Talitha - Chapter 2

T a l i t h a

Chapter 2

    When Talitha was two years old her mother presented her with a new baby brother, John, who was to be her favorite brother in the years to come. It was Mrs. Sammons' wish that her children call one another Brother and Sister. When teaching her older children to do so she met with no opposition, but this was not to prove true with Talitha. When the little one was learning to speak, her mother made sure that among her first words would be "Sister Jane," "Brother Thomas," "Sister Nancy," and so on. Mrs. Sammons repeated these words over and over to her young daughter, who, in turn, would try to pronounce each word perfectly. But before Talitha was five years old she was refusing to address any one of her sisters and brothers in this way, except John, whom she always addressed as "Brother John." This caused her mother much concern, and realizing she was making no progress with the situation, she came up with this idea. Often taking Talitha on her knee, she would sing, "Sister Nancy, Sister Jane, Sister Polly too, Brother Thomas, Brother Alex, and Brother John for sure." This delighted Talitha, who soon learned to sing the verse along with her mother. Mrs. Sammons was pleased, thinking she had changed Talitha's views. Once when Mrs. Sammons was busy at the spinning wheel with Talitha standing at her knee she said,"Talitha, go tell Sister Jane it is time to make corn bread." "No," the little girl said as she backed away from her mother. "Talitha, if you force me to get out of this loom I'll be bound to punish you." Mrs. Sammons said. Talitha quickly replied, "I'll go tell Jane."

    Talitha came to have nine brothers and sisters, but never did she address one as "Brother" or "Sister" except John, who throughout her life was known to her as Brother John. Why? Talitha, herself, never knew.

    While realizing that her daughter had outwitted her in this situation. Mrs. Sammons also learned to her sorrow that Talitha, unlike the other children, was developing an ungovernable temper. This was a problem Mrs. Sammons knew not how to cope with. A "spitfire temper" her mother called it. When the other children didn't do things to suit her, right then and there a scrap followed. Talitha winning out only by biting and pulling hair. Time and again Mrs. Sammons punished her, but to no avail.

    Once when Aunt Mandy was visiting, she and Mrs. Sammons were comfortably seated on the porch with their knitting, when they heard a child's screams coming from the backyard. Mrs. Sammons immediately knew what the trouble was. She quickly made her way to the children and proceeded once again to punish Talitha. When she returned Aunt Mandy looked up from her knitting and said, "Winnie Ann, I want you to quit punishing that child for her temper. You know she was borned during a storm and can't help it." But Mrs. Sammons, refusing to believe old wives' tales, continued to punish Talitha for her "spitfire temper." Not until the girl was old enough to be ashamed of her temper, as she herself later said, did she conquer it. Then, for years to come, she often heard her mother say, "Too bad you didn't keep some of that spitfire temper you once had. You don't have enough temper now to defend yourself."


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Charlotte Curlee Ramsey

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