October has always been my favorite month. It is a big month for family birthdays. Jennifer, Oct. 7; Jordan, Oct. 6; my mother, Oct. 24; my grandmother, Oct. 24; my younger brother David, Oct. 30.
Jennifer, Jordan, David, and me.
Most of my family is gone now. Jennifer and Jordan are very much alive and living large, and I love watching them grow and change and succeed. There are incidents in the past that inform the present.
My mother was born on my grandmother’s 40th birthday. In 1926 it was a scandal for a 40-year-old woman to have a baby. My grandfather, Slater Earl McEachern, died 9 years later (1935), so I never knew him. But I heard plenty of stories about his mischief from Grandma. She lived with us and told us all about their courtship and marriage. He was the only man she ever loved. Even though she lived nearly 50 years without him, his picture hung in her bedroom and she loved him until she died. I often wonder how she survived after Grandpa died, leaving her with so much to carry. The Depression had wrecked the economy, and my mother contracted polio that same year.
Throughout her life, Grandma lost her parents, her brothers, many of her friends, and two children, Little Frank and Herman. Little Frank died as an infant, but Uncle Herman lived into his fifties. His health was always tricky.
Hulda JoHanna Nyman came to America as a six-year-old child, moving from Sweden and Finland where family members still live. Imagine crossing an ocean to such a wild and untouched land. Geronimo was alive and imprisoned. Sitting Bull had just been murdered. She came over on a sailing ship and traveled from Ellis Island to Basin, Mississippi in a wagon with four older brothers and her parents. They came to log the big timbers in South Mississippi to feed the sawmills for lumber.
My brother David was born 15 minutes before Halloween in 1957. He died Feb. 20, 2020. David and I were very close, and I miss him greatly. He was a handsome devil who loved to play pranks—just as Grandma had described our grandfather. David had a kind and tender heart that often got him into trouble. Halloween isn’t the same without him.
On the Day of the Dead, I will be honoring all of my lost family, not just the October crew. It is good to take a moment and just remember the good times.
I had a book signing a couple weeks ago with my older brother, Author Dean (Miranda) James (technically we aren’t related but we have claimed each other—sort of. I claim him and he denies it!) We had a total blast. It was LoDa Art Walk and the streets were humming with people in costumes and enjoying the great weather. The Haunted Book Shop was the place to be. Dean has a new book out too! So we are tearing it up. It was so good to see my old friends Dean and Don. For the past few years, Covid really put a kink in book signings, so I am glad we got to be together in person.
October 25: In other happenings, I will be at Page & Palette Bookstore in Fairhope today at 6 p.m. for a signing of my latest book, BONES OF HOLLY. The book is doing well, and it’s set in one of my favorite places—the Bay St. Louis Library. (The whole town is pretty cool; the library is awesome!)
October 27: This week I will be online for some fun with the Writerspace team at the HALLOWEEN MASH. This is from 11 a.m.–8 p.m. A whole crew of writers will be participating, giving away books, giftcards, and answering questions. You can drop in at any time of the event and participate – totally free and online.
October 28: I’ll be “taking over” the Cozy Mystery Party Facebook Group at 5 p.m. for a bit of fun and giveaways. Please join us. The mystery community is a lot of fun and everyone is welcome. Step 1: Join the Cozy Mystery Party. Step 2: Once you get accepted, you can RSVP by clicking “Going” on the Author Takeover Event Invitation.
November, I hope, will be quiet so I can start writing the next Sarah Booth book. The synopsis is done and I’m eager to get started. I haven’t made Thanksgiving plans, but one thing I know for sure—no turkeys will be left on the counter! Eudora Welty is too smart. She ate a smoked turkey last year.
My former boss, Scott Cox, posted this wonderful photo of his wife’s art titled “All The Leaves Are Brown”. JoAnn is amazing! The detail is exquisite. JoAnn’s work can be seen at shows and galleries. I am in awe.
In honor of this terrific painting, here’s my choice of song for October: California Dreamin’.
Holiday Tip from Dick Cheney (the cat): Eat more food now to stretch your stomach out so you can really eat the holiday feasts!
Carolyn and the Critters
P.S. I autographed a BUNCH of books for my Zinnia Shop. These would make excellent holiday gifts and the best part is 100% of proceeds are donated to the Good Fortune Farm Refuge which helps abandoned pets receive loving homes and medical treatment. We do send USPS Tracking but you’re welcome to shoot my assistant an e-mail for more information.