What is it with Sisters? ~Tanya Hanson

Anybody who knows me knows that reading Little Women when I was eight set my goal to be a writer. Someday, somehow.

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Celebrating my recent release, Sisters--two stories in one! I decided to regale you with trivia about those March sisters and their stories. See how well you do. (answers at the end.) And please leave a comment today…I’m giving away three Kindle copies of Sisters.

  1. Who is the oldest March sister:  a) Amy; b) Jo; c) Meg; d) Beth.

 

  1. Jo works for: a) Aunt March;   b) The Boston Beacon;   c) the Weekly Volcano;   d) Mr. Laurence.

 

  1. When Amy burns Joe’s treasured manuscript (horrors! No back-up or Dropbox…) what melts Jo’s fury?   a) Amy marries Laurie so Jo doesn’t have to.   b) Amy contracts scarlet fever.   c)Aunt March threatens to send Amy to art school in Paris.   d) Amy falls through the ice on a frozen pond.

 

  1. Beth becomes ill with:   a) consumption;    b) scarlet fever;    c) influenza;    d) appendicitis.

 

  1. Meg marries:  a) Ned Moffat;  b) John Brooke;  c) Friedrich Bhaer;  d) No, she doesn’t. She remains single.

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  1. Beth dies at age:  a) 19;  b) 18;  c) 17;  d) 16.  
  1. Originally a two-parter, the second half of Little Women (Part 2 today) was called:  a) Good Wives;  b) Army Wives (this was, after all, Civil War times.)  c) Little Children;  d) The Last March.

 

  1. Aunt March’s home is called:  a) Fruitlands;  b) Orchard House;  c) Apple Farm;  d) Plumfield.

 

  1. Meg’s children are officially christened:  a) Jack and Jill;   b) Jack and Daisy;  c) John and Jane;  d) John and Margaret.

 

  1. Little Women led to two sequels:  a) Little Men, and Little Children;  b) Jo’s Boys, and Meg’s   Twins;  c) The Finale March, and The Final Chapter;  d) Little Men, and Jo’s Boys.

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So, what’s with Sisters? Well, in Her Hurry-up Husband, debutante Elspeth Maroney leaves her stinkin’, cheatin’ bridegroom at the altar, but realizes she needs a husband for just one month. And by then, she just might need to run screaming from her bridegroom’s crazy granny…

 

However, she finds her heart fluttering when her intended, handsome Colorado rancher Hezekiah Steller wants a wife for life. And an heir as quick as possible.  Sigh. How can they let each other go?

 

Anyway, my editor (the talented, ever patient and most excellent Cheryl Pierson) flat out said…Elspeth’s sister Judith has GOT to get away from their awful mama. Hence…(this this is an important word in the story…) Judith has her own set of adventures and romance in Her Thief of Hearts. Beautiful socialite (her). Darling orphan and…An outlaw! Bad-boy “Black Ankles” holds up a speeding train, and she’s on it. Along with Elspeth’s spurned bridegroom and the sisters’ former childhood governess! Oh no. Can her beloved Tremaine rescue her in time?

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So, both stories are now together in one pretty package. And  to make it more fun, Tremaine’s brother Ronnie has his own love story coming out at Christmas…because he’s really outlaw Black Ankles and so needs love and redemption.

All right. Here are the answers!

1-c; 2-a; 3-d; 4-b; 5-b; 6-a; 7-a; 8-d; 9-d; 10-d

 

Now, who’s your favorite March sister and why?

Love in the Time of Miscegenation

The Dumont Brand

Kathleen Rice Adams header

She’s the sweetest rose of color this darky ever knew,
Her eyes are bright as diamonds, they sparkle like the dew;
You may talk about your dearest May, and sing of Rosa Lee,
But the Yellow Rose of Texas beats the belles of Tennessee.

Those are the original words to the chorus of “The Yellow Rose Texas,” a folksong dating to early colonial Texas. The first known transcribed version—handwritten on a piece of plain paper—appeared around the time of the Texian victory at San Jacinto in April 1836.

Marie Laveau 1774-1881 Marie Laveau by Franck Schneider
“New Orleans’ Voodoo Queen” Marie Laveau (1774-1881) was a free Creole of mixed race.

In its original form, the song tells the story of a black man (“darky”) who has been separated from his sweetheart and longs to reunite with her. The lyrics indicate the sweetheart was a free mulatto woman—a person of mixed black and white heritage. In those days, “person of color” was considered a polite way to refer to black people who were not slaves. “Yellow” was a common term for people of mixed race.

During the Civil War, “The Yellow Rose of Texas” became a popular marching tune for troops all over the Confederacy; consequently, the lyrics changed. White Confederates were not eager to refer to themselves as darkies, so “darky” became “soldier.” In addition, “rose of color” became “little flower.”

Aside from the obvious racist reasons for the modifications, legal doctrine played into the picture as well. Until the U.S. Supreme Court declared the practice unconstitutional in 1967, all eleven formerly Confederate states plus Delaware, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and West Virginia outlawed marriage and sexual relations between whites and blacks. In four of the former Confederate states—Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia—marriage or sexual relations between whites and any non-white was labeled a felony. Such laws were called anti-miscegenation laws, or simply miscegenation laws. In order to draw what attorneys term a “bright line” between legal and illegal behavior, many states codified the “single-drop rule,” which held that a person with a single drop of Negro blood was black, regardless the color of his or her skin.

Texas’s miscegenation law, enacted in 1837, prescribed among the most severe penalties nationwide: A white person convicted of marrying, attempting to marry, or having sex with a person of another ethnicity was subject to a prison sentence of two to five years. Well into the twentieth century, it was not uncommon for the non-white half of the illicit relationship to be severely beaten or killed by irate local citizens.

The first American miscegenation laws arose in the colonies in the 1600s. The laws breathed their last gasp in 2001, when Alabama finally removed the anti-miscegenation clause from its state constitution after a referendum barely passed with only sixty percent of the popular vote.

Texas’s miscegenation law plays a role in “The Big Uneasy,” one half of the duet of stories in my new release, The Dumont Brand. The father of the heroine’s intended “lives in sin” with a free Creole of color. Under a tradition known as plaçage, wealthy white men openly kept well-bred women of color as mistresses in the heroine’s hometown, New Orleans. Texans frowned on the practice nonetheless. The situation causes no end of heartache for the heroine.

The Dumont Brand releases Friday, along with 20 other books, as part of Prairie Rose PublicationsChristmas in July event. About half of the books are holiday tales (like The Last Three Miles), and the other half are stories set in other seasons (like The Dumont Brand). Each of them will warm readers’ hearts all year long. Prairie Rose will host an extra-special Facebook fandango to celebrate the mountain of releases July 28-29. You can RSVP here. Did I mention the Prairie Roses will be giving away free books, jewelry, and other fun prizes?

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On the eve of the Civil War, family secrets threaten everything a ranching dynasty has built…until Amon Collier finds salvation in the wrong woman’s love. In the aftermath of battle, a woman destroyed by betrayal brings peace to his brother Ben’s wounded soul.

The Big Uneasy: To escape the unthinkable with a man about whom she knows too much, New Orleans belle Josephine LaPierre agrees to marry a Texan about whom she knows nothing. Falling in love with his brother was not part of her plan.

Making Peace: After four long years in hell, Confederate cavalry officer Bennett Collier just wants to go home—assuming home still exists. Widowed Jayhawker Maggie Fannin will hold onto her home at any cost…even if she must face down the imposing Rebel soldier who accuses her of squatting.

 

The-Last-3-Miles-Kathleen-2-Web_FinalThe Last Three Miles also will debut Friday as part of PRP’s Christmas in July:

When an accident leaves Hamilton Hollister convinced he’ll never be more than half a man, he abandons construction of a railway spur his lumber mill needs to survive. Believing no woman shackled by social convention can be complete, railroad heiress Katherine Brashear refuses to let the nearly finished track die.

The magic of Christmas in a small Texas town may help them bridge the distance…if they follow their hearts down The Last Three Miles.

You can read excerpts from both books and peruse a complete list of the titles that are part of PRP’s Christmas in July event here.

 

To do a little celebrating of my own, I’ll give an e-copy of The Dumont Brand to one of today’s commenters and an e-copy of The Last Three Miles to another.

Please note: Both are available only as ebooks.

 

Here Comes the Bride…In the Movies!

Charlene FB June 2015

I’m such a movie buff, that when we came up with the idea doing a week of Brides and Weddings, I began thinking of all the movies I have adored over the years.  My most recent favorites are, Father of the Bride and Runaway Bride.

These were taken from a list of the TOP 50 Romantic Movies.  See how our tastes have changed over the years.

Do you have something else to add to the list?  Which one is your favorite?

 

My Best Friend's Wedding

Muriel's Wedding

 

Father of the Bride

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Runaway Bride

The Wedding Planner

The Wedding Crashers

And who can forget this classic Bride Movie? 

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Or the original first Bride movie ever made — The Bride of Frankenstein from 1935!!  Yikes!! 

The Bride of Frankenstein

 

Here’s a picture of a special day in our lives.  Daughter Nikki and son-in-law Zac’s wedding.

It’s hard to believe they’ve been married 7 years already.

nikki's wedding.

Do you remember the old rhyme –

First comes love, then comes marriage, 

then comes baby in the baby carriage. 

Well, that doesn’t always happen in order these days, especially in my brand new release! 

The Billionaire’s Daddy Test 

The Billionaire's Daddy TestOn sale now!  

Amazon 

 

 

 

Playing The Flirtation Game

MargaretBrownley-header

“Ever wonder why the word engagement describes

both a promise of marriage & war battle?”-Undercover Bride

Wedding-Week-sepiaMy husband was recently asked by a young man how he dated me before mobile phones and texting. We got a good laugh out of that one. Try explaining the concept of planning ahead to today’s spur-of-the-moment youths and see where that gets you.

It did get me thinking though; how did men and women come together without benefit of modern day technology?   At least my husband and I had access to what is now called a land phone. 

That’s when I discovered that “texting” isn’t all that new. Yep, you got that right. 19th century lads did indeed “text” and they didn’t need a modern day phone to do it. They simply passed out flirtation or escort cards asking permission to make a young woman’s acquaintance or escort her home. These preprinted cards were fun, clever and often rhymed.

If the answer was yes, the woman simply kept the card. If no, she would return it.  Would any of these cards win your heart?

 

Note: Many thanks to Alan Mays for his wonderful collection.

 

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My granddaughter thinks her generation invented chat acronyms. No doubt she’d be surprised to learn that many were developed during the 1800s to save money in sending telegrams. “Hw r u ts mng?” meant “How are you this morning?” And instead of lol they used the more efficient Ha. Love and kisses in telegram talk was simply 88.

 

Not sure I would want to be “interviewed” by a suitor. I’d pass on this one.

 

I’d be wary of a man with a stack of cards that said “two hearts beat as one.”
This one seems more like a business arrangement. Monkey business?
The words “escort” and “strictly confidential” makes me wonder what’s really on his mind.

Since we’re celebrating love and marriage this week,

tell us how you met your significant other.

                         

                              What Readers are Saying About Undercover Bride

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“5 Stars!”

“A truly entertaining must read”

“A thrilling escapade”

“A creative plot and delightful characters”

“Good clean fun western romance”

“Thumbs up for mystery western”

“Wild west guns and grins”

“Fantastic”

Amazon

                                                  B&N

Weddings and Memories


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Nothing makes my heart melt quite like weddings. I ALWAYS cry. There’s something about two people starting this new life together. They’re full of hopes and dreams, unable to see the trials and hurdles to jump over ahead. But I know they’ll be there.

Getting married was serious business with me.

M&R2I’ve been married twice and both husbands have now passed over.

The first time was a private ceremony with a preacher. No guests. The second was at the Justice of the Peace. So I don’t know anything about being married in a huge church with hundreds (often thousands) of guests except through my oldest daughter. This is a picture of her with her new hubby.

My parents married during the Depression on April 14, 1934 at the JP. They were homeless and living in a migrant camp. Mama had to borrow a pair of shoes from one of the women because she didn’t own any and she wore an old dress. Daddy wore overalls.

They faced hard times aplenty. But they dreamed of owning a real house someday.

It took them seventeen years.

Though the doctors told my daddy he was sterile from having rheumatic fever when he was a boy, they had a baby girl two years after tying the knot and went on to have five more. One was stillborn. (In the lineup, I was kid #5.)

Twice a Texas BrideIn my newest, TWICE A TEXAS BRIDE, Rand Sinclair and Callie Quinn married the first time so they could keep an orphaned baby. Callie borrowed a dress from Delta Dandridge who married Cooper Thorne in the previous book.

Neither Rand or Callie voiced love for each other, though they had it tucked deep in their hearts.

Callie made it clear she wouldn’t sleep in his bed, but Rand made her promise to kiss him each night before they went to their separate rooms.

They married again at the end of the book for real in front of lots of guests and the three children who made up their patchwork family.

Now, I’d like to hear about your wedding tales (either yours or someone else’s.) I’ll give away one copy (any format) of either book in my Bachelors of Battle Creek series.

And don’t forget…Book 3 of the series- FOREVER HIS TEXAS BRIDE – will be out on December 1 of this year! I’ve saved the best for last!

For Ever and Ever…Tanya Hanson

Wedding-Week-sepiaDon’t forget to leave a comment today! I’m giving away one of my backlist books because…it’s about a Bride, and it’s Wedding Week here in Wildflower Junction!  PLEASE check the comments later tonight for my “winner” as I don’t want to intrude on tomorrow’s filly…

The picture below is me and my posse in July 1974 at my bridal shower. (I’m seated on the right.) This womanly gathering owes its roots to a Dutch maiden three hundred years ago whose wealthy papa pooh-poohed her marital choice of a lowly miller. He refused her a  dowry, so her friends and neighbors “showered” her with enough household goods to start life with her true love.

In the 1890’s, gifts for the bride were actually placed into a Japanese parasol which was later opened over her head. Hopefully there wasn’t a cast iron frying pan or meat cleaver knife in there.

my bridal shower

The honored roll of Bridesmaid got its start during the bride-stealing days of the Anglo-Saxons. A gaggle of lovelies usually dressed identical to the bride even to their veils to confuse marauders and act as decoys. Later, the flock of bridesmaids was believed to ward off evil spirits who might curse the happy couple.

In those good old days of bride-stealing and kidnapping, the groom of course had to surround himself with pals ready to assist in abducting his woman. Sometimes the “groomsmen” snatched brides of their own from the herd of bridesmaids. Romantic? Can’t decide if there’s a historical romance plot in there somewhere. Or if it’s just downright inappropriate behavior no matter what century you’re in…

Anyway, here are some helpful proverbs for any superstitious brides out there.

  1. If you find a spider on your wedding gown, you’ll come into money. 
  2. If you see a flock of birds, your marriage will be blessed with fertility. 
  3. If it snows on your wedding day, you’ll be wealthy.
  4. If the sun is out, you’ll be happy.
  5. If you marry as the hands of the clock move up (after the half hour), you’ll have good fortune. 
  6. If you drop the ring during the ceremony, it’s best to start the whole thing over. 
  7. If you look in the mirror before walking down the aisle, you’ll leave a part of yourself behind. 
  8. If you cry on your wedding day, especially before the kiss, you’ll prevent tears during the marriage. 

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Above is an heirloom photo of my grandparents. The one below is my niece. As for Hubs and me…we’re still going strong after 41 years even though it did not snow on our wedding day. The sun shined bright, though, so that adage works.While we’re never been wealthy, we’ve never been in want. And of course I looked in the mirror. If any part of me got left behind, I haven’t missed it!Ethereal!

So…what’s the best bridal shower gift you ever got or gave? I’ll draw one name from the commenters  for a copy of MARRYING MINDA, my tale of a mail-order-bride who heads West and marries…the wrong man. (U.S. Residents only for print; others e-copy)MarryingMinda_w2706_680

Taking a Chance—a Big Chance—on Love & Book Giveaway

MargaretBrownley-header

“Did you ever wonder why we use the word engagement
to describe both a promise of marriage and a war battle?”-Undercover Bride

My June release Undercover Bride is a mail order bride story with a twist. Maggie Michaels is a Pinkerton detective working undercover to nab the Whistle-Stop Bandit. To do this she is posing as his mail order bride. The clock is ticking; if she doesn’t find the proof she needs to put him in jail, she could end up as his wife!

My heroine has a good reason for doing what she’s doing, but what about the thousands of other women during the 1800s who left family and friends to travel west and into the arms of strangers?

Shortage of Men

mailThe original mail order bride business grew out of necessity. The lack of marriageable women in the west was partly responsible, but so was the Civil War. The war created thousands of widows and a shortage of men.

As a result, marriage brokers and “Heart and Hand” catalogues popped up all around the country. Ads averaged five to fifteen cents and letters were exchanged along with photographs. It took ten days for a letter to travel by Pony Express and often the wax seals would melt in the desert heat, causing letters to be thrown away before reaching their destinations.

According to an article in the Toledo Blade a lonely men even wrote to the Sears catalogue company asking for brides (the latest such letter received was from a lonely Marine during the Vietnam War).

                                      Cultural Attitudes

wife

Marriage was thought to be the only path to female respectability. Anyone not conforming to society’s expectations was often subjected to public scorn. Women who had reached the “age” of spinsterhood with no promising prospects were more likely to take a chance on answering a mail order bride ad than younger women.

Not Always Love at First Sight

For some mail-order couples, it was love (or lust) at first sight. In 1886, one man and his mail order bride were so enamored with each other they scandalized fellow passengers on the Union Pacific Railroad during their honeymoon.

Not every bride was so lucky. In her book Hearts West, Christ Enss tells the story of mail order bride Eleanor Berry. En route to her wedding her stage was held up at gunpoint by four masked men. Shortly after saying “I do,” and while signing the marriage license, she suddenly realized that her husband was one of the outlaws who had robbed her. The marriage lasted less than an hour.

Men: Do Not Be Deceivedmail2

Women weren’t the only ones who could be duped. Ads popped up warning men not to be seduced by artificial bosoms, bolstered hips, padded limbs, cosmetic paints and false hair.

Despite occasional pitfalls, historians say that most matches were successful. That’s because the ads were generally honest, painfully so in some cases. If a woman was fat and ugly she often said so. If not, photographs didn’t lie (at least not before Photoshop came along).

There may have been another reason for so much married bliss. A groom often signed a paper in front of three upstanding citizens promising not to abuse or mistreat his bride. She in turn promised not to nag or try to change him.

No one seems to know how many mail order brides there were during the 1800s, but the most successful matchmaker of all appears to be Fred Harvey who, by the turn of the century, had married off 5000 Harvey girls.

Okay, since it’s almost June and I’ve got brides on my mind how about sharing a wedding memory, either your own or someone else’s?  It can be funny, sweet, nightmarish or just plain special.  Fair warning: anything you say could be used in a book!  If all else fails just stop by and say hello and I’ll put your name in the old Stetson.

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Wild West Guns and Grins or How the West Was Fun

 Another Pinkerton Lady Detective is on the case. This time the female operative masquerades as a mail-order bride. Pretty funny overall plot to begin with, so expect some fun reading while the detective team attempts to unmask a pair of train robbers and murderers. That’s how Margaret Brownley writes. Western mystery with humor rolling throughout, like tumbleweeds on Main Street.

                                                           -Harold Wolf on Amazon

Amazon

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My Beautiful Daughter’s Beautiful Wedding

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Hi!  Winnie Griggs here.  Three weeks ago we had one of those milestone events happen in our family – my youngest daughter got married.  Although there were the requisite number of bumps in the road as far as executing ‘the plan’ for the wedding, the ceremony itself was absolutely beautiful. As the proud mother of the bride, I thought I’d share a few pictures from the big day with you.

White SpacerThese first two are before-and-after shots of the bridesmaids

MW-Bmaids

Here’s a shot of me and my husband with the bride.  Remember me mentioning there were a few bumps in the road?  You can see the evidence of one of those ‘bumps’ in this shot.  Just before the wedding, I had an allergic reaction to either my make-up or hair spray or both.  As a result, my right eye was swollen almost shut for the whole ceremony and reception.  Needless to say, I tried to duck out of as many photos as possible!

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Here is a shot of all four of my children just before the ceremony started.

MW-4 kids

The next two are of my husband escorting the bride down the aisle.  I especially like the second shot – the two bridesmaids visible over my husband’s shoulder are our other two daughters and to the right of the bride are me and my mother.

MW-Bride & father

And here’s the happy couple!

MW-Bride & groom

Here’s one last shot to show you the cake

MW-Cutting the cake

I hope you enjoyed this little peak into what was a very special day for our family.

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And to celebrate the release this month of Second Chance Hero, the sixth book in my Texas Grooms series, I will be giving a copy to one person who leaves a comment on this post today.

18 SCH medium

SECOND CHANCE HERO

Winning the Widow’s Heart 

To help his dying sister, Nate Cooper once broke the law and paid a heavy price for his actions. Now the ex-con turned saddler hopes for a quiet life and new beginning in Turnabout, Texas. Being declared a hero for saving a child’s life, however,  leaves Nate feeling like a fraud.

Since the violent death of her husband, single mom Verity Leggett has attempted to lead a safe life, avoiding danger and excitement at all costs. And her daughter’s handsome rescuer Mr. Cooper seems like a perfectly responsible man, one she can finally rely on.

When his secrets come to light, however, will Verity be able to get over his past and see Nate for the caring man he’s become?

Welcome Guests – Ruth Ann Nordin and Janet Syas Nitsick

Janet Nitsick
Janet Nitsick
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Ruth Nordin

Train Travel: A Passenger’s Perspective

“The train chugged toward the station. Smoke bellowed from the engine’s stack.  Standing underneath the roof of the brick-and-mortar depot, Opal gulped as she watched it approach. …” (Excerpt from Janet Syas Nitsick’s novella, She Came by Train, included in Bride by Arrangement.)

Trains were vital to the Old West to not only transport goods but also for people traveling from East to West. They replaced wagon trains, a popular form of travel from the early 1840s to the late 1860s. Trains continued to be the dominant mode of travel until automobiles gained momentum in the 1930s and 1940s.

Tickets Please

Passengers could purchase first, second or third-class tickets, according to their financial abilities. First-class tickets cost the most and came with the most luxuries. A second class ticket cost more than third class with this class bringing the least benefits.

If a person purchased a third-class ticket, he or she would sit on a wooden seat, be placed in an open car and had to furnish their own meal. The ticket entailed them to one washroom (our current day restroom), and it was used by men and women.

A second-class ticket enabled the traveler to sit in an enclosed car with padded seats and included two washrooms — one for men and the other for women. This passenger had three meal options: bring your own food, eat at the buffet car, or get off the train to eat during a meal stop.

Photo by Robert Spittler of Omaha, Neb. Old Tucson railroad station served as the setting for some of Hollywood’s most famous television shows, such as “Bonanza,” “Gun Smoke,” “Have Gun will Travel,” and movies,  “Rio Bravo” and “McClintock.”
Photo by Robert Spittler of Omaha, Neb.
Old Tucson railroad station served as the setting for some of Hollywood’s most famous television shows, such as “Bonanza,” “Gun Smoke,” “Have Gun will Travel,” and movies, “Rio Bravo” and “McClintock.”

Passengers riding first class sat in leather or padded-velvet seats in an enclosed car. As in the second class, men and women had their own washrooms. But different from the other classes, a first-class traveler was provided meals, could eat in the buffet car or visit a restaurant at a destination stop.

If travelers didn’t bring a meal, such as second and third-class, ticket holders, they could eat at a restaurant near the depot or eat at the dining (also buffet) car during the train stop. However, passengers had limited time to eat these unappetizing, dining-car meals, probably between 15 to 20 minutes, so often they never finished their meals and continued their trips hungry.

Around 1899, Fred Harvey solved this problem by starting a chain of restaurants at the train stations. His restaurants served appetizing meals, such as plantation beef stew on hot buttermilk biscuits and smoked haddock. Harvey hired only females for his waitstaff to allure male patrons and help women find mates.

Baggage Tags

Originally, passengers picked up their own luggage from the baggage car, but as travel by train became more popular, it became necessary to have a system to track luggage to prevent loss or theft.  Metal tags, typically made of brass, were used. They included the railroad(s) involved, an identification number, and routing. One tag would go with the passenger, and a matching tag would be attached to the luggage.

When the Journey Ends

Once the train arrived at its destination, passengers needed to be careful when they got off their cars because of the short distance between the train and the platform. At the station, travelers walked, grabbed a cab or were met with individuals who took them to their ultimate destinations.

Click Cover to Order from Amazon
Click Cover to Order from Amazon

In She Came by Train, Opal has taken the long journey from Virginia to Lincoln, Nebraska, to be the governess to two young children of a lonely widower.  “Opal pulled out her smelling salts and sniffed.  She returned the salts to her belt before clutching her purse tight. Her new life faced her. …” (Excerpt from Janet Syas Nitsick’s novella in Bride by Arrangement.)

In The Purchased Bride, Ada fought the tears, which she believed could have filled up more than what the Mississippi River contained, as she stepped from the train to meet her betrothed, Pete Kelly. She did not know what her future would be like since her brother arranged the marriage. “With each mile that separated Ada from Virginia, she didn’t know if she felt better or worse. … her brother had seen fit to sell her to a stranger out in Nebraska — far removed from anyone …” (Excerpt from Ruth Ann Nordin’s novella in Bride by Arrangement.)

Giveaway

Ruth Ann Nordin and Janet Syas Nitsick are offering three paperback copies of their anthology, Bride by Arrangement, (which ranked in the top 100 in the Western romance category in the Kindle edition).

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Happily Ever After—40 years’ worth ~Tanya Hanson

My hubby and I are celebrating our Fortieth Anniversary in a few days so I’m giving away print copies of two of my bride-y books, Marrying Minda and Midnight Bride. Help me celebrate by leaving a comment to get your name in my drawing!  (thanks in advance…print for U.S. residents; pdf or Kindle for international winners.)

Once upon a time, a handsome Illinois schoolmaster married a debutante from across the Mississippi River. Paper Japanese lanterns glowed. Years before, the bride’s grandpa had marched with General William Tecumseh Sherman. She is said to have weighed a whole 98 pounds full-term with child. Of their eight kids, one would become a preacherman.

About this same time, in the heartland, a farmer fell in love with a pretty, feisty neighbor from a nearby homestead. (I’m said to look like her.) He died from a ruptured appendix far too soon in their marriage, leaving behind a brood of their own kids and several adopted orphans.

The farmer’s daughter married the preacherman, who had been assigned to the nearby country church after seminary.She gave up art school to marry.  Over the next decade, she gave him a half-dozen children.  After a time, the preacher took a congregation on the West Coast.  Mostly he needed sunshine and warm weather for his health.  His kids enjoyed the beach. All were excellent students.  His wife (my brilliant gramma and personal hero) brought the family through the Great Depression with class, grace, and without complaint.

During the Second World War, their oldest daughter, a schoolteacher too, married her sailor.  (She’d had a crush on him since high school. He signed her yearbook fairly lame: To a nice quiet girl, but admitted later on he’d been interested in her too.)   She longed to wear her mama’s wedding gown, but everything fell to shreds when unwrapped.  In her hair the bride wore the only surviving finery–a little bunch of silk flowers.

Forty years ago next week week, their daughter, also a schoolteacher, married her fireman on a hot August afternoon.  (Strapless and sleeveless bridal gowns not acceptable then.)   The locket she wore came from her grandfather’s grandmother!  Two kids and two grandkids later, their love story is still going on.

I hope you enjoyed climbing up and down my family tree a little bit today.

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