The sample scene I posted when Joseph Connealy is traveling to Omaha with four young boys can be found here. Today I’m going to look at the inspiration behind the scene and the names I chose for the father and his boys. :D
Behind the Names
In the book, Joseph Connealy was a widower with four boys ages 2-7. My grandfather was a widower, but he only had one son named Ben. He married my grandmother and they had four boys: Doug, Bob, John, and Charles. My dad’s name was John (he’s passed away now). Since I had used the name John for the hero in Loving Eliza (I’ll have to do another post on that in the future because there’s more to it than that), I decided to use the name Ben. Instead of Ben being the oldest, I made him the youngest. My grandmother’s name was Josephine, so I changed it to Joseph and gave it to the hero of “A Husband for Margaret.” (Richard, by the way, was my grandfather’s name and I already gave that name to Richard Larson. That’s why I didn’t use my grandfather’s name.)
Behind the Personalities of the Children
As for the personalities of the children, I took that from my uncles. Doug was always more serious and reserved. Bob was, by the far, the most outgoing one of the group. Charles was also outgoing, but not as much as Bob, and he ended up singing children songs in Canada. When I write about Charles in a future book, he’ll do something with music. I never really knew Ben except for a couple times I communicated with him, so giving him the youngest role seemed to fit best. I did marry Ben off to Emily Craftsman’s friend (Alice). That was in Isaac’s Decision. Ben ended up becoming someone steady and predictable. That doesn’t make for the most exciting person in the world, but he’s someone you can depend on if you ever need him.
Behind the Children’s Ages
Doug was 7, Bob was 6, Charles was 3, and Ben was 2. I based their ages off my boys’ ages (giving one year leeway). I wanted the kids to be realistic, and the best way to do that was to base them on how old my kids were at the time. My oldest was 7, my second was 6, my third was 4, and my fourth was 3. So I lowered the ages for Charles and Ben by one year. All I can say is that having that many kids so close in age isn’t for the faint of heart. LOL
The Scene on the Train
This is a play-by-play account of how long trips with my kids typically go. The first hour was usually okay, but somewhere into the second to third hour, things would go crazy. So I imagine poor Joseph spent what felt like an eternity going from Dayton to Omaha on a train.
More Mayhem With the Kids Taken From Real Life
For fun, I’ll post a scene from when Margaret is trying to clean up one of the kids after he gets diarrhea from drinking milk. That was also a play-by-play account of something I had dealt with just one week prior to writing it in the story (and yes, my own kid had diarrhea after drinking milk). Ironically, it’s only when you’re running all over the house to get kids cleaned up does someone either come to the door or call on the phone, which is why I had the salesman pop up during that scene. :D I’ll post that scene up tomorrow.