Did you know that the Lily Lapp books are based the stories you read here each Thursday? The Adventures of Lily Lapp is a series of four books that follows Lily Lapp through her daily adventures as a little girl growing up Amish. This week we’re sharing an excerpt from book two, A New Home for Lily.
Chapter One: A New Home for Lily
The Big Day Arrives
There was only one thing Lily Lapp liked about her new house in Pennsylvania. One thing.
She had a very long list of things she didn’t like: The color of the house was an ugly olive green. The kitchen countertop was a shiny bright orange, so bright it hurt her eyes. There weren’t enough bedrooms for Mama and Papa, seven-year-old Lily, and her little brothers, Joseph and Dannie. In fact, Lily’s bedroom wasn’t a real bedroom at all. Her bed was tucked into the corner of an upstairs hallway. She had a hallway bedroom. A wave of self-pity swept over her whenever she climbed the steps to her hallway bedroom.
But here’s what Lily liked about the new house: the light switches worked! On, off, on, off. Lily and Joseph tried them in every room. Amazing! Papa said they could use the electricity only for a few weeks. As soon as he installed a new water pump for the well and found a refrigerator that could be run with a little gas engine, the electricity would be turned off.
Lily was sorry to learn that they couldn’t use those electric lights for much longer. They were so much brighter than the dim oil lamplight she was used to. Electric lights filled every corner of the room with bright cheerful light.
This very day, Lily’s family had moved to Pennsylvania from their farm in New York—a cold, gray, snowy day that made the long drive even longer. Lily wanted to tell the hired driver to hurry, hurry, hurry! Her papa had gone ahead with the moving van and was already at the house. Sally, her one and only doll, was in a box in the moving van, and Lily wanted to unpack her and play with her.
But when they arrived in Pennsylvania, Lily was disappointed to find strangers in the yard, helping Papa move furniture and boxes into the house from the moving van. As Lily and Joseph followed Mama into the house, they found other strangers inside, opening boxes and unpacking dishes and putting them into cupboards. They didn’t seem at all concerned if that was where Mama wanted them. A girl stood posted by the front door to open and close it as the men carried in furniture and more boxes. Every time the door opened, snow swirled inside and a cold draft whooshed in. Lily shivered. The men tracked snow in on their boots and it melted in dirty puddles on the floor. Even the snow, Lily thought, was crying.
This move to Pennsylvania didn’t suit Lily at all. Sadly, common sense had not prevailed, and here they were. She wished they could just pack everything right back up and return to New York. She had hoped, at the very least, that Grandma and Grandpa Miller and Aunt Susie would be here to greet them since they’d moved to Pennsylvania ahead of Lily’s family. But they had gone off to visit Great-Grandma. Another disappointment.
The couch had been brought in and pushed against the kitchen wall. Mama set two-year-old Dannie on it and asked Lily and Joseph to read to him while she helped with the unpacking. Now that Joseph was six and learning to read, he sounded out words to Dannie in the picture book. Lily listened absently to the women’s conversations in the kitchen. She heard one woman say to Mama, “Rachel, you will probably want to send the children to school tomorrow. Our boys walk right by your house every day on their way to school. I’ll tell them to stop in tomorrow morning to walk with your children.”
School? School?! In the busyness of moving, Lily had forgotten all about school. She hadn’t even found a bathroom yet in this new house! She hadn’t found Sally in the boxes. How could Mama possibly think that she and Joseph were ready to start school? Too worried to stir, she could barely hold back until the strangers left so she could tell Mama that starting school tomorrow was a terrible idea.
As the sun began to set, people drifted o to their own homes. Now Lily could talk freely. As the last stranger shut the door, she turned to Mama. “Do we have to go to school tomorrow?” she asked. “I think it’s a good idea that we wait until next week.” Or next month.
“I think it’s a good idea to go to school tomorrow,” Mama said, sounding certain. “The longer you wait the more you will dread it. Once you’re there, you’ll enjoy it.”
Lily wasn’t at all certain. She could tell from the look on Mama’s face that her mind was made up. Suddenly, she was looking into a terrible future. She sat there without a sigh left in her.