Anyone who has read summaries and previews and beta copies of my upcoming novels has noticed that I use the name Anne a lot. ANNE SCRIPTOR is the spunky young hero of my Mountain Mystery novels. And the Wolfkin Princess of my Middlemount Fantasy series is named ANN OF MIDDLEMOUNT.
The name Ann (the ‘e’ is optional) is important in my family. My sister, Ann Benjamin existed briefly. She was stillborn on October 7, 1942.
Years later, when my mother passed away in 1988, I rediscovered the baby book she had prepared for my sister. I had seen it before when I was a child. Mom kept it in the old cedar chest wrapped in one my grandmother’s rag rugs. It was a scrapbook filled with images my mother had clipped from old magazines showing mothers and little girls engaged in family outings and domestic chores or just hugging.
You get the idea.
After Ann died, my brother Tom came along in 1944 and then there was me in 1945. Mom never had that little girl until my brother married Sharon–who became a daughter to her and sister to me. Then my niece Pamela Carol was born and Pam, in turn, had four lovely daughters and the next generation is also filled with lots of little girls (and a few boys too).
So you see, these things work out.
Meanwhile, when I sit down to write I imagine what a fine and courageous woman my sister might have been and I celebrate her short life in my stories.
When I told all this to my friend, Phil Ellsworth, a World War II veteran and our town poet laureate, he scribbled this on a napkin and handed it to me:
“So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, so long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”
The quotation is from William Shakespeare and at the moment it has a place of honor on my refrigerator.