Puritans Essay, Research Paper
It was morning, so I went to the kitchen for breakfast. It was still dark outside and all through the house except for the kitchen because mother had a candle lit and placed on the table. My father and mother and my three brothers and one sister were sitting at the table. They were all waiting on me to get there so we could eat. I sat down on the bench with no back and I sat there stiff, straight, and tall because no slouching was allowed. I could not smile or talk until the blessing had been asked. My dad was very strict on us children about being on time for breakfast. He would not start the blessing until all of us were present. After father blessed the food, we could talk and laugh and eat. Our breakfast consisted of some fried, thin sliced salt pork and some hot corn bread with honey and a cup of milk to drink. Every morning, except on the Sabbath, Father discussed the chores for the day with us. Father told all the brothers that we are going to plow the new field today. But before we did that we had to pull some hay down from the loft to feed the cows. We then went to the woodpile and brought some wood up to the house for burning. While the older brothers where working in the field, my little sister played with my youngest brother who was only two years old. They played in the yard with the dog. When it got time for dinner, me and my brothers came in from the field and went to a lean-to built on to the back of the house to wash up and comb our hair. My sister helped mother get everything ready for dinner. Mother called us all in for dinner and after we sat down Father said a prayer over the food and we ate. It was Saturday and our holy day started at sunset on Saturday. After we ate, Father sat us all together and read from the Bible and then we went to bed. The next morning we were all awakened by the usual noises of mother in the kitchen preparing breakfast. We knew that meant it was almost time to eat and so we would hurry to the table. After breakfast it was time to go to church. It was against Puritan law to saddle the horses on a Sunday because no one – not even the horses – had to work on the Sabbath day. So we walked into town to the churchyard. When we got close to the church mother reminded each of us children the importance of acting good during church. It was considered a disgrace for anyone to sleep, slouch, turn around and look at the person behind you, whisper or even laugh during church. One of our deacons stood in the back of the room with a pole and tapped anyone on the shoulder who “sinned” during service. Father expected someone of my age to be able to control my feelings and actions in a way that would be pleasing not only to him, but most important, to God. Sometimes this was very hard to do because our services would last at least two hours. By the time we got home from church a boy my age would be starving. Usually the punishment for sinning during church consisted of doing without a meal and staying in my room for the day. We never got whippings, but we respected our rules. That afternoon me and my brothers all went out to the barn and sat while we told stories. My oldest brother told of a bear he saw in the forest while walking home one day, he watched the bear steal the honey from an old tree stump. After a full day of rest, Monday came and it was time to do my chores. After my chores were done, it was time to change into my good shirt and pants and go to school. I always walk to school with a couple of my friends that live down the road from me. We all met and walked on into town where the school was located. A minister of the church taught school. School was a fun place to go, because I got to be with my friends and play during recess. It was also very strict. There were only boys at the school; girls did not have school. The teacher could refuse to let anyone come to the school and learn. Once one of the boys got in trouble for pulling hair and his mother had to walk him back to school the next day and beg the teacher to let him come back. There are also kids that come to our school who do not live like we do. They don’t go to church or pray the way we do. I still play with them, but I think their parents would rather them not play with me. After school my friend and I decided to go out and set traps for squirrels. This is very hard to do, but we were having a shortage of nuts so I knew they would be hungry. We took some corn from our storage cellar and set out. My father reminded me to be home in time for supper. We reached a good spot to set the trap so we went to work dropping corn kernels on the ground around the trap, then throwing the whole bag into the trap. We waited back in a thicket of bushes very quietly. Suddenly something happened that really angered us, the crows started to come in on us and eat the corn. This was turning out to be an unsuccessful trip. The sun was starting to set and I was really beginning to get hungry so I suggested we try again another day. We rounded up our gear and started home. Just as we were getting close to the opening of the trees, we could see something moving. As we got closer we could tell it was a bear. I was so scared but I knew we had to stay down wind and out of sight. Finally the bear loped off and we quickly scurried home. I was so happy to be home that I almost wanted to hug my mother when I saw her but as a puritan I knew I should not. We did not hug our moms or dads and they did not hug us. This turned out to be another great day in Connecticut. My life as a puritan boy is really a great life.