by Alice Belle Garrigus
CHAPTER 1. EARLY LIFE
Among my earliest recollections are those of tip-toeing softly around the room or sitting with fan in hand by the bedside of poor sick mamma, having to be so careful not to jar the bed as it made her worse.
One day she seemed better and I was allowed to visit a little friend. On my way home, I met a girl who in a taunting voice said: "Your Mother Is Dead!" Stung to the quick, I answered back: "She isn't dead," and began to run as hard as I could all the time saying: "She isn't dead: she isn't dead." With these words I burst into the house, throwing myself down at grandma's knee, still saying: "she isn't dead, is she?" Lovingly and tenderly they told me it was true, and tried to comfort my poor little broken heart.
Sad weeks followed, during which a little girl could have been seen daily wending her way to a field where there was an old barn. Behind this barn was a stone and on this stone she sat day after day gazing up into the blue heavens and wishing she could die and go to mamma.
The physician saidžnothing but a complete change could save my life: so it was arranged for me to go to Providence, R.I., with Grandma. Out of pity for the sad little motherless girl, every- thing was done to cause me to forget my sorrow, and of course time did much to soften it; but, even as a girl in my teens, I could never hear sacred hymns without tears. Always the scene in the little village church would come before me when they sang at mother's request that hymn:
In due time my father married again; and, like other girls, my time was spent at school. At the age of fifteen, I began to teach in the rural schools, having my first school and first long dress at the same time, a double responsibility. One big boy being asked what he thought of the teacher replied: "She is a dreadful little thing, but there is something in her eye which tells me that I guess it wouldn't do to go too far!"
After a few terms of teaching, I went to the Normal School, and from there to Mt. Holyoke College, then known as Mt. Holyoke Seminary. This institution, at that time, had not lost the spirit in which it was founded by the saintly Mary Lyons, and was dis- tinctly religious.
The day following our arrival, the three hundred students were gathered in the large assembly hall, and there, as the girls expressed it, were divided into "the sheep" and "the goats". I did not know what I was, but knew I wanted to be a sheep, so was numbered with them, though a black one, I am sorry to say. Being numbered with the sheep brought me into an embarrassing position, as each one had to lead a meeting. When my turn came I was overwhelmed with dismay, not knowing what to do. Finding a beautiful poem on the coming of the Lord, I decided I would read that. Fortunately for me the meeting was only half an hour. Then came the end of those pleasant days spent at college. Soon we were all to be scattered and our life-work really begun.