Attend An Opening
Last Saturday the local historical society opened their doors to the residents of Doncaster and Templestowe for a unique family reunion. They commemorated the 150th wedding anniversary of early settlers Max von Schramm and his young bride, Kate Pickering, with a re-enactment of their nuptials in front of 60 of their descendants, and a few hundred extra sticky beaks from the community.
Me included. I'm a sucker for weddings. Even pretend ones.
For this week’s author challenge I’ve been waiting to take up just the right invitation. And the open doors to the local historical society, wedding celebration and olde worlde wedding dress exhibition fit the writing, historical and romance bill.
For the history nerd in me, there were speeches to honour the vision of this bride and groom who made their new home in 1868 among the apple orchards of the suburb I grew up in, Templestowe. Hymn singing and stories told of the newly weds who committed themselves to each other and to teaching local children in one of only 70 Melbourne schools at that time. They also dedicated their lives to ministering to the community as pastor and pastor’s wife in the Lutheran church.
After the ‘wedding’ we were invited to sit for a generous afternoon tea or wander through one of the historic buildings on site. An exhibition of wedding dresses drew me to the old stone homestead where 150 years of bridal fashions dotted the rooms once occupied by those who lived and worked beside our honored bride and groom. For me, this delivered the perfect afternoon of pottering around a location dedicated to the preservation of history. An invitation to step into ribbons and lace of yesteryear and soak it all up. You don’t have to ask me twice to peer at dresses from the 1800s.
Attending this opening was designed to remind me as an author, it’s my duty to comfortably invite my reader to a unique world. One created by me, where my characters should find themselves in some of the most uncomfortable scenes of their lives. Much like many of my characters finding themselves ‘out of place’ in the newly settled colonies of 19th century Australia.
And while the lesson of this challenge sounded as clear as a Victoria era wedding bell, what I came home with was renewed inspiration for the apple and pear orchard stories I plan to write someday, set in my own backyard.
Or perhaps that should be Max and Kate von Schramm’s backyard.
Does your neigbourhood hold any book-worthy stories or settings?
Blessings for a wonderful weekend,