Authors: Barbara Goss
Shadow of Hope
By Barbara Goss
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
All scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this book is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage system without express written permission from the author.
Copyright © 2016 Barbara Goss
All Rights Reserved
Cover design by: Samantha Fury
Table of Contents
The Armstrong Family
Father – George
Children: Jonas (Ivy); Caleb (Julia)
Jonas and Ivy (Zoe and Joanna)
Caleb and Julie (no children)
The Jeffries Family
Father - Hiram
Children: Ivy (Jonas); Violet (Miles); Rose (Quinn)
Father – Calvin
Mother - Pearl
Quinn (Rose) and Peggy
Eliza and Jeremy- out of state
Violet Jeffries reached across the kitchen table for the sugar, and put a spoonful into her tea. She passed the sugar to her sister, Ivy. “My working in Salina, and my fiancé, Miles, staying here, in Abilene’s not working, Ivy.”
“You saw him every weekend this school year that you could, didn’t you?” Ivy asked.
“I didn’t always come home during the winter months. He rode out to see me a few times, too. He wants us to set a wedding date, now that I’m no longer in mourning for father.”
“I can’t understand why you don’t just marry Miles, Violet. If you love him, he should come before your job.”
“That’s just it—I’m not sure I
love him. I love teaching. The kids I teach are adorable and I’ve grown fond of them. I’ve made friends in Salina, too, and I just feel like I’ve grown up so much since I took the job, and that Miles, is…well, I’m not sure I want to marry him, after all.”
“What?” Ivy asked. “I thought you both were so much in love. I know he idolizes you.”
“I love him, but I’m not sure I’m
love with him. It’s hard to explain.”
Ivy shook her head. “Nothing would have stood in the way of my marrying Jonas. He was and is my whole world. I love Zoe and Joanna. I’ve such a fantastic family. I wouldn’t trade that for any job.”
“Did you never doubt your love for Jonas?” Violet asked.
“Just once, before we were married, and it was for a very short time when his ex-friend told me untruths about him. As soon as Quinn told me the true story, I was back to loving him strongly. Since the first time I saw him, I knew,” Ivy said, with a dreamy look.
“I liked Miles’s looks and used to watch him working at the bank whenever I went there. I wanted to meet him, but I didn’t fall for him until much later. Maybe I thought I loved him because he idolized me so much; it’s really very flattering.
“How can I let him down?” Violet covered her face with her hands. “I’m afraid he’ll go off the deep end, Ivy.”
Ivy studied her sister. “Have you met someone else?”
“No…well, sort of. There
a man, a widower and a father to one of my students that I sometimes have dinner with. He teaches the older children at my school. Our relationship isn’t romantic though,” Violet said. She paused and then added, “Yet.”
“You, dear sister, have a dilemma on your hands,” Ivy said.
“One of the reasons I came for a visit today was to ask something else. This new man I’ve met has a son who’s about Zoe’s age. How did you come to love Zoe so much?”
“She stole my heart the moment I saw her. You know how loveable she is. You have only to be around her for a short time to love her.“
“My situation’s far different,” Violet said. “Mr. McKenzie’s son, Timothy, is the classroom terror. I don’t know if I should encourage anything more than friendship with this man, even though, like I said, our relationship hasn’t progressed into anything more than companionship, but I have the feeling that he’ll try to move it into a romantic direction soon.”
“Please tell me you aren’t trading Miles in for Mr. McKenzie,” Ivy said. “You’ll never find a man who loves you more than Miles does.”
“But what if I’m not in love with Miles, Ivy? What if I just love him as a person, and a friend?”
“You accepted his marriage proposal!”
“I was young and influenced by his intense love and devotion to me.”
“I just think you need to give this more thought before you act,” Ivy said. “Sometimes you don’t know how precious something is until you no longer have it.”
Jonas Armstrong’s house was one of the richest in Abilene, and his horses known as the best in the state of Kansas. The three-story home was made of limestone, with a long pillared porch along the front, and two dormers on the third floor. A redwood finish added the perfect contrast to the stone.
Jonas and his brother, Caleb, had received a large inheritance from his father’s aunt a few years ago, and Jonas invested in the horse breeding business. He now owned two large stables, three corrals, and a building just for grooming. Jonas was wealthy, but if you asked him he’d tell you that his wife, Ivy and two daughters, Zoe and Joanna, were his most precious possessions.
“So, what do you think, Jonas?” Ivy said, as they sat on the porch having tea, and watching Zoe and Alfred Huff playing on the lawn in front yard.
“About Zoe and Alfie?” he asked. “I think they get along great.”
“I’m worried,” Ivy said. “Rearing a colored child isn’t going to be easy, and the older she gets, the harder it will be. Will the love we have for her be enough to see her through it?” Ivy asked.
“I don’t know.” Jonas set his cup down on the porch railing. “Alfie’s a white nine year-old. Will he always be color-blind? I worry about Zoe going out in the world someday. People can be so…so ignorant.”
“Zoe loves Abilene and I hope she never wants to leave it because everyone here loves her.” Ivy said. “Since she’s only eight, I don’t think we need worry about that just yet.” But I worry about her interactions with new people, people who don’t go to our church, or who are strangers and don’t know her story. I don’t want her hurt by the cruel world in which we live.”
“Alfie doesn’t know her story, yet he accepts her as she is, so maybe we’re worrying for nothing,” Jonas said, emptying his cup and setting it on the tray. “I don’t know this aunt who’s rearing Alfie either. I wonder what church they go to.”
“I think we need to find out more about Alfred, or Alfie, as Zoe says he’s called.” Ivy picked up the tray of cups and headed into the house with them. “We’ll continue to pray for Zoe.”
Jonas continued to watch the children playing tag. Zoe loved to run. She’d always been a tomboy, so it was no wonder she and Alfie got along so well.
Ivy came out with lemonade for the children. “Would you do the honors, Jonas? Joanna just woke from her nap. I’ll dress her and bring her out. It’s too warm out to stay in the house.”
“I sure will.” Jonas took the tray and sat it on the porch railing. “Zoe! Alfie! Lemonade.”
Zoe and Alfie raced to the porch, both sweaty and red-faced. “I think you two need to sit down and rest a bit. It’s too hot to be running so much.” Jonas handed them each a glass of lemonade.
“I beat Alfie twice,” Zoe bragged, grabbing a cup.
“I beat Zoe three times,” Alfie said, already gulping down his drink.
Jonas laughed. “You’re both very fast, indeed.”
“Alfie, does your aunt know where you are?” Jonas asked.
“Yes, sir,” Alfie said. Between mouthfuls of his drink he added, “She let me ride my horse because she also said it was too warm to run today.” He nodded toward his pony.
“Alfie, are your parents living somewhere else?” Jonas asked.
“Yes. They’re in heaven, with my dog, Shaggy.”
“I see,” Jonas said. “And that’s a swell pony you have.”
“I got Prince for my ninth birthday last month,” Alfie said. He paused long enough to down the last drop from his cup. “If we can’t run, what can we play next, Zoe?”
“Papa,” Zoe said, “can we ride our ponies to the creek if we walk them?”
“Sure, just don’t fall in. Even though the creek level’s down owing to this heat wave, you still need to be careful.”
“Will there still be frogs there?” Zoe asked, after she’d finished her lemonade.
“I think you might find a few,” Jonas said.
“C’mon Alfie. Let’s go frog hunting.”
Zoe and Alfie handed Jonas their cups and ran off to the stable to get Zoe’s pony. Jonas shook his head with a smile. He wondered if he’d ever had that much energy.
Zoe and Alfie rode down to the creek. They never noticed the man crouched behind the shrubbery watching them.
At bedtime a few nights later, when Ivy and Jonas had tucked Zoe in and after her story and their prayer, Zoe looked up at them and said, “I love you Papa and Mama.”
“Oh, Zoe,” Ivy said. “We love you so much, too.”
“We love you more than there are stars,” Jonas said.
“You took mine, Papa!” Zoe said. “I always do stars.”
“You’ll have to think of something else tonight,” he said.
Zoe put her finger to her chin. “I love you as many as there are hairs on my head.”
“Good one, Zoe,” Ivy said. “And speaking of your hair, I have no idea what to do with it. It’s so curly. I have no experience with hair like yours, but I’ll learn.”
“How about pigs tails?” Zoe asked,
“Pigtails might work,” Ivy said, kissing her cheek. “We’ll try that tomorrow.”
“Mama,” Zoe said, “Why is my skin so much darker than everyone else’s?”
Ivy gave Jonas a plea for help with her eyes.
Jonas sat down on the bed, picked Zoe up, and held her on his lap. “I’m going to tell you a story because I think you are a big enough girl to know.”
Zoe nodded, and Ivy cringed behind their backs.
“Some people are dark and some are light, but God made us all the same on the inside,” Jonas said. He wasn’t sure if the time was right, but since she’d asked, he couldn’t lie to her.
“Zoe, you are part African. Africa is a place far, far, away, across the ocean. The African people have dark skin because it’s so hot there. God made people perfect for the places where He puts them, so they could survive.”
“Then what are you and Mama?”
“Well, we are what is called Caucasian, which is white,” he said.
“But you aren’t white at all, Papa, you are more orange, or pink. Joanna’s very pink. How come I can’t be Cauc—what you said, Papa?”
“Well, God makes us the way he wants us, Zoe.” Jonas hugged her. “I love you just the way you are. I fell in love with you the moment I saw you.”
Zoe threw her arms around Jonas. “You’re the best Papa and Mama in the world.”
Jonas put her back into bed and covered her up. “So, my little golden princess, it’s time to sleep.” He kissed her forehead. “Good night.”
Ivy kissed Zoe’s forehead. “Good night, Zoe.”
Jonas and Ivy backed out of the room, leaving the door open a crack.
“Whew,” Jonas said, as he sat down on the sofa beside Ivy. “I wondered how long it would be before we got that question.”
Ivy cuddled close to him. “You handled it superbly. I thought for a moment you were going to tell the whole story. I think she’s a bit too young for that, don’t you?”
“Without knowing the facts of life, how in the world could I possibly explain to an eight year old, that my first wife, who was also white, gave birth to a colored baby?” Jonas asked.
“Then you’d have to explain how she died in childbirth, and death’s so hard to comprehend at that age,” Ivy said, putting her head on Jonas’s shoulder.
“Yes, but even so, I would rather tell her if she pressed me rather than tell a fib,” he said.
“It’s difficult to explain that we aren’t her natural parents. Do you think she’ll love us less when she finds out?”
“Ivy, I think she’ll love us more,” Jonas said, kissing his wife’s forehead.
“I’m sure she’ll ask again, soon. Maybe I should talk to Reverend Martin about it,” Jonas said. “By the way, I asked Alfie a few questions today. I hate asking him things. I’d hate for him to go home and tell his aunt that we’ve been interrogating him.”
“What did you discover?”
“His parents are in heaven, and that’s why he lives with his aunt. I didn’t ask more,” he said. “He’s nine, a year older than Zoe. What else do we need to know? He’s a nice little boy.”
“I wonder where they go to church. If they don’t have a church, we could invite them to ours.”
“I’ll put that on the list,” Jonas said. “Now, come here and tell me about your day.”