mary emma & company

May 6, 2009

Our book for this month’s colloquium (which is a discussion of a shared event…in this case, a book) is Mary Emma and Company by Ralph Moody. This is one of my favorite books because I always learn so much about how a family can work, learn, laugh, support, and grow together.

Mary Emma’s husband died two years prior to the start of this book and the family makes the choice to move suddenly pretty much overnight from Colorado to the Boston area. They arrive in Massachusetts with almost nothing and have to find housing and a way to earn money immediately. Thankfully, Mary Emma’s brother allows them to stay with them until they can make their own way. This is where we truly start to see the nobility of this great family. Even though they are exhausted from their cross-country excursion, they get up bright and early the next day to start building their future. The first morning they are there, Ralph finds a job at the local grocery store through great salesmanship of his strength and dependability AND by offering to work the first week for free so they can test him out. Mary Emma starts looking for work as well, but is unable to find anything that will allow her to work in the home with her children. After days of discouragement, the family attends church on the Sabbath and during the pastor’s sermon Mary Emma is filled with inspiration. She can clearly see how to earn an income as a family doing hand laundry on fine clothing. The rest of the book tells their story of putting that plan into action with numerous mishaps, trials, mistakes, risks, exhausting days (and nights), lots of hard work, and most importantly, joy.

If that doesn’t sound like a great storyline to you, you will just have to take my word for it and check it out yourself. It is a treasure – I promise! Our family enjoyed it as a read-aloud throughout the month of April because it was the girls’ book for their monthly colloquium as well. They laughed so hard at Ralph’s antics, Grace’s bossy stubbornness, and Uncle Levi’s joviality. We all fell in love with Mary Emma’s patience, faith, dedication, and gentle mothering.

Mary Emma and Company is a book to be enjoyed over and over – I get more out of it each time I read it. I think it is time for our whole family to go through the entire Little Britches series again!

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  1. I love love love the Little Britches series! :)

  2. Kari

    I just finished this yesterday. I loved it! I have decided that it is required reading for my children before they are allowed to get married. I wish I had read it before I had children. It is truly a classic. Can’t wait for colloquia tonight!