Friday, May 8, 2015

FICTIONAL MOTHERS IN HISTORIC NOVELS

By: Celia Yeary

 
      Many western historic novels or novellas feature a mother, and sometimes the mother plays a major role. If the story concerns a family structure, we usually meet the mother, or at least know she's around. Mothers shape our lives, one way or another.
      Mother's Day probably evokes more memories and emotions than any other time of the year. If our mothers are living, we send cards and gifts, or at least a long phone call to say hello. If our mothers are deceased, and we have good memories, then we think about her in positive ways. Some of you may live in the same town as your mother, so creating a nice day for her would be easy.
      My mother ruled the house because Daddy worked out of town during the week for many years while we were growing up. Thankfully, though, I remember both parents with equal appreciation and love.
~~*~~*~~
In my newest release WISH FOR THE MOON, set in 1901, Annie's mother, Helen, is the first in the family to meet Max Landry, a young man who wanders from town to town with no purpose in mind. You'll learn later in the story why he is living hand-to-mouth, so to speak.

He comes upon a farm with a house that sits back off the road in a big clump of trees. The plowed fields fill the huge area behind the house. He knocks on the door and asks for a job, just enough to have one meal. The mother of the home tells him to walk around to the back porch, and "she'd hand a plate out to him." She does, and the plate is filled with fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, collard greens, with cornbread and butter.
~~*~~*~~
Max nodded and replaced his hat. Walking slowly off the porch and around the house, he tried to walk straight and tall, but he was exhausted and hungry, and loose-limbed, because he didn’t have much on his bones holding him together anymore. The boots he wore were the only halfway decent things he owned, but even those looked like they’d seen better days.

A rose garden caught his attention, so he stopped for just a moment to gaze at the pretty sight there by the side of the house. The rose bushes grew about six in each of four rows, with a path trod down between all the blooming plants. The dirt, packed and cleaned, looked like someone had taken a broom and swept it smooth, cleared of dead leaves and fallen petals.

Before he passed by the colorful flowers, he bent down and sniffed one big red rose. He closed his eyes and swayed a little, emotion almost choking him. Roses always reminded him of his sweet mother and home. All gone now, but his memories remained.
~~*~~*~~
While Annie and her brother Clifford are in the mining town one county over, their older brother Kyle rides there to summon them home. Their mother is dying.

Annie had known within her heart that her precious mama would leave them and go to Heaven. What would she do without her? Everything, that’s what. She would have to step into her mama’s shoes. She couldn’t even pray about it; she knew what to do.

Her father, Grover, waited on the porch when they arrived. The reunion had been tearful and heartbreaking. Annie had cried enough tears to last a lifetime. Even Kyle and Clifford sobbed like babies as they knelt beside their mama’s bed.
~~*~~*~~
For eight days, Annie rarely left the bedside of the dying woman. Once or twice a day, Helen would open her eyes and look around, bewildered and confused. On the seventh day, she uttered two words. “Home. Love.”
Annie knew in that moment that her mama would go home to Jesus very, very soon. She would not leave her mama’s side.
~~*~~*~~
I always think and pray for a friend or church member who loses a mother. As adults, we expect her to die first, so you might think we'd prepare ourselves better emotionally. But it hurts, doesn't it, to lose the one person in the world who knows you better than anyone.

I found this poem long ago and saved it. I send it to a person who has lost a mother, if I'm sure that person loved and appreciated her.
(Note: I do know and recognize that some are not as lucky as others in having a wonderful mother.)
 "THE WATCHER"
She always leaned to watch for us,
Anxious if we were late,
In winter by the window,
In summer by the gate.

And though we mocked her tenderly,
Who had such foolish care,
The long way home would seem more safe,
Because she waited there.

Her thoughts were all so full of us,
She never could forget!
And so I think that where she is,
She must be watching yet.

Waiting till we come home to her,
Anxious if we are late--
Watching from Heaven's window,
Leaning from Heaven's gate.

~*~ Margaret Widdemer~*~
From Cross Currents 1921
~*~*~*~
Thanks to Prairie Rose Publications for publishing this story.
 

WISH FOR THE MOON
BLURB: At the dawn of the Twentieth Century, sixteen-year-old Annie McGinnis wishes for a chance to see more of the world, since all she’s ever known is the family farm in North Texas. A mysterious visitor arrives who will change not only her life, but her family’s as well. To save Max Landry from a bogus charge, she follows him and the Texas Rangers back to the coal-mining town one county over where a murder occurred. The short journey sets Annie on a path of discovery—new horizons, an inner strength, and quite possibly…love.   



Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

23 comments:

  1. Simply beautiful, Celia. Happy Mother's day!

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  2. What a beautiful sentiment. I miss my mom. She was always in control, and boy, you did not want to get her mad. The disappointment in her clear blue eyes could make you squirm out of your shoes. I never learned how to do that with my kids, but I believe they got a good dose of right vs wrong in any event.

    Your story sounds lovely, Celia. This wounded hero sounds like one who will grab your heart and won't let go.

    All the best to you and Wishing For The Moon.

    Maggie

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  3. Lovely post, Celia, and made me tear up remembering my sweet mother. Although she passed away eight years ago, I still miss her and think of her often. We're lucky we had loving parents, aren't we?

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  4. Hi, Connie--I'm pleased you like it! Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Maggie-my mother's eyes were almost black, and when was mad, you could imagine sparks. Me either. I could never learn how to make my kids cringe...except the two times I threw a real hissy fit aimed toward my son--make that three hissy fits. I clearly remember them, even if he does not!
    Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. Caroline--yes, I always feel lucky and blessed that I had such a wonderful mother and daddy. We girls were really taken good care of. She swatted me once--with a fly swatter--on the backs of my legs because I lured my little sister away from the house down to a little store--to get wooden spoons to eat our ice cream. We almost got back home when Mother noticed what we had done. So, the swats didn't last long, just long enough to get my little rear end in the house!
    Thanks.

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  7. Celia, I just love that poem. I am going to save it--have never heard it before.

    I had wonderful parents, though at the time, I didn't think so. But what young person DOES recognize the love and sacrifice that parents make for them? And the worry that goes into daily living--even over little things--a good grade on a paper, did you remember to pay their lunch money?, got your note for the field trip? just every little thing. It's true--no one can understand or know the love a parent feels until they ARE a parent. It puts things in a whole new perspective.

    Great post, Celia. I loved Wish for the Moon. It's a WONDERFUL story.

    XOXOXO
    Cheryl

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  8. Lovely excerpt and beautiful poem! Thank you for sharing, Celia. Happy Mothers Day!

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  9. Hello Celia,
    Your post brought tears to my eyes. Your story is lovely. I can envision the rose garden and almost smell the sweet scent of roses.
    The poem is so poignant. As mother's we are always watching out for our children, even at heaven's gate.
    Blessings on you sweet lady and have a wonderful Mothers Day.

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  10. Cheryl--we are lucky to have had good mothers. Growing up, I was proud of my mother--she was pretty, especially when she dressed up and wore make-up and that red lipstick. He hair was coal black...like her eyes, and man, did she wear red well.
    Oh, yes, those endless reminders. Even now, when our 50-something kids come home, visit, and go home, we ask--Did you get everything? Have you gassed up your car (haha--not kidding), and be careful on that interstate!)
    Thanks for publishing this book. It's my all time favorite of my own books because it hits close to home.
    Have a happy Mother's Day.

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  11. Oh, and Cheryl--I'm glad you like the poem. I've read it and copied and sent it a hundred times, and it never fails to make me emotional.

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  12. Hi, Lyn--thanks for the comment, and hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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  13. Barb--the house in Wish for the Moon was my grandparent's house. And the mother is likened to my grandmother, who really did limp from side to side because of her bad feet and hips. She had a rose garden "on the side of the house" like the one I described in the story. She took her broom out and really did sweep the dirt. People did that back then--swept their yards.
    I'm glad you like the poem--it is emotional. Thanks for commenting.

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  14. Hi Celia, indeed, simply lovely. Happy Mom's Day! Sadly I had many years of contention with my mother after my father's death. We've made peace now, fortunately (she's 95) but not without lots of pain. HER mom was awesome. How I miss my gramma. She's the mom and gramma I try to be. Love to all!

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  15. Tanya--I hear you. Sometimes our mothers act in such a way we don't think is like "the mother we knew." Maybe we all do that at certain ages under certain circumstances.
    Thanks for your comment.

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  16. Celia, you have got to stop doing this to me! I get all teary-eyed every time I read one of your posts lately. You have an uncanny ability to get right to the emotional core of any issue. I guess that's one of the many things that makes your stories so special.

    Happy Mothers Day, dear lady! Now hand me a tissue. **sniffle**

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  17. Thank you, Kathleen. You don't know how much I value your opinion on anything I do. Even I still tear up when I re-read that poem, and I do..re-read it many times.
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend--and good weather!

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  18. Mother's Day is a day no one forgets. Great post, Celia! Happy Mother's Day everyone!

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  19. Dang Celia, your post made me want to grab a hanky and bawl like a baby. I lost my mother years ago. Sometimes it feels like forever, and sometimes it feels like yesterday. It always hurts the same. It was the worst thing that ever happened to me. Nothing was ever the same. Mom was the glue that held us all together and made us look forward to holidays. Well...you know...she was a mother.
    Your description of the young man begging for food was so vivid and so sad. You really get down into the heart of a character. I love your work.
    I hope you have a wonderful mother's day tomorrow.

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  20. Hey, thanks, Paty. We have two children, one way up in MI and one nearby in Texas. They always call. Can't wait until tomorrow.

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  21. Sarah--You don't know how much I appreciate your words and thoughts. You and I are alike in that we are emotional women...and our stories reflect that. I think it helps us when writing.
    Your stories are also very emotional and memorable..I have a sister names Sarah, but oddly so, she's not so emotional.
    Maybe you and I are long lost sister! Thank you again, for your comment. Have a wonderful day tomorrow.

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  22. Celia, I'm late visiting this blog but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. The poem, The Watcher, was so touching. It says it all.
    And Wish for the Moon is a touching story as well. One of my favorites.

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  23. Linda--I'm glad you made it. I wish I'd written that poem, it's so good, but no, I don't write poetry. Thank you for your constant support--you know how much I appreciate you.

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