As those of you who follow this blog will know, I am very fond of my Great Auntie Vee. She was a teacher, and a very caring, gentle person. In doing some cleaning this past few days, I came across another lovely book of hers - "The Birds' Christmas Carol", by Kate Douglas Wiggin (author of "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm", amongst other books). The publisher is Houghton Mifflin Company, with a copyright date of 1888.
The book is small - 69 pages. I immediately sat down to read it. I noted that my my Great Aunt had written her name in the front of the book, as she was wont to do, with the word "personal" above it. I was in my own little world - holding something that my Great Aunt had held, that was published by a cmpany that I hold in high esteem.
The storyline is that of a Victorian family, at Christmas time. On Christmas Day, the mother gives birth to a beautifu baby girl. They call her Carol, as the mother hears Christmas carols being sung right after the birth. All goes well with Carol, and her older brothers, until the age of five. Then Carol becomes ill, and eventually is bedridden.
On her tenth Christmas, Carol experiences a strong wish to give to others. Her solution is to have a Christmas party, in her bedroom, for a neighboring family of poor children. Games, Christmas dinner, a Christmas Tree, and Christmas presents ... it is a great and wonderful day. Thhat night, as her family is listening to Christmas carols, Carol passes away. But she is happy, and her family is happy.
This all sounds like a huge "spoiler", and perhaps it is. This is a lovely book, and I am very happy to see that it is still available. Pure Victorian sentiment, with incredible Victorian artwork through out the book. It is amazing!
But this is not all that I found in this book. I started to see small notes, written in light pencil, throughout this book. My Great Aunt was marking scenes, which told me that she was involved with putting this on as a play, perhaps with her students, or perhaps with the children in her church. How much do we learn about people through what we leave behind!
This is something to keep in mind as keepers of our family's records, but also something to keep in mind as writers, which many of you following this blog may be. What kind of legacy do you want to leave?
(c) November 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written consent of the author.