Today, I'm very happy to welcome Diane Craver as my guest blogger. Be sure to read all the way through, because Diane is giving away one of her Christmas releases, and more!
Diane Craver met her husband while teaching at an orphanage, and they married in 1975. While raising their six children in southwestern Ohio, Diane started writing nonfiction. Later, she decided it would be a nice escape to write fiction.
Diane has published through a variety of houses, including Booklocker.com, Samhain, Desert Breeze, Whimsical Publications, and Victory Tales Press. She writes fun and inspiring stories filled with memorable characters. Diane gives thanks to God daily for all her wonderful blessings.
Learn more about Diane and her books at http://www.dianecraver.com/.
I’m dating myself here but I was a small girl in 1957. My upcoming release, A Christmas Gift, contains my childhood experiences with fiction thrown into the story line. However, the prologue and epilogue are in present time. When I mentioned to a daughter that it was hard for me to believe that my new book was considered historical fiction, she laughed and said, "Mom, it wouldn’t be contemporary."
I want to share with you an event that was done to newlyweds back in 1957 in Ohio. It made quite an impression on me when I was a small girl. By the time, I got married it was no longer a tradition. But before I do that, I want to mention how even though we didn’t have cable, internet, cell phones, video games, DVDs, or even VHS, life was good in 1957. We took time to know our neighbors. I grew up in a rural area so all the families were farmers. My best memories are the creative play I shared with the neighborhood children. I didn’t have siblings to play with because I came along very late in my parents’ lives. My siblings were 21, 19, 15, and 9 when I was born. Another fun time was traveling to Lake Erie on Sundays in the summers. All the neighbors piled into cars to enjoy swimming and picnics by the lake.
Okay, here is what we did in Findlay, Ohio, to have fun with newlyweds, and it was called a "belling". If a belling would be held now on Main Street in Findlay, I’m sure there would be arrests. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 5 of A Christmas Gift about a belling in 1957:
"Here’s your noisemakers, girls," Daddy said as he handed us pans and big spoons.
"Mr. Reeves, are we leaving now?" Ellen asked.
Daddy smiled. "We have to wait a little longer to make sure Linda and John are asleep."
I asked Daddy, "Do you think they’ll be surprised?"
He nodded. "Of course. They’ve been married for several weeks, so they know it’s coming, but I hope they won’t expect it tonight. I invited John to play cards with us tonight, so he’d think we all had something going on. John said he couldn’t leave his wife on their special night."
My eyes widened. "What’s special about tonight?"
"He mumbled something about it being the anniversary of their first kiss."
Ellen and I laughed. "Daddy, that’s silly. You’re making that up."
He winked. "Well, it might not be the first kiss but was something romantic."
Within an hour, we left in several cars to travel a road over from ours to the Williamson’s place. The drivers stayed in the cars to honk their horns, Ellen and I banged our pans, and many people rang dinner bells. I jumped when I heard some farmers shooting their guns into the air. With this entire racket going on right in their front yard, John and Linda took fifteen minutes to come outside.
I saw John’s shirt wasn’t buttoned right, and Linda’s blouse was tucked in on one side and hanging out on the other. John grinned and yelled, "You bunch of liars. I thought the men had a big card party tonight."
"Since you couldn’t make it," Daddy said, "we canceled it." He laughed. "You took so long to come out, we decided to take you both to Findlay on a hay wagon."
Ellen and I had permission to ride the hay wagon, so we hurried and climbed on before John and Linda did. When the wagon was full of people, we sang the song, "Love and Marriage Goes Together like a Horse and Carriage." Linda sat on John’s lap and sang along too.
Once in Findlay our singing ceased while Ellen’s father stopped the tractor and wagon in a grocery store’s parking lot.
Two men lifted a wheelbarrow off a pickup truck. One of them said, "We think John should push Linda down Main Street."
Everyone clapped and whistled while John put Linda into the wheelbarrow. Noises continued behind the couple while everyone proceeded down the street.
When we returned to the newlyweds’ house, Linda and John gave candy bars for treats. While the adults were laughing and talking, Ellen and I sat on white metal chairs, eating our candy.
I grabbed Gail’s arm as she walked in front of us. With a mouthful of Milky Way bar, I told her, "If you marry Phil, I can’t wait for your belling. I’ll make so much noise that Phil’s ears will hurt."
Gail gave me a disgusted look. "Don’t talk with your mouth full. I hate to disappoint you, Debby, but Phil and I aren’t going to live around here. He’s only here until Mr. Haynes is well enough to return to work."
I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. A Christmas Gift releases on November 15th in both paperback and electronic formats. It will be available from Whimsical Publications and Amazon. Thank you, Carol, for giving me this opportunity to share something from my book.
By the way, I have a Christmas contest on my blog. If you leave a comment on this post, your name is entered. The first drawing is November 14th. I’ll be giving away a signed copy of one of my Christmas releases to the winner, a $10 GC, and a beautiful angel ornament. More details are on my blog. http://www.dianecraver.com/blog