Carla and Laura Wilkie of Barrow-in-Furness, England

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Carla and Laura Wilkie of Barrow-in-Furness, England

If you lived as close to your school as Carla (9) and Laura (6) Wilkie do, you’d probably walk to school each day, as they do. The school is just around the corner and down the road a bit from Almond Walk, the street where Carla and Laura live.

Along the way are other streets named after trees, like Cherry Tree Way and Chestnut Place. In the morning, Carla, Laura, and their mum (mother), Julia, walk hand-in-hand to school with little brother, Richard (3). Later Mum and Richard come back to walk Laura home. Carla is older and stays in school longer, so she walks home by herself in the afternoon.

Carla and Laura like school, but they know that there’s another place to learn important things too. It’s Primary, where, Carla says, “They teach you things about the scriptures.”

Her favourite story is about the brother of Jared. “He found some stones,” she explains, “and Jesus touched the stones and made them glow. Then the Jaredites took the stones and put them in their boats so they could see and not be afraid when they were underwater.”

The story has importance to the Wilkies because they know from experience about boats that go underwater. The city where they live, Barrow-in-Furness, is a port famous for building submarines. And Carla and Laura’s father, Lee, helps to design the big ships. He knows that men who go underwater in boats today still need to have lots of faith.

Brother Wilkie is also the branch president for Barrow, and because the branch is small, Church members and missionaries often come to the Wilkies’ home for firesides or just to talk. Carla and Laura make friends with all of them.

But their best friends are their own family. They love to go on outings together. Sometimes they stay close to home and visit a tall tower in a little town called Ulverston. “Some people call it the teapot,” Laura says, “because of its shape.” When they have a little more time, the family travels to the Lake District, about an hour’s drive from home. With mountains in the background and sailboats gliding over the water, it’s one of the loveliest spots in England.

Family togetherness is part of everyday life too. The girls help hang the wash, they play together on the swings, and they love to help in the kitchen, where they make pound cake and jelly (gelatin). They sometimes play hairdresser with Dad by washing his hair for him. Or they take him out to the garden to play with their pet rabbit. Or at night they sing silly songs with him, like the one about bananas in pajamas chasing teddy bears.

Both Carla and Laura love Richard. “We wanted to see what it was like having a brother and not just sisters,” Carla says. “And we have to help teach him to obey Mother and Father, to clean up his toys, and to be good, not naughty. If we all do that, it will help us have a happy family.”

[photos] Photographed by Richard M. Romney

[photo] 1. Carla Wilkie

[photo] 2. Laura Wilkie

[photo] 3. Playing on the swings in their own backyard, a favourite activity

[photo] 4. The coat of arms for the city of Barrow, etched in glass at a bus stop

[photo] 5. Looking toward Barrow from the Wilkies’ neighbourhood

[photo] 6. A post box and a call box (phone booth) in the nearby town of Dalton

[photo] 7. Watching a swan on Windermere Lake

[photo] 8. Laura loves to eat jelly (gelatin), but most of all she likes to watch it wiggle

[photo] 9. Carla and Laura in their school uniforms

[photo] 10. Playing with Richard, Dad, and one of the family’s pet rabbits

[photo] 11. Reading a storybook together

[photo] 12. Another post box in Dalton, showing the symbol for the queen

[photo] 13. An old building in downtown Barrow, a city where submarines are built