Shannon here: Donna F. Crow shares her parents’ real life romance, plus a chance to win a copy of her latest British Mystery, A Newly Crimsoned Reliqaury. Comment or answer the question at the end of any post dated April 17 – 22 to win a copy. Also read the details at the end of the post to get your name in the drawing twice. Deadline: April 25th, 11;59 pm central time. Here’s Donna:
A Three Generation Romance Series
In the Beginning
I am so happy to be here on Inkslinger Blog to share a trilogy of romances— my parents’, our own, and our daughter’s which became my fictional heroine’s. So please stay tuned to Inkslinger for April 17, 20 and 22 so you can get the whole story.
My parents’ romance and wedding provides background for Elizabeth: Days of Loss and Hope in my Daughters of Courage pioneer family saga, based loosely on my own family history.
My father was one of four boys and my mother had dated his brother first. But, poor Uncle Boyd, he didn’t have a chance when his older brother came on the scene. It was the mid-1930’s and the small farming community of Kuna, Idaho, was still deep in the depression, but they made their own entertainments, including picnics by the Snake River, meetings of the Grange, for which my mother played the piano, and the ever-popular box socials. My mother was always careful to let her handsome beau know which box to bid on— besides the privilege of getting to eat with the primary school teacher, the top bidder for her box would be sure to get the best fried chicken dinner.
When time came for wedding preparations my mother and her sisters made their dresses themselves.
Here’s how I tell it in Elizabeth:
Elizabeth spent every available moment sewing on the yards of white satin that were to make her sleek, long-sleeved bias-cut gown with chapel train. When her need for a wedding dress had finally become a reality, her mother Kathryn had returned to the farm woman’s eternal solution—egg money—to buy the fabric.
Elizabeth and Kathryn joked that the treadle on Kathryn‘s New Home sewing machine was kept in such constant motion that it probably went of its own accord when they were asleep.
My parents were married on a sunny June afternoon in 1937 in a little village church. Flowers for the wedding décor and for the reception on the lawn of the brides’ family farm house came from my grandmother’s garden—sweet peas and peonies. Except the exquisite bridal bouquet of talisman roses which came from the florist. I still have the ribbons from that bouquet, with tiny sprigs of very brittle fern tied in the love knots.
Here it is in its fictional form:
Elizabeth raised her eyes to the front of the church where tall Reverend Brown stood in his black suit, clutching a Bible.
And then she looked at Eliot, tall, sleek, shining. Oh, God, thank You. I never asked You for anyone so wonderful. I couldn’t because I couldn’t have thought him up. But You did. And You gave him to me. Thank You, thank You.
“I love you truly…” Elizabeth’s mind repeated the words as Grace sang, and her heart swelled with joy.
Grace sat down quietly after her solo, and, after the briefest of pauses, Marie brought the congregation to its feet with the opening chords of Lohengrin.
Elizabeth had often heard her married friends say what a blur their wedding day was in their minds, and she was determined hers would not be that way. As she walked slowly down the aisle on the arm of Isaiah Jayne, her great-uncle, she noted the face of each person she passed, meeting eyes and returning smiles. This day would live forever in her mind. She savored every moment. Especially Eliot’s warm, sure clasp of her hand and long, loving look when Isaiah handed her to him at the altar.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here before God and these witnesses…”
Yes, Lord, thank You, thank You, her heart sang in response to every word Reverend Brown pronounced.
Their first home as a married couple was the one-room tar-papered “teacherage” provided by the board of the country school where my mother taught first through third graders. Until she became pregnant with me, that is. Then she had to retire from teaching “because it wouldn’t be a good example to the children.”
Sixty-one years later when my mother was in her final illness, my father sat by her bed, holding her hand. “In sickness and in health” he had promised all those years ago in that little country church and it was still true.
And as the Scripture promises “One generation unto another,” when Stan and I celebrated our golden wedding anniversary last year, our twin granddaughters modeled my mother’s and my wedding dresses— fitting symbols of God’s faithfulness to families.
About Donna: Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 43 books, mostly novels of British history. The award-winning Glastonbury The Novel of Christian England, an epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work. She also authors The Lord Danvers Mysteries. A Tincture of Murder is her latest in these Victorian true-crime novels. The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries are her literary suspense series of which A Jane Austen Encounter is the latest. A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary is the fourth of Felicity and Antony’s adventures in the Monastery Murders. Donna and her husband of 51 years live in Boise, Idaho. They have 4 adult children and 13 1/2 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener.
About the book – A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary: Translating an ancient document in an Oxford convent should be a harmless venture, but Felicity just can’t seem to avoid danger. It’s hardly Felicity’s fault, though, that severed body parts start showing up in ancient holy reliquaries. Or that Felicity and one of the nuns is assaulted. Then Antony arrives in Oxford with a group of students and is disconcerted to learn that Felicity has forged an uneasy friendship with his estranged sister. The family situation is further complicated when Antony is obliged to rush to the bedside of his dying uncle in Blackpool. The exultation of All Saints’ Day plunges to the anguish of grief on All Souls’ when Felicity encounters yet another body. Who will be the next victim of the murderer stalking the shadows of Oxford’s hallowed shrines?
Like Donna’s Facebook page and get your name in the drawing twice: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Donna-Fletcher-Crow-Novelist-of-British-History/355123098656?fref=ts
Question: Do you sew? Or do you know anyone who made their own wedding dress or for someone else?
Come back April 20th for part two from Donna!