Raspberry Girl

Being 7 years old was not a good age to be when Diantha´s family crossed the Great Plains of America in 1848. Diantha was too big to ride in the wagon, and too big to ride double on the small pony purchased for her crippled sister to ride. . .... so Diantha walked. She walked every step of the way to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. She walked long after her shoes wore out. She walked barefoot over briars and hot rocks; and her feet bled long before the callouses developed and provided some comfort. Nevertheless, she walked .... and did not complain.

Her father was killed during an Indian raid on the supply wagons, leaving her mother with three daughters to care for alone. And although Diantha was too big for some privileges, she was too small for others. She was too small for the larger portions of food allotted the older children in the camp, even though her stomach ached for more. She was too small to be hired out as ´day help´ when they arrived in the valley. She knew she could watch babies as well as anyone, but her physical size would not allow her to do it all day.

So upon arrival in the valley, she looked for other ways to not only be useful to her mother as they started from scratch again, but to find a way to earn enough money to buy or barter for a new pair of shoes. One day she accompanied her uncle to the canyons as he was bringing timber down for their cabin. Having to stay out of the way, she wandered a bit and stumbled upon some wild raspberries. They were small, but sweet and very plentiful.

She emptied her lunch basket and began to fill it with berries. She filled every available container and returned the next day for more. Although the thorns scratched her arms and feet mercilessly, the prize was worth it. She picked every day for 10 days from morning until night. The berries were such a welcome treat to the simple diet of her pioneer neighbors that she was able to sell and trade with many of the other households for supplies such as sugar. She was then able to turn her raspberries into jam. Without pectin to thicken it, she spent 4 hours every day each July, boiling it down over a hot fire. She stirred constantly for she could not afford even a hint of scorching or the entire effort would have to be thrown out. She then, with her mother´s help, ladled it into glass jars to cool. .. covered it with a small piece of cloth tied with a string, and sold and traded the jam until she had enough to go to the mercantile and order a brand new pair of shoes .... not only for herself, but for her two sisters and mother as well.

She repeated this enterprise every year for 40 years. And every year she purchased her Mother and two sisters a new pair of shoes. Until she grew up, she became known throughout her community as ´Saturday´s Child´. For, as the Nursery Rhyme states: ´Saturday´s Child works hard for a living".

Her hard work blessed not only herself, but her entire family. Over the years, her efforts blessed the entire community with a touch of sweetness not normally available in their new desert home