Illustrated and read aloud at:

Synopsis: Both the 1882 and the 1936 floods affect a simple woman’s life.

Setting: The Concho Valley, Texas, from the 1860s to the 1930s

Sophia was a toddler when she acquired a pillow from her mother. Little did she know that the pillow had the ability to absorb its owner’s emotions. This was a handy feature when Sophia was sad; it was as if crying into the pillow resolved all her problems.

The pillow was named “Lazarus” after a pillow fight had erupted among the cousins. Mama had to bring the pillow back to life by restuffing it with feathers and cotton. Maintaining that pillow would be a lifelong endeavor as Sophia matured.

But could a pillow detect sentiments? As a young girl, she would unknowingly make the pillow happy by resting her doll beside it. And the pillow felt privileged to have the tooth fairy replace Sophia’s teeth with coins. Sophia evoked happiness in the little family, and the pillow responded in kind.

The small family lived at Ben Ficklin, an aspiring town in the Concho Valley. Sophia’s father worked for the stage company nearby. She grew up in the fine community.

But in 1882, when Sophia was fifteen, a terrible flood wiped out the town—taking her mother and father as victims. The devastation was immense, but Sophia and Lazarus somehow survived.

She and other surviving, teenaged orphans were grouped together and moved to higher ground in San Angela. They scraped together a living there, with construction. San Angela had become a growing county seat and Ben Ficklin was not going to be rebuilt.

When autumn arrived, her group of teenagers gathered pecans at Miles Grove and shelled them for living expenses. Lazarus had lots of passions during this thrifty phase of Sophia’s life. He also became stained—due to pecan-oiled fingertips—bloodied from shelling so many nuts.

In 1888 the railroad was brought to the growing city, and Sophia found the love of her life. Roger was a train employee and the sparkle in Sophia’s eyes.

After marrying Roger, she spruced up Lazarus by replacing the dingy covering and washing the filling to newness. Sophia and Roger were very happy and financially well off. But because of this splendor, Lazarus became a minor piece of bedding in the new house on Abe Street. Things were going so well that Sophia sometimes forgot about her parents’ tragic deaths and her difficult time as an orphan.

Lazarus was elated when Roger found out about her pregnancy. Thecouple shed so many tears of joy on Lazarus.

But as fate would have it, as suddenly as she had become happy with Roger in her life, Sophia was devastated when Roger was killed in a railroad accident. Losing three loved ones in a span of six years was almost more than she could bear. Her friend Kate helped console her, but ultimately time would have to heal her wounds.

Lazarus was put into a wooden chest, and the house was darkened as the pregnancy progressed.

In the long run, it was God’s Word that helped her to see that raising the baby was the only thing she could do presently. She would have to be strong for the infant.

When Cynthia was born, Sophia’s demeanor swiftly changed for the better. Light was allowed in the house, Lazarus was resurrected from the chest, and almost all was right with the world. Lazarus held the esteemed pleasure of being on the sofa with Sophia and Cynthia.

While Cynthia was growing up, Sophia volunteered in her community, later called San Angelo.

Lazarus had to be mended multiple times as the years wore on. Sophia found that using lamb’s wool as stuffing was just as good as feathers and cotton.

Time went on for Sophia, Lazarus, and Cynthia.

In 1936, when Sophia was sixty-nine years old, another flood affected her.

When the flash flood warnings were announced, she grabbed Lazarus and other sentimental belongings and got to higher ground—at Cynthia’s house on Eighth Street.

All of Sophia’s loved ones were safe inside Cynthia’s meager home. Though she was frustrated by the ruination of her house on Abe Street, she couldn’t help but count her blessings.

Sophia had endured many struggles in her life, but her faith in God and her supportive friends, (Lazarus included), got her through them all.          

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