Five Alive

Growing Up

Chapter 32

by L. H. Hall

Living Water at the Oasis
Living Water at the Oasis

Five Alive
Chapter 32

Growing Up

December 12, was Memorial Day; the anniversary of the plane crash. Sarah suggested that we throw some flowers into the sea as a memorial. I discouraged it. I thought that would be a sign that we were admitting our parents were dead. None of us wanted to do that. Instead, we spent the sad day thinking about our homes and the good times we remembered with parents. A lot of tears flowed that day from all of us. I even let my feelings show, and cried unashamedly. It was a sad day, but it was good for us. It brought us all closer together, if that were possible. It seemed to relieve us of pent up sorrow. I think we all cried ourselves to sleep that night. I know Julie and I did. We only used two sections of the bed. Julie crawled over the dividing pole to sleep in my arms, and the other three crowded into Sarah's. We needed each other, more than any time since we had been on the island. Sometime during the night, it must have gotten too crowded because by morning everyone was in a section alone, except Sarah and Debbie. Jamie lay in Debbie's section.

We awoke the next morning to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, the anniversary of our new beginning. We had decided earlier; not to mention anything that happened before we awoke on the beach. This one day we would only talk about our life on the island. There were a few references to the past, but we lived pretty much by the rule of the day, and enjoyed the holiday. In the morning we gathered around, as we did on Sundays, and tried to recall all the miracles; we had seen on the island. Things that we knew would not have happened without God, and recounted them in detail. The preparation of the island, and God's leading us when we did not know what to do, were the first two. We cheated a little on the rule, but the miracle of the dolphins saving us had to be discussed. It must have taken us over three hours before there was a pause in the conversation while we thought of a miracle we had not already talked about. When we could think of no more we held hands in a circle and gave thanks for God's bountiful blessings.

Life went on and so did the years. There were happy times and sad times. We got hurt and the hurts healed. Each Memorial Day was less sad than the one before it. Each Thanksgiving, we found it more blessed. It took us longer to recount God's wonderful miracles. We even established a new Thanksgiving day rule, to talk only about God's love and miracles, and our thanks and praise. He was always given all the credit for our survival. Even as the years passed, and Sarah and I gained experience in leading and supervising the family, we never got to the place we thought we could do it without Him. On Sarah's birthdays we made our ritualistic trips up the mountain. The kids always thought Sarah was dumb for wanting to climb all the way up there and do nothing but look out over the sea. We never told them what this place meant to us; or that after they were asleep, we traditionally climbed to the Top of the World, and had that one very special time with the Lord and each other. Puppies were born, and some died. More baby dolphins came on the scene to grow up and join in our frolicking. Over all, we lived a good life and never wanted for anything, except our homes, and that less and less.

One afternoon in September before our third Thanksgiving day, Sheba raised herself painfully from the floor, and came to each one of us to nuzzle us and whine. "Are you hurting, Sheba?" I stroked her head. "Are you looking for sympathy?" She turned and walked to the edge of the patio, looked back at us, barked twice, and disappeared down the trail.

"That's odd." Sarah gazed at the spot where she disappeared for several seconds, "She hasn't been off the patio in months except to go to the bathroom, and she doesn't disappear then."

She had told us good-by. We never saw our beloved Sheba again, but she left us in good company. She ruled to the end, and raised her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren well. None of them ever questioned her when she gave an order. She had obviously established Little Sheba to succeed her as the Queen of the island. Young Sheba had some challenges, both among our dogs and in the wild, but within a few months, she was accepted as the reigning queen. We all loved the young Sheba, and she was just as gallant and faithful as her grandmother, but she could never replace the old dog. We had nearly forty other dogs playing, swimming and traveling with us by that time. Any one of them would have provided meat, and died for us; but none, or all, of them could fill the loss we felt for our beloved Sheba. We couldn't count the times she had saved our lives.

It was about this time that Sarah noticed a soreness and a little hard lump on each side of her chest. She was quite concerned over them for a while. It was then, she and the other girls began to really need a mother to help them through some of the problems girls have. Sarah vaguely remembered some things she had heard older girls at school talking about, but not enough to help much.

We boys could also have used someone to help us understand the girls. We went through some worrisome times over the next few years as the girl's bodies began to change.

Then, one morning a couple years later Debbie and Sarah went to the toilet before breakfast, but Debbie came back alone. "Sarah wants to be alone for a few days. She took Prince and Laddy, Little Sheba's litter mate, and three of the other dogs; and went to be by herself. She wants me to bring some coals to her, so she can build a fire."

"I'll go with you, but let's have breakfast first." I checked the meat on the spit. It was ready.

"No!" Debbie spoke quickly and sharply. "If you care anything at all for her, you will leave her alone, and let her come home when she is ready! Please!"

I was not satisfied. I tried to get more information from her, but that was all she would say. She would not even tell me where Sarah had gone. I surmised that she had gone to the little cave by the pool in the ravine. Jamie and Julie also tried to find out what was going on, but Debbie and Sarah had a secret and they would not share.

After breakfast, Debbie rolled Sarah's machete, bedding and some jerky into a poncho, got a bucket of coals, and left through the goat pen; which then, held Frosty and Orphan, and their kids.

She was back by noon, as if it were a normal day. I tried repeatedly to find out about the strange behavior. I was afraid I had made Sarah mad. I had been teasing her the night before. I did not think I had teased her that much, and Sarah always let me know when she was mad at me. Debbie said it was nothing like that. Nothing was wrong. She just wanted to be by herself a few days.

Those were the longest few days of my life. Four--five--six days, she had not even come home for Sunday School. On the afternoon of the sixth day she came, happily singing a psalm, through the goat pen, as if nothing had happened. We all, except Debbie, ran to find out what was the matter. Jamie was the first to reach her. "Why did you go off like that? Please don't ever do it again."

"I just wanted to be alone for a few days. I'll probably do it again in a few weeks, when I get fed up with doing all the work around here."

She knew we would not buy that. We all shared the work when it needed to be done, and we all played when it was time to play.

"You don't do all the work." Julie argued

"It seems like it. If I don't do it, I have to remind you."

"You haven't been reminding us for the past week, and it all got done." Jamie vowed.

"I needed to be alone. It was so much fun; I'm gonna do it again every three or four weeks."

I did not know what it was all about, but I let it drop. I would wait until I was alone with Sarah. I was sure she would confide in me.

"It's personal." She turned to walk away, when I approached her alone. "I really don't want to talk about it. It's embarrassing."

"Sarah!" I caught her arm to keep her from leaving, and pressed her for an answer. "We have been worried sick about you! All of a sudden, without any warning or explanation, you take off by yourself, and don't even come home on Sunday for Sunday School. Then you come home nearly a week later, like nothing has happened, and say you're going to make a habit of it. I want to know what's going on."

"Please, Timmy, let it be my secret. It's too embarrassing."

"No!  If you don't tell me, the next time I'm going with you whether you like it or not!"

"You wouldn't!"

"Try me and see if I don't. You know you can tell me anything. I won't make fun of you, or embarrass you."


"I promise."

"Promise not to tell anybody else."

"I can't do that. The others worry about you too, but I'll make sure they don't tease you, and I won't tell them any more than I have to."

"I am a woman, now."


"Women have special problems."

"My mother is a woman too, but she never ran off by herself and left her family."

"I wouldn't either if I could go to the store and buy things I need. I can't do that, so I'll have to go away by myself for a few days each month. Before long, Debbie and Julie will have to go too. We aren't little girls any more."

"I still don't understand it."

"I'm sorry, Timmy, I can't tell you any more, and there's something else you might have trouble understanding."

"What's that?"

"I think we're getting too big for all of us to sleep in one bed. Would you make us some more. Maybe you could make a little one for each of us."

"I can understand that. I've been getting these funny feelings when I'm close to you. I don't think they're the kind of feelings God wants us to have 'til were married."

"I know. That's why we girls ought to sleep in the west room 'til we get married. Do you think we can get married soon?"

"Not for a long time, Sarah. We're only twelve years old. Besides, there's nobody to marry us."

"I wonder who married Adam and Eve."

"God did. I guess. He used to walk and talk with them in the Garden of Eden."

"Maybe Jesus could marry us. He talks to both of us lots of times."

"Yeah, maybe, but we gotta get a lot older. You gotta be at least fifteen."

"That's more'n two whole years!"

"I said, 'At least,' it'll probably be four or five."

"It better not be, Timothy Davis!"

Julie was really upset when we got the first little bed made, and I moved my bedding to it. Except for the few times, once a year, when Sarah and I had fallen asleep on the Top of the World, Julie had slept beside me every night we had been on the island. She did not like it or understand why we could not continue. Getting older was not any reason for changing old habits. Jamie's bed was next. Since we could not get the big bed into the west room, the girls continued to sleep in the big bed in the main cave until we got the other three made. It took about two days to make one bed. Within two weeks the girls had their own room. It was lonely sometimes, not to be able to reach out and touch Julie and Jamie, when I woke up at night.

"Jamie," I said, on our first trip after bamboo for the beds. "Please don't pester the girls anymore about why Sarah left for that week."

"Why not? I wanna know what's going on."

"When girls become women, they have problems they don't want to share with guys."

"Why not?"

"It's embarrassing for them, I guess. Girls seem to think differently than boys do."

"What kind of problem is it?"

"I don't know." I answered honestly. "It's embarrassing to them, and they can't hide it here on the island. Sarah said she'd need to go to the store to buy something to hide it."

He agreed. I never heard the subject mentioned again. I do not know how much they shared with Julie, but they must have said something to satisfy her curiosity.

Every fourth week after that on Wednesday afternoons, Sarah would complain of her stomach hurting, roll up her bed, get some jerky and coals, call her dogs, and head for the cave in the ravine. I even made a bed and a chair for her to use in the cave.

"Oh! No!" Sarah cried one morning, as she checked off the date a week or so before her thirteenth birthday.

"What's the matter?" I wanted to know.

"My birthday is on the Sunday I'll be in the ravine camp."

"Are you sure?"

"Of course, I know when I'll have to go. I go every fourth Wednesday, and don't get back 'til Monday or Tuesday."

"We can go to the mountain the day you get back, or we could go early."

"We'll go when I get back," she agreed, "but it won't be the same."

"I know, but it's the best we can do."

One Tuesday morning a few months later, Sarah announced that Debbie would be spending a few days in the ravine. She asked me to take her bed and a lounge chair to the camp and make new ones for the cave.

When we approached the camp, she stopped us and ran ahead to see if everything was okay with Debbie before we saw her; then, she led the way to the cave.

"Are you all right, Debbie," I saw her sitting on a cushion of grass in Sarah's chair.

"I'm all right. My stomach hurts a little, but I'm okay. It's something I'll have to learn to live with." She did not get up.

We talked a little, and Jamie suggested that we take a little swim before we started back.

"No! You don't!" Sarah took our arms and escorted us out of sight of the camp. "You had to come to help with the bed and chair, and we thank you, but you know you're not welcome here. Now go home! Please!" Sarah stayed with her dogs, but the rest of us hurried out of there.

"We'll have another bed and chair made for you when you get back." I promised.

"I didn't see nothin' there to be embarrassed about." Jamie complained.

"Don't feel bad." Julie, walking between us, linked her arms with ours. "I'm not welcome either, and I'm a girl. They say my time will come soon enough; then, I'll know how they feel."

"I still didn't see nothing for them to be embarrassed about."

"I just hope when my time comes, it's the same time as theirs. Sarah said its awful lonely down there alone."

Julie's time did come about a year later, but we were not caught off guard. We had more furniture made for the ravine in plenty of time. Julie did not have to be embarrassed like Sarah said Debbie was. After that, Jamie and I got used to being alone several days a month.

Copyright © 1995
Leonard H. Hall, Sr.

Click the link below to return to
Purity Publications Free Christian Ebook Store: