Authors: Anne Mateer
© 2011 by Anne Mateer
Cover design by Dan Thornberg, Design Source Creative Services
Published by Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55438
Bethany House Publishers is a division of
Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Ebook edition created 2011
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.
Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.
Wings of a Dream
Wings of a Dream
is a sweetly told story of lost and recaptured hope. Set during a time of turbulence yet drenched in simplicity, the story transports the reader to another era. This is a perfect sit-back-and-put-your-feet-up story. Enjoy.”
—Kim Vogel Sawyer,
bestselling author of
My Heart Remembers
“Anne Mateer has crafted an unforgettable tale filled with characters who will remain in your heart long after the last page has been turned.”
The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper
“. . .
Wings of a Dream
is a heartwarming story of an ordinary woman caught in the middle of extraordinary events. Anne Mateer made me laugh, she made me cry and—most of all—she made me care deeply about Rebekah and her friends and family. Readers searching for an engaging story with themes that resonate in the twenty-first century need look no further than Anne Mateer’s delightful debut,
Wings of a Dream.
“Mateer has written a poignant love story set amid the turbulent and often forgotten Influenza Epidemic of the early 1900s, expertly blending history and Biblical truths with warm, unforgettable characters.”
Whisper on the Wind
To my Lord and Savior,
the One who gives and refines my desires and my dreams
and makes my heart willing to follow wherever they may lead.
I am humbled and amazed.
ebekah Grace, if you don’t hurry we’ll be late for the lecture.” Mama refrained from shouting, though her voice carried easily up the stairs and into my bedroom. Ladies didn’t raise their voices, after all.
“Coming, Mama.” I pinned my wide-brimmed hat over my light brown hair before turning my head from side to side, trying to get the whole view in the small looking glass mounted on the wall. The hat wasn’t the latest style, but it would do. At least for Downington, Oklahoma.
Thankful that Mama had relented to skirts above my ankles, I raced down the stairs, hopping over the final step, then stopped to catch my breath before heading outside to meet Mama and Daddy. In spite of my excitement, I forced my feet to carry me with the slow dignity Mama expected of a young woman just turned nineteen.
Climbing into the back seat of the buggy, I cast a glance back at the crude shed that housed my brother’s Tin Lizzie and heaved a sigh. “We could take Will’s car, Mama. Arrive in style like Mrs. Thacker.”
Mama harrumphed her disapproval, even though I knew in her mind Mrs. Thacker had the last word on everything of value in culture and society. “Her husband insists she ride in that thing, but she’d prefer a quiet, dependable conveyance.”
I pressed my lips together to hold back a comment as Daddy signaled the horse and we jerked forward. I didn’t believe Mrs. Thacker held the reservations Mama attributed to her. Mrs. Thacker had lived in the modern world, far beyond the farmlands of Oklahoma. If it hadn’t been for her husband taking over the bank in town, she wouldn’t have chosen to settle in Downington, I felt sure.
“I expect your help tonight, Rebekah Grace. Others will be here to improve their minds. We Downington Women’s Forum members have as our duty to facilitate that effort.”
“Yes, ma’am.” I rummaged through my handbag, trying to hide the smile tugging at my lips. Mama might be concerned with everyone’s intellect, but my intentions weren’t quite so noble. Tonight I intended to make sure Arthur Samson understood my desire to get out of this town and see the world. With him.
Daddy let us off at the front door of the schoolhouse. Light shone from every window, keeping the growing darkness at bay. A large automobile idled nearby, but I couldn’t see who sat behind the wheel, Arthur or Mr. Thacker, so I followed Mama inside.
“Thank heavens you’re here, Margaret.” Mrs. Thacker sailed toward Mama, gloved hands meeting Mama’s shoulders for a moment as their cheeks almost touched. Then Mrs. Thacker pulled away. “People will begin arriving shortly.”
Mama set her handbag in a seat on the front row. “What should I do to help?”
“Nothing at the moment. We’ll greet people as they arrive, maybe help them find a seat. Of course I’ll introduce Dr. Whitmire.”
My attention wandered from their conversation. I couldn’t muster the same enthusiasm for hearing a theology professor’s lecture.
The door opened again. The two potted ferns he carried hid his face, but I knew it was Arthur. No one else in Downington these days wore the tall boots and brown uniform of a soldier.
“Put those up front,” Mrs. Thacker told her nephew. “One on either side of the podium.”
My gaze followed Arthur up the aisle, admiring his purposeful stride, his strong arms. He set down the plants as directed.
“That’s fine,” Mrs. Thacker said. “Now come say hello to Mrs. Hendricks and Rebekah.”
He turned toward us, removing his hat as his lips rose in a lazy grin. White teeth glistened against sun-darkened skin, as did his closely cropped hair, the color of sunshine.
“So nice to see you again, Mrs. Hendricks. Miss Rebekah.”
I stood straighter and grinned right back. Voices beyond the door drew Mama and Mrs. Thacker toward the entrance. The three other members of the Women’s Forum bustled inside and exchanged greetings as Arthur came to stand beside me. My insides melted like butter on hot biscuits as he gazed into my eyes.
It had been the same since the first moment we’d met, nearly three weeks ago, when he’d come to Downingtown to visit his aunt and uncle. He wasn’t like other boys I’d known. He didn’t trudge along in dirty fields. He soared above them.
A college graduate. An aspiring aviator. A man of the world. The fact that he paid attention to a country bumpkin like me set my head spinning and my heart pounding.
His eyes never left mine, though people filed into the room around us. I didn’t want to let the moment go. Not yet. I laced my fingers together and took note of listening ears. Leaning toward him, I asked, “Do you have a seat yet, Mr. Samson?”
He leaned in, too, and winked. “I’d hoped to forego this pleasure altogether.” He looked toward the door and then back at me, his invitation clear.
I bit my bottom lip and glanced at Mama. She stood on one side of the entrance, Mrs. Thacker opposite, while the other ladies flitted around, leading people to empty seats. No one took notice of us.
Arthur put his hand on my elbow and urged me toward the back corner of the room. Ensconced in shadow, his smooth voice wrapped around me like the silk shawl my aunt Adabelle had sent for my high school graduation.
“What about you?” His voice was low, in tone and volume. “Are you pining to hear a lecture this evening?”
I bit down a nervous giggle as Arthur’s lips curved into another grin. His voice dropped to a whisper. “Sit with me on the front steps. It’s our last chance to talk. I leave for Texas in the morning.”
At that moment, Mrs. Thacker swept toward the front of the room, Mama following close behind. Before Mrs. Thacker could turn to face the gathered crowd, Arthur and I slipped out the door and into the twilight.