Caroline has been living in Cincinnati since she was a year old when her family moved there from Germany in 1849. Now in 1856, Papa and Mama share the “exciting news” that they will be moving to New Ulm, Minnesota the next spring. Free thinking Turnverien members in Cincinnati joined with a group of German immigrants from Chicago to create a German settlement on the frontier. There they would be free from persecution for their way of life and their “foreigness.” They could create a place that promoted mental and physical education where they could freely embrace socializing, music, political discussions and a German way of life while working hard and providing for their families.
Caroline is not happy with this news. It means leaving the only place she has known. Leaving her friends and most importantly, leaving her cat, Putsy Patterfeet. The trip down the Ohio River, up the Mississippi and then up the Minnesota River is a trip too long, even for a beloved cat. When Caroline asks if she can take Putsy along, Papa and Mama only say, “We’ll see.”
Caroline is fiercely independent and has many questions. Mama says she questions what others assume. Why do they have to move? Why is Minnesota the best place to go? Where will they live? How will Papa work? Caroline wants answers?