Perhaps I am too young to be on the right side, my mother told me. As a five year old in Pre-Revolutionary America, I am unable to understand the true meaning of the “writs of assistance” or the “Sugar Act.”
However, I feel enough for my family and the people I love to want nonviolence to prevail. In other words, I would not want bloodshed to enter my home, nor affect the friends I have got here, including the few British friends I have recently made and who are honestly good to me. I know about the Indian clashes against the British.
While they were happening – as they still do from time to time – my mother was silent most of the time. Yet, my father, who is a prominent lawyer and the owner of a large estate, which is referred to as a Colonial home, told me everything possible about a bigger war that may or may not be started, depending upon the conditions between the British Empire and the people of the Colonies.
My father is a great man. My mother tells me that Dad is visited by some of the brightest people in the Colonies. And yet, I cannot force myself to believe in him when he tells me that the people are generally unhappy with the British Empire.
When I was born, the British Empire was my so-called ruler anyway. I did not care that they formed my government. Neither do I care now. I would rather allow the British Empire to stay on and pursue their goals in the Colonies, than to see war kill my family and all of my friends. My mother, who writes poetry, tells me that my father might have to go to some of the most influential people of America and advise them in the event of a big war. I do not want to believe her.
More importantly, I fear for her more than anything else, perhaps, in the event that my father goes away during the big war that is expected and not expected at the same time. At one time when my father became seriously ill, my mother nearly died of sadness. She wrote and published a beautiful, sad poem in the New York Mercury at the time. When she read the poem to me and told me how appreciated the poem was by all the people who knew her, I informed her that she need not be sad anymore because she has succeeded.
She reminded me, however, that it is perfectly appropriate to be sad in the event of one’s husband’s illness. I changed the topic then. But I somehow gathered that at the back of her mind was the fear that my father might lose his life during a big war with the British Empire that the people in the Colonies were about ready to wage. Perhaps a poem would not be able to alleviate her suffering at a time like that!
The other day when some so-called intellectuals were visiting my home, my mother told me that they were asking all the women at the gathering, including herself, to consider working on the fashions of the times that would have nothing whatsoever to do with the British imported fashions. Mom explained to me later that even my clothing was British most of the time. Dad said that that was not true.
Perhaps it is only in part true that I wear the kinds of clothes that British children wear in America. And so, Mom was asked along with many other women to start thinking of new fashions that could be introduced in the absence of the British after the big expected and unexpected war.
Although I do not know yet what the new fashions may or may not be, I would be interested in seeing my mother act creatively while designing the new clothes, and stop thinking about war while she is at it. Maybe she does not think about war all of the time. But I feel that she does.