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George Brown Bailey: Play



Mill Creek, 1855

Written by Louise


Characters:

George Brown Bailey, age 22

Elizabeth Young Bailey, age 22, his wife

Anna Davis Young, age 55?, her mother, a widow
(“Grandma Young”)

Anna Young, age 19, her daughter

Caroline Young, age 11, another daughter

Aaron Young, age 11, twin to Caroline

Ann Smith Bailey, age 55, mother of George; a widow(“Grandma Bailey”)

Elizabeth Bailey, age 32, her unmarried daughter

Reuben Bailey, age 17, son of Ann Bailey

William Lamborn, age 8, grandson of Ann Bailey

Joseph Hyrum Bailey, age 1 ½ , son of George & Elizabeth

Sign – carriers #1 and #2


Setting: as plain as possible; quilts and covers on floor; small table with lighted candle and a few empty dishes stacked; etc.

Narrator:
(after introducing the players and the characters they portray) “The play you are about to see could be true. There are certain discrepancies on dates in various personal histories; so it is impossible to know exactly when the home in Mill Creek was begun and how many of the living family members worked on it together. For this reason, certain facts in the play may vary from those in the family stories you remember. But such discrepancies and details are not important. Far more important are the testimonies and gospel truths that illumined the lives of our ancestors—truths underscored by this play. In some ways this fiction can be truer than history.”

(Spotlight off Narrator, on Sign-carriers #1 & #2, who enter with placards: “Mill Creek, Utah” and “Spring, 1855”)

Elizabeth Young Bailey:
“What are we going to do?”

Anna Y.:
“We can eat less.”

Reuben:
“We shall get so thin we won’t make a shadow when we go outside.”

Elizabeth Bailey: (not Elizabeth Young Bailey) (trying to be cheerful and humorous)
“Well, then it shall be easier to get about.”

Reuben: (sarcastic)
“Precisely. Moving a thin body takes less energy than moving a fat one.”

Aaron Y.: (joining in the banter)
“And so, if we get thinner, we shall need even less food.”

George:
“Mind your manners, young ‘uns!”

Reuben: (grumpy)
“He is only 5 years older than me, and already calling me ‘young’un’.”

Grandma Young: (firmly)
“Even though he is 22, he is the Priesthood leader in our home and must be respected.”

Grandma Bailey: (softly)
“We should not have immigrated from England. This was a bad time to come.”

Elis. Young B.:
“No, we need you—(looking at Grandma Bailey, Reuben, Elizabeth and William)—all of you. We need your spiritual strength.”

Grandma Bailey:
“If we hadn’t come this winter, you would still have food left.”

Elis. Young B.:
“But we could never build this home alone.”

Gr. Young:
“And we could never have planted so many acres.”

Reuben:
“The planting wasn’t no help. The grasshoppers ate all the wheat up in one week.”

(painful silence)

Elis. Bailey:
“I wonder if our house will be like this one?”

Gr. Bailey:
“It will be even nicer—(teasing)—that is if I can get Willy to do any work.”

William (protesting, not realizing that she is teasing):
“I work! I work hard!” “And I want to help work on the house for the Young’s, too, Uncle George.”

Gr. Young: (pleased—sweetly)
“Patience child! One house at a time.”

Joseph Hyrum: “I’m hungry.”

Gr. Young: (trying to comfort the child) “The Lord will bless us—just like He blessed us after your grandpa died.”

Elis. Bailey:
“It’s a blessing to have your house and lot in Salt Lake taken away from you!?!”

Gr. Bailey:
“How could the Immigration Fund people do that to a widow?”

Gr. Young:
“Never mind. The Lord helped us through our difficulties. But let’s not be talking too much about the past, or we’ll all get to crying.”

George:
“We have been helped and blessed. Mother Young had just a house in the city; now we have ten acres of good farm land here by the creek.”

Eliz. Young B.: (bitterly)
“Land—but not a bite to eat!”

Gr. Young:
“Hush now. We are all hungry.”

Eliz. Young B.: (sadly)
“Oh, Mother,…I get so hungry when I’m with child.”

Gr. Bailey (tenderly)
“I would give up my dinner to you, dear, if I had one.”

Eliz. Young B.:
“I know. Thank you. I am wrong to complain so much.”

George:
“Let’s say prayers and go to bed now.”

“Yes, talking about dinners makes me hungry.”

(The next three lines are spoken as the whole group gets into a circle and kneels for family prayer.)

Caroline:
“Can we pray for food and get some?”

Anna:
“Maybe Heavenly Father will make a miracle for us.”

Gr. Bailey:
“I don’t think so. God operates with laws and natural principles. How can He make wheat then the grasshoppers ate the plants already?”

(All bow their heads. Silence)

George” (prays)
“Father in heaven, we thank Thee for the bounties given through thy hands. –We ask Thee to be with my wife Elizabeth in these hard times. –Be with us all. –Help us know what to do to get food. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

Gr. Bailey:
“Everyone straight to bed now. No fussing.”

(All bed down on the floor. Grandma Young blows out the candle.)

Anna:
“Maybe we can glean what like Ruth did in the Bible.”

Gr. Young:
“Good idea. We’ll glean up north where the grasshoppers didn’t do much damage.”

Eliz. Young B.:
“We can plant corn and squash in place of the wheat.”

George:
“I was already thinking that.”

Eliz. Bailey:
“William and I can go looking for some more greens in the fields tomorrow.”

Reuben:
(gloomily) “I don’t think we will find any tomorrow, either.”

Eliz. Bailey:
“You are so sour. Try to think happier or the Lord can’t answer our prayers.”

Reuben:
(defensively): “You’d be sour if you had to stand in the pond, digging for cattail roots all day! You were up here, warm, working on the house.”

Eliz. Bailey:
(also defensively) “I was working hard!”

Gr. Bailey:
“Hush now, both of you! We must keep the spirit of our prayer in our hearts.”

Caroline (whispering to her brother and sister):
“Do you think Heavenly Father will get some food for us like George asked?”

Anna (whispering):
“He might. He saved Pa when Pa prayed for a safe trip.”

Aaron Y. (louder)
“I don’t remember about that.” (to Gr. Young) “Please tell us the story about Heavenly Father saving Pa.”

Caroline Y.:
“Yes, please, Mother.”

Gr. Young (out loud):
“Well, Father was an expert tanner, and so they wanted him to immigrate as soon as he joined the Church. It was in the spring time, three years ago, and we all felt so helpful. We had no idea what trials lay ahead….Father had booked passage with the ship “Saluda”. After he was on board, he felt impressed to get off. So he took his luggage off and waited for the ship “Ellen Maria”. The “Saluda” sank during its voyage and everyone on board perished. The “Ellen Maria” arrived safely. So your pa finally got to Salt Lake.

Eliz. Young B.:
(whispering to husband) “So many people dying these days. Oh, George, these are terrible times to be bringing a baby into the world!”

George:
(comforting) “I know…But remember the Ellen Maria.”

Eliz. Young B.:
(bitterly) “I don’t know where the ravens would find food. There has been so little rain anywhere, this year.”

(George gets up; puts his winter coat on; puts his shoes on.)

Eliz. Young B.:
“Where are you going, this time of night? It is too late to call on anyone.”

George:
“I’m not going to call on anyone. I need to be alone to talk with the Lord for a while.”

Narrator:
“George Bailey returned from his walking and praying with a peaceful feeling.” (George comes back and gets in bed.) A little later the families found a sack of flour on their doorstep.” (During these words, family members get up, pantomime finding the sack of flour, waking up the others, excited rejoicing in pantomime.) …”One week, at Church, they learned that a neighbor of theirs had already gone to bed that night. But he was ‘pressed to get up and take the flour to the Bailey Family, as he felt they were in need of food.’”

(Lights out, no more motion on stage.)

(Spotlight only on Narrator)…”That year a baby girl was born to George and Elizabeth. They named her, “Ellen Maria.” She was a sickly child because of the poverty all the Saints passed through in those early years. But she lived to a ripe old age in Salina, Utah, and was ‘loved and respected all her life for the good she did to her fellowmen.’”


Handwritten on back: “Dear Aunt Mary, Here’s a copy of the play I promised to send you. Hope you enjoy it. You’re one of my special friends. Sincerely, Louise”



Owner/SourceLouise
File nameGeorge Brown Bailey: Play
File Size
ID243
Linked toGeorge Brown BAILEY

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