Some Gave All | Teen Ink

Some Gave All

April 15, 2010
By laurenangela SILVER, Newton, Illinois
laurenangela SILVER, Newton, Illinois
9 articles 0 photos 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I am too weird to live, but much too rare to die," -Synyster Gates, guitarist for Avenged Sevenfold

Some Gave All
Based on the ‘Ghosts Of The Library’ exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum


This was the fourth or fifth time Mom had driven around the Capitol Building in Springfield. What was scary is that we lived near it, in Taylorville, and Mom didn’t know where the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum was. I mean, you can’t really miss it. The library and museum are connected by one of those ‘gerbil tubes’, or the thing that connects two buildings above a busy street.

I call this my ‘sentence’. Sentence as in helping a infamous kid at the library unload, examine, sort, and label artifacts about Honest Abe. I hadn’t even been to the museum. The reason I’m doing this is because I’m failing history and if I don’t, I won’t pass and will have to do summer school. The kid is infamous because she’s been there for several years, but no one’s seen her, and they say she broke something, and to pay for it, she has to do this. The thing is, she’s about the same age as me, and I’m a boy, so this ought to be good.

“Mom, I think it’s over there,” I said, pointing to the statue of Lincoln and a sign that said ‘Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum’ on it.

“Thanks, Scott,” Moms said.

“I don’t wanna do this,” I said. She sighed.

“You have to,” she said, “Have fun,” and booted me out. I got out, and went in. I told the lady at the desk why I was here, and she gave me my ID card, and I crossed through the gerbil tube to the library. I paid no attention to the exhibits. I found myself at the door that said ‘LIBRARY STAFF ONLY’ and using the key I was given, I went in.

The first thing that I noticed was blaring rock music, and I thought I’d have to deal with a punk. I sat at the table, and looked at some of the things on the table. There were big boxes, and some old, fancy-scripted papers that looked like something from Abe’s day, which it probably was.

The door opened, and I saw two thin, Conversed-shoed legs, with a pile of boxes on top. They walked over and sat them on the table in front of me, and I made eye contact with an ‘it’, cause I couldn’t tell if she was a boy or girl, until I looked closely. The hair was so short that it reminded me of a movie called Anne Frank, because when the Nazis cut off the girl’s hair, they looked like boys. It was short in the back and longer on top, and came to medium-thickness strands in her face. There were piercing silver eyes, longer eyelashes, and a pretty sculpted face.

“You Scott?” she asked, her voice deeper than expected.

“If you’re Sara,” I said.

“Guilty,” she said and held out her hand. I shook it. She clapped her hands.

“Let’s get to work,” she said and hung up her coat. She had skinny jeans, Converses, Bon Jovi shirt, and no jewelry or makeup, like a normal teen. “I’m going to hand you an artifact-handle it with care, and wear these gloves,” she said, handing me gloves, “write the number on the tag on this paper, and put it neatly in the box,” she said, pointing to each thing. I nodded.

The first thing she did was give me a box with a medal in it. I wrote ‘24348364’ on the paper, and set it in the box. She handed me several objects before I had to say something.

“I’m not trying to be rude, but you look like a boy,” I said. She never flinched.

“I hear that often,” she said and continued to hand me things.

“Have you considered growing out your hair?” I asked.

“I can’t,” she said quickly.

“Why?” I asked. She finally stopped.

“Uh…I like my hair,” she said hesitantly and smiled a small smile. I nodded.

“Oh,” I said and started recording again. “I wasn’t trying to be mean, but, I, uh, am not used to girls with short hair,” I added. She smiled.

“Change is good, Scott. We’re all different,” she said.

“True,” I said and continued. After a few moments, she looked at something, and stood up. She crossed to the far end of the table, and leaned down to pick up a soldier’s diary. Her shirt stretched out, and I noticed a long scar in between her neck and collar bone.

“What’d you do to your neck?” I asked. She looked at it and pulled up her shirt.

“Um, I got cut,” she said and sat back down. I nodded. Sara was really different.

After several hours of labeling and sorting, Sara looked at me and said, “Break time,”

She took me over to the museum, and we looked at the amazing wax figures. We walked in, and all of the staff members smiled at her. She walked hands behind her back, acting regal. She answered all ‘hellos’ with a simple nod and smile. We went through Abe’s childhood, and when we made it to his assassination and funeral, Sara’s mood changed. She acted more humble, and paid her respect, like he just recently passed. I swear I saw a tear come when we saw the casket.

We saw ‘The Civil War in Four Minutes’ video, and she kept looking at one picture out of all of the various soldiers.

“Who’s that?” I asked.

“He,” she said and moved to the other wall, “is she,” she added and pointed. “She pretended to be a man,”

“Really?” I asked, astounded that no one caught her. She nodded and became silent for a moment.

“She cut off all her hair and avoided wet t-shirt contests,” she said. I nodded, and we moved on.

We watched the ‘Ghosts of the Library’ and I was dumbfounded. It was amazing! I looked at Sara, and she sat there, leg in her lap, hand on her chin, looking somewhat like Lincoln. We walked out, and started back through the gerbil tube. I broke the silence and said, “Why do you do this?” She looked at me thoughtfully and said, “Because most think the dead can’t speak for themselves, and I can prove them wrong,”

“What do you mean?” I asked, and opened the door. She went in and went to the wall, where a tattered American flag, rifle, and Union uniform hung. She looked, and said, “I have two names. I am Sara Fredrick, and am Hiram Chickadonz. I’m a man and woman,”

“What?” was all I could say. She sighed.

“On April 15, 1965, John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, and I was there. I could have stopped him, but I didn’t man my post properly. A man came around and said he was an actor that wanted to speak to Lincoln, and I let him in. I saw him draw the gun, and screamed the instant he fired. I went after him with the bayonet, and he hit me and jumped off. I walked down the street in my uniform, crying and saying, ‘he killed President Lincoln. Lincoln’s dead,’ and a slavery supporter, came up to me, and asked if I was a Union soldier and I said yes. He took out a knife, said ‘this is for Lee and Davis’, and cut me down,” she said soberly.

“Y-y-you’re d-dead?” I stuttered. She nodded. I fell on my knees. “Oh, Lord,” I said.

“I don’t want to scare you,” she said. Too late!, I thought. “I want you to take my place. I have to go with the man upstairs. I can’t play this any longer. If I was alive, I’d have grown, and someone’s gonna notice. I have to give you something that you must guard with your life,” she said, “Aside from my belongings on the wall,”

She grabbed my arm and yanked me up. She handed me a paper, and two photos.

“You promise to keep this safe?” she asked. I nodded. And, like in the show, disappeared in a small breath of smoke. I broke down and cried. I realized she’d probably hit me for it, so I stood, and looked at the things. One photo was her in her uniform, now Hiram Chickadonz, and the other was her in a beautiful dress, long hair and all, now Sara Fredrick. The paper was in chicken scratch, and said ‘Lyrics to Battle Hymn of the Republic’. The band played the song, but I didn’t know the words. I read each one. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord: He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword: His truth is marching on. Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! His truth is marching on. I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps, They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps; I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps: His day is marching on. I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel: As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal; Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel, Since God is marching on. He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat: Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet! Our God is marching on. In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me: As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, While God is marching on. He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave, He is Wisdom to the mighty, He is Succor to the brave, So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of Time His slave, Our God is marching on. Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

It was so much, but it was worth it. I cleaned things up, and locked the door behind me. I went out to my Mom’s car, and she asked how it went, and I told her it was my job from now on. I turned on the radio, and I heard the familiar deep female voice sing, Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! Our God is marching on!

Because, Sara-and Hiram-now are marching on.

April 13-two days before the 145th Anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination-2010
7:30 P.M to 8:30 P.M
In memory of Abraham Lincoln

The author's comments:
I wrote this after seeing the "Ghosts of the Library" show at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, IL.

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