Jack Goodwin has dark hair and dark eyes. He and Cory are the same age and have been seatmates and friends for years and years. Those two boys sat behind Rosa and me in school the year Mr. Foster came on as schoolmaster. Not a good memory. Cory and Jack’s friendship cooled to icy after that ol’ bully Johnny Wilson stuck his nose in and lured Jack into some pretty bad situations. Eventually, Jack figured it out, and now he, Cory, and are all friends again.
For as long as I have known Jack, I never saw his mother. I always wondered where she was, or if he missed her. While working at Goodwin’s store that fall of 1881 (Price of Truth), I gathered some answers. (Note: the account written below was written by Audrey, an Andi fan, in 2015 as a guest post).
Paul Goodwin is Jack’s father. He owns and operates Goodwins Mercantile in town. Mr. Goodwin and his family lived back East in the crowded city of Trenton, New Jersey. They ran a mercantile there just like they so here. He and Mrs. Goodwin were always cleaning and organizing the shelves. However, the poor living conditions affected Mrs. Goodwin’s health. Then Mr. Goodwin received a letter from a friend in California, telling him the country was beautiful, and that he could open a mercantile in the new little town of Fresno. The Central Pacific railroad was laying track through the valley, and pretty soon towns would surely be popping up all over the place. So Mr. Goodwin packed up his wife and five-year-old Jack in the spring of 1872. To be one of the first settlers in the new town could work to his advantage.
However, he did not realize how dangerous and time-consuming an overland trip to the West would be. (It was just as dangerous to go around the Horn by sea.) The family joined a wagon train just before the ice broke up on the big rivers. They made it across the Mississippi with no worries. The wagon train consisted of twelve other wagons and many animals. The trip started out well. Mrs. Goodwin loved the outdoors. She recovered from her poor health and seemed to bloom. Jack loved running and playing alongside the wagon, or riding in the wagon and looking at the new scenery.
Then tragedy struck about halfway through the trip. Mrs. Goodwin was walking hand-in-hand with little Jack alongside the wagon. All of a sudden, a pair of oxen panicked. Mrs. Goodwin and Jack were right in the path of the stampeding hooves. Mrs. Goodwin flung Jack out of danger. In the process, Mrs. Goodwin was trampled to death.
Mr. Goodwin buried his wife on the trail and erected a simple gravestone and continued on to California. It was hard for Mr. Goodwin to be Jack’s mother and father, but with God’s grace he managed it. However, he never learned much about housekeeping, so the Goodwin household and store are always a little on the cluttered side. He worries about Jack because he can’t run a business and keep his eye on his son at the same time.
Jack and his mother were very close, and he took her death hard. I know now why Jack never talks about his mother. I don’t think he ever got over losing her. But that sure doesn’t excuse Jack from acting like a fool and following Johnny Wilson around. Boy, did he and Johnny get into trouble! It’s a miracle Jack didn’t get sent away after all the kerfuffle surrounding Mr. Ben Decker’s killing and who really was responsible.
Since Jack redeemed himself after that sorry affair, he’s been a much better friend. And here’s a secret. Believe it or not, I think since Jack’s grown up he’s falling for Virginia Foster. Who would’ve thought?