I’ve completed the basic outline for Tula, my novel about an actress finding fame in the 1920s, and losing her mind in the process. Sixty-eight chapters. I’ve written the prologue and chapter one. The prologue is Tula’s asylum admission form, with her doctor’s notes.
The form and notes are based on 1920s asylum records, and a record from my family archive – a Victorian aunt spent a number of years in an asylum. My youngest son, who hopes to become a psychologist, helped with my research. He also named the doctor, Dr Brooks.
Continuing my research into Eva Marie Saint’s ancestry using public records. I’m looking to answer two questions: was Eva’s talent the result of nurture, or nature? And why am I drawn to her as an actress? Can I find the answers to these questions in her roots?
I’ve traced the Saint family back to the 1900 US Federal Census, which reveals the following about the family:
|John Q Saint|
|Birth Date||Dec 1847|
|Home in 1900||Marshall, Marshall, Iowa|
|Ward of City||2nd|
|Street||North Fourth Street|
|Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation||412 322|
|Relation to Head of House||Head|
|Spouse’s Name||Lydia G Saint|
|Father’s Birthplace||Indiana, USA|
|Mother’s Birthplace||Indiana, USA|
|Months Not Employed||0|
|Can Speak English||Yes|
|House Owned or Rented||Rent|
|Farm or House|
So, Eva Marie’s grandfather was John Q Saint, a postmaster from Indiana, now living in Iowa. In 1900, John had been married to Lydia for thirty years, and they had three children living with them, including Eva’s father, John.
John Q Saint’s neighbours all had respectable professions, as insurance and real estate agents, clerks, etc. The Saints lived in a respectable neighbourhood and, it would seem, enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle.
John Q Saint’s parents were from Indiana, but before searching for them, I’d like to discover more about John Q including what the Q stood for – Quentin? Quincy? Quillan?
More next time.
An official in 1922 checking that swimsuits were no more than six inches above the knee. However, emboldened by the right to vote, and the crazes for dance, jazz, ragtime and blues, women were in the mood to throw away the tape measures and challenge authority in general.
Alvin ‘Shipwreck’ Kelly, 1893 – 1952, achieved fame in the 1920s and 1930s as a pole sitter. He calculated that he spent 20,613 hours sitting on flagpoles, including 210 hours in sub-freezing weather and 1,400 hours in the rain.
Kelly married Frances Vivian Steele, an elevator operator, a match clearly made in heaven, or at least close to it.
Some social historians contend that sex was ‘invented’ in the 1960s. However, the rest of us know that it began in the 1920s when people started necking in automobiles, like the Austin 7, introduced in 1922.
Aura Lee, Farewell, Series 1, Episode 14 of The Rockford Files contains echoes of the pilot episode. Lindsay Wagner reprises her role as Sara Butler. Bill Mumy, who was Sara’s brother in the pilot, also appears, but as a different character.
Bill Mumy appears as Trask, an artist. Trask’s paintings are abstracts, to say the least. In a classic exchange, Rockford asks Trask if he requires a permit to sell his paintings (because they are so bad). Trask replies, “I told you, I paint what I feel.” Rockford: “You must not feel well.”
My honest opinion: the premise of this episode was excellent – a senator is involved in a hit-and-run accident, which leads to murder. The resolution though was a bit convoluted, explained in a brief conversation, rather than shown over several scenes.
Instead of the mystery, the writers of this episode decided to concentrate on Rockford and Sara’s relationship, which was fine because James Garner and Lindsay Wagner sparkled in their scenes.
Between 1700 and 1800 the population of London increased from 600,000 to over one million. The city established itself as the largest in the world, with commercial and military interests providing the bedrock.
London derived its energy from the free market, which basically meant ‘anything goes’. Services, goods and people – yes, people – could be bought without legislative restraint. Shipowners exploited the colonies while, at the other end of the scale, pickpockets sold gold watches. In eighteenth century London, these people were much of the same: steal from someone, then make a handsome profit.
Some people were offended by the scale of the greed. They compared London to a modern Babylon, devoid of morals and probity. However, writer James Boswell stated that his blood ‘thrilled with pleasure’ and that he regarded London as a city of happiness.
Maybe Boswell didn’t notice that, at its heart, London was still a medieval city without the capacity to deal with a huge rise in the population. In the eighteenth century, London became notorious for its high volume of prostitutes, it’s large numbers of feral children, and its disgruntled mobs.
Wise heads reasoned that such chaos could not continue, that the quest for ever-larger profits was unsustainable, that the city was in danger of spiralling out of control. The wise heads were proved right because by the fourth quarter of the century, revolution was in the air.
🖼 London from the east, 1751.
John Charles was born on 27 December 1931. He is regarded by many as Wales’ finest-ever footballer. Indeed, many rate him as Britain’s greatest all-round footballer.
During his glory years at Leeds United and Juventus, John excelled as a centre-forward and as a centre-back. He moved to Leeds United, in 1949, from his hometown club, Swansea Town. After a break for National Service, John was the Second Division’s top goalscorer in 1954.
As club captain in 1955, John led Leeds United to second place and promotion. The following season, Leeds finished eighth in the First Division while John was the division’s top goalscorer.
John’s qualities included strength, pace, technique and vision. Furthermore, he was a great header of a football and possessed a keen eye for goal.
John’s qualities attracted the attentions of Italian giants, Juventus. In his five seasons with Juventus, John won the Scudetto three times and the Coppa Italia twice.
In 1962, John returned to Leeds; moves to Roma and Cardiff City followed. He was never cautioned nor sent off during his entire career. Indeed, John’s respect for his opponents earned him the nickname Il Gigante Buono – The Gentle Giant.
John represented Wales over a period of fifteen years, from 1950 to 1965. In 1958, he was a member of the Wales World Cup squad. During that tournament, John scored in the 1 – 1 draw with Hungary.
Injury ruled John out of the quarter-final against Brazil. Wales lost 1 – 0. Who knows what would have happened if John had been fit to participate in that match.
Next week, more news about my new project, Tula, plus background information.
As ever, thank you for your interest and support.
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4 replies on “Dear Reader #159”
I got a kick out of the picture of the fella measuring swimsuits. Reminded me of when I was in Jr. High and High school … and mini-skirts became the rage. Many of my female classmates had to kneel on a wooden chair seat while a teacher or principal measured the height of the skirt from the chair seat. More than 4-inches (if memory serves correctly) and they either had to change or be sent home! This was in the 60s.
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The swimsuits were in the 1920s, so still measuring forty years later 🙂
Reblogged this on Grant Leishman – Author.
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I just love the inherent sexism in the Austin 7 advert. Women love it because no mechanical knowledge is needed – lol.
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