Meanwhile, at home, Mama realized that she didn't hear Charlotte talking to the dog and cat anymore. She went to the backdoor; "Charlotte, what are you doing?" There was no answer so she went outside and called a few more times, "Char--lotte! Maybe she went to the toilet," Mama said to herself. She walked to the toilet and found the latch unfastened. "Charlotte, are you in here?" When Charlotte didn't answer, Mama opened the door, only to find it empty.
"Oh no!" she gasped, "not the well!" It was every mother's biggest fear that one of her children would fall into the dug well. Mama ran quickly back to the yard. Her heart beat rapidly and she stumbled as she hurried down the hillside path to the well. The lid was still over the top of the well! She slumped to the ground in relief and sat for a moment to catch her breath.
"She must have gone to Dane's house. Why didn't I think of that in the first place!" she thought.
As Charlotte stepped up to the side of Dane's crib to wake him up, Mama came to the door. "I'm sorry she's bothered you Leola. Now, little lady," she said to Charlotte, "let's go home."
Mama gripped Charlotte's hand firmly and with a tug they started home. Before they reached the gate, Mama broke off a keen switch from one of Grandma's peach trees. She gave Charlotte's legs a little swat with the switch.
Surprised, Charlotte jumped up and down and squealed as the switch stung her legs. All the way home Mama explained, "I was worried to death about you! I don't like to switch your legs but you have to learn not to disobey me."
At bedtime, Charlotte climbed up on Mama's lap and put her arms around Mama's neck. She hugged Charlotte close and gently rubbed the little legs.
(Mama would have been 97 years old today. See post for 4-11-09)