Title: Mary Emma and Company
Author: Ralph Moody
Series: Little Britches, book 4
Major Themes: Boston, Massachsetts, Family Read-Alouds, Memoirs, Family Life, US History 1900-1950, Books for Boys
Synopsis: After moving to Boston when they had to leave Colorado, Ralph’s mother and the family have to find a way to make a living for themselves, and make a home.
Some books I don’t mind borrowing from a friend or from the library, or reading as an ebook. Some books, or some series, I want to have on my shelf, in physical format. The Little Britches books are in the latter category. This is a series I now have in its entirety on my shelf, and plan to keep it there. I think I’m enjoying reading these books aloud again as much as the children are enjoying hearing them, or maybe even more! We just finished Mary Emma and Company—what a wonderful story!
When Ralph’s mother made the sudden decision that she had to leave Colorado in secret so that she wouldn’t be forced into the position of condemning a man to death, she took her children to Boston. They stayed with Ralph’s Uncle Frank and his family until they could find a place of their own. Mother was shocked to learn what terribly high prices were asked for rent in 1912 Boston, and quickly realized that she and the children must figure out a way to make enough money to live on. Ralph found himself a job in a grocery store right away, and Mother decided that she and Grace would launder and iron fancy clothes.
As usual, the Moody family all worked together. Their adventures as they remodeled the rental house they found, and tried to make the furnace work, will make you laugh as well as sigh. I don’t want to try hanging wall paper on a high ceiling! Even though this book of over 200 pages only covers about four months of their first year in the East, there are many adventures recorded. The most memorable, for me, was the time Ralph organized a group of boys to salvage timber from a bridge that caught on fire. They spent the day wading in a salty river!
Mary Emma and Company is a great story of a family’s ingenuity and initiative as they made their own way in the world without a husband/father to provide for them. It is a great story of a happy, loving family. I highly recommend this story, and the entire series, for anyone who enjoys true stories from many years ago. It is, in some ways, similar to the Little House books, and, like them, tells the story of life in a vanished time.
WARNING: Chapter 3: this cussed fire. Chapter 5: durned if you ain’t got me beat, what in Sam Hill, by gorry three times, then Old Ned broke loose. Chapter 7: by gorry. Chapter 8: that confounded song. Chapter 13: this cussed thing. Chapter 14: Gorry. Chapter 15: what in tunket, lug this cussed anvil. Chapter 16: them cussed knots, jumping jehoshaphat, that cussed tool case. Chapter 23: I’ll be jiggered. Uncle Levi added “by hub” to most of his sentences; he shows up at least three times.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, 10 – 13, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults