My guest today is Betty Bolte, a sweet, generous writer who has hosted me on her site more than once! She has a bit of family history to share and would love to hear some of yours in the comments. Welcome, Betty!
Rocking Family History
In my latest release, Undying Love, Meredith’s grandmother’s favorite seat in the plantation house was her gooseneck rocking chair. The reason for this particular piece of furniture to have such a central place in the story stems from my own life. See, sitting in my family room is a blue gooseneck platform rocking chair that is older than I am. In fact, my dad bought the chair for my mom when she was pregnant with me.
Originally, the upholstery featured a pattern (flowers or country scene, I think) but decades later my mom had it recovered in a blue velour fabric. Why is it called a gooseneck rocker? If you look closely at the photo, you’ll notice that the wooden handles of the arm rest are carved to look like a goose bent to touch its bill to its throat. Here’s some background on their history: http://www.ehow.com/facts_5610093_gooseneck-rocking-chair-history.html.
As you can imagine, this chair holds many, many memories for me. It’s always been part of my life. My dad used to nap in this chair, legs outstretched, hands folded on his stomach as he snored in the afternoon. He and I loved to pull pranks on each other. While he napped, I’d untie his shoes and tie them together, giggling the entire time. When he awoke, he’d always act surprised and miffed, but of course he anticipated, even expected, the joke.
My mom, too, spent a lot of time in this chair, rocking as she crocheted, or sitting still while she worked on cross-stitching the top of a quilt or a picture as a gift. In fact I have a crewel embroidered picture she did of a train station with train in honor of my grandfather who worked as a railroad engineer. She also used to occasionally sit in it while she ate potato chips and sipped on a cold beer while she watched her favorite shows on TV.
As a kid, I was prone to poison ivy, and I can recall clutching the gooses to keep me from scratching the bumps and clusters up and down my calamined arms. I also rocked my children in this chair, read to them, cuddled them when they suffered with a cold. Like mom, I’ve crocheted and snacked in it. After all these decades (5 and counting) it’s still a comfortable place to relax.
In Undying, this type of chair plays a significant role:
Meredith paced through the house until she stopped at the wide doorway to the sewing room. Max had told her Grandma died in her rocker, head back, eyes closed peacefully as though taking an afternoon snooze. Meredith paused, mentally inventorying the contents of the room. Sunshine filtered through the sheers covering the oversize double-hung windows. A cut-glass bowl of lavender-and-mint potpourri sat on an antique table, a spiderweb glistening between the bowl and the wood surface. Two floral-print gooseneck-handled rocking chairs faced the windows, lace doilies pinned to their headrests. Meredith envisioned her Grandma taking her final nap in the chair farthest from the door. The same chair the woman had occupied every Sunday afternoon of Meredith’s childhood to do her mending for the week, or to add stitches to one of hundreds of gifts in celebration of a new baby or birthday or other milestone event.
Grandma didn’t know what Meredith had endured. What would she have said if she were here? How would she have handled the loss of two dear loved ones in such a tragic way? The horror followed by anger and grief was beyond her ability to describe to people who had not experienced it, and even more difficult for them to grasp.
Meredith swallowed the emotion threatening to sprout tears. The past was dead, just like Willy. Just like her Grandma. She could not permit herself to relive it. She could only press on with her life as she knew in her heart that Willy would want her to do, and pray for the day she joined all those who’d gone before her.
Of course, Meredith has a long life ahead of her before she’ll realize that eventuality. But with the history of this style of chair in America, and my own personal history associated with one, it seemed only fitting to include one or two in my story. Do you also see how I wove my own view of the chair into Meredith’s reality without it being my reality? No lace doilies ever graced my chair, for example. Usually crocheted afghans…
It’s your turn. What family heirlooms do you treasure? Or hide? Talk to me…
Undying Love by Betty Bolté
Release Date: January 10, 2017
When architect Meredith Reed inherits her family’s plantation after the devastating loss of her own family, she must choose how to move on with her life. Keep the plantation? Not a good idea. Sell it? Better. Turn it into a memorial park? Better yet. But can she go against her family traditions and the hunky but irate lawyer?
Max Chandler needs two things to complete his life plan: become a senior partner and find his soul mate. He’s due a promotion once his legislation to protect the county’s historic properties is approved. The wife part he finds more challenging, having never met the right woman. If only the talented, attractive, aloof Meredith didn’t want to destroy the very property he cherishes.
While Meredith struggles to reconcile her past and future, will she learn a lesson from the spectral Lady in Blue in time to save both her family and home from destruction?
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2fOyEdQ
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2eYDp5w
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2eYzWUS
Betty Bolté writes both historical and contemporary stories featuring strong, loving women and brave, compassionate men. No matter whether the stories are set in the past or the present, she loves to include a touch of the paranormal. In addition to her romantic fiction, she’s the author of several nonfiction books and earned a Master’s in English in 2008. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and the Authors Guild. Get to know her at www.bettybolte.com, signup for her Newsletter, or follow her on Facebook.