Down in their stateroom Amy was trying to walk across the room, when the ship bucked and
rolled, Amy lost her balance and fell backwards, sitting down hard on the deck. She was
terrorized, she hollered at A. J. who was trying to help her to her feet, when the ship lurched hard
and they both fell down again. A. J. finally got Amy over to the bunk. She was feeling sick and
was afraid, as she had never experienced rough weather while aboard a ship. On her first trip to
Europe the weather was calm and the sea was smooth, this was her first time to ever see the
awesome power, of a storm at sea. As the storm worsened the ship would not only dive and lurch
but it would roll from side to side. Amy was grabbing at A. J.'s clothes, clutching at him with
both hands, she was near hysteria with fear, as the ship tossed and rolled, she could hardly stay
on the bunk, she was yelling at A. J. but her speech was incoherent. A. J. gathered her into his
arms saying, "Oh my Darling, everything is going to be all right. You don't have to be afraid, I
am with you and I love you." Amy started to cry, sobbing uncontrollably. A. J. continued to sooth
her for a half an hour, then as her sobs subsided, he knew that he could talk to her, he said., "My
Darling, there are a lot of things that I want to tell you about. Have you thought very much about
the things you have heard in Church? or the things you have read in the Bible? Do you remember
when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments?" She answered, "Oh I have read the Ten
Commandments many times but what does the Ten Commandments have to do with this awful
storm?" A. J. said, "The First Commandment says 'Thou shalt have no other Gods before me'
Amy my love, are you making your fear of this storm a God? Don't you think that God is in
control of our lives?" She answered, "Well, if He is in control, why does He allow a terrible
storm like this to happen?" A. J. said, "This is a test and a lesson for hundreds or thousands of
people. God gave men commandments, when men don't pay attention to them, He shows them
His power, it is God's control, that puts things back to normal." Amy said, "I have never thought
of Church lessons in that way." A. J. said, "Well, lets try to study together and apply the things
that we are learning, from our present experience, to our lives. We know that God is in control,
now that word CONTROL is the key to this lesson, God has put us here and has given us many,
many wonderful gifts, some of these gifts are our various emotions. He expects us to be in
control of them, just as He is in control of everything. If we let our emotions control us, then are
we not making our emotions a God? Thus not obeying His commandments." Amy said, "You are
right, I should be ashamed of the way I have been carrying on. I forget some times that life itself,
is one of Gods blessings. How can I ask for Him to forgive me? or for you to forgive me, I am
sorry my love." A. J. said, "Another place the Bible tells us that there is a time for all things, I
think it is the third Chapter in Ecclesiastes, all of our emotions and other things that we think
about are all listed there. We should feel afraid of things that we know nothing about, but we
have to be careful that we control our fear, instead of allowing our fear to control us."
The storm raged for four more days. A. J. and Amy studied many verses from A. J..'s Bible, which he carried with him at all times. On the fifth day the wind subsided and the waves of the sea were not so high. The ship was not pounding and shaking, as it had been. Amy an A. J. were able to leave their stateroom and go to the passenger's lounge, without stumbling about in the passageways. They were able to eat without becoming seasick and they could go out on deck and enjoy the sunshine. The storm was over.
When the ship berthed in New York, there was no one on the dock to meet them. A. J. helped Amy down the gangway and through the terminal to the Customs Office., when they were through with the necessary inspections of their luggage and passports and making out their Customs Declarations they went out on the street and A. J. hailed a hackney. After A. J. gave the driver the address, Amy said, "I am glad that we had this experience, the storm was horrible but because of it, you taught me many wonderful things from the Bible. Now my understanding is much fuller and deeper. I am learning how to use many of the beautiful lessons in the Bible, we will continue to read and study everyday."
It had started to rain and as they approached the house, they noticed that many lights were on in the windows and many carriages in the driveway, there seemed to be a party going on. A. J. said, "Well, I don't know what the trouble is and I don't know why Rodney wasn't at the dock to meet us, but it seems that they are having a welcome home party for us." They drove up to the front of the house and ran up the steps to the door, trying not to get any wetter than they were, from the steady rain that had been falling. When A. J. tried to open the door, it was locked, he rang the bell and almost immediately, it was opened by a well dressed man who spoke with a French accent,, "Who are you? I don't think that I have met you." A. J. answered saying, "I am A. J. Barker, I own this house, I have just returned from Europe The French man interrupted, "No. you do not own this property. I purchased it from a Mr. Rodney Hilman, a few days ago. He assured me that there would be no trouble, when I paid cash for the transaction. A. J. said, "So, this is the trouble, Calvin cabled me about!" Just then, Amy cried out, "Oh, no!" and clutched A. J.'s arm. A. J. realizing that Amy was starting to fall, grabbed her, lifting her into his arms, said, "my wife has fainted, may I bring her inside and lay her on the divan?" The Frenchman opened the door wide and said, "By all means, bring her in, I'll get a Doctor." A. J. asked, "Is there a Doctor here?" The Frenchman answered, "Yes, right in the other room, I'll get him right away." Dedee looked in and seeing A. J. bending down over Amy, came over and asked, "Can I help in any way?" A. J. sent her to get some smelling salts to help revive Amy. The Frenchman returned with the Doctor, A. J. saw the Doctor coming across the room and was relieved to see that it was their own family Doctor, the one who had attended to Amy when she had been so sick, following the death of her little Albert. The Doctor began working over Amy and at the same time asked A. J. about Amy's health since he saw her before she left for Europe. A. J. told him about Amy's feelings of disquietness, of the cablegram, about their hurrying to catch the ship, the storm and about Amy's fear of the storm, topped off with her worry concerning the cablegram and the trouble at home.
While the Doctor was working over Amy, A. J. turned to the Frenchman and was telling him about the cablegram and he in return was telling A. J. about his deal with Rodney Hilman. The Frenchman was concerned that there might be trouble, over his purchase of A. J.'s property. He was worried that A. J. may contest the sale, since it was obvious that something was amiss. However A. J. said, "Yes there was something amiss, but it was not on your account. Rodney Hilman was my partner, I had the misfortune of trusting him. You have your receipts for the monies you paid to him. Now I am a business man myself, I will honor the transactions made by my partner, wither they benefit me or if they prove to be my loss." Just then the Doctor said,- "Mr. Barker, I am so very sorry! she is gone! There is no more that I can do." A. J. turned and knelt down beside Amy saying, "Are you sure, she was so full of life, she can't have died just like that?" The Doctor put his hand on A. J.'s shoulder in an expression of comfort and said, "Yes, she wasn't as strong as you thought that she was, the loss of her child, her long illness following and the storm on your way home and now the news---that she has lost her home and everything she had, the shock was just too great,.I am sorry!"
A. J. turned to the Frenchman saying, "If you can see your way clear, there are just a few things that I would like to exclude from your purchase of my property." The Frenchman said, "What is that, if there is anything that I can do for you, I will." A. J. said, "I would like to have the photographs of my wife and child, from the Master Bedroom and one of the fur coats from the closet, that is all, everything else is yours." The Frenchman said, "They are yours, I will send Dedee for them now."
Dedee returned with the photos and the fur coat and A. J. went outside to the hackney and brought in his large suitcase, he put the photographs in the suitcase and wrapped Amy, as best that he could in the fur coat, He then picked her up in his arms and carried her across the threshold of his ancestral home, for the last time. The Doctor helped A. J. place Amy's body gently into the hackney, the Frenchman carried A. J.'s suitcase out to the side of the hackney and the driver put it back into the luggage boot. The Doctor told A. J. that he would go with him to the morgue, where Amy's body would await transportation to the Mortuary. The Doctor would have to fill out forms and other papers that were necessary. After A. J. left the morgue he gave the hackney driver my address and he came and stayed with Norman and I for a while. The next day A. J. went to his Company office, after checking his records and then consulting with Calvin Woods at the Bank, he discovered that Rodney Hilman had absconded with over three hundred fifty thousand dollars, including A. J.'s home which he had sold to the Frenchman.
After Amy's funeral A. J. stayed in his room for a week, not talking to anyone or even eating anything. After this time of intense mourning, he came out of his room and said, "It's time to go to work!" First he went to see Aunt Ellen to barrow her 'little money' then he called on several other of his business associates, to get capital and letters of credit. Everyone that he went to expressed sympathy and extended their cooperation. He had no trouble at all getting his Business started again.
During the next five years, A. J. had paid back all of the monies that he had borrowed and also most of the three hundred fifty thousand dollars that Rodney Hilman had stolen from him. He had made good on every debt, he had joined into another partnership with some cattlemen and had moved out west, managing a series of large land holdings and ranches, until finally coming here to this ranch, last year.
It was about a year after A. J. moved out west that catastrophe struck our family. Norman and I had our pony cart out for a Sunday drive, we were going up a steep hill on a winding road in the hills, there was a deep ravine on one side of the road and a very steep hill on the other side, we were about half way up the hill when a large freight wagon coming down the hill, driven by a drunken teamster, slammed into our little pony cart. Our pony reared up in fright,,and backed over the edge of the ravine. Norman, Nellie and I all tumbled down the side of the ravine. I was knocked unconscious and didn't know what happened, until I awoke in the hospital, after being in a coma for six weeks. The Doctor told me that Norman died when the pony cart fell on top of him, and that Nellie fell against some rocks hitting her head and that she died on the way to the hospital. However that is another story that I will tell you about at some other time
Chapter 15 - More Just Growing Up
Florence looked at the three of us and said, "It's getting late, I think we had all better go to bed."
Sade and Bert got up and stretched, but I just sat there in deep thoughts. Florence looked at me,
her voice bringing me out of my mesmerizing thoughts, "Maud dear, what is it that is troubling
you?" I looked up at her saying, "I have learned so much tonight, we Frost's have never had much
money. My Mother has always made us feel as though the lack of money was the cause of all of
our troubles, however tonight I have realized that people who have money, have just as much
sickness, worry, grief and death, big problems just as much as poor people have."
"Money doesn't have anything to do with grief and death or real love. But Florence, when you have been through so much sorrow, how can you be such a cheerful, joyous, happy person? Did you ever have any bitterness9o if so, how did you overcome it?" Florence answered, "Oh. A. J. helped me so very much, I once asked him if he hated Rodney Hilman and do you want to know what he told me? He told me, "No. I don't have time to hate anyone or anything." He went on to explain that Hate is a form of self-pity, it just eats away at the very foundations of a persons character and moral fiber. As for Rodney Hilman, he was a person who was not worthy of the trouble it would take to hate him, he would live the remainder of his life, looking over his shoulder, trying to escape his own conscience, for the wrongs that he had done to others.
A. J. felt that he didn't have to spend the time or the money to go after Rodney, there would be other men, that would give him his due punishment, sooner or later, it appears that he was-a gambler and that he was driven to steal from A. J. in order to pay his debts to other , gamblers. A. J. said that he didn't have to worry about him, his life would be one of continual running away, he wouldn't have the money he stole from me very long any way, the other gamblers would see to that. A. J. looked at me and said, "Little Sister, we have the chance to make what we want of our lives. We don't have to become old grouches, because of the things that happen to us. We can put those things behind us and go on with our lives. We can be happy and content with ourselves by helping others, when we help others, we will be helping ourselves to overcome our own short-comings. Emotions are contagious, if we are grouchy and ill at ease, then others around us are the same way. When we express gladness and are happy, it seems that every one around us feels the same way."
The next three days our visit at the ranch was spent in just relaxing and enjoying each others company. When it was time to return home, I went to Mr Barker's library and picked out a book to take home with me. It was-a book about the history of England, from the Middle Ages During the reign of William the Conqueror through the present time (1883) of Queen Victoria. (History has always been my favorite subject) After we had said our good-by's and had left the ranch, I told Bert, "I think we all had a wonderful time but I for one will be glad to get back home with Mother and Paw." Bert and Sade both agreed with me