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“George, I will need some help.” Helen’s voice came across the room firm, but calm.

“I will not manage without another pair of hands after James leaves. I am too old.”

George put down his newspaper and thoughtfully scanned the faces of his family in turn.

Helen, his ever patient wife and ten years his senior, the lines on her face and hands reflected her work and life ethics. She had borne him 6 children since their marriage, but had also suffered the deaths of their two eldest daughters. Their eldest, Elizabeth, had been a strong child, but even if she had lived, she would likely be married with her own family by now.

George considered Robert, their eldest son. Bob had not lived with them for some time now, having married his sweetheart some four years ago. He himself could do with Robert’s help around the home, and Diana, or Annie as she preferred to be called, would be able to help Helen.

Helen spoke, seemingly reading George’s thoughts. “No, I do not want you to ask Bob and Annie. They need their own space.”

George didn’t answer, but his thoughts dutifully moved on.

Flora, as sweet and delicate as her name, could do little more than sit and sew all day. Her efforts did at least contribute to the household income. Wilhelmina was a capable house keeper and cook, and supported her mother well with these tasks, but could not be expected to do any more. James, the youngest, was due to move next year as part of compulsory military duties.

“All right dear,” George replied.

“Would you prefer a boy or a girl?”


George and Helen adopted a daughter sometime before January 1908. In the past I’ve written about this event as if the child was a family adoption, a niece or cousin from the extended family. This time I chose to write as if the only purpose for adopting the child was to gain household help due to age and infirmity. It should be noted though that she was well cared for and well loved by Helen and Flora at least, even if contact was lost between the families in later years. This story as well as the others I have written about Linda’s arrival into the family are fictional.

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