Prequelettes Of Hearts Stolen

Scroll down to see them all...  DADDY'S HOME from the war...and he's brought a letter from Levi  /  IT'S HARD TO BE THIRTEEN . . . Rebecca writes back to Levi  /  LEVI SHARES... his Bitty Beck's letter   DADDY'S HOME FROM THE WAR . . . and he brought a letter from Levi   May 26, 1836…   After the tears and shouts, the celebration and heartbreak of Levi not returning home but being alive, Rebecca Ruth Baylor Buckmeyer snuggled her two oldest little sisters up close. Instead of a bedtime story though, she unfolded her brother’s letter Daddy brought home to her. May 8, 1836             My dearest little sisters, Bitty Beck, Mary Rachael, and Gwendolyn Belle…I’m sure Baby Ce Ce could care less only eight weeks old. Or has it been nine now? The four-year-old popped up. “That’s me! It said Mary Rachael.” “That’s right. It’s from Levi. He didn’t come home from the war with Daddy, so he sent us a letter.” She turned to the two –year-old on her left. “You remember Levi, don’t you Gwen?” The little one shook her head against Rebecca’s chest. “No!” She didn’t chide her baby sister for the bad attitude in her tone. Mama never should have let her start sleeping with her and Baby Cecelia while Daddy was away. Well, we did it! We’re all Texians now! Don’t know rightly what I expected, but it was unbelievable. Everyone charged shouting, “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!” It was like one huge roar, and before I could imagine, the battle ended. The Mexicans fired a few shots, but they all turned tail and ran. You’d never guess it, but you are the real hero of the Battle of San Jacinto. Well, Her? What in the world could he be talking about?           Yes, you. Remember that morning we left and Blue Dog was torn between staying home with you and going? You convinced him to go. Remember?
Blue Dog hunted down Santa Anna!

Blue Dog hunted down Santa Anna!

“Do you, Becca? I don’t remember.” Mary Rachael stopped twirling Rebecca’s hair and looked up. She loved her little sisters, and the little girl’s beauty almost took her breath away looking so much like her Daddy. “I do as a matter of fact. I told Old Blue that he needed to go help win Texas’ independence and make sure Daddy and Levi got home safe.” Gwen sat up, pulled her thumb out of her mouth, then wrinkled her nose and stuck out her tongue at her slightly older sister. “Now, that wasn’t very nice, was it? You two shush and be good, let me read the letter. I want to see how I was the hero, don’t you?” She started the new sentence over. Well, Blue is the very one who tracked Santa Anna and found him the next day! No telling what might have happened if the general got away. We might still be fighting. But the defeated cockroach signed the treaty, and Texas is now a Republic! Independent, free from Mexico’s rule! Isn’t it wonderful?  President Lamar is forming a rangering company. Wallace Rusk and I joined up, so now I’m a ranger. How about that, Bitty Beck? Don’t be upset with me for not coming home. I’m sure I’ll be back before you know it, and bring my new friend with me.             Did Uncle Henry tell you about Wallace yet? We found him walking along just outside of Nacogdoches. First said he was eighteen, but I found out he’s only big for a sixteen year old. He had to lie again to get in the rangers with me. He’s had a sad life. Never knew his father like me, but his mother left him an orphan last February. Said she was a sporting lady. Rebecca gasped. “Oh my.” “What’s a sporting lady, Becca?” “Oh, uh, you know. Like marbles… Or racing horses.” How brilliant, Levi Baylor! A little warning might have been nice. Hadn’t the thought entered his mind that she may be reading his letter aloud? Well, at least it wasn’t in front of Mama or Daddy. Surely the little sisters wouldn’t say anything. “Be quiet, now, and let me read the rest.” She read silently until she got past the part about his friend’s mother. Just like him to put the keep it quiet after the bad part. What a clown.               Don’t say anything about that, it should be just between you and me – or about his real age, either. I know Uncle Henry and Aunt Sue planted all that extra cotton and hate it that I won’t be there to help. This is something I feel I must do. As a man. Lamar is sending all the rangers to Comanche Springs so we can teach the Comanche and Kiowa a lesson for joining up with the Mexicans to fight against us. It’s pretty far west, not far from the Rio Grande is what I heard. Some of the older rangers think we’ll be done by Thanksgiving, maybe sooner. Can you believe Wallace has never even had a proper Turkey Dinner with all the fixin’s before? Or even celebrated the holiday at all. Maybe I can bring him with me in the fall. I can’t wait for you to meet him. He’s like a brother to me already. Kiss all my little Buckmeyer ladies for me and give Aunt Sue a real big hug. May be a chance we can come late September and help with the pickin’. I’ll write again next chance I get.                                                              I love you, your brother-cousin,                                                                                                                                                      Levi Bartholomew Baylor

“Long live the Republic, Bitty Beck!”

IT'S HARD TO BE THIRTEEN . . . Rebecca writes back to Levi

Rebecca fumed silently. Nothing could be better than having Daddy home, except if Levi had come with him. After the third full day’s work and once Mary Rachel and Gwendolyn’s breathing eased into a rhythmic chorus, she turned up her lamp and carried it to her desk. She retrieved paper and ink, then dipped her quill and wrote in a swoopy loopy cursive. She loved how pretty she could write.
May 29, 1836
Levi Bartholomew Baylor –
            Why didn’t you come home before you lit a shuck to join the stupid rangers? Daddy’s been home three days, and it’s taken me this long to calm down enough from being mad at you to write.
            When I first looked out and saw him riding in alone—without you—my heart stopped. I thought you were… Never you mind what I thought. You should have come home! We prayed for you and Daddy every day and night. Do you know how worried we were?
          The night breeze caused the light curtain to dance. She looked up and gazed out the window at the stars, then sighed. She wasn’t really ever worried…
           Well, as you know Mama always says worrying only hinders every promise of God, but you know what I mean. Of course we trust God to watch over and keep you—even if you are nothing but a heathen. And now you’ve gone and signed up to put yourself in more danger. I hate it! What’s wrong with you?
           I hate you being gone. And I hate how angry I am with you that you made me think for even one minute that you were…
          Oh, bosh! That’s all I’m writing tonight because I know all I’m doing is gripping and complaining. Mama told me men folk don’t like that and even the Bible says it’s better to live in the corner of an attic, than in a big house with a nagging woman! I’ll write more when my insides are calmer.
          I had something I really wanted to talk with you that I’m all balled up over, but now you’re not here and you’re not coming home. You best be proud I love you so much, ’cause if I didn’t, I’d hate your guts for sure and certain.
                                                             Your teenaged sister, Rebecca
 What would he think about her being in love? Lifting the partial page of writing, she waved it in the air, blowing gently on it while she corked the inkwell. She wanted to ask him about the best way to tell Chester Robbins how handsome he was, and how wonderful she thought he was. Once the ink dried, she folded the paper, stuck it inside her novel, and climbed into bed next to Mary Rachel. Sure would be nice to have her own room.
 June 7, 1836
           Me again. I guess I’m not angry with you anymore, but I’m still very sad. I don’t know when Daddy will want to post my letter, but I’ll keep writing until he does. May be my first book! He says we have to send it to the Ranger Office at Washington-on-the-Brazos, and you can pick it up when you’re by there. So I guess I won’t know when you might actually get it.
           I can tell I am not going to like this arrangement. I miss you so much every day. Things here are getting back to normal. Nothing will ever be normal again though without you here.                                                     Can’t you just come home?
         Daddy’s working on the house again. Him and Mama said I could go ahead and move into your room if I’ll box all your things. That’s a benefit to you being gone, but I’d rather have you here even if Mary Rachel is a terrible bed partner, rolling and kicking and climbing over me all night. Best hurry back or you won’t have a room to come home to. feather-and-inkwell
She dipped her quill again. What did she want to tell him? What might he find interesting? How she could possibly persuade him to come back home and forget rangering altogether? What was it that caused men to like fighting and danger, wars and the like? She hated it all and wanted everyone to mind their own business and stay home and get married and have babies.
            I guess you know since you aren’t here, me and Mama have to haul the boards up the ladder for Daddy. He’s putting on a second story to double the space and make bedrooms for all the baby girls. Anyway, it’s hard work for women to do, and if you were here, we wouldn’t have to.
          Oh, and guess what! We have a cook now. Captain O’Mally sent them to Clarksville and Daddy picked them up from town. Are you wondering why I keep saying them? It’s on account of Mammy, that’s the cook, has a son. His name is Jean Paul, but he isn’t as dark skinned as her. He’s all grown up, older than you, and he knows powerful lot about cotton. They used to be slaves!
         Can you imagine what it would be like if somebody owed you like we own our horses? Mammy said their old master’s done gone to Glory and he set them free in his will. Freedmen is what they are now. Don’t tell Mama I said, but Mammy sure can cook. Ha! You don’t even know what you’re missing? When are you coming home, Levi?
          Gotta go, Mama’s calling me. Mary Rachel’s hollering, too. She’s really talking up a storm all of a sudden and says the cutest things. Ask me the other day if I ever ate a worm! If you don’t come back directly, she’s liable to forget who you are. Think you’ll be here afore summer’s gone? I hope so.
                                                                        I love you and miss you heaps.
                                                                        Your Bitti Beck
 p.s. um, guess you figured out Jean Paul’s actually carrying most the boards now, but that’s no reason for you to stay gone!

“Long live the Republic, Levi! Now come home!”

Daddy described this as our  new flag. Is this what it looks like? Texas First Flag     LEVI SHARES... his Bitty Beck's letter Wallace whacked him on the knee. "Come on. Finish it. She's been writing on it a month!" June 22, 1836 Daddy said we were going to town tomorrow, so I’m going to write one more little bit before I post this letter then. COME HOME! He finally hired a carpenter and his son to help get the new big front of the house dried in. That’s what they called it, and I suppose it means to where it’ll keep the rain out. It’s ace high to be sure. Mama and I still had to help because you were gone. Come home now. That thing I wanted to talk to you about? Well, I figured it out myself with Sassy and Sophia Belle, because you were not home. Mama bought me a new dress with an empire waist and puffy sleeves at the top, but they’re more a fit elbow to wrist. It’s a beautiful green. Boss, and I love it. Rebecca dipped her quill in the ink, tapped it twice on her blotter, and left herself a moment to picture her new beau. She hated it that Mama and Daddy caught her staring at him instead of working, but well, she was coming fourteen. Already marrying age by some accounts. She tapped the quill again then returned to her missive. Yes, sir, you will not recognize the place when you finally come home. Have I mentioned I want you here and not running all over the Republic? Jean Paul has been working hard on getting more land ready for spring planting. He and daddy have been talking a lot about busting out more bottom land. He’s got that thirty acre block west of the smoke house laid by, says he’ll need to run it again before he plants, but it sure looks good. Bless the good Lord we don’t live there anymore. At the time, I didn’t mind it at all, but we didn’t know any better. Just wait until you see the new front of the house. I mean before it was nice, but now… Well, come home like a good brother should, and you’ll see for your own self. I hate you not being here, please be safe and careful and don’t go and do something stupid. I love you, brother. We’re all praying for you, Levi. Mama says you’ll be fine, and I agree, but I’d like it a whole lot better if you were here. It’s getting late. Mama says I’ve got to turn the lamp off, so I’ll start another letter when I have something new to write about. Write back and post it as quick as you can.

Love as always, Your Bitty Beck

Levi folded the three pages and slid them back into the envelope she'd mailed it in then placed it in his wallet.  That he tucked inside his saddle bags, then retrieved the piece of paper and pencil he’d been carrying for better than a month. He’d already read the thing three times to Wallace, and now that they were almost back to Austin, he needed to get something down to send back. “How old is your sister, Levi?”451301-001 He looked to his friend. “Fourteen.” Wallace tossed another branch on the fire. “Be sure to mention me when you write her back. Maybe tell her about those yaps that ambushed us last month.” Levi laughed. “No, I am not writing about that. And you need to stop bragging on me like you’ve been doing everywhere we go.” “God’s own truth. You got three of them.” He laughed. “I loved it when you took that last one’s Arkansas toothpick away from him and slit his throat.” He dragged his finger across his own neck. Levi couldn’t argue with the truth, but Wallace Rusk had made him out to be some kind of hero. “True, and you bagged the other two. But still, trust me, my friend. Girls don’t want to hear about us killing Comanche.” “Well how about that lady you met in San Antonio? Now she’s worth writing home about.” “Wallace, I’m not interested in that girl. She wasn’t much older than Rebecca, and not half as pretty.” His friend laughed. “She sure was smitten with the great Levi Baylor, famous Texas Ranger.” “Will you stop that? I’m not great or famous. Really, you’ve got to stop bragging on me.” “Hey. It ain’t brag if it’s true.” Levi waved him off. “Don’t you have the first watch?” “Nope, me and Nick traded.” He nodded. “Well shut your trap. I got to figure out something to write. We should make Austin tomorrow.” “How about that band of Kiowa?” “No, now hush.” October 13, 1836 Dearest Rebecca, Aunt Sue and Uncle Henry, and my little sisters Mary Rachel, Gwendolyn, and Baby Cecilia. Hope this missive finds you all well and happy. I’m good. Wallace Rusk, Nick Ward, and I are about back to Austin, so I thought I’d get this written to mail while we’re there. The Major said maybe some leave was in order if the Comanche didn’t start something. If he lets me loose, I may hightail it home for a visit. Sorry I haven’t written sooner, but we’ve been down south, and I didn’t figure a letter would have much chance of getting to you. slaves in cotton fieldSure do miss everyone. Is the baby walking yet? How’s the house building coming along? Sounds great that Jean Paul’s going to plant more cotton, not that I care much for hoeing or picking or having anything to do with lint—you can vouch for that Auntie—but I know what a money maker it is. Uncle, I’m sending a full head right I traded for. Use it however you see fit, or save if for that little valley we found along the Llano, either way I trust your judgment. pistol facing left Auntie, sure miss your cooking and hearing you nag me about any and every thing. Wallace’s grammar sure needs help, I’m sure everyone will like him if you ever get to meet him. A low two note whistle drew his attention. He set the paper down and pulled out his pistol. Wallace nodded toward the south. Levi agreed then eased north.   next