Author of The Christmas Village and Return to Canterbury

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015


My mother had a sad childhood. In 1933, when she was eight, her father left. My grandmother took work as a governess, a live-in position that meant that while she took care of another family's children, she could not take care of her own daughter. Grandma sent Mom to live with family in England, but Mom ended up being passed from one aunt and uncle to another and never felt welcomed or as if she belonged.

In 1937, when Mom was 12, my grandmother made a trip to England to see her. It was then that Grandma gave Mom the news that she was to enter a boarding school for orphans and fatherless children in Liverpool, England. Far from home, already feeling abandoned by her father, then her mother, then her mother's English relatives, this seemed to Mom like the ultimate abandonment. 

So begins a period in my mother's life that has become the inspiration for my next novel. In each of my A to Z posts, I'll be sharing some aspect of her experience or some tidbits from the book, which is currently a work in process. 

Here is a picture of Mom that would have been taken sometime after she entered boarding school. She would have been 12 or 13 here. I know, because she is sporting the signature haircut that all the girls had to wear. I don't know where the picture was taken or whose dog that is! 


Kate Happenence said...

The past can be a great inspiration for characters and stories. My mother does a lot of research into our family history and some of the stories she discover are amazing.

Good luck with the challenge.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

It sure can. Every life is a story and we really don't have to make a lot of stuff up to get a good one! Thanks for stopping by and saying hello.

Shonna Slayton said...

I love this idea for a novel! And despite all the heartache, she looks happy in this photo. She'll make a great underdog/overcomer character.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Hi Shonna! I know - she does look happy here. It makes me wonder what the circumstances were. It may have been taken in Beaumaris Wales after she evacuated there with her school. She was happy there - that is part of the story too :) said...

That's a sad story, but I see the look of resiliciency on her face. It's a wonderful tribute to be writing about her life.

Good luck with the Challenge, Melissa, on behalf of The Letter Group, Inc. Minion. Smiles.

ozzypip said...

what an interesting tale you have to tell about your mum. Its a tough life some of them had. My own FIL came out to Australia as a 13 year old on his own to live with his half brother. They sure were resillient in those days.Cheers Philipa (fellow A to Z er)

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Thanks so much Robyn - nice to see you again! I haven't been so active on the blog but it's nice to participate again.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

It's amazing what children endured in those days! Mom crossed the sea to England twice on a ship - once on her own! Your FIL's story has to be pretty amazing too!