“ I do not want to move! ”, says Mary. She says it loud and defiant, but no one can hear her anyway. The rain pours down in the streets of Independence, just like her tears are running down her cheeks. Mary feels a lot of angry words pricking in her throat that want to come out. She runs into her house and into her room. Mary sits down behind the desk and takes out her diary and begins to write:
Dear Diary - 24th March 1862
Today father told us that we had to move to Oregon. I do not want to! Mother, father, John, Lydia and Craig can move without me. I have got all my friends here. If we move, will I ever see Independence’s streets again? I will surely miss Elizabeth’s freshly baked bread. Shall I never again have the opportunity to sit under James’ big apple tree and think about life?
Father says we must leave, we have scarcely enough money for food.
Dear Diary - 3rd April 1862
The sun stands like a red-glowing ball over the green landscape. I have finally understood that we had no other choice than to leave. We are driving in our covered wagon through a beautiful valley. We and 60 other families left Independence earlier this morning and now we are heading for Oregon. We have to drive through Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and almost through whole Oregon, if we shall to get to Oregon City. Now I am actually looking a little bit forward to reach our destination.
People say that Oregon is made of milk and honey. In Oregon you can claim a square mile at no cost. They also say that it is free for diseases. It sounds like a land made by God.
Father wants to start up his own jewellery shop there. Craig is very exited. A little while ago he almost fell over the front end of the wagon, while keeping a lookout after Indians. Craig is very interested in Indians. He says he cannot wait to fight with a wildman. But I suppose he does not understand how dangerous they are. John and Lydia are very quiet I do not think they want to go to Oregon. But they are the oldest of us children so they never contradict either mother or father. Mother says that we will face some really big mountains. The mountains are dangerous. You can be caught in a blizzard and die from cold and starvation. I had better stop writing now because it is very hard when the wagon is bumping so much.
Dear Diary - 26th April 1862
Yesterday, when we had just passed Ash Hollow this terrible thing happened: The sky became dark yellow and I heard a peal of thunder. The wind started howling like a wolf, where it whipped over the landscape and crushed everything on its way. The trees where ripped out of the ground and thrown up in the air like matches. Everything was a complete and utter chaos. It was a hurricane. Mother, father, Lydia, John, Craig and I found shelter in a little cave not far from the camp, but many did not find any shelter. The caravan lost twenty of its members. It was a horrible sight. I feel very sorry for the victims and their relatives.
Dear Diary - 15th July 1862
We have driven almost through the whole of Wyoming and are now up in the big mountains. When people told me about them back home, I used to think that these mountains looked like the earth’s own protector. It is very cold, despite the fact that it is summer. Unbelievable, but true, up here in these high mountains, there are small beautiful flowers in every colour of the rainbow. The mountains look like old trolls, which have turned into stone.
All of us have started to get really tired of this trip. We all want to reach Oregon as soon as possible. I cannot stand the thought of eating dry bread and bacon one more time. Some of the children in the caravan have caught colds. I hope for God’s sake that it does not evolve to something worse.
Dear Diary - 16th August 1862
We have camped for the night in Soda Springs.
John and I had a fight and now we do not talk to each other any more. The only thing I said was that he always tries to rule Lydia, Craig and me, which is true. He alleged that I am self-centred, but I am not. Father is angry at us, he says that we have more important things to do than fight. I guess he is right.
If only this journey could end!
Dear Diary - 29th August 1862
One of our oxen fell and got injured. If we had kept it would have caused too much trouble, so we had to slaughter it. From now on there are only three oxen which pull the wagon.
We have finally come down from the mountains and we will soon arrive in Thousand Springs.
John and I have become friends again. Craig has lost his interest in Indians. I think he is a little disappointed that the Indians did not attack us. Tomorrow the trip will go further to Three Island Crossing.
Dear Diary - 21st September 1862
I have not been able to write about the journey since Thousand Springs, because I have been ill for almost a month. The doctor told that I had caught pneumonia. I have never felt so unwell in my entire life. I thought I was on my last legs. But I feel much better know. All the big trees, the flowers and the cloudless sky remind me of home. The autumn is getting closer. I can feel the temperature has dropped.
Grey dots come into view in the horizon. Father says that they are houses in Oregon City. I am so glad! I can not explain how happy I am. For the first time for over three weeks John is smiling. Mother and Father are also smiling and hugging each other. Craig and Lydia are jumping up and down, while we all sing.
After this long journey we will finally reach our goal: Oregon City.
Thank God that we all made through this trip.