Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I started to research, which really is one of my favorite things about constructing a story. I've sifted through diaries from women who made the westward journey as wives, daughters, and mothers. I never knew the quiet strength these women possessed. How it must have been to sell everything you couldn’t carry, load up a wagon with your children and the remnants of your home, and journey through a rough and unforgiving terrain.
Many sent home letters to anxious family back east or in places like Missouri, a jumping off point for the Oregon Trail. Photographs, new at the time, were secured as soon as a photographer was located to send home as proof of well being and prosperity. Often families clung to the photographs they brought with them as remnants of their life left behind.
I learned about cooking with lard and dried fruit on open flames or makeshift ovens. I learned about women that took in wash to help keep their families afloat. Heartache, triumph, uncertainty and devotion to family…these are the sentiments I took away from these women. I started to warm up to the idea of a story about this time period, this place in history, and my typing fingers started to twitch. Hmmmm….
After all, I live in California…CALIFORNIA, the bosom of the Gold Rush. I visited Placerville and saw the remnants of mines and camps and began to see characters in the midst of all the dust and old wood… interesting. I think I’m hooked.
My question to you is this: When in your life have you set off for something new and unknown? Have you ever contemplated something so unusual for you that it made that little nerve under your eye twitch? How did it turn out? I’d love to hear about you. Until then, my friends, you are on my heart and in my prayers.