I was told to write a paper (from the perspective of a family) on the Westward Expansion using a youtube video as my source. And I forgot about it until the day before it was due. I had an extreme cold and was a bit out of it when I remembered- oh crap I have that assignment. I don’t have the best grades in history rn (cause life happens) and really needed to turn it in. So this is what I wrote. It’s better than nothing!
HERE LIES THE SONG FAMILY: AN EXAMPLE TO ALL
Hester stuffs her most treasured possession, a picture of her friend Reginald, in her cotton-picking sack. “I’m coming, Reggie,” she whispers. Reginald’s family had begun the trip out west three months ago- they should be reaching Oregon by now, if they’re lucky. Hester’s family begins the trip in five minutes- Hester just needs to finish packing her belongings, which she procrastinated for several weeks. First they would take a ferry to St. Joseph, and from there, would begin the long wagon trip that would not end for months, with fresh danger each day. Or so her father told her. Hester was very teenager-y about this whole business.
TWO MONTHS LATER:
Sonny prances along the trail, laughing with his friend Opie. Hester scowls from the wagon, telling them to keep it down, but Sonny pays her no mind. All she does is sniff flowers, sigh, and stare at that stupid picture of her boyfriend. Ugh. Sonny’s stomach growls.
“Mom, can I have some beef jerky?”
Mother doesn’t even turn from the gaggle of women before replying, “We aren’t made of food, Sonny. You’ll have to wait until dinner.”
“Dinner isn’t for another four hours! And technically, we are food! Didn’t you hear about the Hungsmiths?”
Panicked, Mother slaps a hand over his mouth. “I don’t want to hear that kind of talk. Don’t make me switch you.”
Grumbling, Sonny returns to Opie, a dull ache in his empty stomach.
THREE DAYS LATER:
Baby Yoo screams in her cradle as the wolves howl. Hester clutches her picture to her stomach and looks out into the wilderness from the circle of wagons. If given the chance, would Indians really attack us? Sonny comes up behind her and snatches the picture. “Who’s this?” He squawks, rubbing his dirty paws over Reginald’s delicate face.
“Give it back, Sonny!” Hester whines.
Father looks up from his tools and the dry, cracked wagon. “What’s that, Sonny?”
“No,” Hester pleads. Crushes were immoral! Suddenly, Mother hunches over and screams, saving Hester.
“I think I have cholera!” Mother whimpers.
“You’ll be fine,” Father assures her. “Just use some essential oils.” Two weeks later, Mother dies of cholera.
ONE AND ½ MONTHS LATER:
“It’s a grave! It’s a grave! Can we go and look?!” Sonny whines, tugging on Father’s sleeve. Hester looks up from her picture for the first time in weeks, interested.
“Sure. Just don’t walk on it or the ghost will haunt you forever,” Father warns.
The grave reads: HERE LIES REGINALD SONG, WHO DIED OF A BROKEN ARM.
Hester whimpers and paces back and forth across the grave, pleading with Reginald’s dead body. “Please haunt me, my love.” Sonny throws up a little and returns to the wagon.
As you can see, the Westward Expansion proposed many unique situations, including heart-break, dead mothers, and circles of wagons to ward off Indians.