In the 8th Century BC, this is 800 years before Jesus was born, the Israeli Passover occurred. Jews at this time are being kept in slavery in Egypt. When Moses told Pharoah to Let My People Go and Pharoah refused, thus began the Ten Plagues of Egypt. The last plague, the Plague of the First Born…The Angel of Death ‘passed over’ all Jewish homes, and killed the first born son of every other household. Pharoah’s son died and Pharoah freed all the Jewish slaves. Passover became a Jewish high holy day and remains so to this day.
Around 30 AD, that is 30-some years after Jesus’ birth…church tradition says he died when he was 33…Jesus goes to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. While he is there he is arrested, unjustly accused of crimes, sentenced to death, is crucified, dead and buried. After three days he rises from the dead on what is the first Easter.
325 AD during the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine I, he calls the Council of Nicea, from which emerges the Nicean Creed and a date celebrating Easter that is the first Sunday after the Spring Equinox. This is why Easter changes from year to year. Celebrations of Easter before this time were always tied to Passover but this new degree separates the two, though they still occasionally align.
In the 13th Century a tradition of observing Lent begins to not eat eggs during the Lenten season. This begins the tradition of eating eggs on Easter Sunday with some festivity.
In the 18th Century, the tradition of the Easter Bunny arrives in America from Germany. Eggs, chicks, bunnies are all symbols of fertility and renewed life. Boiling and brightly decorating the eggs is part of the Easter celebration.
The 19th Century Easter celebrations include Easter egg hunts and Easter egg rolls for children.
In the mid-19th Century women dressed in elaborate hats and pretty spring dresses are asked to promenade down 5th Avenue in New York City after church services, beginning the tradition of the Easter Parade.
1885 This is the first year of the celebrated jewel-encrusted Faberge eggs. They are remembered as the extravagantly expensive Easter gifts given to the Russian Czars to their wives and mothers. And, at this point, could we POSSIBLY have removed any trace of Jesus’ sacrifice and his miraculous resurrection from the story of Easter?
In the 1930s jelly beans were added to Easter baskets.
In the 1970s Peeps were invented. There are 700 million Peeps produced each year and, of course, this little (blick) treat is now made in Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas shapes and various other atrocities. (I found Patriotic Peeps…Google helped me…for shame)
Mark 16:5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen.”
Recently, I was diving deep into research for a story set in 1913.
Among the resource books piled on my desk was my trusty reproduction copy of a 1908 Sears, Roebuck & Co Catalog. I love all the little everyday details I can unearth in its many pages!
I was searching for baby gear that day. Partly because it tied into the story I was writing (the heroine is a nanny to three little ones), and party because I’ve had baby on the brain for the last few months as we awaited the arrival of my niece’s first baby.
In particular, I was interested in a description of baby carriages.
I wanted to see images of what they would have looked like during that time period.
Did they have any unique features or selling points? What would make a young mother decide to purchase this option or that one?
I had grand visions of ornate carriages with flowery details.
What I didn’t anticipate was to be so surprised by the product description.
Notice anything strange in the description?
They called them Go-Carts!
I had no idea they’d ever been labeled as go-carts.
On the following page they had advertisements for baby carriages.
I studied both pages for a while, reading the descriptions, trying to figure out what the difference could be.
At first I thought that perhaps a carriage meant the baby could rest flat and a go-cart meant they were sitting upright. But the go-carts advertise being able to recline.
Then it a light bulb went off. I think the difference is that go-carts can be moved into different positions and many of them could be folded flat (how handy!) like a stroller.
I tried to dig up some research to either confirm my idea or dash it, but I have yet to find anything that talks about go-carts from Victorian or Edwardian days.
I did find an interesting history of baby carriages, though.
William Kent, a landscape architect, designed the first carriage in 1733. It was created for the children of the Duke of Devonshire. Kent constructed a shell-shaped basket on wheels the children could sit in and be pulled by a goat or pony.
Wealthy families were Kent’s primary customers.
The 19th century was a time when parks and recreational spaces were enjoyed as family strolls became popular. An economical way to take babies along needed to be developed.
Benjamin Potter Crandall manufactured a new design in the early 1800s. He claimed his baby carriages were the first manufactured in the US, although it’s been argued
the F.A. Whitney Carriage Company may hold the title. At any rate, Crandall developed a style that could could be pushed rather than pulled. His design was largely rejected. His son son, Jesse, eventually took over the business and made some additions, including a brake and added a model that folded as well as parasols and accessories. Reportedly, Queen Victoria purchased three of them which made his designs a must-have for mothers everywhere.
Carriages were built of wood or wicker and held together with expensive brass joints. Often, they turned into ornamented works of arts.
Models were named after royalty, like Princess and Duchess.
Charles Burton created the first “pram” or perambulator. It had a three-wheel push design and looked a little like an arm chair on big spoke wheels. Customers found it unwieldy and complained about the design, but Burton was determined to succeed. He took his design to England where he found popularity once the royals began using it. In the UK, the word pram is used to describe a carriage, because of the popularity of the perambulator.
In 1889, William H. Richardson patented the idea of the first reversible carriage. The bassinet was designed to face out or in toward the parent. Until that point, the axis didn’t allow each wheel to move separately, but Richard’s design increased maneuverability.
Before long, go-carts were being advertised that could fold flat, recline and more.
As the new century advanced, so did improvements with baby carriages and strollers until we reached today’s models, filled with accessories and safety features.
If you’d like to find out more about the story that necessitated this research, look for Evie, coming May 23! It’s available now for pre-order on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/y4gnadrk
Will love bloom between a spunky nanny and a distracted landscaper?
Unconventional nanny Evie Caswell views it as her duty to bring fun and laughter to the residence of her strict, aloof employers. Full of life and spirit, she is determined to teach the couple’s children how to be young and carefree. With hardly a minute to herself, she long ago surrendered her dreams of having her own home and a family. Then her employer hires Flynn Elliott, a landscape architect, to turn the yard into a spectacular garden. Enchanted with the intriguing man, Evie realizes after meeting Flynn nothing in her life will ever be the same.
Renowned for his landscape designs and ability to make anything grow, Flynn Elliott is a bit of an enigma. He spouts romantic poetry to the plants in his greenhouse and stealthily avoids social interactions, yet can charm birds right out of the trees when the need arises. While his sister handles the finer details of their business, he often loses himself in his work, forgetting the outside world exists. A chance encounter with a beautiful woman in a moonlit garden leaves him seeking opportunities to discover more about the effervescent Evie and the joy she radiates to those around her.
Will the two of them be able to set aside their doubts and fears to embrace a happily ever after?
Brimming with lighthearted moments, snippets of history, and the hope of true love, Evie is a sweet historical romance sure to warm your heart.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, my niece and her sweet husband welcomed a bouncing baby boy April 2! I was there for his arrival, but can’t wait to return for a visit and hold Baby T again!
If any of you know any history about the difference in go-carts and baby carriages, I’d love to learn more.
In the meantime, feel free to share your favorite “baby” item. What makes your heart pitter-patter and think of babies when you see it? A blanket? An adorable pair of booties? Sweet little onesies?
Thank you all for stopping by on Thursday for my post about history… and how it affects my upcoming contemporary Western romance “Healing the Cowboy’s Heart”. Winners of a signed copy of the book (once it arrives at my door…) are Tonya Lucas and Lori Smanski! Congratulations! If you can e-mail me at email@example.com with your snail mail address, that would be great! And thanks again for such a thoughtful conversation, ladies. You rock!
When I look at women’s fashions from history there are few styles that make less sense to me than the bustle.
Hoops have them beat.
And honestly, elephant bells and hot rollers and make up, and pierced ears and miniskirts are all pretty darned strange. I’m lucky I never got sucked into an escalator with those crazy wide bell bottoms. And forget bowling in a miniskirt, it’s just wrong…the kind of thing that scars a woman. The kind of thing that, well, I couldn’t bowl anyway so it’s not like it harmed my score all that much, but now, years later, I think of that ridiculously short dress and that whole freaking bowling alley behind me and I almost…ahem…excuse me. I mean this all happened to a FRIEND OF MINE.
Back to Bustles and Spurs Week!
So maybe bustles are just par for the course in the woman’s fashion sense.
But when I look at clothes, what I always wonder is HOW.
How did they climb in a carriage wearing a hoop?
How do you bend over and pick something up in a miniskirt?
How do you breathe in a tightly laced corset?
And how in the world to you sit down in a bustle?
Sometimes fashions have, at their very most basic root, some modicum of sense. I’ve heard hoopskirts helped keep a woman cool when she was wearing up the thirty pounds of clothing in the southern United States in the summer.
Sort of like internal air conditioning maybe? And the swaying hoop is a ‘ceiling fan’ of sorts? That’s the kidn of think that starts out maybe having some sense behind it and then the fashion takes hold, the skirts get wider, the hoops get bigger and bigger and before you know it, you’re wearing a wedding cake on the bottom half of your body as if you just popped out of it at a drunken bachelor party.
And a corset. Well, I think they used to believe corsets had some health value. Like to … (I’m struggling here) to keep your back supported? Maybe? But then they put in the boning. And they went all Scarlett O’Hara and laced tighter her tighter and bragged about a man spanning their waist with his hands and garbage like that.
But bustles? What? Was sitting down forbidden?
Did they like…invent chairs just so women COULD sit down? And what would that chair look like?
Getting a hoop into a carriage was tricky but a bustle? No, you would have to walk everywhere, unless maybe they modified the insides of carriage so you could have plenty of room on a deep seat…or maybe lay face down. Or…………….
Oh forget it.
I suppose the same geniuses came up with all those styles.
And stiletto heels, too.
And skinny jeans.
Just stop it.
My tribute to bustles today is actually a tribute to woman everywhere for surviving.
I will end with this thought.
Ginger Rogers did every dance that Fred Astaire did. Only she had to do it backing up, in high heels, wearing a dress.
Women are tough and it’s a pleasure to write about tough women. And none tougher than my current heroine, Penny McCall. And she wasn’t one to mess around with a skirt when she had outlaws to hunt down.
Leave a comment about the worst possible woman’s fashion in history. Or tell me about a ‘bowling in a mini-skirt’ disaster you’ve heard of…from a friend. Get your name in the drawing for a signed copy of Mary Connealy’s Series Guide.
Hi, Kit Morgan here and today I wanted to talk a little bit about the horse and carriage age.
When we think of horses and carriages we also think of romance. Or, some might think of a bumpy, hot ride. There was stagecoach travel in the west and then came the trains. But we equate different things to each of them. Those of us who love to read historical western romance sometimes forget why the easterners wanted to come west in the first place. Why leave the bustling city where everything you needed was there …
Ahem, okay, now that we’ve got an idea of just how bustling a city could be, we have an idea. Instead of cars, carriages and wagons filled the streets and was parking any better? Nope. In our present day, we worry about finding parking at the airport. In the 1800s it was the train station. Yikes! Still, the romance of the carriage hovers over the old fashioned conveyance and we yearn for carriage rides when we see them in tourist areas of different cities. Or maybe someone is giving carriage or wagon rides at a local fair or event. Let’s face it, we’re drawn to them.
Like your car, your carriage said a lot about you back in the day. A lady’s carriage was not so much a means of transport but far more a way of life. The more expensive the horses and the carriage, the less they were used. No first-rate carriage horse was expected to travel more than fourteen miles a day at a maximum speed of 9 to 10 m.p.h., which was well below its maximum range and speed. In the wealthiest establishments, a large, expensive retinue of coachmen, grooms and stable boys was maintained so that my lady could drive out in grand style for one and a half hours a day, six days a week. This daily display of idle opulence had a far more serious purpose than modern readers of historicals may think. The ladies smiled, nodded or bowed to other ladies according to their degree of intimacy; or if they happened to see a male acquaintance on the sidewalk, or if riding through a park, a footpath.
And what about the horses that pulled all of those carriages? Well, to be a good judge of a horse was no gambler’s sport but a serious necessity that could save hundreds of dollars or even life itself. Horse dealing was at the heart of Victorian life and carried into the west. Every city and town and communities formed by settlers out west had their collection of horsey characters who congregated at dealer’s yards, auction rooms, country fairs, particular inns and other places where the talk always came straight from the horse’s mouth and everyone had some knowledge of a better bargain to be had. Most horse dealers were reputable men, but some were copers who practiced every trick of their dishonest trade to deceive the ignorant and the gullible amongst whom clergymen and old ladies were often in supply. A frisky lively horse, which might become a runaway, was given what copers called the “ginger” — a sound thrashing for a few minutes to make it appear quiet and manageable — right before it was displayed to the intended victim along with soft and soothing words.
If the horse was lame in one leg, the coper would restore nature’s balance by making it lame in the other leg, too, so that the inexpert eye would be deceived into thinking both legs were sound. This was achieved by hammering in a little stone, called a “pea” or a “plug”, between the shoe and the most sensitive part of the hoof from which a small sliver had been removed. We’ve come a long way since those days!
So the next time you think of carriage rides, or see a fancy carriage in a movie or picture, think of everything else involved with that common mode of transportation of the past. And, of course, be glad you don’t have to try to find a spot to park your wagon or carriage when you have to go to the train station …
I feel like I’ve been waiting for this book FOREVER!
The third book in the High Sierra Sweethearts Series
And it’s a fun one.
What I want to talk about today is a Pinkerton agent.
I’ve wanted to include a Pinkerton agent in a book for a long time and finally I get a chance in
The Unexpected Champion.
What was really fun was taking a guy who’s pretty smooth, very competent and skilled and throwing him in deep water in a world he knows nothing about.
Then challenging him to be a good guy even when a woman is taking charge and bossing him around. They are kidnapped, taken blindfolded and, in John’s case, unconscious, into the wilderness. Then, in the course of escaping they go over a cliff, down a river and have to hide for a while.
Then a fierce thunderstorm wipes out all their tracks and the tracks of the kidnapper. They are so lost.
One of my favorite lines in the book was when Penny thinks through their ordeal in the wilderness (she’s skilled there, he’s not) and remembers that whenever things would get really tough…as they got completely lost in the mountains and forest and it takes her a week to find a town…that John would on occasion start whining and complaining about the rugged conditions just to cheer her up.
While they’re out there, all he can do is follow. But they finally fight their way back to civilization and all of a sudden this guy emerges. A tough guy who declares to Penny NO ONE is going to kidnap him, assault a woman in his presence, threaten them both…and walk away.
She’s been mostly concerned with survival, John is interested in catching and punishing a bad guy.
Now he’s in charge. His Pinkerton detective skills lead them to the sprawling boomtown Virginia City, Nevada. Well, Penny has no idea how to track a killer on a busy street.
But John does.
Now he’s in charge and Penny’s being dragged along.
Through their adventures they learn to respect each other. Penny learns that not being able to skin a rabbit or follow a wagon track, doesn’t make a man a failure. And John, well, John has no use for a trouser wearing wild woman. Except he’s gotten mighty fond of Penny while they’re been stuck together.
And to go home to Philadelphia without her sounds worse than staying in the wild west. But only a little bit worse.
They are torn between their opposite lives and their respect and attraction for each other.
And meanwhile a killer is still coming.
The Unexpected Champion.
In Bookstores Now!
Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of The Unexpected Champion.
Tell me about your spring weather.
Never has My Cowboy worked SO HARD to get through a calving season.
Usually for a couple of super bitter cold weeks he does a nighttime check to find baby calves.
This year he’s been at it for nearly TWO MONTHS. Every night.
The cold is finally broken, the snow is melting…and here come the floods. How is spring in your part of the world?