Read Moon Over Manifest Online

Authors: Clare Vanderpool

Tags: #20th Century, #Fiction, #Parents, #1929, #Depressions, #Depressions - 1929, #Kansas, #Parenting, #Secrecy, #Social Issues, #Secrets, #Juvenile Fiction, #Mysteries & Detective Stories, #United States, #Family & Relationships, #Historical, #People & Places, #Friendship, #Family, #Fathers, #General, #Fatherhood

Moon Over Manifest

BOOK: Moon Over Manifest
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2010 by Clare Vanderpool

All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

Delacorte Press is a registered trademark and the colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Vanderpool, Clare.
   Moon over Manifest / Clare Vanderpool. — 1st ed.
      p. cm.
   Summary: Twelve-year-old Abilene Tucker is the daughter of a drifter who, in the summer of 1936, sends her to stay with an old friend in Manifest, Kansas, where he grew up, and where she hopes to find out some things about his past.
   eISBN: 978-0-375-89616-3 [1. Secrets—Fiction. 2. Fathers—Fiction. 3. Depressions—1929—Fiction. 4. Kansas—Fiction.]
I. Title.
   PZ7.P28393Mo 2010
   [Fic]—dc22

2009040042

Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.

v3.1

To Mother and Daddy
,
for loving a good story, and a good laugh
,
and for giving me a good life

Contents
CHARACTERS

Manifest townspeople of 1918

S
HADY
H
OWARD:
saloon owner and bootlegger

J
INX:
con artist extraordinaire

N
ED
G
ILLEN:
Manifest High School track star

H
ATTIE
M
AE
H
ARPER:
up-and-coming journalist for the
Manifest Herald

T
HE
H
UNGARIAN
W
OMAN:
owner and operator of Miss Sadie’s Divining Parlor

S
ISTER
R
EDEMPTA:
nun, not a universal

I
VAN
D
E
V
ORE:
postmaster

V
ELMA
T. H
ARKRADER:
chemistry teacher and maker of home Remedies

M
R
. U
NDERHILL:
undertaker

H
ADLEY
G
ILLEN:
Ned’s father and owner of the hardware store

E
UDORA
L
ARKIN:
president of the Daughters of the American Revolution (Manifest chapter)

P
EARL
A
NN
L
ARKIN:
daughter of Mrs. Larkin, and Ned’s girl

A
RTHUR
D
EVLIN:
mine owner

L
ESTER
B
URTON:
pit boss

F
INN:
Jinx’s uncle

Additional townspeople and their countries of origin

D
ONAL
M
AC
G
REGOR:
Scotland

C
ALLISTO
M
ATENOPOULOS:
Greece

C
ASIMIR AND
E
TTA (AND LITTLE
E
VA)
C
YBULSKIS:
Poland

O
LAF AND
G
RETA
A
KKERSON:
Norway

M
AMA
S
ANTONI:
Italy

H
ERMANN
K
EUFER:
Germany

N
IKOLAI
Y
EZIERSKA:
Russia

Manifest townspeople of 1936

A
BILENE
T
UCKER:
new girl in town

G
IDEON
T
UCKER:
Abilene’s father

L
ETTIE AND
R
UTHANNE:
friends of Abilene

P
ASTOR
S
HADY
H
OWARD:
still a little shady

H
ATTIE
M
AE
M
ACKE:
still writing “Hattie Mae’s News Auxiliary”

I
VAN
D
E
V
ORE:
still postmaster

V
ELMA
T.: still the chemistry teacher

S
ISTER
R
EDEMPTA:
still a nun

M
ISS
S
ADIE:
still a diviner

M
R
. U
NDERHILL:
still the undertaker

M
R
. C
OOPER:
the barber

M
RS
. D
AWKINS:
owner of Dawkins Drug and Dime

M
RS
. E
VANS:
woman who sits on her porch and stares

Santa Fe Railway
SOUTHEAST KANSAS MAY 27, 1936

T
he movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby. I closed my eyes to the dusty countryside and imagined the sign I knew only from stories. The one just outside of town with big blue letters:
MANIFEST: A TOWN WITH A RICH PAST AND A BRIGHT FUTURE
.

I thought about my daddy, Gideon Tucker. He does his best talking in stories, but in recent weeks, those had become few and far between. So on the occasion when he’d say to me, “Abilene, did I ever tell you ’bout the time …?” I’d get all quiet and listen real hard. Mostly he’d tell stories about Manifest, the town where he’d lived once upon a time.

His words drew pictures of brightly painted storefronts and bustling townsfolk. Hearing Gideon tell about it was like sucking on butterscotch. Smooth and sweet. And when he’d go back to not saying much, I’d try recalling what it
tasted like. Maybe that was how I found comfort just then, even with him being so far away. By remembering the flavor of his words. But mostly, I could taste the sadness in his voice when he told me I couldn’t stay with him for the summer while he worked a railroad job back in Iowa. Something had changed in him. It started the day I got a cut on my knee. It got bad and I got real sick with infection. The doctors said I was lucky to come out of it. But it was like Gideon had gotten a wound in him too. Only he didn’t come out of it. And it was painful enough to make him send me away.

I reached into my satchel for the flour sack that held my few special things. A blue dress, two shiny dimes I’d earned collecting pop bottles, a letter from Gideon telling folks that I would be received by Pastor Howard at the Manifest depot, and my most special something, kept in a box lined with an old 1917
Manifest Herald
newspaper: my daddy’s compass.

In a gold case, it wore like a pocket watch, but inside was a compass showing every direction. Only problem was, a working compass always points north. This one, the arrow dangled and jiggled every which way. It wasn’t even that old. It had the compass maker’s name and the date it was made on the inside.
St. Dizier, October 8, 1918
. Gideon had always planned to get it fixed, but when I was leaving, he said he didn’t need it anyway, what with train tracks to guide him. Still, I liked imagining that the chain of that broken compass was long enough to stretch all the way back into his pocket, with him at one end and me at the other.

Smoothing out the yellowed newspaper for the thousandth time, I scanned the page, hoping to find some bit of
news about or insight into my daddy. But there was only the same old “Hogs and Cattle” report on one side and a “Hattie Mae’s News Auxiliary: Charter Edition” on the other, plus a couple of advertisements for Liberty Bonds and Billy Bump’s Hair Tonic. I didn’t know anything about Hattie Mae Harper, except what she wrote in her article, but I figured her newspaper column had protected Gideon’s compass for some time, and for that I felt a sense of gratitude. I carefully placed the newspaper back in the box and stored the box in the satchel, but held on to the compass. I guess I just needed to hold on to something.

The conductor came into the car. “Manifest, next stop.”

The seven-forty-five evening train was going to be right on time. Conductors only gave a few minutes’ notice, so I had to hurry. I shoved the compass into a side pocket of the satchel, then made my way to the back of the last car. Being a paying customer this time, with a full-fledged ticket, I didn’t
have
to jump off, and I knew that the preacher would be waiting for me. But as anyone worth his salt knows, it’s best to get a look at a place before it gets a look at you. I’d worn my overalls just for the occasion. Besides, it wouldn’t be dark for another hour, so I’d have time to find my way around.

At the last car, I waited, listening the way I’d been taught—wait till the clack of the train wheels slows to the rhythm of your heartbeat. The trouble is my heart speeds up when I’m looking at the ground rushing by. Finally, I saw a grassy spot and jumped. The ground came quick and hard, but I landed and rolled as the train lumbered on without a thank-you or goodbye.

As I stood and brushed myself off, there was the sign not five feet in front of me. It was so weathered there was hardly a chip of blue paint to be found. And it looked to have been shot up so bad most of the words were gone. All that was left read
MANIFEST: A TOWN WITH A PAST
.

HATTIE MAE’S
NEWS AUXILIARY
CHARTER EDITION
MAY 27, 1917

I am pleased as punch to be commencing this groundbreaking column in the
Manifest Herald
. My experience last year as assistant copy editor of the Manifest High School newspaper (Huzzah, huzzah for the Grizzlies!) has provided me with an eye for the interesting and a nose for news.

After Uncle Henry talked it over with his people at the paper, he decided to give me a column anyway. What with our nation involved in a great war and our young men leaving our sweet land of liberty, we must be vigilant on the home front. President Wilson has asked all of us to do our patriotic duty in supporting the war effort, and already many are answering the call. Hadley Gillen says Liberty Bonds are selling quicker than half-inch nails at the hardware store. Mrs. Eudora Larkin and the Daughters of the American Revolution are sewing victory quilts.

Even Miss Velma T. Harkrader generously devoted our last week of senior chemistry class to making relief parcels for our lads in arms. Despite a minor explosion while we mixed her dyspepsia elixir, the parcels turned out beautifully, each wrapped in red-white-and-blue gingham, and I am sure they will be received with great appreciation.

Now, it is time for me to hang up my crown as Manifest Huckleberry Queen of 1917 and trade it for the hardscrabble life of a journalist. And here is my pledge to you, faithful reader: you can count on me to be truthful and certifiable in giving the honest-to-goodness scoop each and every week.

So, for all the whos, whats, whys, whens, and wheres, look at the backside of “Hogs and Cattle” every Sunday.

H
ATTIE
M
AE
H
ARPER
Reporter About Town

BILLY BUMP’S HAIR TONIC

Listen up, fellas. Do you have a dry, itchy scalp? Wish you had more hair on your head? Is your hair turning the color of the old gray goat? Then Billy Bump’s Hair Tonic is for you. Just rub a little on your hair and scalp before bedtime, and when you wake up, you’ll already notice a clean,
tingly feeling. This means your hair is growing back, and in the same color you remember from your high school days. That’s right, men. The ladies will notice the hair on your head and the spring in your step. Get your Billy Bump’s Hair Tonic today at your local barbershop. Tell them Billy sent you and get a free comb. Works on mustaches and sideburns too. But avoid contact with ears and noses.

Buy a Liberty Bond
and save American liberty!

BOOK: Moon Over Manifest
5.37Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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