Around the time I became aware I was a girl, an individual and not an extension of my mother, I also became aware of how little I fit into modern life.
Don’t get me wrong I loved TV and electricity and the mod-cons but I had a persistent and enduring fascination with the “olden days”.
If a book didn’t have horses, long skirts and preferably covered wagons, I wasn’t interested.
I related better to Laura Ingalls than to Ramona Quimby and could see myself in Jo March and Anne Shirley where as The Babysitters Club was totally foreign.
It wasn’t just the picture postcard, white washed portrayal of the 1800’s that interested me. It was the science, technology, the social upheavals and the injustices.
In my early teens while other girls were chasing the latest boy band and learning what a mosh pit was, I was deep into researching child labor in the 1890’s and co-writing an epic saga on the subject with my best friend, who fortunately, was also born in the wrong century.
Our peers considered us a little odd.
My mother considered it an unhealthy preoccupation.
Other girls might spend the day at the mall trying on clothes. My best friend and I preferred reading through 1899 Newspapers on microfiche at the University library. Seriously we got so excited we spent hours there and forgot about lunch; I never forget lunch.
You might think from this that I would have buried my head in the archives of a respectable institution or written a ream of literary historical fiction or at the very least got a job at a living museum .
But I didn’t. Like all true Victorians I am practical and thrifty. I became a nurse. But I never stopped writing.