Today would have been my grandmother’s 88th birthday, so I figured what better time to officially announce what I’ve been up to the last couple of months. This past August I started writing a book. Its tentative title is Adventures on the Farm, and it will be based on my grandmother’s childhood memories.
This series is a passion project of mine. The books will all be based on my grandmother’s childhood growing up on a farm in North Ferrisburgh, Vermont in the 1930s and 1940s. Born Betty Jane Peer in 1929 in Bennington, VT, my grandmother’s biological family gave her up at birth. The midwife who delivered my grandmother was Mrs. Sears, she was also Allie Bull’s housekeeper. Mrs. Sears brought Betty to North Ferrisburgh to live at the Bull farm. Allie became Betty’s guardian, the man she called Daddy. She spent her childhood on that farm and loved every minute of it.
My grandmother always spoke very fondly of her years on the farm. I grew up listening to her tell vivid, wonderful stories about her childhood. My grandmother passed away in 2005 of cancer. Her death was rather sudden and totally unexpected for me as a 13 year old. She went into the hospital on a Friday, and passed away the following Tuesday. 4 days. It just didn’t feel real at the time. I adored my grandmother, who probably had the biggest influence on me. We were kindred spirits. She always wished that she had been a writer, but for one reason or another never pursued it. Though, she did start writing her memoirs before she passed.
She managed to write down the majority of her childhood memories, though there are some missing, before she passed away. I inherited her hope-chest when she passed. I started going through it recently (2016-2017) and found her memoirs. I knew that they existed as I had stumbled upon them before, but for some reason I never sat down and read them before. When I did, it brought me right back to her kitchen table, with a mug of chicken noodle soup and her sitting across the table telling stories. It struck me that she had lived such a rich life and an idyllic one. I felt an overwhelming sense that her stories needed to be heard. After a lot of thought and prayer, I realized what I had to do.
My hope is that this project turns into a series. I would like to publish two children’s novels that are fictionalizations of my grandmother’s childhood. Adventures on the Farm will be the first one that will follow “Betty” through a year of her life. The second book will be a Christmas book and will follow “Betty” through the seasonal activities. I hope to publish a few picture books based on the novels as well. I also plan to publish a memoir which will be obviously the nonfiction look at her childhood, being faithful to her original version. I look forward to this journey and pray I succeed! ;)
Happy Birthday Grandma, I hope I do you proud.
AND I hope you all will come along on this journey with me.
Born and raised in Upstate NY, Liz is a freelance writer. She has written for websites, blogs, and magazines for the last 10 years. She also acts as a proofreader and beta reader for several authors, all the while working on her first book.