Hello All! I have a fun surprise for you today! My subscribers sent in interview questions for one of my classic background characters from The Battle for Heritage Series, Mrs. Ida Armistead! I hope you enjoy this post “Written” by Mrs. Armistead! With that said, I’ll turn the computer over to her!
Wait, Miss Ryana Lynn, do come back, I’ve no idea…or perhaps I do have a small idea…no I’ve not an idea at all! What am I doing? I wish Hubert were here, he could tell me what to do… Oh, hello there. Dear, there are so many of you, I shan’t ever get all your names right.
Miss Ryana Lynn told me I was to answer some questions a few young ladies sent to me, and I have them right…oh, dear! I’ve lost them again! Perhaps they are in my apron pocket…or did I leave them in my handbag? No, it was in the breadbasket I set by the back door. That’s not right at all… *goes to search her house*
*returns three hours later*
I don’t know what I shall ever do with all those preserves, too much that’s just the problem. Now, what was I doing…? Oh, the questions! I found them tucked by my Bible. Let’s take a look at these from Ms. Natalie C.
“How do you like to spend your day?”
Well, there is so much to do and never the time enough to do it! I get up around 4:30 and do my morning devotions. That is always first. Then my day falls into general disorder. I can never quite decide if it is best to feed the chickens first or prepare breakfast for Hubert and me, and whichever I do, it’s never entirely done right, but he says he appreciates the efforts…or was it that he wouldn’t trade me for a prize heifer? Oh, I can’t remember, but I do know that he loves me. I never have to doubt that. Now that the children are grown, I have time to myself. I tend to work on a quilt or an afghan for the grandchildren or a new mother in town. But it is so hard to decide what exactly one wants to work on! When I get too overwhelmed, I sit in my rocker and read my Bible. That always brings me peace.
“What is your favorite Hymn?”
There are far too many! I could never pick a favorite. Amazing Grace, How Firm A Foundation, Oh How Happy Are They…I love so many. I sing several every day!
“How are Your Kittens? Well, I suppose they’re cats by now.”
Kittens…oh yes! Biscuit and Butter are our barn cats. It was so hard to name them. There were Cream and Sugar, Sun and Storm, Salt and Pepper, North and South…Far too many. I think my grandson finally picked the name they have now. But regardless, they are doing quite well! Fat, sassy, and keeping on top of the mice.
And now there are a few from Ms. Katja.
“What do you think of the Mason Kids, particularly Richard?”
Kids…I didn’t know the Masons had goats…wait, what was that, Ms. Ryana Lynn? Oh! Children! People in 2020 call children baby goats? It has more meanings, you say? How odd! Well, I must say, I am quite partial to the Mason children, though they probably don’t know it. It makes me so happy when they were all still home, sitting in church together. Now, Richard and I, we have a bit of a friendship. Up until he left for the war, he would help me down from our wagon, as my husband is also advanced in years. And he always assisted me back in. And of course, he was my favorite attendant at the general store. Such a good young man. I hope he gets him a good wife because I shall be sorely disappointed if he doesn’t.
“What’s your favorite book of the Bible?”
Too many favorites! I do so enjoy John, but then, Mark is good also. Then there are all the minor prophets and the history books and poetry…Psalms is divine. Well, all scripture is… Malachi. I’ll just say Malachi and be done with it!
“Were you born here?”
Me? Born in Four Tree Springs? Oh, dear, no! I wasn’t even born in North Carolina! I am from Saltville, Virginia. I am the third born of fifteen children and married Hubert when I was sixteen. Had to make room for number eleven, don’t you know, or was it thirteen…? Regardless, he was driving through town, my father liked him, and so we were married that weekend. He was such a good man, and his mother was a dear and just took me right in. I never could keep his eight sisters straight, though…
“What’s a Favorite childhood memory?”
That’s been so long ago! I might say the birth of my ninth sibling…or the seventh? Never mind, he was born on my birthday, and father said I might choose his middle name. I decided, after much deliberation, that his name should be August. We were born in March. But that was his name, and I call him my dear Auggie to this day.
Well, I survived this reasonably well, I think…or perhaps I just confused everyone, even more, …*sigh* I believe I shall leave and make me a cup of tea, or maybe some fresh water…
And that my friends, was an interview with Mrs. Armistead! I hope you enjoyed it!
Until Next Time,
I did it! Ryana Lynn, did you see that! I am actually typing! Y’all, this laptop thing is so interesting! I’ve never seen anything like this before and I’m surprised at how easy it is! Oh…I suppose I should introduce myself! My name is Dixianna Mason of Four Tree Springs, N.C. Ryana Lynn told me she has written a series of books about my family, but not all of you have read them yet. She thought perhaps you should meet me and get to know me a little better. Well, I’m nothing special, just, well, me! I just happen to live during a war…just like you!
Oh, Ryana Lynn says I’m rambling -What’s that thing you write when you laugh? Oh! - lol! That looks so cute!
Sorry, I digress. Anyway, you may wonder why I’ve taken over the blog! Well, today is my Birthday! Yes, I am a Valentine’s baby! And as a present to me, Ryana Lynn has sweetly allowed me to fulfill a dream of mine since…well, since I met her…lol! (I’m getting this!) If I lived in your year, I would be 173. But I’m not in your time, I am in mine. The year is 1864 and I just turned 18! And officially an old maid…like I said, there’s a war on, so…I’m waiting patiently.
Huh? Oh, all right, apparently, I need to end this introduction and get into my main topic. So, The End.
My topic today will be…me! I am going to tell you a little bit about myself and hope you find it interesting…
My Favorite Instrument. As you can see on the photograph above…wait, it’s not a photograph?...oh, the “blog graphic” above, I play the fiddle. I play hymns, folk music and patriotic pieces, usually with my brothers. I can play the piano, but fiddle is my passion…how do you…oh, there 😉 I love those little faces!
Okay, back to the fiddle. My fiddle was made in 1812 by my great-grandfather, Richard MacIntyre, for my grandmother, Dixianna Rose MacIntyre Mason, only she wasn’t married at the time. She was named for her parents, Richard (Dixie is a nickname for Richard, don’t ask me how that got started) and Anna. Maw-Maw has always gone by Anna, because she felt, when she was young, that Dixie was too masculine. How things do change!
Maw-Maw gave the fiddle to my father when he was thirteen, and he passed it along to me when I was thirteen, though I was playing it by the time my arms were long enough to hold it.
My Horse. Do any of you like horses? I do! My horse is a slate gray Mustang Stallion named Confederate 😉 My Papa Rains (My mother’s father) bought him for me right before the war began three years ago. Confederate is quite playful, though if you had seen him when I first got him, you wouldn’t have thought so. He had a rough life, poor baby, but now, he gets all the love and attention I give him and plenty of pasture to run in. His favorite treats are apple peels and carrot skins. I know, I’d love to give him the whole thing, but with the war on, we need all the food we can find and there’s no money for extras. Not that I’m complaining.
My Favorite Color. Contrary to what one might think, my favorite color is purple. Many assume it’s green, because of my eyes and my red hair and the fact that green looks the best on me, but purple is my favorite. My favorite dress was purple…my brothers bought me the material for my birthday…sure miss that dress. Ryana Lynn says you should read book 3 if you want to learn more about what happened to it…
My Favorite Sibling…
Just making sure you were paying attention! I don’t have a favorite sibling and Ryana Lynn says I can’t tell you much because of something known as spoilers. But I will tell you this: Growing up in a house full of boys is difficult, but also quite the adventure! I used to loath the slamming of doors, but with the war on now…I kinda miss it.
One more fun fact and then I shall…how did she put it…oh! I shall “Wrap-up” this post. You people of the 21st Century sure have some interesting ways of expressing yourselves! But it’s also quite intriguing!
I’m rambling again.
My Favorite Song. Hymn wise, it would be What Wondrous Love is This? So hauntingly beautiful. Patriotic wise, I like The Homespun Dress and of course, Dixieland 😉 And I was born on a frosty morning! I also love the North Carolina War Song. It’s to the tune of Bonnie Annie Laurie, a Scottish folk song that my Maw-Maw Mason adores. It’s not well known outside my state and Ryana Lynn said that in your time, most people have never heard of it. It’s so pretty though…now I think I’m gonna cry!
I suppose this is where I “wrap-up!” I hope you enjoyed my very first (and probably only) blog post! I thoroughly enjoyed it! But, I must rush back to my world…the troops are still in winter quarters, but soon, the fighting will resume…I encourage you to take a moment to thank God that the war your country is fighting now isn’t being fought on your home soil. I’m not so fortunate…
Have a blessed day,
P.S. Below is my favorite Psalm. I hope you enjoy!
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
King James Version
A Note From Ryana Lynn: Here's Dixie's song, The North Carolina War Song. She couldn't figure out how to post it, lol ;)
Hello everyone and happy last day of August! Back in May of 2017, I posted an article about the main family in The Battle For Heritage Series, the Mason family. I told y’all some random facts about the family and how the family had changed from my original plans. If you would like to read that post, click here 😉
Today, I’d like to share a few more facts about this family, or more specifically, about Dixie and how she got her name. It’s an interesting twist of events.
Writers Tip: When writing a story set in a historical time period or a different country…do your research before getting to attached to the names you’ve chosen for them. It will save you heart break later on, trust me. 😉
When I had my cousin, Travis Stevens, proof The Land of Cotton for historical accuracy, he told me the only thing that he found that wasn’t right was Dixie’s name. Dixie obviously wasn’t a name back then, at least not for a girl her age. (She was born in the 40’s; The song Dixie’s Land was written in the 50’s).😐
He told me not to change her name though. It had the appeal of the South to it and is easy for people to connect with. It sets the tone for the book: sweet, Southern, country and genteel. That classic Southern flavor. She’s easy to like, I hope.
But there is a bit of a story behind her name.
I love the name Dixie. I would love to name one of my daughters Dixie someday. So naturally, I had to name my main girl character Dixie. But I also wanted to have something with a Southern Belle edge. So, Dixianna. But to get around the time-period issue, I formed a bit of Mason Family backstory to explain her name, though this didn’t make the final cut of the story. ☺
After studying some etymology, I found out that the name Dixie used to be a boy’s nickname for Richard. Don’t ask me why! But anyway, I decided to have Dixie named after her two Grandmothers, Dixianna Mason and Susan Rains. The elder Dixianna, who went by Anna, was named for her grandparents, Richard and Anna MacIntyre. Problem solved, right? Well, at least it sounds good!
I considered changing Dixie’s name when I found it wasn’t accurate. But, like I said, Travis thought it would actually be a good thing to leave in. And I think her name will endear her and her whole family to the reader, even if they don’t realize it.
Oh, and the modern meaning of the name Dixie? A Lady of the South. Fitting, huh?
Something to think about: Do names in books or of people you know have a special meaning to you? Take a look at a baby book and find out what the name actually means. Does it align with your thoughts on the name or are they totally opposite?
Have a lovely day, and I'll see you tomorrow!
*Emoji art supplied by Emoji One
Wow, I have put this family through it! Today I want to tell you about my main family, who they are and the process it took me to get to the present family situation.
Originally, the family consisted of Richard, 16, and Dixie, 13. They were orphans who lived at a boarding house in Richmond…then South Carolina. It was hard deciding where I wanted them to be from. They lived in a boarding house along with their friend Tyler Nace.
Then I decided to add a younger brother, 10 year old Michael. Drummer boy aspect, you know. Well, I learned some more about a soldiers life during the War for Southern Independence, and though my ages were alright, some of the things I wanted them to do merited an older person. Plus, after reading what I had ready to my sister, Sarah, she insisted they have parents.
Enter Mason Family #3, with Samuel (Papa), Ellen (Mama), Isaac (21), Richard (18), Seth (16), Dixianna (13), Michael (10), Cynthia (6), and Gerald (4)…too many people and way too confusing. Isaac became their married cousin; Cynthia, a younger cousin and neighbor; Gerald disappeared completely. :)
I could easily handle a four child family. (I did change Samuel to Silas, though.) But back in those days, families tended to be larger. So, there were three siblings vaguely mentioned, who died: Silas Jr., a year older than Richard, who was stillborn; Elijah, Dixie’s twin, who died at a few weeks old; and last of all, Alden, who was born when Michael was 6 and died a few months later.
So, this is basically the structure for the family, with three main changes: Dixie is 15, Elijah and Silas Jr. disappeared, and Michael is 12, turning 13 by the end of the book. Baby Alden was the only one to actually die as a child. Oh, and of course we still have Silas, Ellen, Richard and Seth.
Now for a few fun facts about the Mason family!
The descriptions for my fictional family pretty much line up with my real family’s opinions, but we do have some differences of opinion on Seth. Seth, in my mind’s eye, is on the shorter side, slim, with blonde hair and blue eyes. Others agree with hair and eye color and height, but his frame varies. Oh, well. We all make up in our minds what a person looks like and no matter what the description states, you will always see them your way. :)
Hope you enjoyed this random break from my usual posts! Sometimes, it’s fun to try something off topic. Have a great day!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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