The Boston Massacre: The Newspaper Office

Tisha Prasad

The fifth of March, 1770.

We walk home from King Street, the cobblestone road clattering under our feet. The late afternoon sun disappears into the horizon. Waves splash across the shoreline, sending a spray of salty mist.
Gulls catch their last prey for the day.

The mice steal their last bits of food and scamper back to their dens.

Boston retreats back home and settles in for supper and what I think will be a restless night.
The first thing you need to know is that Mother, Father, and I are currently headed to our home, the newspaper office. Printing the news provides us just enough to survive. But this is after the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act made paper expensive, and now our business isn’t so profitable.
And the second thing you need to know is a few minutes ago, we saw something that sent chills down our spine! No one will be able to sleep tonight, with fear of the future.
There had been this fight on the street between a group of British soldiers and a mob of American colonists, later to be known as the Boston Massacre.
Mother, Father, and I walk down the street into the dingy alleyway to the newspaper office. The entrance door slams shut and silence fills the room. Father brushes his coat and hangs it on the rack nearest the doorway. Mother immediately

picks up her sewing and immediately gets to work. With heavy tax on textiles, we have had to make our own cloth to support the Separatist cause.
Father shuffles over to his typewriter and says, “The street fight was terrible, undoubtedly! But it may be quite the news story to the people.”
Some color comes to Mother’s grave face. “Why, this is our best story since that terrible Stamp Act.”
The silence in the room is replaced with hope. Yet my fear remains.

I continue the candle-making that I left when the church bell rang. Mother, Father, and I had dropped everything when we heard the bell ring for “fire”. I was wide-eyed and scared. I still have a reason to be, even though there was no fire.
The church bell rang because of the fight.

I pour melted tallow into a candle container when a horse neighs outside. My brother has arrived, on our newspaper delivery horse.
He barges in, without a greeting, and shouts, “I heard the fire bell! What happened? Is everyone okay?!?”
“It was terrible,” Father says. “There was no fire, though. What happened was a mob had gathered around the British soldiers. Then, the British fired into the crowd!”
“Oh dear!” my brother gasps.

“Whatever will happen next?” I ask the question everyone wants to know.

Mother gives me an endearing look. “I know you must be quite shaken up to have to see that. It will be all right.” But even she looks unassured.
“I heard some soldiers were arrested and will be tried,” Father says.

They surely deserve that, I thought. They shouldn’t have shot at the people.

“Why! They’d be lucky to find a lawyer,” Mother scoffs.

Father starts typing his new story. I am glad Father has found a story that will

improve our business. Since the Stamp Act made our paper expensive, we have barely managed to get by.
“I bet everyone is angry at the British now. They just killed three people!” I shudder.
“Oh boy!” my brother exclaims. “People were already upset about the taxes. The British rule has already gotten weary! And now this street squabble.”
I saw the other townsfolk on the streets. We were not the only ones who were shaken up. I wouldn’t know about it before, but everyone is definitely upset now. So upset we might actually revolt against British.
“I almost feel bad for those soldiers,” Mother sighs. “They’re about to get tarred and feathered more than they ever have.”
Father continues typing. He then says, “We could use some opinions on the paper. Caroline, would you mind?”
Mother smiles. Women's opinions were not valued much, but after all, we were created equal, whether it was taxation, or our opinions and abilities. And Father believed so too.
Mother sits near Father, but doesn’t leave her sewing. There is always too much to be done.
Mother talks about what happened and Father carefully notes everything down. “There was a squabble between a private and a townsfolk. The private hit the
townsfolk with his musket!”

I shudder at the thought of that happening to anyone. But it could have been avoided if the townsfolk hadn’t started an argument.
“The poor man came back with some friends. They pelted the private with snow and clam shells.”
I don’t tell anyone that my friends and I playfully toss snow at each other.

“The private needed help, so he called for soldiers. After arriving, they fired because they thought they were given orders to. But they weren’t.”
What if something like this happens to us? Are we even safe anymore?

Disturbing thoughts ponder my head.

“If only we had nothing to do with the British!” I shout, a little too loudly. Mother shoots me a dangerous look, but instead of admonishing me, she agrees.
“That’s what we want to do. Separate.”

“Perfect!” Father says as he types in the last few words of the interview. A smile spreads across his face and he says, “As I see it, we will revolt soon.”
My brother jumps for joy. “We are spying on the British! We are going to separate!”
“Perhaps you shouldn’t yell our plans out to everyone in Boston!” Father chuckles.
Mother had prepared supper even before the street fight. When I head to wash up, I catch a glimpse of the first page in Father’s newspaper. Right after Mother’s
interview, it says, “Perhaps we will separate from the rest of Britain. The future is unpredictable.”

The future really is as randomly tied together as the strings in my homemade cloth. (Yes, I am terrible at sewing.) If only we could all be equal! No one would have to pay unreasonable taxes. No one’s gender would matter in a newspaper interview.
At least one of those things happened. Time to conquer the next!

If we can, indeed, separate.

Tisha Prasad

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