The story takes place in 1847. In hopes of giving their daughter a better life, Katherine's parents send her to America during the Irish Potato Famine.
Papa says the crops will fail this year. He paces our small kitchen.
“Katherine, what’re we goin’ to do?” he says over and over. “Without our potatoes we’ll have no money, no food!”
“What about our wheat, Papa?” I ask. “And oats?
Papa scolds, “Hush, child. Ye’re womenfolk. Ye cook and clean and mend clothin’, not meddle in the matters of men.
“I said hush, Katherine. Now leave me be so I can think.”
Quickly and quietly, I make my way outside into the garden. The day is humid and gray, as it always is after a heavy rain. I look out over the fields of potatoes. The crops are changing color, their leaves turnin’ black. Their terrible stench hangs in the air. The townsfolk blame it on the rain. They call it “wet rot”. But they’re wrong. It ain’t the rain.