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Donna Fletcher Crow

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Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more. www.donnafletchercrow.com

Fay Sampson

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Fay Sampson (UK) is a writer of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction, including A MALIGNANT HOUSE, #2 in the Susie Fewings series, a British Crime Club Pick. http://www.faysampson.co.uk

A Day in the 1800's

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 27, 2010

Writers of historical novels--mysteries or otherwise--are often accused of living mmore in the past than the  present--at least, this historical writer is.  One of my favorite stories is of taking a chauffered punt ride Cambmridge with my teenage sons.  Throughout the ride I discussed the scenes on both sides of the Cam with our escort.  Afterwards my sons came up on each side of me and put their arms around me:  'Mom, you're amazing. You know everything.'

Talk about feeling chuffed!  When do your teenagers ever say that?  

And then the punch line:  'But it's all 200 years out of date.'

Trouble is, they were perfectly correct.   Which all is to say, you can imagine how much I enjoyed our day Saturday visiting Calgary's Heritage Park--the largest living history museum in Canada. 

The village contains 117 buildings and displays or original and reconstructed buildings moved here from all over Canada depicting life in the west in the 1800's.

And every exhibit is peopled with costumed interpreters who answer questions and  bring the exhibits to life with experiiences such as the one our children had churning their own butter. 

As a bookover, one of the most moving stories to me was that at the Montefiore Institute which served as synagogue and  community centre for Alberta's Jewish community which came here largely from Moldova--similar to those who were driven from their homes in 'Fiddler on the Roof.'  These refugees found themselves with farm land, but no farming skills.  Their gentile neighbors provided the training in farming.  And what did the Jewish community provide in return?  Their most prized treasures--books.  That tiny yesslow clapboard building contained 1000 books at the height of its activity.  When the building was being restored a book was discovered in the walls--a discussion of Darwin's Origin of the Species.

                  

As to the rest of our grand day out, I'll let the pictures tell the story. starting with the North-west Mounted Police Post and the Mountie who explained that they grew poppies for medicinal purposes to supply the cottage hospital next door:

 

                                                                                                       

 

            Anglican church and Rectory

          Afternoon tea

 

 

 

                       

             The Prince House

And a special Lego train display by SELUG (Southern Alberta Lego Users Group)

         

Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more. www.donnafletchercrow.com

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Reader Comments:

It's true! I remember saying that. My mother does know everything about the times she writes about. Though I'm not sure how much she knows about those new American colonies.
-Preston, September 27, 2010

Oh, would my daughter adore seeing this place, Donna (and my son the train display). It sounds like a real adventure--so well done, and meaningful too. Enjoy the rest of your travels!
-jennymilch, September 27, 2010

I was there once many years ago. It IS a fascinating place. Looks like you had a great time!
-Evangeline, September 27, 2010

Preston, Jenny and Evangeline, thank you for your comments! Jenny, do you have the Anne of Green Gables and Story Girl series for your daughter? My daughter grew up on themm and here she is, living in Canada.
-Donna, September 27, 2010

Hi, Donna!
This is really a response to your article on "Lauren's World of Mystery Writing". I tried to leave a comment there but got caught up in technical hitches. I found your reflections on the link between "real life" and writing really interesting.

I don't see how writing can't reflect a writer's interests and experiences, but they do have to be "tweaked" of course, to integrate them into the story. For some reason "real life" stands out like a sore thumb if the incident is presented in too raw a way. D'you know, this is so interesting, I think I might blog about it myself! Have a look at www.doloresgordon-smith.co.uk this weekend to see if I did or if - as often happens - I got distracted on the way. (Take a line from the dog in "Up" who spots a squirrel!)
-Dolores, September 28, 2010

Smiles, Dolores--Loved UP!

Re writing and life--have you read MISS BUNCLE'S BOOK by D L Stevenson? Poor Miss Buncle loved to write, but couldn't manage the fictionalizing. Got in terrible trouble with her neighbors!

Thank you for coming by!
-Donna, September 28, 2010

Heritage Park is indeed a lovely place and I'm glad you got to visit it, Donna. I used to buy a season ticket every year and visited about once a week all summer as well as for the Christmas market. One of the houses near the RCMP post was the inspiration for a setting in a short historical story of mine, "Tommy Palmer's Ghost".
-Jayne, October 4, 2010

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