Life As We Knew It, Day 5, Chapters 12-14

May 16, 2008 at 5:00 pm | Posted in Life As We Knew It | 6 Comments

Life As We Knew It
Day 5
Chapters 12-14

Chapter 12

“I told Mom I was doing history (she never would have believed me if I said math) and stayed in bed all morning.” (191)

Just had to laugh. Math SO wouldn’t be my priority either.

“So I’m in bed, wearing my flannel pajamas and my robe and two pairs of socks and there are three blankets and a quilt over me, and I’m trying to decide which is worse, being cold or being hungry. Part of me says the worst thing is being bored and if I did some schoolwork I’d be distracted, but I tell that part of me to shut up.” (191)

Sentences like those keep it real. Well, keep it real for me. Honestly, I don’t know if the world was ending that I’d be *motivated* to open a textbook even if there was a parent (or two) around to pressure/encourage me. Then again, you’ve got to fill your days inside the house doing something. No electricity pretty much kills off all modern fun. Even reading books *can* prove challenging. (Depending on your house/house layout. Light to read by without electricity isn’t always a given. And with the temperature being what it is, it isn’t like she can just pick up a book and go outside and read.)

The chocolate chips.

The drama. I can see both sides. Mostly. The temptation to eat chocolate–to eat something sweet and delicious–after that many months of sacrificing. And she *didn’t* intend to eat more than a handful or two. But from the mom’s side, I can see why it’s important not to allow any of her kids the indulgence of secret eating.

Matt’s birthday.
Getting two letters from dad.

Chapter 13

A few words about Mrs. Nesbitt. I don’t know about you but I love her. I *wish* she would move in with them. Realize the fact that she’s part of the family. Allow herself some peace and comfort and companionship. Instead of being stubborn and noble.
Do I know old people like Mrs. Nesbitt? Yes. Old people–like the rest of the human race–come in all levels of stubborn. Stubborn people refusing to be looked after, tended, taken care of. Stubborn people that refuse to take their medicines properly. Stubborn people that refuse to eat properly. I get that she’s real. Still.

Mom’s accident.
A sprained (or is it twisted?) ankle. This incident just shows how far they’ve come from “normal” life. Before, this wouldn’t have been a big deal. Getting medical help, getting medical attention or care. Not a big deal. Now? It’s a big deal. Guards at the hospital. Guards with guns. Unfriendly and uncaring. I’ve already mentioned that there are no police and no firemen anymore.

Peter’s a good guy.

“I know I’m going to have to be strong for the next couple of weeks. No more whining. No more picking fights. I’ll have to do whatever Mom asks me and not protest and not complain. I know I can do it. But for that one moment I felt so weak, so helpless. I felt nothing but fear and despair and the most awful need to be anyplace else. I told myself it was hunger, but I knew that was a lie.
As long as Mom was all right, I could fool myself into thinking we’d all be all right.” (206)

The haircut.

Connecting with the past.
Just highlights how dependent we’ve all become on technology.

“I wonder if they imagined the future. I bet they never could have guessed what things would be like today.” (213)

Chapter 14

No gas for the stove. The natural gas is gone.
Last day the library is open. Take what you want. Return if it ever reopens. (Which at that point is doubtful.)

“Mom’s writing again. Or at least she’s typing. “I’d forgoteen how hard it is,” she said. “The letter A in particular. My left pinky isn’t really up to it on a manual typewriter.”

So true. I remember playing on an old typewriter we got at a garage sale. (I used to write Barbie newspapers on it.) I don’t think about typewriters that often not the manual sort anyway. But they really did take more strength.

Another haircut.

Moving day. They decide to move all the mattresses downstairs. Sharing quarters won’t be fun. But they’ll be warmer.

Megan’s death. And Megan’s mother. Her confrontation with Reverend Marshall.
I’ve been thinking and thinking on this one. What the “Christian” response would be, should be. And I’m certain it isn’t Marshall’s plan. Getting food while the rest of his church, his flock, starve to death. Being spiritually prepared to die isn’t the same thing as being eager to starve to death and hurrying the process along by refusing to eat or passing along your food to others. It’s an interesting question. Does your Christian faith demand that you keep sharing, keep giving to the needy. Are you yourself ever allowed to be “the needy”?

October 24th. Heat wave. It’s 29 degrees outside. Megan ventures to Miller’s pond to ice skate. I’ll leave it up to you. Does her meeting with her idol Brandon really happen? Or is it her imagination? Her fantasy? It feels a bit surreal to me.



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  1. This whole section for me was just heartbreaking. It’s where the novel really just set in for me…the chocolate chips that she was saving for his birthday that were gone, the haircut, the gas going out, Megan dying and her mother’s death…all just so sad. I still don’t know what to feel about her meeting with Brandon??? I really don’t. I’m leaning towards it being in her imagination, but hey..that’s a good thing! She could certainly use it at a time like this!

  2. Mom taking naps. I don’t think this is good, she is probably not eating enough. Plus Mom just doesn’t seem like the type of person not to care about her kids education.

    I can’t believe Kansas closed it’s boarders! What is in Kansas that would want people to stay? Do they have food? Also, the Government can’t control the boarder from Mexico – is it really realistic that some semblance of police can keep people out of one state? And what is the deal with not letting a pregnant woman in? Then the baby will have citizenship in Kansas? I think Mom is right to stay put. They have food and access to wood. They are probably better off than most.

    I am still wondering what happened to Dan and Sammi.
    Finally we find out Mom’s name is Laura!  I am really surprised they let Peter out of the hospital to go to Miranda’s house to take care of Laura (Mom). And are they giving doctors extra portions of gas – I can’t imagine he has time to wait in line for it.

    The library is still open! I wonder if they are letting people check out more books now since there are less people in town and they are only open one day. Miranda still isn’t studying, but she is getting more hopeful! That is good. Oh darn, I spoke too soon about the library.  It is closing.

    Doesn’t it seem like just when emotions start leveling out because nothing bad has happened in a few weeks and the family may even have a good day. Then bam!, no hot water…no gas for the stove. Then emotions plummet again.

    Again I think they are smart to stay where they are. I am not sure why people think that the South is going to be so much better. If they had food or gas they would be selling it north at a nice premium. I think that life would be worse without a roof over their heads and wood. Speaking of wood – do you think they are worried about termites getting in the wood? And I would just like to say Mrs. Nesbitt you stubborn woman – go live with Miranda’s family! Pooling your resources together would be so much better and you have to be lonely by yourself!

    Moving into the kitchen – Poor Miranda – no more privacy…and in the teenage years – that’s the pitts.

    “my existence is the only gift I have left to give her, but it will have to do”(223). – Miranda about a gift to give to her Mom.

    Oh my gosh – Miranda meets Brandon! …and no internet to blog that he is alive. So many good things happen to Miranda at Millers Pond – swimming with Dan and now skating with Brandon.
    It has never occured to me that this might be her imagination. She hasn’t hallucinated about anything else so I am going with the theory that it is true and Brandon is alive.

    Btw – I have no doubt that I could go on a chocolate binge and eat an entire bag of chocolate chips! And if there are Oreo’s look out – they would have to be hidden from me! 

    Becky you asked, “Does your Christian faith demand that you keep sharing, keep giving to the needy. Are you yourself ever allowed to be ‘the needy’?” I think I am going to have to think more on this question. My initial reaction is no that God doesn’t expect you to sacrifice your life for another, but then on the other hand Jesus did and Christians are taught to be more like Jesus. But on the other hand, God wants Christians to spread the word about him and you can’t do that if you are dead. I would say for me I would eat having the confidence that God would provide food to those who needed it and would speak to me when I should share.

  3. I was really bothered by Miranda’s encounter with Reverend Marshall. The fact that he didn’t appear to be even the slightest bit underfed. A young girl like Megan (and the others in his church) starving to death. He’s not going without at all and did not seem to feel bad about it. It just seemed wrong to me. I think Miranda really saw Brandon at the pond. It made sense to me that he would make his way home to his family. I hope she runs into him again! I felt bad for Miranda about the chocolate chips. She’s so frustrated with the situation, spotted the chocolate and lost it for a bit. I probably would have done it too.

  4. The chocolate chips – that part really broke my heart. I thought the meeting with Brandon did happen. She was too grounded of a person/character for me to believe otherwise. About Reverend Marshall, that was totally rough. This was a seriously emotional read.

  5. I was disturbed by Reverend Marshall too. What a creep he is – he reminds me of a cult leader or something. I can’t imagine how his congregation can’t see that he doesn’t really care about them.

  6. I’m still really loving it and had to read on this time!
    It didn’t occur to me that the meeting with Brandon might have been in her imagination but now it;s been mentioned I do think it had fairy tale qualities, it’ll be interesting to see. I hope it was real though I feel like Miranda needs some joy.
    The part with Rev Marshall made me so angry, I just thought it was so typical and so sad how power always seems to corrupt. I can’t imagine why his congregation would think that God wants him to live and not them, isn’t he their shepherd what’s the point of him without a flock?

    I’m worried about Mom and her ankle and how she seems to be giving up a bit. Also worried about Matt, who I really like and is a lovely big brother, cracking under the pressure of being the man of the family.

    As to the chocolate I could understand that completely! I’ve been known to devour of bag of chocolate on a normal day if I hadn’t eaten it for months I’d probably have gone crazy too but it was sad Matt didn’t get his birthday cookies.

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