Celebrating Other Types of Parents
by Mary Vine
July 26, 2022
Here in my post today, I am celebrating other types of parents, because sometimes relationships in the home are fractured and good people fill in when you need them.
Unfortunately, I grew up without having grandparents nearby. The closest thing I had to being treated like a grandchild, on any regular basis, came from my aunt and uncle. They didn’t have any children of their own, so they doted on me, my sisters, and our cousins. After I grew up, I still managed to visit them, but less often.
When I started writing fiction, I thought how lovely it would be to name some of my characters after my family members, not knowing that’s an iffy thing to do and could get you into trouble. Of course, this was years ago and now I am more cautious. I would not instruct anyone to use a family or friend’s name without written permission, especially when the writer is modeling their character after the real person or sharing any of their personal stories.
As I wrote my book, the characters turned out to be different than my aunt and uncle, they were older, yes, but did not look alike, and their personalities were poles apart. I used first names only and the life stories of each were dissimilar from my characters. However, they were both loving, caring, and helpful to others.
I have learned a lot since my early days of writing, and it has been quite a while since I put my aunt and uncle’s name in a book. Sadly, I can’t remember if my book was out before my uncle passed at 86; but my aunt was alive, because I remember she told me how much she enjoyed having their names in my books.
My characters help two very different young women, connected by a small town and its residents, in the two books below.
The first story, A Place to Land, involves a young woman named Ulianna Maslova. Her impoverished family left Russia for America when she was only ten years old. From that point on, she’d been determined to make the American dream hers in how she dressed, how she spoke and in being a career-minded college student. Yet, Uli’s family has a different dream for her. They fear she has lost the old country’s language, customs, and she has averted their plans for her to marry a Russian man. When Headline Magazine offers the perfect story with which to launch Uli’s new writing career, Uli travels across Oregon to Salisbury Junction to find out exactly how wolf and cowboy mix, but her need to prove herself and help her family, threaten to lead her into danger. With very little money to spend on rent, Uli takes a room upstairs in an older couple’s house. The home away from home that she needs.
Hailey Burke, the heroine in my book, Snake River Rendezvous, had grown up with stepfathers and an alcoholic mother. Her one grace is summer vacations with her grandparents at their motel along the Snake River in Oregon. As a teen, she ran away from her mother’s boyfriend, made mistakes, and asked the town of Salisbury Junction for help. She took an upstairs apartment with an older couple until she graduated from college. When Hailey’s grandparents passed away she inherits the motel and gas station next to the river. Now, armed with a business degree, a crowbar, and a few cans of paint, Hailey is setting out to make a calm, practical living for herself. Until an FBI agent moves in on a terrorist hunt.
My aunt lived a nice long life, passing at age 96. She kept in contact with many of her friends and family at her advanced age.
Believe it or not, about a month ago, a cousin of mine made a comment on one of my Facebook posts. Basically, she said when she visited Aunt Ida, she’d ask her to read the sections in my books about her and my uncle. She was so proud, my cousin said.
Mary Vine is an author, publisher, speaker, and retired educator. She writes contemporary and historical romantic fiction, a time travel series, and inspirational children’s books. Mary and her husband can usually be found in Southwest Idaho or Northeast Oregon. You can learn more about Mary and her books at her website.