Previously on The Civil War Story: Kate Phillips just married Jospeh Vernon.
“Oh, sorry,” he muttered as they shuffled around each other coming out of the bedroom. They were still getting used to living with one another. They had only been married for a few days and were still getting used to sharing a space as husband and wife.
Kate smiled shyly and they went about their morning preparations. She was in the kitchen making breakfast and he was getting dressed for work at the general store. His father owned the shop, but his health had recently taken a turn so Joseph was reluctantly helping his mother and sister (Rachel Vernon – do she and Peter/Kate later share awkwardness?) run the shop. Though she never said as much, Kate suspected Joseph was less than enthused about the family business.
Because of the general store they didn’t have time for a honeymoon. Nonetheless they were still in the honeymoon phase of their marriage. They married relatively young compared to others. Joseph was very sweet toward Kate in their courtship and Kate fell head over heels. At their age, 17 and 18, respectively, they were quickly enamored. Some of the ladies in town were certain they’d rushed into marriage, but others said you couldn’t stop true love.
As for the couple themselves, well, they were too young to really understand what they’d gotten themselves into, but it didn’t stop them from jumping in head first. When Joseph proposed Kate didn’t even hesitate and they were married in a month. They had courted for a few months prior and it had been blissful. Now that they were married and living together however, some of the realities of married life became apparent.
Kate had obviously moved in with Joseph in a small apartment above the general store. Even in just a few days she felt like an invader. Joseph had everything set up and Kate had brought in her things and upset the balance. Joseph wasn’t overtly angry about his things being moved or missing but she could tell he was somewhat annoyed. She comforted herself by remembering there would be an adjustment period. And, of course, that they would grow to love each other more than they did now.
Kate made biscuits and gravy for breakfast but she hadn’t timed it right and Joseph went downstairs to work before they were done. She said she would bring some down later, albeit without withe gravy, and she did, but the general store was so busy, as was the usual, that Joseph barely had time to acknowledge her and she left them underneath the counter wrapped in clothe.
After she cleaned up breakfast Kate headed for the market stall to buy some fresh vegetables. There she ran into Sam, her best friend, who had lost his father at a young age. She lost her mother around the same time and they had been best friends ever since. They both realized that many people had assumed they might one day marry but they simply had never felt that way about one another. It was a completely supportive and friendly relationship but completely platonic. They said a few words and then went on their way.
Kate was taught a variety of skills by her governess (or equivalent) and planned to do some odd jobs for family friends during the first part of their marriage; until they had children. She was a fairly accomplished cook, albeit with simple menus. She could sew and mend, and of course, she could clean, but most anybody could clean, and cleaning was work for maids and she hadn’t much desire to be a maid, even if it was a sporadic thing. She had offered to work at the general store but Joseph had insisted against it. He said it would be best if they “kept their options open for the future.” She wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but it sounded like he didn’t plan to stay in the family business forever.
“How were the biscuits? Not too bad without the gravy, I hope?” she asked when Joseph came up from work in the evening. He shrugged and grunted in affirmation as he grabbed a plate and served himself the vegetable stew she had made. He seemed tired from the busy day so she didn’t read into it.
Some days later Joseph had forgotten his pocket watch downstairs and he seemed tired so Kate volunteered to fetch it for him. As she searched behind the counter for where he said he’d left it she noticed the clothe full of biscuits was still sitting underneath the counter. She thought it curious. Why didn’t he eat them? And why would he lie and say that he did? She realized there could be all sorts of reasons why he didn’t eat it, and perhaps he meant to spare her feelings by suggesting he’d eaten them, but she felt insecure nonetheless. They still hadn’t become completely comfortable with one another and she desperately wanted to please him. His personality was beginning to show, his real personality, not his courtship personality, and he could be a bit closed off.
She chalked it all up to stress, threw away the biscuits, grabbed the pocket watch from the adjacent shelf, and went upstairs to bed.
Next up: Months into their marriage Kate is not feeling so well… guess whaaat? No, it’s not chicken butt.