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The Long Summer

July 2024
1min read

The life of the Drake girls—and of most families at the turn of the century—was distinguished by the commanding presence of Father. There he is at left center, opposite, with three daughters aboard. Mr. Drake was often away on business trips, and therefore he entrusted his daughters’ minds to the bearded fellow at the blackboard. Professor John C. Bostlemann not only gave the girls their elementary education but taught each a stringed instrument as well. Playing the viola was a pleasant enough occupation, no doubt, but not a patch on looking at chickens at Grandfather’s farm, going swimming, or—as on the pages following—trying to coax an elaborate tricycle into motion or listening to Grandmother Walker read about how pluck and luck helped some enterprising lad to become President of the Company. The pace of life has accelerated in our era, and it seems doubtful if children will ever again have such eternities of what is now disapprovingly referred to as “unstructured time” to fill. The books will be put away, the summer house boarded up, and the children on these pages will grow up to face the assorted horrors the new century has in store for them. Here, however, they are content to dawdle happily in the long afternoon of the nineteenth century.

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