Saturday, December 15, 2007
What's In A Picture?
What's in a picture? Plenty.
A little background: My earliest memories of my grandmother's home were of this picture hanging in her living room over the drop-leaf table. It came from the home of Walter Q. Gresham, Lanesville Indiana lawyer, and later, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and Secretary of State under Grover Cleveland.
My grandmother's pictures were always tastefully hung; low and elegantly grouped. Still, as a little tyke, I had to look up to see the sweet face of the girl feeding the deer and various other wild-life. I always imagined she was Cinderella taking a much-needed break from her daily chores.
From the time my grandmother and I played endless games of "Riddly-Riddly-Ree" (I see something you don't see), she said that the "deer picture" would, one day, be mine.
My mother had other ideas. After my grandmother died she said, "I'll keep it for you, Mary, since you don't have a good place to hang it." Okay, Mom. Whatever.
Almost 30 years after my grandmother's death, and some extensive frame restoration (thanks to writer-friend Bev's husband Bob who owns a frame shop in Carrollton), Cinderella and her menagerie are hanging in my dining room.
I'm sure you're wondering "What's the point of this nice, but rather boring story?" Well, I'm gonna tell ya.
Today is the official release of "Cynthia's Attic: Curse of the Bayou, Book Three." It has a rather eerie connection to the picture. COTB was loosely based on the 1860 disappearance of my great-great-grandfather, Augustus Boilliat. G-g-granddaddy was taking a load of "produce" down the Mississippi River to be sold in New Oreleans when he was apparently ambushed. Now, here's where Walter Q. comes in. He was a neighbor of Augustus, his wife, and nine children, and formed a search party to travel from their Dogwood, Indiana home to New Orleans. The searchers came back empty, with no knowledge of what happened to Augustus, but discovered that his "produce" had been sold along with his flatboat. His body was never found.
It was more than a century later when the family finally learned that the "produce" he was transporting was actually his homemade bourbon! I'd always wondered why he'd be killed over some soy beans and a few ears of corn. That little fact is conveniently left out of this young-reader story!
In "Curse of the Bayou," twelve-year-old best friends, Cynthia and Gus travel to New Orleans to solve the mystery of the missing grandfather. Does this story have a better ending than the real one? You'll just have to read the book!