Sunday, April 07, 2013

Fulfilling Audrey's Ambition

Yesterday was delicious! The combination of warm sunshine and a gentle breeze tickled my senses and enticed me to stay outside and play ball with Levi and Gimpy slightly longer than I should have. Today I'm paying for it with a stuffy nose and watery eyes, and my shoulders and neck are a little pinker than they should be, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. And that wasn't even the best part of the day.

Do you remember that I wrote last month about starting a blog to publish my Grandma Audrey's stories? Now that my own writing class has ended, I have time to tackle that project, so I began to think about what that blog should look like. I wanted it to reflect Grandma's tastes and personality, so I called my Aunt Shirley in Missouri early in the afternoon to ask her some questions. (Actually, because my eyes skipped up the page while I was dialing Shirley's number, I ended up talking to my Aunt Carol, too, which was the most delightful mistake I've made in a while.)

"What was Grandma's favorite color?" I asked Shirley. Hm. She didn't remember, but she has a picture of Grandma wearing a red blouse, so she may have liked red. And she wore a lot of prints. "Did she have a favorite flower?" Shirley said that Grandma didn't have time for gardening, having nine children and all, but there was definitely a spirea bush in the yard, because that's where the switches came from. Nine children, six of them boys? I guess Grandma did need a switch occasionally.

We talked and talked about Grandma's stories and about which of her children or grandchildren might be in possession of certain documents and photos Shirley remembered. Of particular interest were some letters Grandma found in her late Grandmother Amy's trunk, letters written in Amy's hand which were supposedly dictated to her by spirits. Yep, Amy was a spiritualist. Grandma wrote about her, and I'd love to see those letters. Shirley has already sent me lots of family photos and writings, and she promised more as soon as she can get someone to scan them. She's into this project as deeply as I am.

I told Aunt Shirley and Aunt Carol it would be a while before the blog was up and running, but while my mind was on it, I decided to go ahead and see if the url I wanted was available, which it was. I nabbed it, then put the title in, and the next thing I knew it was after one o'clock in the morning. Grandma's blog was up with photos and first posts and a poem she wrote about writing. The header is beige, representing the somber side of her I knew best, but the quilt in the background (Grandma was an avid quilter) has flashes of her fiery red side that others remember.

The name of Grandma's blog is Audrey's Ambition. I probably won't post there more than once a week, because the supply of her stories ceased in 1987 when she died, but I hope you'll visit there and read what she wrote. Most of her stories are presented as fiction but are actually autobiographical, with the names changed to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent.

There's a link to Audrey's Ambition in the sidebar (under "My Other Blogs") and another one on a tab under the header above. If those aren't easy enough for you, just click right here. Maybe it's just a wacky trait I inherited from Great-Great-Grandmother Amy, but I truly believe Audrey will know you're reading her stories. And I know that if she does know, she'll be so proud.

Audrey Smith Barclay


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