Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Summertime, Author Luncheon

Signing copies of "Laura Secord, Heroine of the War of 1812" at The Gables
Over the past year or two I've attended a number of Author Luncheons sponsored by Lighthouse Books in Brighton, ON. Buying a ticket to one of these events entitles you to a signed copy of the guest author's book, some pleasant dinner companions, and a gourmet meal prepared by a fine chef at The Gables restaurant. The Gables occupies the main floor of an elegant, older home, surrounded by mature shade trees and attractive gardens. Inside, the walls of the two dining rooms come alive with vibrant pieces of art.

In the past, I've enjoyed hearing guest authors Jane Urquhart and Charlotte Gray read from their latest works, and earlier this year, Adrienne Clarkson led a lively discussion on the immigrant experience, after reading from her book, Room For All of Us.  Richard Gwynne and Merilyn Simonds too have been featured authors.

You can imagine my delight/surprise at being asked if I'd like to be the guest of honour at a luncheon on July 8th. It took a while to get over the initial anxiety that no one would buy a ticket to hear me! But it all turned out very well. Besides friends and family (my loyal supporters), there were even some old acquaintances I never expected, a few people I'd never met until then, and a couple of friends from my writers' group. All in all, a very pleasant Sunday afternoon.  Thank you, Ann & Mia.

Please support your independent book stores!!  They treat their customers and authors very well.

Myself and Mia Woodburn, joint owner (with Ann Dobby) of Lighthouse Books, Brighton, ON

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Two Brave Youngsters

Both Laura Secord (1775–1868) and Mary Pickford (1892–1979) were courageous women in their day. I think the fact that both had suffered personal tragedy at a very young age may have contributed to their later strength and courage.

Laura Ingersoll lost her mother when she was eight, and following on the heels of that tragedy, her baby sister was taken from her home, adopted by relatives. Four years later, Laura's stepmother also died.

Massachusetts was in turmoil after the War of Independence, and Laura's father was away much of the time. By this time Laura was capable of running the household herself and caring for her younger sisters. In 1795, with more little siblings and a new stepmother who was pregnant, the family undertook the long trek to Upper Canada. As the eldest, Laura was the one who had to remain strong when their schooner nearly capsized in a sudden gale on Lake Ontario.

Mary Pickford's beloved father (Mary's name was Gladys Smith when she was a child) died when she was only six. Her distraught mother, Charlotte, dispersed the three children to various relatives. After her mother came to her senses and reunited the family, little Gladys became determined to keep them from ever splitting up again. She would take over the role of  head of the family, responsible for providing for them and keeping them all together. She took the task of bringing up Lottie and Jack very seriously. It was a responsibility she felt for the rest of her siblings too-short lives.

More stories about the lives of these women can be found in Laura Secord, Heroine of the War of 1812  and Mary Pickford, Canada's Silent Siren, America's Sweetheart.