Saturday, October 03, 2015

Weekend Wildcard - My Fascination with the Past

Pink Heart Society columnist, Melinda Curtis, is talking about her fascination with history, and how it effected her storytelling...

I have a fascination with the past. I love antiques. I love old photos. I love to listen to stories about the old days.

My great grandmother owned a hat shop. She was rather particular about appearances, but during the Great Depression she couldn't sell any hats and had to close her shop. She moved in with her daughter (my grandmother) and her husband (my grandfather) and had to eat crow (so to speak). My grandfather always claimed to have seen the depression coming. He sold their house in downtown Oakland, California and moved the family to a small farm in the Oakland hills. I think Great Grandma (pictured to the right with the fabulous hat) was grateful to have food on the farm to eat.

On the other side of the family, my grandparents were outdoor enthusiasts. They hiked up mountains to ski down them. They took cross-country driving trips. They weren't independently wealthy. My grandfather was a manager in the forest service. At one time, he managed all the western state parks (including parks in Hawaii). Here's a picture of my grandmother's gear she had to lug up the hill to ski down. You had to really want to ski back then. Would you be up to it? I would volunteer to stay at the bottom of the hill and make dinner.

Then there was the story my dad told about how when his brother was 15 and he was 13, his parents (the outdoor enthusiasts), let them drive the car to Yosemite...Alone!!! Dude, drive three hours from home to camp alone? I don't think so. I used to tell my kids not to get any ideas. I don't think this is the car they took (it might have been my great uncle's - there's a story about him in Yosemite, too), but I like looking at it.

That's where my love of storytelling grew - from my family. And since my family had small town sensibilities, I think that's why I'm comfortable writing about small towns or small communities in the big city. 

One of my latest releases is Boycotting Christmas, which is only available in a set of sweet holiday romances from the authors at Sweet Romance Reads. My story - Boycotting Christmas - is about a woman who loves her family's holiday traditions, but she decides to boycott the holiday when her dad decides to marry her best friend. That's a story for the generations!

Do you have a family story you cherish and would like to share?


  1. What a great post, Melinda! Love old photos and antiques, too. Not long after I married Captain Cavedweller, we inherited an old upright piano with a chip out of the back corner from his family. The story was that it fell out of a wagon crossing the Oregon Trail and great-great grandma loved it so much, they loaded it back up and brought it anyway. One day when I was cleaning, I found a little plate inside the piano dated 1906 and the place where it was manufactured. We still haven't decided if the piano really fell out of a wagon or someone just made up a really good story.

  2. I love old photographs and especially the stories that go along with them! Thank you so much for sharing some of yours, Melinda!