Taking a short break from writing today to post a photo of a few favorite valentines from my collection. I have quite a variety: delicate, multi-layered cards from the 1850's, German pop-ups, postcards, and mass-produced George Whitney valentines from '10s-'30s.
Sometimes there's the makings of a story on the back of a postcard Like this one from 1911: 'Hi Oliver, How's this for giving some? Good night. Love, Myrtle'
Hmmm. This was an ongoing conversation for sure! I'd like to know how these two met, what Oliver wanted from Myrtle, and most importantly, where it went. Were they going together? Did they break up? Did he propose? Maybe they eventually celebrated a 50th wedding anniversary! Like any good story, the possibilities are endless.
Before I started Our Own May Amelia, I hoped I would enjoy this story as much as I liked the looks of May Amelia on the cover: She clearly lived the life of a tomboy and looked the part, too. That was totally me back in the 1970s, down to the rolled-up jeans and unkempt hair. Read on to find out if my hope was answered:
Our Only May Amelia
By Jennifer L. Holm
Published by HarperCollins, 1999.
Summary of Our Own May Amelia from the HarperCollins website:
May Amelia Jackson, a twelve-year- old girl growing up in Nasel, Washington, in 1899, is the only girlin a family with seven brothers— and is, in her mother’s words,“a real miracle.” Everybody has a different opinion of May Amelia. Her father saysshe is always getting into mischief, and her grandmother thinks she’s a walking disaster. Her mother, teacher, and aunts think she should behave like a proper young lady. And her brothers? Well, they tease her, teach her, look after her, defend her, comfort her, and rescue her. For May Amelia just wants to do one thing— and that is whatever the boys do!
Character Who Would Have Your Back: Jane, the Chinook princess and wife to Old Man Weilin who is a neighbor to the Jackson family. She comes to the rescue more than once in the story for people and animals alike with her medicinal magic.
Character You Feel Sorry for Hating: Kaarlo. As the only adopted sibling of May's six brothers, Kaarlo broods nonstop and is mostly unkind to May and the rest of the boys. His real parents, the sister and brother-in-law to May's Pappa, leave Kaarlo with the Jacksons when they run into hard times, intending to send for him when things improve. But that was seven years ago.
Character You Never Hope to Meet: Grandmother Patience. This woman blows the sweet grandmother stereotype to smithereens! She's a miserable woman, but moves into the Jackson household on account of her 'getting on in years'. Watch out for her silver-tipped cane and her forked tongue; this granny is the devil herself!
Why I Read Our Only May Amelia: My writing group chooses a different author to read each month. For February, we picked to study the works of Jennifer L. Holm, also author of the Baby Mouse series. Since I already had May Amelia on my shelf but hadn't yet read it, the book was an easy choice.