Friday, January 27, 2023

Family Treasures

Treasures passed down through the generations may not be monetarily valuable heirlooms, but there’s a reason the family cherished them.

My father bought a commemorative ceramic whiskey decanter when Oregon celebrated its first 100 years of statehood. My family lived in Oregon at the time, and my ancestors arrived there by wagon train in the 1850s before Oregon gained its statehood (verified by journal entries written along the Oregon Trail).

I have memories (verified by photographs) of myself wearing a homemade red-and-white gingham ‘period’ dress and bonnet and walking in the Centennial parade as a child.

My great-grandfather, the first generation of family born in Oregon, brought a crystal liquor decanter back from the Seattle World’s Fair in 1909. I ‘know’ that due to the handwritten note taped to the bottle. But who wrote the note, and when?

My father remembers a crystal fruit bowl being in the house when he was growing up. But was it the same bowl he recently gave me?

Not all memories and stories passed through generations are accurate. Just watch an episode or two of “Antiques Roadshow” if you need verification.

But what happens when an unverified family legend triggers a murder?

Jo and her best friend, Louise, try to untangle that enigma in my work-in-progress cozy mystery.

Friday, January 6, 2023

What’s Old is New

Much-loved rehomed dog toy
Through time, some words and concepts got a spit-shine for a new slant on perception.

‘Used’ cars are now ‘pre-owned.’ Used and hand-me-down clothes, descriptions that once implied ‘poor’ families, are now celebrated as recycled or vintage. Some of the used and hand-me-down furniture I grew up with is now antique.

Both of my dogs were in the pound, now referred to as the animal shelter. These lost or previously rejected dogs were adopted or rescued.

Plots have also been reused and recycled through time. Aren’t the star-crossed lovers in ‘Titanic’ a glossed-over remake of ‘Romeo and Juliet’?

According to “Are there 3, 5, 7, 9 or 36 Different Plot Types? [The Definitive Answer]”, Christopher Booker claims there are seven basic plot types, and Kurt Vonnegut identified six different character emotional arcs.

And considering that millions and millions of stories have been written, nothing is new.

So, when I saw one of my plot elements in an Agatha Christie movie recently, I could guarantee she didn’t recycle it from me.