I want you to get to know some of the characters of my novel Claiming Peace, Book 3 in the Caney Creek Series. For several Mondays I’ll interview one of the characters and you can leave comments if you want. I think this might help you when you read my novel to know how these characters feel as they move through the story. If you leave a comment on this blog that is totally related to the interview I'll give you an extra entry in the next Thursday book drawing.
Today I’m talking with Caroline Callaway in Newton, Tennessee.
Hello, Mrs. Callaway. Thank you for agreeing to talk with me.
You’re welcome. Please come into the living room.
You have a lovely home. Have you lived here all your life?
Excuse me for smiling. The answer to that question is a long story.
If you’d like to share the story with me, I have time.
Fine. I grew up living in this house with my mother and daddy. My mother was terribly class conscious. The summer after my first year of college at Agnes Scott, I met Jimmy. My daddy owned the hosiery mill and Jimmy worked there when I met him.
Are you married to Mr. Callaway who owns the hosiery mill in town?
Yes, I am.
Sorry to have interrupted. Please finish your story.
That summer, I didn’t tell my parents I spent time with Jimmy. He grew up on a farm and lacked a year finishing high school. Mother would have done whatever possible to see that I didn’t spend time with him. I suspect that my daddy knew, because some days I would pick Jimmy up at the loading dock where he worked. My daddy probably saw me do that. I had dated a few other boys, but the dates meant nothing to me, just g flirtations. But with Jimmy I could share my feelings—for the first time in my life. He's always been so kind to me.
Newton is a small town. How did you manage to keep your secret about seeing Mr. Callaway from your mother?
Oh, she hardly ever spent time where the common folks in Newton did. Many times Jimmy and I would go south of here to the Evergreen Café where my parents never went. Mother wanted me to see young people from the respectable families but I never accepted any of their invitations.
I’m sorry. That sounds like a difficult situation for you.
It was difficult but worth it, because that summer I fell in love with Jimmy and he with me.
I suppose when you two were married you moved to another house?
Well . . . .
I’m sorry, I guess I need to change the subject. I didn’t mean to pry.
No, you didn’t. You only wanted to know the end of my story. When I came home from college at Christmas, my parents had a Christmas Eve party. I convinced Jimmy to attend the party with me. I bought him a suit, dress shirt, necktie, and overcoat to wear that night. For a few weeks I hadn’t been feeling well . . . tired all the time and sometimes nauseated. Anyway, at the Christmas Eve party I felt worse than usual and asked Jimmy to take me outside for some fresh air.
I hope that helped you to feel better.
We walked back and forth on the sidewalk, bundled up against the cold. I tried several times to tell Jimmy, but he insisted that I walk so I’d feel better and he continued to talk, not giving me a chance to tell him.
What did you try to tell him?
Oh, my. I hardly know you . . . I tried to tell Jimmy I was expecting his child but he never gave me a chance to say anything. He was so concerned about me feeling better.
Oh, I have really pried. We can change the subject now.
No, I’ll finish quickly. I was so sick on Christmas morning that I had to tell my mother what was wrong with me. She told Daddy and he sent me to my great aunt Martha’s, his sister, in Knoxville. Daddy told me to have the baby and put it up for adoption and I could return home. When my baby boy came, I couldn’t give him up for adoption. Daddy disowned me and my baby, telling us to never return to Newton.
You’re smiling. Everything must have worked out well. But, if I may ask, why are you living in your girlhood home?
I had left Newton without a word to Jimmy and Daddy told my aunt not to let me write or receive any letters. While I was living in Knoxville, Jimmy married a girl he’d known before he knew me. They had a daughter who was two years old when her mother died. I raised my son, James, by myself in Knoxville. Jimmy raised his daughter, Lynn, by himself with help from his family. When my parents died in a car crash, their wills left the mill and this home to Jimmy. His daughter and our son met in school at the University of Tennessee then through them, Jimmy and I met again after twenty years apart. It was difficult to tell our children they were half brother and sister. And, as they say, the rest is history.
What a happily-ever-after story.
Yes, it is. Jimmy’s family has welcomed me and I wouldn’t trade places with another woman in the world.
Now that’s saying a lot! I’m glad you’re happy here in Newton. Thank you so much for talking with me.
The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman by Carole Brown is PatriciaB. I'll email you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.
Till next time … keep on smiling.