Wednesday, May 3, 2017

INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP

Today is the first Wednesday in May, and you know what that means.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
 
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link here.
 
Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh is the founder of the IWSG.
 
His awesome co-hosts for the May 3 posting of the IWSG will be Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan, Liesbet @ Roaming About, Michelle Wallace, and Feather Stone!
 
The question for May 3 is:
 
What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story.
 
The question is optional. 


I always enjoy research, sometimes so much that I never want to quit. But there comes the time when I have to start writing. I've researched a lot of different subjects during the years I've been writing. I learned a lot about the American Civil War in Vicksburg, when I wrote my Civil War novel. I discovered that tumbleweeds can make lovely Christmas trees, when I wrote my early reader. 
 
One of the coolest things, however, has been the Orphan Trains and the children that rode on the trains. It's a little known part of America's history, but it's becoming better known because of different organizations that spread the word.
 
Maybe you've heard of them. Maybe not. Some of the stories have happy endings. Others end on a sad note. I wrote to several different places in New York for information. The Children's Aid Society sent me great stuff. I learned about the man who started the Orphan Trains, as they later were called. I learned about homeless children and the fate of many of them. I found pictures of the trains and children, and pictures of what a tenement house, where so many families lived, was like. 
 
What made the subject so interesting to me, is the fact that my mother was one of those Orphan Train Riders, in 1921. So I had to write a story about those children. I was afraid, at first. It was such a tender story. Would I be able to show the good things as well as the bad about the program? I had to try.
 
Do you have an Orphan Train Rider in your family history? It is estimated that some 2 million people in the U S today are descendants of these children. You might be one of them.
 
 
 
Happy Reading!
 

 
 
 

22 comments:

  1. That was sure a good research Beverly,
    As I write poems that are events in my life mostly
    I don't need to research, but I do get a "Block" as to what to write about if life gets hum drum.
    Enjoyed your post.
    Have a lovely month of May.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Thank you, Yvonne. Writing about family is a great way to keep the memories alive. And you do a beautiful job.
      A lovely May to you, as well.

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  2. Your mother was on one of those trains? At least her story did have a happy ending.

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    1. Yes, she was, Diane, but she never talked about it and I had no idea until I read an article in the newspaper about the trains, which gave me an idea of how a Brooklyn girl ended up in Texas. She was one of the fortunate children, with a loving foster family.

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  3. Great how our research can lead us to keep learning. Awesome that the organizations sent you helpful info too, many don't seem to want to.

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    1. Research sure can teach us a lot, Pat. Yes, most places I contacted for information were very cooperative.

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  4. Wow, I bet that was a really personal story for you knowing your mother experienced it first hand.

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    1. Yes, it was, Alex. I'd never heard of the Orphan Trains. She'd never talked about them. I did finally get to meet one of her sisters. They looked a lot alike.

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  5. Very cool to research and write about a topic with special meaning!

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    1. It was interesting, Karin, and a great history lesson.

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  6. So fascinating. I knew about the regular treatment of orphans in time time of Anne of Green Gables, but I hadn't heard about the trains.

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    1. A lot of people haven't heard of them, Crystal, but more are learning.

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  7. That's amazing that you ended up writing a story about what must have been a profound experience for your mother. I'm glad she was one of the lucky ones who found a good home. As I think about it, the legendary series, Anne of Green Gables, was about just such an orphan, too.

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    1. Yes, it is, Elizabeth. She never talked about it, which I heard was often the case. Bad memories, I suppose. You're right. I hadn't thought of Anne of Green Gables.

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  8. I find the orphan trains to be so sad. I can imagine the research you did must have been fascinating. I had no idea that there are so many people today related to someone who was on one of those trains. I don't know of anyone in my family who was on one- but I guess sometimes we don't know.

    Have a great weekend!
    ~Jess

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    1. They are sad in a way, Jess, and many of the children were just wanted to work on the farms, were abused, and led hard lives. Some of them had better lives than living in the orphanage their whole lives. I found out about the Orphan Trains by accident. So glad I did.

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  9. I was watching an old Unsolved Mysteries on Amazon Prime and they did a whole thing on the Orphan Trains. I immediately thought of you!

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    1. Oh, I bet that was a good show, Stephanie. I saw one about the Orphan Trains too. Can't remember where. It might have been the same one.

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  10. I love research too. It's great you learned all about the Civil War (especially considering a certain politician says "no one" knows why the Civil War started or ever bothers to ask. Nope. Only he doesn't know.). I love the Orphan train info. Your mom must have been so scared. Bravo to you for delving into this unusual part of our past!

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    1. The Civil War has a lot of great stories to tell, Lexa. Who listens to politicians?:)
      The Orphan Train history is interesting, too, and sad. So glad I learned about it.

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