Friday, February 6, 2009

Historical Heritage

As a writer of historical fiction, I love to research the past. There are always the most amazing tidbits to learn along the way. Perhaps the most fun has been in listening to the stories my family tells about the "old days" and relatives long gone.

There was my great-grandmother who was born during one of the worst recorded snowstorms in the late 1800s. She married and lived on a farm in Kansas, and I used to love to visit her. Here's a pictures of her when she graduated high school.

One of my favorite memories of visiting her farm was the outhouse. There was a long walk to the outhouse that took you between several other out-buildings. One was the milk shed where the milk and cream separator did its wondrous tasks. Tucked in by the window on the outside of this building was a butter knife. Now, I know this knife was used to scrape mud off of their shoes as they returned from the outhouse, but then I was certain it was used to fight off Indians and wild animals. See, even at the age of 5 my imagination ran wild.

Or there was my great-grandmother's mother who was orphaned after the death of her parents and siblings to typhoid fever. She was given over to relatives who treated her as a slave, because it was rumored she was part Native American. This woman always fascinated me. The stories told about her were incredible. She married and raised several children, often times having to fight the elements, intruders and animals to keep them alive.

Every family has incredible stories to tell, and I encourage you to write them down and keep this historical heritage alive. First, because it's your legacy. Second, because there will be some writer like me who will want to hear all the details - just in case it would work well in a book.

Happy Friday
Tracie Peterson

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