“I was 92 years old yesterday. . . and since time is getting short and I lay awake nights trying to remember certain things, I must get it down on paper.” This is how Mable Bennett Trimble, my great grandmother, started her memoir.
Much information for my upcoming 1930’s historical novel, A Promise to Break, comes from Mable’s 1982 autobiography, Nothing but the Truth. She had an awesome memory. Her book is replete with details all the way back to her turn-of-the century childhood.
She was born in Michigan in 1889. Her book is filled with recollections of the snow on Mount Pleasant, outdoor skating with her friends, toboggan rides on Warner’s Hill, and wearing long black stockings and Kitty hoods and scarfs to keep warm during the cold winters. She also remembered how ill her mother had been, so ill with asthma that she was convinced she would die. She had even made herself a black shroud for burial.
Mable’s older brother, a doctor affectionately referred to as “Dr. Clay,” suggested that warmer weather in the south would help their mother regain her health. So the family sold their house, chartered a box car and shipped their furniture to Arkansas. Then they purchased a covered wagon and two horses and joined a wagon train.
Mable could not have been over seven or eight years old when they ventured across country toward Arkansas and Oklahoma. Travelling about fifteen miles a day, they forded the Merrimac River, made money along the way with a medicine man for Dr. Pierce’s Favorite Prescription, and crossed the Mississippi River at St. Louis, where, out of fright, the horses stood on their hind feet all the way across the bridge. The trip took six weeks. As it turns out, Dr. Clay was right, the warmer weather was better for their mother’s health; she lived a resounding 75 years. I must mention that Mable also lived to a ripe old age—106! That trip from Michigan to Oklahoma must have been worth it!
All this information is just from the first few pages of Mable’s book! If this spunky lady in her twilight years was motivated to write her life story, then what keeps me from publishing a book at my age?
Stay tuned! I am excited about sharing more of this 1930’s story with you in the next few months as I prepare to publish my exciting historical novel about Mabel’s daughter, Sibyl Trimble.