My grandmother was a teacher and a working mom in a time when women didn't do that. She was an English teacher for 30 years and ended up being Regional Teacher of the Year. She was a Kansas Princess who became a Texan's wife. She started and maintained the public library in her town, and she owned over 1000 books herself. Which she organized into her own personal card catalog. And boy howdy, was she smart. Playing Twenty Questions with her was like...well...the hardest thing ever.
My grandma grew up picking cotton. She quit school when she was in 3rd grade in order to help her family pick cotton. They moved around a lot. She was German, Texan, sweet as jam and pie, and couldn't raise her voice. Even when she tried. She had three rowdy boys -- and I do mean rowdy -- and she couldn't holler at them. She could cook like you would not believe and playing scrabble with her was impossible. She won every time.
My grandpa started working when he was 12. He had twelve brothers and sisters and he had to make money. He was the second oldest and worked on a diary farm. All the money he made he sent home. His employer fed him, and he slept in the loft. He was German, hard-nosed, hard-working, and a Sergeant in the Army during WWII. He died on Thanksgiving Day.
I've been thinking about them a lot lately. Probably because of the holiday. I hosted Thanksgiving this year. It was my second opportunity to host.
I also happen to be the keeper of many of my grandmother's and grandma's things.
I served the turkey on my grandmother's Thanksgiving platter, and we ate off of her wedding china. I sat at her Duncan Five table and in her folding chairs. And all of the platters and china I used are stored in my grandma's china cabinet.
This Thanksgiving was a sweet and blessed day. I felt so very close to all four of them. Losing my grandpa on Thanksgiving was tough. He died in 1998, the year I got married. He's been gone for awhile now, so I can think of him without tears, but that love/pain is there in my chest. I miss him. I miss all of them. They're all gone now, but I know they watch over me.
I also ended up dedicating my most recent book to them. It's weird how things work out. The story got me thinking about them because, well, the heroine, Truly Cunningham, gets married on Christmas day. And my grandma got married on Christmas day. That's the day my grandpa had off from work. The only day, in fact.
There's so much more I could say about these four people. Even now, I thank them often for being there for me and shaping me into the person I am.
The Christmas Bride released on November 21st! It is $0.99 cents and ready to help you snuggle up and get cozy during this upcoming winter season!The Christmas Bride
Truly Cunningham flees after her fiancé jilts her for her sister. With nowhere to go, she ends up in Pike’s Run, Texas, hiding in the town’s opulent Royal Hotel. As she nurses her pain, finding no comfort in the Christmas season, she is slowly running out of funds. She must find a way to support herself or return to Dallas where her sister is the wife Truly had planned to be.
Alfred Taylor, manager of the Royal Hotel, hates Christmas. The decorations. The celebrations. The presents. All of it. And he must help the Ladies’ Auxiliary put on the Christmas Eve social. The only bright spot is the presence of a new guest, Truly Cunningham. She is beautiful, mysterious, and warming parts of his heart he thought dead.
When Truly asks for a position in his hotel as hostess of the establishment, Alfred immediately hires her. Which becomes dangerous. He can’t stay away from her, and even worse, wants to spill his secrets. Will he lose his one chance at happiness, or will Christmas finally give him the hope it promises?