Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sepia Saturday - Someone Else's Folks

A while back, Nancy Meadows, one of my readers who grew up in the area where my novels are set, shared some family pictures and diaries with me. Her aunts, Odessa and Inez Henderson -- here seen on either side of their mother -- lived in the Walnut community in western NC (about three miles from my home and the prototype for the place I call Dewell Hill in my stories.)

Odessa and Inez kept daily diaries from the Thirties into the early Seventies and I so much enjoyed meeting Inez and Odessa in their own words that (with Nancy's permission) I've made them characters in my forthcoming book -- complete with diaries!

The diaries are of the five year variety -- just a few lines for each day -- but they provide a wonderful glimpse into ordinary life of a certain time and place

I wrote more about the girls and their diaries here and here .

Go HERE for more Sepia Saturday.
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Pat in east TN said...

How honored, and thrilled, Nancy must feel that you have made her family a part of your book!

I have several diaries of my mother-in-law's and it is interesting and fun to read the snippets she wrote, and she sometimes included grocery prices for the few things she bought back then.

In my more energetic days back on our farm I used to keep a diary of sorts on our daily activities, weather conditions, what was going on with the animals. My boys treasure these and get a kick out of reading through them from time to time.

Poetry24 said...

Such a privilege to read the diaries of others. I imagine it was pretty difficult to put them down, once you started reading?

Miss_Yves said...

Philippe Lejeune is a famous French teacher of University . He read and studied thousands of diaries of all kinds.

I love the open diary with its old writing !
Thank you for your title !

NCmountainwoman said...

What a wonderful legacy is left within the pages of a diary. I love reading them, even when I have no relationship to the author.

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

And such unusual first names - Odessa and Inez when paired with the Henderson surname.
Inez sounds more Mediterranean while Odessa make me think of the North!
Evelyn in Montreal

WOW said...

I so love these real glimpses into the past. I have some journals of my grandfather but only from about 30 years ago....nice but not the same as these.

Love the photo, too!


Anonymous said...

Hi Vicki, enjoyed your SS post. I have no diaries but my mom wrote on every picture she had. I think that was the trimming on my aunt's hat in the photo on my post. I notice she married in Nov. and has on a velvet dress. There are not pictures of my mom and dad's wedding but I know my mom wore velvet too and they married in Dec. This aunt was her maid of honor since my mom had no sisters and Uncle Cliff was the best man, since my dad had no brother. LOL

JamaGenie said...

My something-great-gm left journals from the 1830s that not only include personal events, but customer accounts for her sewing "business" and bars of music she heard in church. A cousin has the actual journals, but made copies of some of the pages for me. She also transcribed letters from our ancestors in IL to relatives in PA. Those letters put "voices" to their photographs, so now when I see some of them, I feel like I've actually met them. One distant cousin was quite the femme fatale, and the cousin and I have had many laughs over her romantic escapades, which by today's standards were quite tame, but quite the drama back then!

steviewren said...

What a treasure! Polk chocked his wife can make up that stuff, but it doesn't carry the same weight as reading it as a casual aside in someone's journal.

Tess Kincaid said...

Diaries are such a marvelous peep back in time. What a stockpile of wonderful info for your book!

Tipper said...

How wonderful!! Must have been so neat to read the diaries-and how nice of Nancy to share them with you. I can't wait to read about them in the book!!

Vicki Lane said...

Pat, I used to try to do that -- I ended up saving my calenders where I's written major chores etc. Now, of course, this blog is a kind of journal.

Martin -- Difficult, indeed!I just wish I had the time to transcribe these diaries. The very ordinariness of them is what makes them so fascinating.

Thank you, Miss Yves -- I'll have a look!

I think there's a bit of the voyeur in all of us, Mountainwoman!

Unusual names were common arounf here, Evelyn -- that doesn't make sense, does it? But there were some very imaginative names.

Me too, WOW!

QMM - I wish my family had been better about identifying photos! How lucky you are to have that info!

What a treasure that is, Jamagenie! More stories waiting to be told!

Is that not a great sentence, Steviewren!

Willow and Tipper -- It's such fun, blurring the line between fiction and reality by making Odessa and Inez characters in my book. I read enough of their diaries (and Nancy filled in the gaps) to where I felt I knew them pretty well!

North County Film Club said...

I've got an interesting diary I bought at a garage sale. I haven't looked at it in a long time. I'm going to go and dig it out...and I do mean dig!
Very, very interesting post. I love it that you'll be using some of the diary in your book.
I so look forward to seeing your pretty face and nice comments every Sepia Saturday!

Jan of Thousand Acres said...

Wonderful - and how exciting to use the diaries. Enjoyed this very much, thanks!

Bernie said...

How wonderful for Nancy to share the diaries with you.

I have popped over from Barry's blog and am so glad I have. I have learned of your books now I must find one and begin reading.

Have a wonderful weekend...:-) Hugs

Stella Jones said...

Other people's diaries are always so interesting to read, aren't they. A fascinating post. Love the pictures. Pretty shoes!
Blessings, Star

Rhonda said...

I just love their pretty feminine dresses.
Were the 2 sisters married? I bet their diaries are fascinating.

Vicki Lane said...

What a nice thing to say, Barbara! Thank you so much!

Thank you, Sun Dance Hill! I popped by your animal blog -- beautiful pictures~

Bernie - my book are all on Amazon -- or maybe at your library -- let me know if you read one what you think.

I like the shoes too, Star.

Rhonda, Inez never married. She had a brain tumor when she was young and survived the operation but I think her health was never robust. Odessa married, I think, in her fifties.

Betsy Brock said...

Your friends must be thrilled that their story is going to be included in your book. Love the diaries, very neat!

Vagabonde said...

I have bought many books of diaries. Most of them are either ladies’ diaries during the War Between the States or diaries of early explorers to Africa. My husband had a friend of a friend who gave him the diary he wrote during his tours in Vietnam. I think we still have it. I never read it as I thought it would be difficult – I don’t like to read about wars as it has affected my family so much.

Vicki Lane said...

Hi, Betsy -- I'm hoping Nancy will be pleased with the way I'vve portrayed her aunts.

Vagabonde -- I understand. There was a much acclaimed book about Vietnam -- THE THINGS THEY CARRIED -- that I was unable to finish because it was so heart-breaking.

The Silver Fox said...

Boy, do I wish my relatives had written diaries!

Christine H. said...

Wow, those diaries are real treasure - even more precious than photographs.

kylie said...

hi vicki,
it must be quite a bonus to get hold of diaires like that, covering such a long period of time

Subby said...

It's the written accounts of daily life that confirm things of a particular era, yes?

And speaking of books, yours are difficult to locate; at least round my area...still looking :)

Vicki Lane said...

Silver Fox, Christine, and Kylie -- it is a wonderful thing to keep a diary -- though some may write journals they later regret and burn.

Subby - try -- or one of the booksellers in my sidebar. My books are from Bantam Dell and they are in many bookstores when first published but after a few months, booksellers may of may not reorder. And my last book came out in 2008. The next one wil be this September.

Barry said...

I'm glad to see Bernie made it over to discover your blog (and your books).

What a terrific idea to put these women and the diary in your next book. It will make for some very intriguing reading.

Lisa said...

I just adore books based upon diaries. :)

Vicki Lane said...

Barry - thanks for sending Bernie my way!

Lisa, have you read Lee Smith's FAIR AND TENDER LADIES? Or Nancy E. Turner's THESE IS MY WORDS? Both are diary/novels.

Alan Burnett said...

I love the idea of incorporating the girls and their diaries into your book. In many ways it is - on a smaller scale - what we all try to do with Sepia Saturday to take photographs and to tease out of them stories and lives. I always wish that I had kept a diary - but I suppose blogging is the modern equivalent.