more on the series of Sammy and Pingya,by Pam Potter
Part 9 Pingya and Sammy in Guthrie Oklahoma territory
by Pam Potter
Sammy sat at her kitchen table writing her friend Amy from Holton Kansas. An answerd to a letter she had received a few days earlier out of the blue. Amy writes, but not very often, Sammy thought as she sat down, looking at the blank piece of paper she manage to save from back of last month calander before one of the children drew on it.
December 1 st 1890
Guthrie Oklahoma Territory
Dear Amy and family,
I was sure happy to get your letter,
It has been several years, since we wrote, I was still in Kansas I think, I have been in Guthrie for a year , almost two years come April. I do missed Kansas and home.
My ma is here now, she going to stay the winter in Guthrie. So happy about that, she living at the rooming house not far from here. I get to see her alot. She now going to my church.
She came here for Pingya and my wedding , where we repeated our vows in a Chinese wedding, wedding dress and everything. It was so much fun. I loved the red dress, and riding in the carriage. Our friends Dolly and Chong repeat their vows too, it was really their wedding that Chong family was doing, they were nice enough to included us in repeating our vows. Pingya and I was married in the Holton sheriff office the morning of September 14 1877. No one I knew was there, but Pingya was there, which I was so young and excited I made through the loneliness and regret my family wasn't there to watched. But through the years it nagged at my heart I wanted a real wedding. Of course Pingya had not even a clue of understanding this, he said we are married, you have a ring, we have a marriage record hanging on the wall over our bed,. Our marriage is recorded in Jackson County Kansas records, we are married, I know too, we looked in up when we was there in 1880 on our way back home to Circleville Kansas. But this time around my mom, sister, and brother in-law, sister in-law, my own children, nieces, nephews, friends were all there to watched.
So now I had the wedding of my dreams. Men just don't understand weddings are important.
Sure glad to hear Mrs Wier and Mr Wier are doing fine, I am glad you and Jefferson are living in their rooming house helping out.
Your Alice sounds like she growing up like my Fumiko. Boys is their goal in life, with Fumiko her heart is breaking, I have been telling her he too old for you, but she wouldn't listen, he getting married on New Years Eve, Fumiko is mourning of her lost love. Of course her brother Joshua couldn't keep his mouth shut, he had to point out, you had to had him to lose him. She flug back about a girl name Allie I never heard mention. But this Allie is 17 and rides the cab that Joshua drives for our livery week every day to the hardware store where she works as a clerk. Joshua is 10 soon to be 11 next month. I agree with Fumiko, he has no room to talked. And of course Allie has a boyfriend. So Ho-Ming came up with a plan for Allie boyfriend to met Shavno girl friend. I almost said something, but then they would know I was not just sweeping up the floor by their bedroom but listening to them plan.
But I keep my mouth shut and let them handle it, just my ears open to get the news on them. Their squabbles are good source of imformation. A mother learns a lot but eves dropping. I told Christie what I heard, and said , can you believe Ho-Ming? Of course my loving sister laughed, the apple don't fall from the tree...I was never like that, even though she could come up with examples proving her point.
Other news is the vacant lot next to my childhood friend Claire Jane is for sale, been tied up in legal web of strings and traps for several years of who owns it. The owner was kilLed in the same tornado that took my Mei -Mei Ann leg. Their was a meat market there. Bu the remaining family fled back to Ohio right after the funeral leaving the messed. They contacted Claire Jane husband right after they got to Ohio to hire for the lot to be clean up. Pingya and Caleb was among the workers, that money came in handy I remember. But since then the woman and her children that fled back to Ohio, has since remarried, then she died and now her husband wants the money from the land, but then her husband brother who help claim the land wants the money too, but don't want to shared with his brother window second husband. So now the matter in court. The for sale sign was in the ground one day. Simon removed it. Claire Jane glad he did, maybe none will remember, they want the land to built their house on, They own the lot next to it. They lived in an apartment like mine above his lawyer office. So if it goes for sale again she hopes they can buy it.
But Simon said they have a wait ahead of them, Claire Jane told him, give us more time to saved money up to buy it.
Well better closed for now to start supper. write more later.."
Sammy laid the letter in her apron and check on her brown bean on the stove. She sprinkle peeper in the bouling pot and stir.
A few days before Christmas as Sammy hid a crochet choker in her dresser drawer she and Christie made for each of their female children, and friends. She was glad she crochet the last stitch, she was dreaming about doing it at night, afraid they wouldn't get them done.
" At last their done, no more chokers, ....oh I don't believe it, Amy letter, I thought for sure I mailed it. It address and everything, ....I didn't make her a choker, she like that too, I could send her one..
but the letter already sealed, Well I have to send it in a box any way, so this going to get mail today, right now. I'll just walk up the road and do it, but where a penny to mail it, my mad money hid in this drawer too, , where is it... oh there my change jar.. I thought I had more in it, there a note, aaaah, what it say... oh Pingya took 10 cents out, under his note Fumiko took ten cents out... look like I got find a better hiding place... " She thought as she giggled to herself. She held the letter and money jar in her hand. then snatch a penny for a stamp, and several pennies for candy for Timmy. She knew he would have to stopped at the General store for pepperment, as they walked passed to mail the letter.
As she was coming down the steps from above she seen her children, all her children including Timmy playing in the old broken cover wagon Pingya and Caleb fixed up for the children, along with their cats and dogs hopping about the wagon. She quickly hurried donwn the wooden steps before they seen her and thought of her peppersticks she buy for herself and bring back to the children as she past by the General store, with her letter in hand.
She cross the brick sidwalks the lined the white two story house along her way, as her mind difted back to the day she met Pingya, for some reason she thought of it.
" Hi my name is Pingya Kelly, " She remembered him saying for the first time that day in May of 1877. Now years later in December of 1890 , she still thinks it cute the way he says it.
But she laughed at herself that she thought his last name was Pingya, now knowing when a Chinese person says their last name first, what you learn by meeting differnt types of people. But Pingya after you get passed he says his name back wards, any way in my mind , he does. and his accent, his queue, and he bows to you , instead of shaking hands, he like everyone else. If they knew him at church as well as me and Christie and Caleb and Ma, they would'nt stared at him when he does find time to go to church. He usally off on a job. I am for one glad he just smiles at them and goes on.He told me people are like that , church people or anyone else, I am used to it..
Sure glad he is. Makes me mad. I see Mei -Mei Ann has to deal with that too, with her missing leg, and she looks white like me. but people stare at you if your diffent from them, it don't matter ..but she like her pa, she just goes on..Sure glad I met Pingya that day and had my Mei-Mei Ann , they both taught me so much, you have to just go on despite of yourself or what people say or do."
Sammy thought as she walked along the brick sidewalk, and stopped as she seen the General store ahead and waited as a buck board wagon with a farmer and feed piled in the back of his wagon, with one teenage boy with golden curl blowing in the wind caused by the speed of the wagon as they road passed. She waited as soon as the road was clear she hurried across to the peppermint that was waiting in the glass jars inside the General store.
As she enterd the General store she seen a long line waiting. and laughed as she remember , " Pingya say, everyone in Oklahoma Territoy lives in Guthrie, we should picked a smaller town like Cushing.!" She laughed as his words rang through her ears, then giggled outloud when she noticed Pingya in line , near the counter. She quickly walked to him as his eyes rolled in the air.
" I ran out of tabbaco and nails so came to the General store. I thought you was at home cooking beans?"
He asked her as she cut in line as the people in back of her frown and collectly to the end of the long line. She back out of line as she looked at their faces , now smiling , that they didn't have to wait on one more person ahead of them. " I know if would cut in line , they would revolt and Pingya would gripe I was buying peppermint candy and wasting their money like he wasn't on a bag of tobacco?" She thought and giggled as she knew now why her 10 cents was missing from her mad money in her dresser drawer.' Sammy thought.
" Pingya, just on my way to mail Amy letter..and seen the crowd so I thought I see what was going on."
She crossed her fingers in back with her half truths and hope God was busy watching someone else and not noticed her right now. Pingya eyes sunk to the ground , fumbled with his belt buklet in one hand, holding the pouch of tabacco and bags of nailw with the other,She know I borrow 10 cents from her mad money , she had to get the jar to get the stamp money....She just looking at me, so innocently, but I know she knows that that I took that 10 cents before I got it back in the jar before she knew, Next time I won't leave a note, just remember to put it back.. " Pingya smiled back at her as she left the General store and went to the Freight office and mailed her letter, on her way back home she passed the General store and glanced inside, seen that Pingya was gone. She walked inside and got in line to get the peppermint candy, then worried about her beans cooking, she better get back to them , so she hurried home.
She hurried up the stairs the children were all still playing on the wagon, and her fear of the house being burnt down from the pot of beans, still stood. She hurried up the steps and checked on her beans, and turned around seen Pingya come from their bedroom smoking his pipe. She frown,
" He got his tabbaco, but I waste so much time in the frieght office talking to Mrs. Palmer I got a late start back home, here he sits with his tabacco, what about my pepperment candy? Oh well at least he add water to the beans. I'll go put my pennies back for next time I go to the store. " Sammy thought as Pingya watched and grinned as she opened the drawer and took out her fruit jar full of change. She read it as tears ran down her eyes, Here Sammy what I owed you, 10 cents of pepperment candy for my sweet heart. Love You Pingya."
Sammy smiled and snatched a pepperment stick and then she remembered supper first.
" Sammy you are old enough to have your treat before supper, we shall give the children theres after supper. Now you are paid in full we are even."
Sammy smiled and sat on his lap, He puffed on his piped as she sucked on her pepperment and the beans boiled on the cast iron stove behind them as the echoes of their children played outside the window below them.
Sammy wondered, " How Pingya paid me back so soon, but Iam enjoying the pepperment. As Pingya says, Not to worry."
Pingya sighed thinking , " I am glad they have special on tabbaco, marked down half prices since shipment got wet and spilled right in the horse through. The odds of that happening? It still works, the damp tabacco will dry out soon. Sammy thinks I do not know she was in the General store to buy, mailing her letter. That was one thing in town, but the frieght office does that. She was in there for pepperment. I have not been married to since 1877 for nothing, I know her now..."
He thought and grinned and puffed his pipe, as she sat on his lap now crunching her peppermint stick in his ear,