Life at Cousin Jean’s with doting family was all a child could have asked. Charley tagged along behind Robert and Bobby at their work, milking, plowing, riding the tractor, and working the crops. Should she tire of them, she had a sweet baby sister to cuddle and Josie and Birdie to keep her busy. The dog had found a litter of speckled pups and was happy to share them after a few weeks, The chickens and cats came running when she called. What more could a child ask?
She was there long enough that she’d outgrown all the clothes packed for her, so she wore hand-me-down overalls and simple popover dresses Geneva had constructed by hand, her first attempts at sewing. Mimicking her hero, Robert, Charley never went anywhere without her straw hat. She’d not worn a shoe all summer.
Charley’s father and brothers visited her every couple of weeks on Charles’s Wednesday off while Cora was with Ellen. She loved her brothers’ rough games and wrestling with them. She was no shrinking violet and gave as good as she got. She’d always held a special spot in her father’s heart, maybe since he’d had early concerns about her. He’d not had a real chance to bond with Ginny since she’d been with Geneva practically since birth. He looked forward to having his family together.
After Cousin Jean’s death, Charles fetched Geneva, Charley, Ginny, and Josie home. All four were crying as they left the farm. Geneva grieved her loss. Charley, because Geneva wept, and she hadn’t been allowed to bring a puppy, and Josie at leaving her sweetheart. Ginny cried because at eight months, she was good at it.
He stooped in at his office for a few minutes and took Cora’s call before heading home to prepare Ellen for the girl’s homecoming.