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The Allberger Diaries, Volume 2: The Diaries of Lara Anders

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So here goes Volume 2 of the Allberger Diaries. In this one I am attempting, for the first time in my life, to write in the voice of a woman. If I get it off, could those of you who are actual women please suggest how to make it more real. Thank you. Hopefully all will be entertained and given something to contemplate (beyond, "How obsessed can one person get!"  ;D )

The Allberger Diaries

rkelly17, series editor

Volume II
The Diaries of Lara Anders, Mayor of the Town of Allberger from Year 13 to Year 19

rkelly17, volume editor

Introduction to Volume II

The present volume is the second in the series of documents discovered in the Archives of the University of Allberger Library. The first volume, the diary of founding pioneer Ritch Anders, took us from the founding of the settlements in the Allberger Valley to the thirteenth year. Ritch’s diary ends toward the Autumn of that year when he died of old age. After his death his youngest daughter Lara, a teacher by profession, was elected mayor. Like her father she kept a diary which recorded her thoughts on matters public and personal. This volume consists of her diary entries for the period that she was mayor.

Outside the Valley during this time period leaders of the Western Province joined leaders of the other provinces in the capital city of Island Province and developed a plan for a federation which could form the foundation of a new nation. Part of the impetus for this move was the fear of the Crown that the nation to the South, which had once been its colony and had recently undergone a deadly civil war, might use its battle-hardened army to expand North. Provincial leaders reasoned that their neighbours would be more reluctant to be seen invading an independent nation rather than “liberating” a poor colony.

One of the great mysteries of the Allberger Valley settlements is why for many years they failed to adopt modern inventions as they became available. This mystery is especially compelling since the Valley has in more recent times become not only a centre of commerce and industry, but the major hub of high-tech research and industry in the country. Since the Allberger Valley settlements sent members to the provincial legislature and later the federal parliament, they were aware of and involved in events outside their valley. They travelled extensively, were well aware of the events of their times and accepted newcomers into their midst, but their own way of life remained remarkably unchanged. Perhaps their location away from the major thoroughfares of commerce enhanced their isolation. In the first part  of this period most traffic still went by water along the large lakes that were the southern boundary of the Western Province and so did not pass through the Valley. After federation the federal government supported the building of railroads, but all of these without exception by-passed Allberger because of the mountainous terrain surrounding the river.

We have no records which indicate that the citizens considered and rejected the new technology as did the Old Order people in nearby areas. Somehow they never saw the need for newer technology and did not use it in their daily work. Certainly the citizens cannot be thought “conservative” since they were pioneers in the equal treatment of women long before this was common on the rest of the continent. Women freely engaged in every profession which was practised and worked alongside the men. Lara, the diarist, herself was the first woman elected mayor in the province or federation, perhaps in the entire commonwealth of peoples who gave allegiance to the Crown. The incident with the synod of their church recorded by Ritch in his diary was not the last conflict with ecclesiastical authority as the Allbergers more than once elected a woman as pastor. This is not to mention their unique marriage customs, some of which deeply embarrass their descendants. No, these people cannot be called conservative in any usual meaning of the word. This mystery is not answered by these diaries and historians will continue to search for clues which explain the utter lack of any technological advance over so many years. The thought never seems to have occurred to them.

Fortunately for the settlements, some merchants continued to ply the Allberger River even after railroads had eliminated such men and women from other parts of the province. These merchants traded with Allberger and with settlements to their North and South. Without this vital trade the communities would have had a much more difficult time achieving prosperity or perhaps even surviving. Only through trade could they acquire what they needed to begin and expand their agricultural efforts and only through trade could they sell the simple goods they did produce. Only much, much later, after the period covered by these diaries did the citizens of Allberger construct a railroad to connect them with the mainlines to their South and set the town on the course toward the city that we see before us today.

The editor hopes that this volume, along with its companions, will add to historians’ ability to research the earlier years of the Allberger Valley.

]The Diaries of Lara Anders, Part 1

Year 13


My father Ritch Anders died last week at the age of 81. He had already outlived my mother by 14 years and had found further happiness in his later years with Jenneth, the widow of his friend Arie Bucher. He had served as leader of the banished migrants and mayor of the town since the day it became a town. We held his funeral at St. Martin’s and then processed to the cemetery where we buried him beside my mother. Even during the times in our lives when my father was angry with me for marrying Cliver and I was angry with him for not accepting us as we are, I still felt a strong connection with him. My brothers both told me that both the bond and the tension came because I was the most like him. Certainly after my mother died we were able to spend much time together and the breach of the past was healed. I believe that he actually came to respect me, which is all I could ever have hoped for.

The day after the funeral we held a town meeting to elect a new mayor. I was fully expecting that my brother Durwoodson would be elected, but he indicated that his role as our member of the legislature and vice mayor was more than enough for him to do alongside his job as fisher. When the ballots were counted I was flabbergasted when they read out my name as the new mayor. It will be some stress alongside my teaching duties, for the education of our children must always remain a high priority. I will do my best and pray that is sufficient for the challenge.

After the death of my father Jenneth had been living alone. Because she is now 77 both my brothers and sister and I and her own children Gianning, Linwoody, Lyndal and Arien were worried about her. She works as hard as ever, but she is not young--in fact she is now the last of her generation. Because Mackery had been living alone since Daliana died he volunteered to move in with her and see to her needs. All of the children agreed that this would be best and Jenneth herself has accepted the arrangement. This also freed Mackery’s cabin so that my nephew Elliott could marry Maddilynne Bucher.

Late Autumn

My experiments and measurements with the new farm have yielded some interesting results. In the original farm’s pepper field, which measures 15 squares by 8 squares for a total of 120 squares, the yield was 784 peppers, or just over 6 and 1/2 peppers per square. In the new farm the two corn fields, 9 squares by 9 squares each or a total of 81 squares per field, yielded 588 ears of corn each for a total of 1176 ears of corn, or almost 7 ears of corn per square. No doubt the weather affects the two crops differently, but I will continue my measurements for the next several years to average out the results.

Year 14

Early Spring

Time certainly flies by. It hardly seems possible, but yesterday I celebrated my 45th birthday. I feel much the same as I always did, yet when I look in the mirror there is no denying that I am no longer 20ish. I continue my work teaching and Cliver serves as our physician. My eldest brother is 65 but shows no sign of slowing down. He is preparing his huge collection of notes on the herbs and medicinal plants of the valley for publication. This has in many ways been his life’s work. He has allowed me to read through part of the draft and it shows his remarkable ability. Under other circumstances he could have had a very different life. When my parents gave up the settled life where they came from they also committed Mackery, a baby at the time, to a life he might well not have chosen for himself. Not that he would ever complain, but I do wonder what he might have become if he had been granted the chance for higher education. He is and Daliana was among the most widely read people I have ever known. I remember as a child sneaking into their cabin when all the adults were at work just to read from their huge library of books. It was those books which opened the world to me.

Late Spring

Durwoodson brought a family of nomads to the town hall yesterday. Their names are Estherford and Jalynor. They are accompanied by their daughter Arri who is 6 and their son Chadrian who is 3. Their story is horrible. They have escaped from a life of slavery and been helped to come to our province--where slavery has been outlawed for some thirty years--by friends of Durwoodson who live on the southern shore of the great lake. These people are part of a large network that brings escaped slaves northward and across the border. In particular a man named Levi and his nephew coordinate part of the network which brings people near to the border. This underground network brought this family to the provincial capital and asked Durwoodson whether they could settle in Allberger. Durwoodson said that he could not decide for the whole community, but he would bring them here and put the question to us. We immediately called everyone to the town hall for an emergency town meeting. When Estherford told his story of being sold from one plantation to another, the long hours of backbreaking work and the cruel punishments, most of us were moved to tears. The vote was unanimous to grant them immediate citizenship in Allberger and accept them into the community. We went right out and selected a site for a house for them at the new farm we are building. When we asked for their family name to record them in the list of citizens, they said that the only family name they had ever been allowed was the name of their masters. We gave them a list of the family names we were aware of and they chose “Unger” from the list. Estherford said it was because they had spent a lot of time hungry in their lives and that name would remind them of where they had come from.

Late Summer

Tavar has told us that he needs a break from his duties. Genardo Bucher-Flugel has become our pastor. He has served as apprentice to Tavar in a process the synod refers to as “reading theology.” At least that is what official forms and documents say. The reality is that Genardo’s wife Yessee is the pastor and she is the one who was actually Tavar’s apprentice, but we learned our lesson when we elected Lyndal and the synod came down on our heads. So now we tell them what they want to hear and they don’t ask. Someone referred to this as “Don’t ask; don’t tell,” which some of the citizens think isn’t completely honest. That is probably true, but we do the same thing when we hold an election. The province won’t allow women to vote, but whenever we re-elect Durwoodson to the legislature everyone votes. If we told the province they would probably disallow the results, so we just don’t bring it up. I have enough trouble whenever some official comes to visit and wants to meet the real mayor. At my age I don’t see why I should have to apologize for being the best person for the job. Yessee read all of Tavar’s theology books and has assisted him in his duties for several years now. We all respect her and she will be a good pastor to us all. But we will not commit any of this to official records.

 Early Autumn

A livestock merchant has landed at the trading post and we traded firewood for sheep. Now we can establish a herd and add mutton to our diet alongside venison. It will be a new experience as venison is the only meat I have eaten my entire life. I’m told that mutton is not quite so flavourful, but we shall see. More importantly we can sheer the sheep every year for wool. That will allow us to make our leather coats with wool linings, which will be much warmer in Winter. It will make the walk to the town hall considerably more pleasant.


Estherford and Jalynor have added a baby son to their family. Little Hezekiel was born late last night and both mother and child are healthy. Jalynor said to me that she was so happy that he had been born free and no one can ever treat him like a slave. The experiences of their lives have deeply scarred this family but they have already become valued members of the community. They have taught us some of the songs of their people, songs that have a haunting combination of deep sadness and great hope. They have tell us that many of these songs contain coded messages to tell the slaves when people are available to help them escape and how to find their way North. The songs are quite different from the hymns of the Old World which our parents brought with them and which we sing in church on Sundays. I have suggested to Yessee that it would be good to incorporate some of Estherford’s and Jalynor’s songs into the service. It might liven us up a bit. She agrees.

This year the fields performed as follows: Peppers, 778. Corn field 1, 586. Cornfield 2, 584.

Early Winter

Alessian started school, which means that I have two of my own sons in class. The boys are both good students and behave as well as boys can, but it is still hard to make sure that I neither favour the boys nor am too hard on them. I often err on the harder side, though they never complain. It would be much easier if I was not so close to all of the children, especially to my own. But such cannot be in a town like ours where not only does everyone know everyone else, everyone is related to everyone else. No story is left untold and no gossip left unspread for long. Both teaching and serving as mayor stretches me almost beyond my limits and I am sure that my role as wife and mother suffers the most. When I express my discouragement Cliver tells me that I am truly the best person for both jobs and he happily shares me with the town. I’m not so sure about the boys. They seem fine, but I’m not sure they would tell me if they weren’t. Aver is at that age where he both needs me and wants to be independent from me. One minute he insists that I accompany him on his latest quest; the next minute he wants nothing to do with me. He will graduate soon and can really become independent, but until then we live in tension.

The Diaries of Lara Anders, Part 2

Year 15

Early Autumn

The year so far has been blessedly uneventful with little of note. After talking it over Cliver and I have decided that it would be best for him to become the teacher and me to become the physician. He has teaching experience from the days when we shared the job and he has and can teach me much about caring for the sick. Since our community is healthy this actually leaves me with quite a bit more free time to devote to my duties as mayor. Should an epidemic break out I will be very busy, but most of the time I will not.

In her 87th year of life Jenneth has died. Everyone in town attended the funeral. Yessee preached a good sermon and I was asked, as mayor, to say a few words. Since Jenneth took the role of mother in my life after my own mother died, it was not just a civic occasion for me, so I had to speak from my heart as well as say something that would recognize the significance of the occasion, so I talked about how much her strength and vitality had meant to all of us. Lyndal also spoke movingly of her mother and how much she had encouraged her to be her own person.

Since Jenneth is the last of her generation, of the adults who established this settlement, we have decided that we should do something appropriate to honour the memory of all of them. Linwoody pointed out that their old wagon still sits abandoned at the place where the oxen died and the decision was made to settle here. We will investigate whether we could establish a memorial at the precise location.

Essica Koch died, which was a shock to all of us as he is only 62. Mackery and Jaide, Essica’s widow, have surprised us all by getting married. They have moved into Jaide’s cabin and given Mackery’s cabin to Shannie Bucher-Flugel and Sierrat Koch so that the young people can marry. My brother has finished his book on medicinal herbs and sent it off to the university press in the provincial capital to see whether they will publish it. I hope that they do so.

Late Autumn

Yield for this year: Pepper field, 750; Corn field 1, 588; Corn field 2, 588.

After the crops were harvested we surveyed the area to the North of the current town so that we can lay plans for expansion. I can foresee two needs that are on the horizon for us. One is for more crop land and the other is for more logs for building and fuel. With 70 people in the town now we must be more careful as we set aside firewood for trade that we do not leave ourselves short of fuel. It also seems to me that the rate of growth of our population has become quicker than it was several years ago. Our young families are having at least two and more often three children and as these young people grow up I imagine that they will continue to have similar numbers of off-spring. That means we will need more food every year. Our valley is fertile and we have only begun to settle very much of it.

We have selected the site for a new market and have what we think would be a good site for a new forest village. The building of all this will take several years, but I believe that it is necessary for our future to go ahead.

Late Winter

We completed the new market square and a house for the vendor.  We decided we should also build a woodcutter’s yard. Later we will add a new school, farms and homes. Maybe someday there will be a second church. For now this market square is away from population and still somewhat crude but I think that it will become more important as time goes on. In Spring I hope to get started on the beginnings of the forest village.

Year 16


Another family of escaped slaves has found their way to us, Merly and Louvenie and their children Joaquincy and Vellar. Their story is similar to Estherford’s and Jalynor’s--until they escaped they knew nothing but privation and back-breaking work with horrible punishments for trying to resist. They also told us of a remarkable woman who guided them to the border. They say everyone calls her “Moses” because she leads her people from slavery to freedom. They pass from place to place and then either cross the river between the lakes or find passage across one of the lakes. To accomplish this it is necessary to have willing people in the proper places. We accepted them as citizens and built them a new cabin as part of a new farm. They took the family name “Wagner” and will now use that as their own. Merly and Louvenie tell us that South of the border the tensions over the practice of slavery in some states is leading to greater and greater tensions. They fear that violence cannot be avoided for long.

Late Autumn

The fields performed as follows: Pepper field, 711 peppers; Corn field 1, 588 ears of corn; Corn field 2, 587 ears of corn. I suspect that one of the young boys may have eaten the last ear of corn between the field and the barn. I let it go--what is helping around the farm if one cannot have some fun. Even the Bible says not to muzzle the ox that treads the grain. Durwoodson came home from the sitting of the legislature with the news that Mackery’s study of herbs will be published before the year is out. We all gathered for a celebration at Mackery and Jaide’s cabin.


My brother Durwoodson has died at the age of 73. Fortunately he was fit and happy right to the end. He was a valuable member of the community and represented us well in the outside world. And he was my big brother who watched over me when I was young and helped me learn how to talk my father again after Cliver and I married. He is also the one I talked to when I needed some wisdom in order to lead these people. I will miss him more than I can tell. His funeral was painful, but Yessee has spent time with each member of the family and helped us to let him go. I think he was waiting patiently for the day when he could go and be with Lelianna, who was really the only love of his life. I think that was why he never remarried as most do. I’m not sure what I will do should Cliver die first. Even though both boys have graduated they still live at home, but neither Cliver nor I are getting any younger.

We held the election last night and my nephew Prentin was elected vice mayor and our member of the provincial legislature. He is very much like his father and has accompanied him various times to the capital in recent years. I believe that he will serve us well. He is a few years younger than me, but I believe that I can look to him for valuable advice and support. I hope that I can be of equal use to him.

Joaquincy Wagner and Lizebetha Koch have married and moved into the new cabin next door to Merly and Louvenie. Some citizens were not as celebratory as I would like, muttering about “mixing races.” I had to tell one that in this town we have always lived as equals and shared everything, both in hardship and in plenty, and that will not stop now. We have always allowed our young people to marry the person they loved. I fear that among some the spirit that motivated our parents to settle here is being diluted by prosperity and stability. We sometimes think ourselves better than we are.

The Diaries of Lara Anders, Part 3

Year 17

Early Spring

The news reached us yesterday that war has actually broken out South of the border. Some of the slave-holding states have attempted to break away. An attack against a federal fort has lead to mutual declarations of war. The Ungers and Wagners are worried what will happen to their friends and fellow slaves in the midst of war, but both families--and I with them!--hope that this might be the beginning of the end for slavery on this continent.


Today I celebrated my 60th birthday. Cliver and the boys organized a fine celebration. They tried to make it a surprise, but neither father nor sons have ever been very good at deceiving me. I hope that I did a credible job of being surprised. When I was younger I’m not sure that I ever thought much about someday being 60. Now I am and I’m not sure exactly what it means. My life continues as it did before. There are a few aches and pains that are new in the last couple of years, but they hardly slow me down enough to bother with. We’ll see what the next few years bring.

Late Spring

My sister Brina died on Monday. She was only 64, but her body just gave out. We held the funeral this morning and then processed to the cemetery for her burial. I found it very hard to say much of anything. My whole life Brina has just been there. We could always be together and just know what the other was thinking. Both Cliver and Harette have said more than once that the two of us never completed a sentence in our lives and yet both knew exactly what the other was saying. I will miss her very, very deeply. I also have to admit that with my mother dying at 63 and my sister at 64 I wonder how much longer I have left. There is so much left that I want to do. Maybe I will take after my father and my oldest brother. For now Harette is living alone.

Ramonte Bucher-Flugel died last week and Harette and Lyndal have married. I think that they will be good for one another. Lyndal moved in to Harette’s cabin and gave hers to Ramonte’s nephew Palmers so that he can marry Valarise Koch.


I don’t think I have the fortitude necessary to be physician. It is not that disease bothers me, but I’m not sure that I can live with the secrets that a physician must bear. Pamelia Bucher came to me this morning because she had missed her time for two months. When I examined her it was obvious to me that she is with child. It is certainly not the first time a young couple have gotten a bit ahead of our ability to build houses for them. As teacher I was always well aware that the female students who married did not always wait until after they graduated to begat a child. So I was not overly excited by what I had to tell Pamelia. She, however, became quite hysterical. I was afraid that whatever had overcome her might endanger the child growing within her. I was finally able to quiet her down and began to reassure her that this had happened before and our community would accept that she and her partner were ready to marry and prepare them a house. “But you don’t understand,” she wept. “You don’t understand.” When I asked her what I did not understand she blurted out, “The father of this child is my brother Conardo!” Indeed, I had not understood the source of her distress. We talked for some time, discussing things I never thought I would discuss with anyone. I told her that she would need to bring Conardo in so that I could speak to both of them.

Pamelia and Conardo spent the morning with me at the hospital. They each insist that they are in love and not as brother and sister. That much was already clear, but I listened to them intently. They told me that their parents did not know and I asked them how they planned to tell them. I know that Normandall and Tillice will be devastated, but they must be told as quickly as possible. Since I have no idea about how best to approach them I asked the young people whether or not we could bring Yessee in to help. At first they absolutely refused, assuming that as pastor Yessee would only yell at them about their horrible sin. I asked them whether Yessee had ever yelled at anyone about any sin and they agreed she had not. Finally they agreed that they needed someone to help them talk to their parents. I walked to the church and asked Yessee to come to the hospital. On the way there were too many people about to speak openly, but as we neared the hospital we were alone on the road and I told her the situation. When we went in she hugged each of them and assured them that she was not there to condemn but to help. At that point I left them together talking and went about my work. It would be so much easier if I were only physician and not also mayor. As physician I can be supportive and listen to each. As mayor I must think about the good of all. Our community is already over-related. If I am honest I must admit that we take in escaped slaves not just because we are kind and loving, but because we need them to keep us from harming our descendants. Now we have a case of a brother and sister having a child together. This will create great controversy among us and heighten the danger. I wish I knew what to do. As of now I can’t even talk to Cliver about all of this.

With Yessee’s help and support Conardo and Pamelia have been honest with Normandall and Tillice. From what Yessee tells me it was not the most pleasant encounter she has ever witnessed. At first Normandall wanted to force Conardo to move to another town far from here, which threw Pamelia into hysteria again. Tillice calmed them both down, but then the parents blamed themselves for what has happened. Yessee is willing to hold a marriage ceremony for them, but I am not sure how the community would take that. I don’t want to drag them all through the dirt publicly, but Pamelia is still in school and her pregnancy will not be a secret much longer. None of the family have yet given Yessee or myself permission to talk about this to anyone else. I am going to meet with Yessee tomorrow after the worship service and we will see if we have any brilliant ideas. Raising three boys has had its moments, but I never had to face anything like this.

I am very thankful for Yessee’s level head and deep compassion. It is hard to believe, but the story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery was the gospel for today. Yessee’s sermon reminded us all that none of us is without sin, that none of us can “cast the first stone.” Hopefully that will prepare some ground.  It is mostly Yessee’s idea, but we think we have a way forward if the family will agree to it. There is no way that some among us will not be scandalized, but we think that Normandall and Tillice can tell their parents and siblings that Pamelia is with child and that she and Conardo will begin sharing a house when one is available. That will spread the news all around. I will register their relationship at the town hall and certify their eligibility for a house. Yessee will not exactly “read the banns,” since that opens up the door to objections being lodged. Rather, she shall “announce” that Conardo and Pamelia are now a recognized couple in the town. There will be grumbling no doubt and people may well shun the family after this, but this seems to be a way to allow what will happen whether we allow it or not and prevent Conardo and Pamelia from being sent away from us.


My brother Mackery has died at the age of 82. I am now the last of my siblings and I miss them all. I am happy that Mackery was able to see his life work in print before he died and I think he died content. Jaide has married Linwoody which is a good thing. He had been living alone since Londa died and he was becoming more than a bit eccentric in his habits. Jaide help him reconnect with people. Chadrickie Koch and my niece Erlie have married and moved into Mackery’s old cabin.

Conardo and Pamelia have had their baby and named him Cleavernon. Many in the community still avoid talking to them, but all in all, we have survived the crisis relatively intact. After assisting Pamelia to give birth and making sure that mother and child were fine I walked home and told Cliver that he can have the job of physician back. Teaching may be more work in one sense, but being physician brings with it more emotional stress than I care for. As teacher I do get involved in the children’s lives, but caring for Pamelia has taken a toll on me. Please, please let me spend my last days teaching children.

The fields produced as follows: Peppers, 784; Corn 1, 588; corn 2, 587. Merley said with one or two changes in technique we could harvest just as much corn with one farmer per 9 by 9 field as we could with two. With the possibility of more efficient use of farmers we have begun construction of a new farm.


My closest friend Isamanie Koch died two days ago and her funeral was today. She was 64, just one year older than me. We played together as girls and we went through school together. When Cliver and I were considering marriage she and Brina were the first I told. Thank God I still have Cliver. Isamanie’s husband Gust will be living alone now, so Cliver and I will make sure to have him over as much as we can.

The war among our neighbours to the South has ended with the victory of the union forces. It seems that slavery will come to an end. I asked the Ungers and Wagners whether they would be going back. Both families have friends and relative who are preparing to return. To be honest the climate here is much colder than any they had experienced previously. Both Estherford and Merly assured me that they had no intention to leave Allberger, that this is now their home. I was much relieved to hear this as we need their experience in farming and mechanics to build up our community.


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