Part #21 of the free story, "Adelaide's Secret," included!
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The Writing Desk

It wasn't easy giving up my old writing spot. It looked out over the backyard, with bird feeders hanging from the porch roof. It was bright and cheery . . . and noisy. The family desktop computer shared the space, and for some reason, even when I was wearing headphones, if any of my family members were on the other computer, they had to speak to me. It made writing a challenge.

So I moved everything to a folding table nestled between my dresser and antique secretary desk in my bedroom. It is cozy here, with the added benefit of having my shelves of reference books at my fingertips. I still have a window nearby, small as it is, and plans to perhaps hang a window box from it where I can put a bird feeder on a short pole and also grow flowers. Best of all, I can close the door and find the peace I need to concentrate on writing. 

The family still knows where to find me, which is fine, but they are much more likely to let me work than they were when I was right there, easily accessible. 

A little bonus is having the bed right here. I've already spent a few hours each day propped up with pillows with my laptop or FreeWrite on my lap desk. 

Peaceful indeed. 

C. Jane

P.S. Adelaide is waiting for you below! And look for my next newsletter where I hope to announce the second volume of the "Adelaide's Secrets" installment collection.

This Month's Shelfie

How cute is this neighborhood book-lending library? Do you have one in your neighbor? Share a photo on my Facebook page! I'd love to see it as I collect ideas to build one in my neighborhood. I'm already taking notes on the types of books to include (children's titles for certain--we have lots of kids of all the ages in the area). 
Book Planning

I'm in the midst of editing book three of the Unraveling series, "The Soldier's Stitch," but at the same time, I'm finishing the draft of book five and have begun the research and plotting of book six. Not much I can share yet, but look for possible excerpts soon! 
Yarn Crawl Fun!

This past weekend, Laurinda and I participated in the Rose City Yarn Crawl. Not only were we able to go to all thirteen yarn shops on the crawl, but we met some lovely fibery folks, picked up gorgeous yarn and other fun treasures at the shops, and enjoyed our time wallowing in yarny goodness. Have you gone on a yarn crawl? 

(Author’s Note: This is the continuation from previous newsletters. To find the earlier installments, please CLICK HERE. The first 11 installments are available as a FREE download for Kindle and Other E-Readers.)

21st Installment of Adelaide’s Secret
By C. Jane Reid

A census is really a beautiful thing. One can learn all sorts of details about a family if one can find the family, which can take some digging. Sometimes it comes down to ordering copies from microfilm. Sometimes they are online. If you are lucky, you can uncover a wealth of the past on a census page. 

That is where I found the Guthries. 

Specifically on the 1930 census in St. Louis, Missouri. From just one page of the census, about halfway down, I found Guthrie, Daniel, Head of household. I also found “Edith, daughter” and “ Alistair, son.”

Just seeing the names gave me a thrill. That’s not the end of the information on a census sheet, however. I got a surprisingly decent view of the Guthries of 1930. 

In 1930, Daniel Guthrie was 35 years old. I know this because all the ages are clearly listed. His daughter was fourteen and his son was twelve. No wife, but the Wd in the marital status column told me why. Daniel was widowed. 

The columns on education were interesting. Under “Attended School or College” all three had NO filled in, but under “Read and Write” they all had YES. So, literate but not formally educated. That spoke well of the care the parents took to see that the children had the basics. 

Place of birth was very helpful. The census recorded not only each individual’s place of birth but their parents as well. So I learned that Edith was, as Adelaide had already informed me, born in Missouri. So was Alistair. But Daniel was born in Oklahoma, as was his wife (according to the notation under both Edith and Alistair). Daniel’s mother was also born in Oklahoma, but his father came from Texas. 

If only it listed his parents’ names. 

Daniel Guthrie’s occupation was recorded as an engineer in the railroad industry. And he was listed as a veteran. He’d served in the U.S. military. The useful column next to “Veteran?” asked “What War or Expedition?” and held the notation WW.

World War. 

In 1930, there had only been one. The Great War. World War I.

The United States didn’t enter the war until 1917. A little online digging and I learned there was an Army training camp in St. Louis—the 12th Engineers. Called Camp Gaillard, there soldiers trained to build, operate, and maintain a light railway system. Those railroads were used to supply the front lines with everything from men to artillery.

I could easily picture Daniel Guthrie taking the opportunity to join the army. He was 22 and perhaps he felt a patriotic duty to join the war effort. Or maybe he was seeking a new profession, though I still didn’t know anything about his early life. 

What amazed me was how much I’d learned about his life in the ‘30s just from the census. Astonishing, really.  

The census served me once. I could see if it would serve me again. I would backtrack to the 1910 census. Why not 1920? I figured the most it might tell me was if his wife was still living, and while I was curious to learn a little about her, my goal and Adelaide’s instructions were to learn about Daniel Guthrie. 

There was still the question of why Adelaide wanted me to learn more about the Guthries. Perhaps the loss of her sister had awakened the desire to learn more about her family since it seemed apparent to me that Al Guthrie, her father, was probably the same Alistair Guthrie of the census. 

I wasn’t unhappy to make the search. Quite the opposite. It was easy for me to get lost in things like census reports. But it was getting in the way of my current projects. I had finished Ailee’s story, after months of researching, planning, and writing, and had already begun on Elsie’s. Looking at both the past of the 1720s and the past of the 1930s was a bit jarring. I started to feel like I was two different writers. 

So after I found out a little more about Daniel Guthrie, I called Adelaide to arrange a meeting. 

(to be continued)

Where to Find the Books


Adelaide's Secret is a FREE download!
C. Jane Reid
C. Jane Reid
Copyright © 2017 C. Jane Reid, All rights reserved.

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