday.  I’m not sure how Thomas even knows about football, but his explanation to Mark was hilarious.  “And you get four points if you take the ball away from the other team.”  I got to be the other team, and they wore me out.

        Mary’s getting so big.  And sitting up.

        I know exactly what you mean about how we might have done things differently if we knew the Ring of Fire was coming.  I miss up-time, but if we got to go back to 2000, I’d miss everyone here.

        A memory—Remember what we did after our parents asked us to wait until we were 21 to get married?  The next Saturday, you took me to the mall in Morgantown.  We had milkshakes and planned out the next three years.  I agree—I’m so glad we were best friends first.

        A verse—Psalm 3:3 “But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.”

                                                                                            I love you, Reed. ♥

                                                                                            Kathy Sue

****

Bohemia

Sunday, October 28, 1635

Dear Kathy Sue,

        I just got handed your October 2 letter, and supposedly this one will get to you faster.  You’ve probably already heard what’s happened.  There was a hard fight here at Zielona Gora, and then the Poles attacked the Hessians at Warta River.  Then they hit the Swedish Army at Lake Bledno.  Kathy, the Captain-General’s hurt.  It was pretty bad for both sides.  We got there right at the end.  I don’t know what people are saying, but hold on to this:  The Poles left.  They didn’t want to take us on after facing the Swedes.

        Please pray for Gustav.  And Kristina, too.  She must be scared.  And all the wounded and the families.  We’re praying for First Baptist here.

        Alex is back on duty and doing fine.  Things are tense here, but we’re doing okay.  I’m doing my thing.

        I apologize for the abrupt change of subject, but I need to write quickly.

        I ran into some folks called the Unitas Fratrum.  They’re good people, love the Lord.  You’d like them.  They’ve been pumping me for information on up-time Christianity and comparing it to Scripture and to what they already know, like the Bereans.  Um, it’s pretty clear that they have people in Grantville, but I guess everybody does, and Mike and Ed are okay with it.  I trust them.  Could you see if you or maybe Pastor Green can find answers to the enclosed list of questions, please?  Your dad said he’s sending some money.  Use that to pay for researchers or paper.  And why don’t you start sending us copies of your Bible studies, too?  I think the camp followers and the Unitas Fratrum would like them.

        I managed to spill half a box of bullets before I found your pictures under the block.  Wow!  I remember you coming down to the lakefront wearing that blue swimsuit.  It blew my mind that you could be so hot in what’s really a very modest swimsuit.

        The other one . . . You’re breathtaking.  You got Dorothea to draw you in your sparkly bikini when she came up to visit in Erfurt, didn’t you?  Oh!  That day that Lydia wanted a swimsuit like Mommy’s.  I just now figured out what she was talking about.  Nice scheming, Honey.

        A memory:  The first time you wore it.

        A verse:  Proverbs 18:22 “He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the Lord.”

        I’m very favored, and you’re a hottie.

        I’ve got to mail this right now.

                                                                                            I love you, Sexy.

                                                                                            Reed

****

Our House, Grantville

Monday, November 5, 1635

Dear Reed,

        We’ve heard all sorts of terrible news—Gustav is hurt, his wife is dead, Landgrave Wilhelm of Hesse is dead, and Mark Ellis is missing.  Nobody here seems to know much more than that.  Stephanie’s expecting, so I took some food over.  She’s far enough along that she can keep food down.  She’s just so worried about Mark.  Mark’s twin sister Mackenzie and her baby are staying with her for now.

        I talked to Alex’s wife, and she had already been notified that Alex was wounded.  She said she was panicking afterwards, but that she’d gotten a letter from him, and he said he was okay.

        That’s horrifying news from Swiebodzin.  I heard it on VOA.  That’s the same incident you wrote about in your October 8 letter, isn’t it?  It sounds like Jeff Higgins and the Hangman Regiment must be pretty tough.

        Is there anything you can tell us?  I’m worried about you.  We haven’t had any more defense drills in Grantville, so I assume that means we don’t think the Poles could attack us.  In fact, it sounds like General Torstensson is pushing them back.  VOA said that before the Captain-General was injured, he appointed Prime Minister Wettin’s brother Duke Ernst administrator of Saxony and ordered General Banér to move his army to Saxony.  Hopefully that army can go help you.  But then VOA said that Mike Stearns’ Third Division has been ordered to Bohemia, and that doesn’t make any sense at all.  So maybe all of this is just speculation.  (Look at me second-guessing your commanders, like I know what I’m doing or something.)

        I hope the church is doing well.  I sent Brenda Straley a note and thanked her for what Len did.

        The women’s study is going well here.  A couple girls from the Bibelgesellschaft came and explained some stuff to us.  A Marta Engelsbergin did a church history of where all the denominations came from and a Katharina Meisnerin did the history of the Bible.  And Alicia Rice is a great babysitter.  All the ladies are concerned about the war, but it’s starting to feel like we’re all in this together.

        Things aren’t so good at First Baptist.  People are really divided over the down-time Anabaptist service.  Alicia told me about her friend Nona Dobbs, who is one of the people caught in the middle.  Please pray for us here.  Reed, I think my dad’s right—that we should be reaching out to the down-timers, and that a house church is the best way to do that.  I asked Marta, and she promised to get back to me with some more information.

        I had to explain to Lydia that it’s fine to be revolutionaries, but she has to let everyone else play.  Apparently the girls have discovered telling on each other.  So I had a talk with her about what happens when revolutionaries start using the government against each other.  I don’t need college to explain why police states are evil.  But I might need college to stay ahead of Lydia in a few years.  I couldn’t remember that much about Martha Washington and Abigail Adams, so mostly we talked about Becky Stearns.

        The boys are doing well.  All the kids send hugs & kisses.  Mary sends a big smile.

        A memory—That was quite a list of memories!  Wismar was really cold.  Had to cuddle to stay warm. ☺  Erfurt was fun.  I hope you get to come back to Grantville soon.  It’s . . . different.  I’ll always remember what it was like when we were growing up.  And the town meeting in the gym right after the Ring of Fire.  And you guys rolling back into town after the battles in ’32.

        A verse—Isaiah 40:31 “But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”

                                                                                            I love you, Reed. ♥

                                                                                            Kathy Sue

****

Prague, Bohemia

Saturday, November 17, 1635

Dear Kathy Sue,

        Thanks.  I needed that letter, your October 20 one, with how the kids are doing.  Good for them.  It’s great that the boys want to play “football.”  I think Lydia and her friends playing senator is a wonderful idea.  Please tell Lydia that Daddy thinks she is very grown-up for playing games about people who do things rather than about people who think they’re better than everyone else because of who their family is.  We do have a few members of the adel with us—General Knyphausen and General Brunswick-Lüneburg, to start with—who are stand-up guys.  But a lot more of the adel could get off their butts and help out.

        Generals Torstensson, Knyphausen, and Brunswick are still in Poland, and they’ve driven the Poles back to Poznan.  I knew I can say that because I’ve already seen it in the papers.  But we’re in Bohemia, and I’m not sure why.  The Poles sure aren’t here.  But General Banér is still coming north.  Please be praying.  Something’s off.

        A memory: Going hunting the first winter after the Ring of Fire, putting our skills to use, and realizing it actually mattered, and we were going to make it.

        A verse: Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

                                                                                          Love you, Sugar.

                                                                                          Reed

****

Our House, Grantville

Monday, November 19, 1635

Dear Reed,

        Your October 28 letter got here in three weeks flat.

        We’re all praying for Gustav and Kristina and Landgravine Amalie and everybody else.  VOA and the papers covered the battles.  Now we’re hearing that General Torstensson has Poznan under siege.  It sounds to me like the war is going better—except that now we’re hearing that Third Division really is going to Bohemia, and that doesn’t make any sense to me.

        Not much has changed at First Baptist.  Our women’s study has had a couple really good weeks.  We talked about faith and works.  As long as we were sending copies to Elisabetha’s sisters, I figured we probably ought to send them to Mom in Erfurt as well.  It’s kind of weird.  We’re almost a church.  Really the only reason we aren’t is that we don’t agree on baptism and communion.  And there are no guys.  So I invited all the ladies to bring their husbands and boyfriends to Thanksgiving dinner.

        Anna Maria, Rosina, Magdalena, and Elisabetha are concerned we’re close to being a church, but Marta told us about the Moravians.  They developed from the Unitas Fratrum that you met.  I’m including her summary.  Marta said her brother actually met some of them here in Grantville—they belonged to some sort of military unit called Battlegroup Procopius.

        I hope you found all the bullets. ☺ Glad you like the pictures.  Do you want another?  Any requests on what I’m wearing?

        A memory—Date nights.  I really miss date nights with you, especially the ones since the Ring of Fire where we’d try to cook something elegant and laugh because we were making it up as we went.

        A verse—You’re being sappy again.  But let’s go with that.  Proverbs 5:18b “And rejoice in the wife of your youth.”

                                                                                            I love you, Reed. ♥

                                                                                            Kathy Sue

****

Our House, Grantville

Thursday, November 29, 1635

Dear Reed,

There’s been an outbreak of measles in Grantville.  Dr. Abrabanel announced travel restrictions.  The schools are going to be closed.  I don’t know much else yet.  Please pray for us.

                                                                                            I love you, Reed. ♥

                                                                                            Kathy Sue

****

České Budějovice, Bohemia

Sunday, December 2, 1635

Dear Kathy Sue,

        We just got word that Grantville is under quarantine for the measles.  Our guys picked up a radio message.

        We prayed for all of you in Grantville at church today.  I know you guys are probably scared.  We sure are.  Can you call the guys’ families, please?  Alexander Ebenhöch, Jimmy Dunn, Charlie McDow, Hans Moschel, Mike Marcantonio, Friedrich Patzscheldt, Caspar Treiber, Bruce Reynolds, Len Straley, Voss Gordon.  Just let them know we’re all thinking of them.  Other guys in the division, not from the Ring of Fire area, have been stopping in to offer their sympathy, too.

        Yeah, Mark Ellis is missing.  I’m sorry.  I knew about it, but I couldn’t say anything.  Please tell Stephanie and Mackenzie there were people out looking for him.  The Army’s on it.  I know, we’re cooling our heels here in Bohemia for no good reason when we could be looking for Mark.  I’m not happy about it, either.

        I got your November 5 and November 19 letters yesterday.  The second one was really fast.  You’re absolutely right about the military stuff.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense.

        I’m really excited the women’s study is going so well.  And I hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving.  We had a pretty good one here.  A few of the Unitas Fratrum came, and I’ve met the guys who were in Battlegroup Procopius.

        I always want more pictures.  Next letter maybe I can tease you about it.  Right now . . .

        Take care.  I want to give you all kinds of advice, but you’re the one who’s there.  Stay well, Honey.

A memory:  Remember the cold spell the first winter downtime?  How we just stayed in the house and rode it out?  I guess you’re doing that now.  Please hug the kids for me and tell them Daddy loves them and misses them.

A verse:  Psalm 18:2 “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

                                                                                          Love you, Sugar.

                                                                                          Reed

****

Our House, Grantville

Saturday, December 8, 1635

Dear Reed,

        A lot of kids have died of measles. Or measles and influenza.  Reed, the Crafts’ little girl Nora died.  They were up in Jena.  I feel so bad for Norris and Alysa.  I don’t know what I’m going to tell Lydia and Thomas.  How do I tell them Nora died?

        We’re okay.  The TV says they’re getting the outbreak under control.  We had St. Nicholas Day by ourselves.   Magdalena, Rosina, and Anna Maria are wonderful.  They’re able to go back to work Monday.  We’ve got a washing station set up so they’ll scrub back in when they come home.  We got a message that Dorothea, Johann, and little Friedrich are doing fine.

        I got your letter of November 17.  I’m glad the USE Army has good officers.  General Banér’s army marched through Thuringia on their way to Saxony.  It sounds like he’s going to put Dresden under siege, and that makes absolutely no sense.  You already captured Dresden.

        Everything seems to be spiraling out of control.

        A memory—How many times since the Ring of Fire have we told each other, “God has this under control?”  Been right every time, too.

        A verse—Luke 1:1-2:20. Merry Christmas!  Merry Christmas from Lydia, Thomas, Mark, and Mary.

                                                                                            I love you, Reed. ♥

                                                                                            Kathy Sue

****

České Budějovice, Bohemia

Wednesday, December 19, 1635

Dear Kathy Sue,

        We’re praying for you and the kids and the Crafts and everyone else in Grantville.  And for Gustav and Kristina and for the government.  The radio guys told us the measles are winding down, that the doctors have it under control.  I hope you’re all still okay.  Stay safe.

        You and the kids must be tired of being cooped up.  I hope it’s going okay, and I’m sorry I’m not there with you.

        We’re trying to do our thing here.  Quite a few people are coming to church, including some Unitas Fratrum.

        I know it’s not a happy time right now, but it’s almost Christmas.  It will be by the time this gets to you.  Merry Christmas!  Please tell the kids Merry Christmas from Daddy.

        A memory:  Our first down-time Christmas.  And then the second one when all of Grantville tried to get together.  And last year in Erfurt.

        A verse:  Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

                                                                                          Love you, Sugar.

                                                                                          Reed

****

Our House, Grantville

Wednesday, December 26, 1635

Dear Reed,

RaKS-thrkngs        The Sanitary Commission lifted the quarantine before Christmas.  VOA and the newspapers say there haven’t been any new cases of measles in over a week.  There’s still influenza going around, so we’ll keep being careful.  But your parents were able to come over on Christmas.  It was nice.  I told the kids we’ll do presents on Three Kings, the same day that the wise men brought presents to baby Jesus.  They’re rolling with it.

        I wasn’t quite ready to take the kids out in public yet.  I’m probably just being overcautious.  We have gone out and played in the snow a couple times.  So we didn’t go to church on the 23rd.  Deacon Underwood announced that the deacons had voted no confidence in Pastor Green on the 17th and that there will be a congregational vote on January 6.  Word spread pretty quickly.  I don’t know how it’s going to go, Reed.  It wasn’t our church, so in some ways we’re just as much outsiders as any down-timer.  But in other ways, it shouldn’t matter.

        I think Lydia is going to be ready to go back to school.  Thomas and Mark need to spend some time around other kids—once we’re sure the measles outbreak is over.  Mary is crawling around and cautiously standing up.

        A memory—The two of us wanting summer vacation to be over once we figured out we saw each other a lot more during the school year.

        A verse—Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”

                                                                                               I love you, Reed. ♥

                                                                                               Kathy Sue

****

České Budějovice, Bohemia

Thursday, December 27, 1635

Dear Kathy Sue,

        I’m so sorry Nora Craft died.  If you see Norris and Alysa, please tell them how sorry I am.  Nobody should have to deal with that but so many parents have had to.

        The radiomen have been keeping us up to date.  I know the doctors are getting the measles under control.  And I know you’re being careful.  And I know it’s been a sad Christmas.  I hope you’re all well.

        We’re doing ok here.  Mostly we’re bored.  We had a nice Christmas, but I’d rather be home with you and the kids.  There’s no real reason for us to be here.

        Thank you for sending Luke 1-2.  It’ll help keep me focused.

        A verse:  Rev 21:4 “and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

        A memory:  Coming home from work and seeing you and the kids.

                                                                                             Love you, Sugar.

                                                                                             Reed

****

Our House, Grantville

Thursday, January 10, 1636

Dear Reed,

        Banér opened fire on Dresden.  The Crown Loyalists really are going to try to suppress us, aren’t they?  Or so they think.  Did you see this Charter of Rights and Duties they issued?  They really think they can go back to how things were before the Ring of Fire?  They say they’re moving the capital to Berlin.  I don’t think they understand that we’re not going to have that kind of Germany this time.

        And then Bavaria attacked Ingolstadt.  VOA said that Tom Simpson sent a radio message, but they haven’t heard anything since.  The National Guard already marched out.  It’s been on the radio, so it’s safe to write.

        Our block captain came by and told us to make sure we had winter clothing ready.  So I had a winter go-bag ready for the kids when they called a defense drill on Tuesday.  The girls and I grabbed the kids and got to our positions.  Grantville’s ready.  Reed, I didn’t have any nightmares that night or last night.  Maybe later.  Right now, I think I’m too mad.  Your mom says she needs some grandma time with the kids.  I was going to work on the next Bible study, but I’d better get in some range time instead.

        On the 6th, First Baptist voted out Pastor Green.  Great example on Three Kings, huh?  The Greens are going to move up to Old Joe Jenkins’ place on the mountain and open a Bible school.  Joe left town a while ago.  I don’t know where he went.  We hear stories sometimes.  I’m pretty sure some other folks are leaving with the Greens.

        I can’t see going back to First Baptist.  You’re in Bohemia, Dad’s in Erfurt.  I guess I’ll tell the ladies they can come by on Sunday morning if they want to, and we’ll have church.  Or they can go to church somewhere else and come here for Bible study.  Whatever works for them.  I’ll have to see if we can get a pastor to preach sometimes.

        The measles outbreak is definitely over.  The schools are open again.  Lydia was so glad to see her friends again.  Mary took her first steps.  Now that she’s got it figured out, it looks like she’s stuck on full speed ahead.  Mark’s pretty happy she’s walking.  I think in his mind it promoted her from “baby” to “playmate”.  Thomas is really energetic, as in wearing Mommy out.  I think it’d be good for him to play with somebody his own age so I’ll try to figure something out.  We had a good time on Three Kings.

        A memory—Our dads and grandpas talking about being in the military.  And our moms and grandmas telling us what it was like at home.

        A verse—1 Corinthians 7:23 “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.”  The song that Marla Linder sang reminded me of this verse.  I had to hunt around in a concordance to find it while the kids were at story hour.

                                                                                            I love you, Reed. ♥

                                                                                            Kathy Sue

****

České Budějovice, Bohemia

Saturday, January 12, 1636

Dear Kathy Sue,

        I can’t tell you how relieved I am to hear that the outbreak is over.  I hope all of you had a fun Three Kings.

        One crisis down, three to go.  What is First Baptist thinking?  How did the vote go?  Kathy, you’ve got a lot on your plate, but can your women’s study take in anybody who doesn’t have a church anymore?

        The other two are Oxenstierna and Maximilian.  We got word that Oxenstierna has arrested Prime Minister Wettin.  I have no­ idea what’s going on.  But this could get very bad, Kathy.  And Maximilian attacking Ingolstadt?  It’s insane.  I mean that.  The guys call him Mad Max.  Please talk to my dad.  Have a plan ready, just in case.  We’re doing our thing.

        I can’t wait to see you and the kids again.  I’m so glad they’re doing well.

        A memory:  Mike’s speech right after the Ring of Fire.  We might be back there.

        A verse:  Psalm 23, especially verse 4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

                                                                                             Love you, Sugar.

                                                                                             Reed

****

Our House, Grantville

Friday, January 18, 1636

Dear Reed,

        Thank you.

        I went over to see the Krafts.  Alysa and I had a good cry.  They’re hurting.

        I told Lydia and Thomas.  Sometimes I don’t think they really understand but then Thomas asked if Nora would grow up in heaven or if she’d always be four.  I told him I didn’t know but that Jesus would have a really long time to teach everyone lots of things so maybe we’ll all seem more grown-up than we look.  He seemed okay with that.  I hope I’m at least somewhat close to correct.

RaKS-drsdn        You probably hear all this before I do.  The Bavarians are in the Oberpfalz, Banér is still besieging Dresden, and a bunch of nobles who got thrown out of Mecklenburg during Krystalnacht tried to take it back.  They lost.

        VOA is saying it’s no accident that the USE Army just happened to be out of the country when this all happened.  It’s also saying that some Crown Loyalists are honorable and trying to stay out of it—like Landgravine Amalie of Hesse and your General Brunswick.

        Alicia Rice has agreed to teach Sunday school if we have church.  Plus, Marta Engelsberg said that there are a whole bunch of Anabaptist pastors and elders who don’t get to preach as often as they’d like.  So we’re going to start Sunday services this week.  Of course having an Anabaptist preacher is a problem.  So I told the ladies that we’d go in alphabetical order:  Anabaptist, Arminian, Calvinist, Lutheran, Roman Catholic for the next five weeks.  They’ve all got assistant pastors who think they don’t get to preach often enough, too.  Half of them objected to our arrangements, but that just narrowed down who to pick.

        Alicia says A & A Day Care is really good, and she wants to work there.  What do you think of having Thomas there one day a week to get him used to playing with other four-year-olds before kindergarten next year?

        Mary is walking and sort of talking—mostly “mamamama.”  We’ll work on “dadadada.”  Mark is getting into everything.  Lydia has settled back into a routine at school.

        I don’t suppose they’ll let you guys come home soon?  I miss you.

A memory—The Fourth of July, 1631.  I think that’s when a lot of us realized that not only we were still going to be us, but it was going to work, too.

A verse— Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  I know I sent you this verse in my first letter in June.  It’s still appropriate.

                                                                                            I love you, Reed. ♥

                                                                                            Kathy Sue

****

Our House, Grantville

Monday, February 4, 1636

Dear Reed,

        Yeah, we had a good time on Three Kings.  Thomas wanted to put out gold, frankincense, and myrrh for Jesus.  We’ve still got some work to do. ☺

        I got your letter on Saturday but waited to write back so I could tell you how this Sunday went.  It was our third service, so it was Calvinist Sunday.  We had nine ladies and twenty or so kids.  That’s about average, although it’s different people each week.  Next is Lutheran week, and then Roman Catholic week.  And at that point we’ll have to decide if we’ve got one mini-church or if people might as well go to five different churches.

        The vote at First Baptist was actually pretty close, but they voted Pastor Green out.  Some people left with the Greens, some more since then.  I just heard that the Chengs have had a house church for a few months, so I sent them a letter telling them a little about us, asking for advice, and trying to make sure we don’t accidentally step on their toes.

        I think you and I should coordinate, too.  I know it could be dangerous to send lists of who is attending, especially since people think Oxenstierna will try to take away freedom of religion.  But I also know that a couple of the ladies have husbands in Third Division who’ve come to your services at least once.  I even thought about coded messages but I don’t know anything about super secret spy stuff.  I’m trying to remember missionary stories from up-time, how they dealt with this.

        Yes, the papers call them the Ox and Mad Max.  I don’t know how much you can say, but I can’t figure out why Third Division isn’t attacking the Bavarians.  I mean, nobody thinks the Austrians can take Wallenstein, do they?  I talked to your dad.  We’re set.  Can’t write anything down, but you know your dad.

        It is really cold out today.  I hope you guys are staying warm.  As soon as it warms up a bit—like gets back to zero—I’m going to take the kids over to the middle school so we can run around in the gym.  They need to run off some sap, and I need to do something, even if it is just running in circles inside.

        A memory—Going to the movies up-time.  You know that kind of movie where the bad guys finally just push the hero too far?  I think the Grantville television station has been playing all of them.  There’s no way that’s a coincidence.

        A verse—Acts 11:20-21 “But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus.  And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.”  I heard that’s what Okey Rush preached on yesterday at First Baptist.

                                                                                            I love you, Reed. ♥

                                                                                            Kathy Sue

****

Bohemia

Friday, February 8, 1636

Dear Kathy Sue,

        I’m glad things are better in Grantville.  Be safe.  We just got word of two things.  Yesterday, Banér tried to storm Dresden and got his butt kicked.  And then earlier today, Princess Kristina and Prince Ulrik flew into Magdeburg.  Which means Oxenstierna isn’t as in charge as he thinks he is.  We need to keep praying about this.

        The church is doing well here.  Well, some of Wallenstein’s men think we’re pretty sketchy, but we’re getting along great with the Unitas Fratrum.  We’re learning a lot from each other, but I wish I could answer their questions.  Half the time all I can say is, “I don’t know.”

        A memory:  I’ve been telling them about up-time missionaries.  They’re fascinated.  And sometimes they already know up-time stuff.  It’s weird how that knowledge gets around.  I told them about the time that pastor spoke at your church, way back when we were in high school, and had a translator.  Remember how he had to be so careful?

        A verse:  Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

                                                                                             Love you, Sugar.

                                                                                             Reed

****

Our House, Grantville

Thursday, February 28, 1636

Dear Reed,

        I was wondering what was going on with our letters.  Now I know.  Please tell me you’re okay.  VOA reported the Battle of Ostra yesterday.  Mike really attacked in a snowstorm?  I’m sure you’ll hear it before you get this, but Captain-General Gars is awake—alert—I’m not sure of the right word, but he’s back, and Oxenstierna’s dead.  You guys did it!  Thank you!  Grantville’s going crazy.

        I just got your February 8 letter.  I get what you were saying.  And now why.  I’ve got some questions for you that I don’t think I’ll be writing down.

        It’s over, right?  Thomas is very proud of Daddy.  Lydia’s worried so we prayed for you tonight.  Me, too.

        Hoping to hear from you soon.  But I know—you’re doing your thing.  Get ’em organized and supplied.

                                                                                            I love you, Reed. ♥

                                                                                            Kathy Sue

****

Dresden, Saxony, USE

Sunday, March 2, 1636

Dear Kathy Sue,

I’m positive you’ve heard.  Third Division defeated Banér at Ostra, just outside Dresden.  Mike left our unit at Děčín, and we had to move up fast.  This is the first time I’ve sat down since we got here.

Another huge answer to prayer: The Captain-General’s better.  I’m sure Princess Kristina is overjoyed to have him back.  So are we.

Banér’s army is gone.  Casualties are heavy on both sides.  A lot of the survivors are joining us.  We’re trying to get them straightened out.  It’s pretty bad.

        I got your January 18 letter, but couldn’t answer.  Your analysis was right on.

        Uh-oh.  They’re calling us back in to resupply somebody.

        A memory:  You know how it feels coming home from camp?  Can’t wait to see you and the kids.

        A verse:  Acts 22:28 “The commander answered, ‘With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.’  And Paul said, ‘But I was born a citizen.’ ”  Preached on that this morning.  To Banér’s men.  Well, used to be Banér’s men.

                                                                                           Love you, Sugar.

                                                                                           Reed

****

Grantville

Tuesday, March 18, 1636

        “Lydia, please help Rosina clear the table,” Kathy called as she plunged another glass underwater.

        “But Mom, I want to play, too.”  A crash told Kathy that Thomas and Mark were already knocking down towers of building blocks.

        “Right after you bring me those plates, honey.”  Kathy rinsed the glass and placed it in the drying rack.  Magdalena attacked it with a dishtowel.

        The doorbell rang.

        “Is Anna Maria back already?”

        “She has a key,” Kathy reminded her.  “I’ll get it.”  She shook dishwater from her hands and hurried to the front door.  She unlocked the door, swung it open, and screamed.

        “Reed!”  Kathy threw herself into his arms.

        “Daddy!  Daddy!  Daddy!”  Lydia, Thomas, and Mark charged into their parents, arms outstretched.

        Kathy took the opportunity to kiss her husband properly, whether the kids were jumping up and down and pulling on them or not.

        “Wow,” Reed said when they came up for air.  “I should come home more often.”

        “Yes, you should.”

        Reed picked up each of the kids for a hug.  Mary studied him intently.

        “This is Daddy,” Kathy told her.  “Daddy.”

        Mary ducked her head but allowed Reed to hold her.

        “How did you get here?”

       RaKS-slgh “Sleigh from Dresden to Altenburg and railroad from there.  Kathy, I’m not home for good.  We’ve got orders to take care of Bavaria, and you can probably figure out the rest.”

        “Mike sent your Supply Company on ahead to have things ready and waiting.  You’ll make sure the supply depot in Grantville is all set, and then you’ll move on.  Bamberg, probably.”

        “Not bad.  Not bad at all.”

        Kathy’s smile vanished quickly.  “How long?”

        “A few days.”

        “Darn.”  It came out more mildly than she felt.

        Reed shifted Mary to one arm.  “I know.  I was hoping that once we got settled in Bohemia, they’d let us rotate home.  But, well, Oxenstierna had other plans.  And now we need to deal with Mad Max.”

        “Daddy!  Daddy!  Daddy!”  Lydia and Thomas tugged in opposite directions.

        “Let’s go sit on the sofa,” Reed suggested.

        “I’m sitting on Daddy’s lap,” Kathy declared before any of the kids could.  She did.

        “That’s silly,” Lydia pronounced.  But she joined her siblings in piling around and on top of their parents.

        Kathy exchanged glances and a quick smile with her husband.  He gave her a squeeze.  They’d let the kids talk to Daddy first, and she and Reed would have time alone later.

        She raised her voice.  “Magdalena!  Rosina!  Come meet Reed!”

****

        Kathy cuddled up next to Reed and pulled the blankets up to her chin.  “I missed you so much.”

        Reed kissed her.  “I missed you.”

        “Do you know where your pajamas are?  Because in the morning, the kids are going to pound on the door and want to jump in bed with us.”

        Reed stretched, trying to reach toward the floor.

        “Not yet, silly,” Kathy teased.  “We might wake up before the kids do.”

        “Ooo, I like that plan,” Reed told her.  “I do have to go to work tomorrow.  Camp Saale handed us a full inventory of the USE supplies that have been prepositioned there, so I need to place orders in the Grantville area to fill in the gaps.  I should be able to be home for dinner, but don’t wait on me if I’m not.”

        “Okay.”

        Kathy snuggled closer and started to drift off to sleep.  Then she remembered something.

        “Reed, will you still be here Sunday?”

        “I think so.”

        “Good.  Can you preach?  We were supposed to have a pastor, but he canceled.  I was going to start making calls tomorrow to line somebody up . . .”

        “Huh.  Funny how that works out,” Reed observed.  “Almost like it was planned.  Sure.  I’ll bring my guys.  Oh—a couple letters ago you asked about comparing who was attending.  Remind me in the morning.  I have a list in my pack.  Can you check them against yours . . .?”

        “And see if I need to make sure to invite anyone’s family for this Sunday?  Or if you need to invite any of your guys in particular?” she finished for him.

        “Exactly.  And there’s this monk we need to pray for.  I didn’t dare write down anything about him.”

        Kathy sat up.  “There’s a girl who comes to the Bible study and church.  She’s Unitas Fratrum.  Remember how you said they had people in Grantville?  I couldn’t tell you . . .”

        “. . . because she’s technically a spy, even if we not only don’t care but are actively encouraging it,” Reed murmured.  He sounded distracted.

        “Reed?”  Then Kathy realized she’d lost her blankets when she sat up.

        “Definitely a picture I want to remember,” her husband told her.  “C’mere.”  He pulled her down close.

        “How’s the PTSD?” he whispered.

        “I’m good, Reed.  I could really do without any more defense drills, but I can handle a raid if I have to.”  She waited a moment.  “You?”

        “I’m good, too, Kathy.  The battles are different than the dreams.  It makes the dreams less real.”

        “Do you want to talk about it?”

        “Maybe tomorrow.  Right now I just want to hold you.”

        Kathy really couldn’t object to that.

        A few minutes later, Reed murmured, “Thank you, Jesus, for protecting us.”

        “Please keep Reed safe,” Kathy chimed in.

        “And Kathy and the kids.”

        “Amen.”

****

Kathy is using a New King James Version.  

“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

 

Reed is using a New American Standard Bible.

“Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973,

1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Used by permission.” (www.Lockman.org)

 

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9 thoughts on “Reed & Kathy Sue

  1. Charles Grimm

    Very well written, thanks. Nice to see a loving couple portrayed. We’re having a wonderful start to our marriage, just 30 something years so far, with many more to go, God willing. There’s a dearth of entertainment which leaves one smiling and thinking about the joys of life, so I’ll look forward to more stories in the future.

  2. Lorraine Rovig

    Thank you. So many times I’ve read a novel or short story about ordinary people set in the 1600s, 1700s, or 1800s, with nary a mention of religion, and that is not true to their time periods. These uptimer West Virginians of our century are presented realistically as people with a strong religious bent, and that is true too.

  3. leland lay

    I like this approach of showing a panorama of a busy time period through a the eyes of a couple of minor characters. The medium of personal letters is well handled in the fact that the author avoids the temptation to provide more background that a real letter would contain. The messages are quite believable, and the readers will appreciate being given credit for remembering the basics of the plot. Make use of this vehicle again.

    Lee Gibson

  4. Steve Cossey

    I’ve thought about how Naomi & I would handle living in Grantville. We’re older than Reed & Kathy Sue, but I identify with them in many ways, even to Bible translations! I served in the Navy in the 1970’s and led a security team on my ship while also being the Protestant lay leader. My wife is the KJV/NKJV reader & I’m the NASB person. Our fellowship would best be with the independent Christians, (we’re Bible Church, IFCA ). I have a lot of Bible study helps / commentaries for Dr. Green’s school and would pray about teaching there. With the problems at “First Baptist” a new Bible study / house church would be on my mind also. We’ve been part of a church plant team in Kansas City. A truly great job of believable writing for my family in the 1632 time line!

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