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Rated: E · Chapter · Family · #2294402
part two of the story taking place in the 1970s
The next day, Aspen’s eyes popped open and she glanced at her alarm clock. The time read 5:30.

“Come on, body. It is far too early to be awake,” she grumbled to herself. Didn’t her body understand that teenagers needed sleep?

Sighing, she rolled over and turned on her light, blinking initially at the brightness before getting out of bed and stumbling over to her small bookshelf.

She knelt down and ran her fingers over her book collection. Books, like her love of history, had been passed down to her by her parents. These books included her mother’s personal favorite, The Black Stallion, and the favorite of her father, The Lord Of The Rings.

Aspen had already read The Black Stallion more times than she could count, but hadn’t yet sunk her teeth into The Lord Of The Rings.

Since it didn’t appear she’d be getting anymore sleep, she selected the book and stumbled back to bed.

She first took a look at the year it had been published.

Aspen had always loved connecting history with dates of published books. If she discovered a book which had been published in the 1860s, she’d associate that with the American Civil War.

With the Lord Of The Rings, she discovered it had been published in 1941, which was the year World War 2 broke out.

“I wonder if Tolkin fought in the second World War,” she wondered to herself as she turned to the first page.

Instantly, she became immersed in the story. The British had a very interested way of writing, and sentences such as “nearer the mark” and “whatever the old folk might say” really stuck out to her. Also, the way Tolkin named his towns, such as Hobbiton and Bywater, made Aspen believe he’d gotten inspired by town names in Britain.

“Of course,” she thought to herself as she continued to read about Mr. Baggins birthday party, “Most authors got their inspiration from places and people near them. It’s rad to think about.”

Before Aspen knew it, her door was being opened and her mother stepped in.

“Oh! You’re already awake. Reading, I see. Which book is it this time, dear?”

Aspen carefully marked her place with the bookmark and hopped out of bed.

“Papa’s favorite book,” she exclaimed as she trotted towards her closet.

Her mother nodded and then closed the door to allow Aspen privacy to get ready for the day.

Today, Aspen decided on her orange wool pants, her black collared blouse, and her white fur vest. For her hair-style, she decided on two simple pigtail braids which hung down over her shoulders. Then, she packed her school bag and bounded down the stairs to eat breakfast.

“Papa, I started reading your favorite book,” was the greeting she threw her father’s way.

Her father’s eyes twinkled as he carefully folded up his newspaper and tossed it on the chair next to him.

“What do you make of it so far, Aspen?”

He’d been waiting for at least two years for Aspen to start reading the book of his teenaged years. Although he felt some sadness that Arlo didn’t share his love for reading, he was quite pleased Aspen picked up his trait.

“Well,” Aspen began as she cut up her pancakes, “the British have a pretty interesting way of writing. It is English but the phrasing is very different.”

She swallowed a few bites of pancake and took a sip of her orange juice before continuing.

“I think Mr. Baggins is a fascinating character. If he was a real person, I would have liked to meet him.”

Before a reply could come Aspen’s way, her mother appeared in the doorway.

“James,” she said to Aspen’s father, “your brother called. He said he needs someone to drive Cynthia to school.”

Cynthia was Aspen’s cousin who was two years younger. Her Uncle did not like his children taking the bus, so he often drove them to school. He only lived about fifteen minutes away, so often Aspen’s parents would take the kids to school if her uncle could not.

James finished wiping his face and carried his plate to the sink before kissing his wife on the cheek.

“I will see you when I get home tonight, Linda,” he told her before walking over to Aspen and dropping a kiss to the top of her head.

“Have a good day at school and we will continue this discussion this evening.”

Aspen waved good-bye to James and finished the last couple bites of pancake before rising and washing off her plate.

“Mama, Tolkin published Lord Of The Rings during the first year of the Second World War,” she informed Linda as she headed towards the front

Linda reached behind her head to tighten the head scarf she wore and laughed.

“I know, dear. Your father has mentioned it to me many times before. You had better go, Arlo is waiting.”
Aspen glanced up from the notes she’d been taking in Mr. Fraser’s class to see if she’d missed anything. Today, her class studied the American Revolutionary War.

“This war is the most important war in our history,” Mr. Fraser intoned, tapping on the chalkboard with his finger, “this was the war that bought us our freedom. A great many characters participated in this war. Does anyone know who the most famous person from this time period is?”

Aspen sat up straighter in her chair and raised her hand.

“George Washington, sir. Not only was he the general of the entire army over the entire course of the war, but he later went on to become our first President.”

Mr. Fraser beamed at Aspen. He could tell she would be a very fun student to teach.

“That is correct, Aspen. Now, George Washington did not start as a general. His father owned a farm, which George inherited after his death when he was only eleven. At the age of sixteen, he became a surveyor. After that, he joined the army.”

Aspen scribbled down bullet points of Mr. Fraser’s lesson and listened intently as he continued to talk about America’s first President.

“Did you know that he lead an attack that started a world war?”

Aspen, like the rest of the class, froze at this new piece of information. James had taught Aspen a lot about America’s history over the course of her life, but that he hadn’t mentioned.

“Yes,” Mr. Fraser continued, “He most certainly did. It helped spark part of the Seven Years War, which was the French and Indian War. It was a surprise attack upon a French force, which unfortunately failed, and he surrendered to the French during the Battle of Fort Necessity.”

Aspen stored this piece of information in her brain and planned to ask James about it later.

All too soon, her favorite class ended, and she rushed to catch up with Arlo.

“That little fact about President Washington is not something I remember Papa telling us,” she breathed out, her eyed wide with excitement as she followed Arlo down the hall.

Arlo laughed and stopped in front of the English Classroom, which happened to be his next class.

“Well, you will have to ask him about it later! Right now, I will be off to study Shakespeare, Poe, and Dickinson. Peace out, Aspen!”

The two siblings matched peace signs and Arlo disappeared into his English Class while Aspen raced down the hall to Math.

As she found a seat at a desk near the front of the class, she accidently bumped elbows with another girl and saw serval books fall.

“Oh! I am quite sorry,” she cried out, her cheeks turning red with embarrassment as she hurried to help.

“It’s cool, no need to worry,” a raspier voice replied.

Startled, Aspen looked to her left and saw, kneeling on the floor next to her, a girl with rings of red curls scattered about her head. Her eyes held a sea-green color and her smile felt welcoming.

“I’m Jennifer, but you can call me Jen or Jenny. Just do not call me late for dinner,” she teased, placing her books carelessly on her desk and helping Aspen to her feet.

Aspen let out a tiny laugh at Jen’s joke and sat down at her desk.

“I’m Aspen!”

Jen sat down and looked at Aspen with watchful eyes.

“Are you a freshman?”

Aspen’s eyes again widened at the question and wondered how in the world Jen had figured that out.

“Well, most freshmens I have met are rather polite and helpful. Plus, the way you have all your books in such nice order. Juniors and seniors typically do not care,” Jen whispered as she arranged her pen and paper in the center of her desk.

Aspen, too, arranged her pen and paper on her desk and smiled.

“Yes, my first day was yesterday. My brother Arlo is the captain of the football team!”

Jen knew Arlo only from the talk of her friends, but his name was familiar enough that she grinned in recognition.

“Ah, his younger sister! I have overheard him talk about you a few times.”

Aspen made a mental note to ask her new friend about Arlo later because the teacher had just entered and class was starting.
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