THE LITTLE BLUE HOUSE
How it happened:
Once upon a time, a very tired and discouraged mother was homeschooling her four children. They ranged, at the time from
about eleven years old up to sixteen. The family lived in a small southern town where they were known as "the Catholics".
They were just about the only homeschooling family as well.
And there were other weird things about them. The children didn't know any of the local slang -- neighbor children thought
they were foreigners. They didn't watch television. They drove an hour (usually on alternating Sundays at some awkward time
of the day) to attend the Tridentine mass.
Were they a family of saints? Well, no, I'm afraid not. In fact, they didn't even come close. But they really were,
you might say, foreign. They were, if you want to get technical, citizens of someplace else than the one where they lived.
They were citizens of Christendom.
Where is that, you might ask. Ask not only where but when. For Christendom is one of those countries that subsist in
your own country, in your own time and world.
But it is more than that. A citizen of Christendom is a contemporary of everyone who has held the Faith, of everyone
who has striven against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Of everyone who has believed what the Church has taught -- who
has been true, not to the passing fad, but to the solid core. And a citizen of Christendom, alas, suffers a lot of discouragement.
The first Little Blue House book, THE LITTLE BLUE HOUSE (published by Angelus Press, but now out of print) was written
to dispel some of my own discouragement. And, judging by the letters and personal comments it has gleaned, it worked quite
well in that respect for a lot of other people. I expect to see it reprinted one of these days, probably by my present publisher,
Little Flowers. I'll keep you posted on that.
Little Blue House is the simple story of a traditional Catholic family. They live in the south, though I never specified
any particular locale. They keep having babies, homeschool, drive long distances to mass, suffer the economic hardships that
come with having their mother at home and -- most poignantly, they feel the isolation of being "different". And,
no, they are not saints. They want to be -- and I portray them much further along that path than I've ever been -- but their
discouragements are real.
The book begins with a tornado and then moves through a few weeks of early spring. About strawberry picking time (March)
there are a few changes in their lives and -- well, let me share the final paragraphs with you:
The children streamed out of the cabin. "Here we are!" Joe shouted and Dennis called, "We got some strawberries,
Daddy!" He and Tom ran to get their baskets.
Agnes waited for Mrs. Pierce, looking around at the young leaves on the trees and the bright flowers peeping from
around the barns and sheds. This was a nice place for Daddy to work. She picked up her basket then and handed Mrs. Pierce
"Good, aren't they?" the old lady said as she and Mary Ann and Agnes slowly crossed the field.
Mary Ann stopped to pick a flower and Agnes saw Mrs. Pierce's happy face watching her. It is good, after all, to
be different, Agnes thought. It seemed to her that she had linked hands for a moment with all of the thousands and millions
of little girls who had lived and grown up and died in the Faith.
Mandy Wagner and Mrs. Whitcomb were the ones who were really poor. They were the ones who were different. Agnes
felt like a member of a very big family indeed as she ran up to Daddy and showed him her strawberries, a family that reached
right into heaven.