Monday, March 11, 2013

Where did this love of history begin?

When did it begin…this fascination with the past? 

The earliest I can remember experiencing an attraction for days gone by is when I was nine years old and we were on a month long trip to Europe.

My sweet grandmother, Dale Whitehead
as we were boarding the plane
Traveling Europe for a month, you say? At the age of nine? You must have grown up in a privileged family. 
While I was blessed in many, many ways, I would hasten to add that there were eight of us (four adults, four children) traveling around Europe in a VW Bug for that month. I was stuffed in the cubbyhole in the back.
My older brother, my mom, and grandmother were in the backseat (my dad had to stay home and work, bless him). My uncle and aunt and their two toddlers rode in the front, and then all of the luggage was strapped to the top. Does that give the month long venture new perspective?
Still, to me…it was heaven. And it’s where I trace my roots of my love for history.

My mom encouraged me to keep a diary...

...and to put my pictures in a photo album when we returned, and I’m so glad she did. Although admittedly, it’s funny to look back at these albums and the precious few pictures we took back then compared to the plethora of hi-res digital photos we take now and share instantaneously around the world.
In Germany, we toured the castles along the Rhine River, and I remember pressing my hand against the cold stony walls and trying to soak up the history, to feel the lives of the people who’d lived there, what they’d felt and thought, how they’d lived. It made a lasting impression on me.
Katz Castle, on the Rhine in Germany

Now speed ahead to the teenage years...

... and to church youth group on Sunday nights. After church, we’d run grab something to eat then we’d head toward downtown Atlanta to one of the many antebellum mansions that were long ago abandoned and boarded up, and we’d do what any group of self-respecting church youth would do…
We’d find the loose boards on the windows on the backside of the mansions and we’d slip inside with our flashlights.
And oh…that love for history and of times gone by would rise up in me like a tide. And thanks to American History being a favorite subject (along with English Lit), the historical events of that era would come alive inside me. 
But it wasn’t until much later in life that I’d finally feel the nudge to take up the pen and write, to give those stirrings inside me a voice.

Lichtenstein Castle in Germany
$2.99 ebook thru 4/1

My Southern antebellum stories, I’m convinced, started taking root in me many years ago as I first touched the walls of those thirteenth and fourteenth century castles, and then the stony walls of the basements in those old, boarded up Southern mansions.
I get chills just thinking about being in those places again and at how the seed of my fascination for the past––and the stories I write today––were born inside me such a long time ago.

Do you share this love of history? And of story?

$8.54 ebook on

If you do, can you retrace its roots? 

I’d love to know where your fascination with history or story began, and where that love has led you in life!



  1. Tammy,

    My daddy had ten brothers and sisters. I heard many life stories from all of them over the years at family reunions. They told their stories of things and events that occurred before I was born. Their stories were fascinating to my young ears and I kept them all in my imagination. What I delighted in hearing then, sometimes pop up in my stories today.

    1. What a gift, Jo. Thanks for sharing. Those stories are full of life lessons, no doubt. What a treasure.

  2. Oh, do I love history!!! (Probably one of the reasons I love your books so much -- and I do!! It may have begun in large part, in high school, when I began reading books by Jean Plaidy. If you haven't read any of her books...well, you should!!! She was a prolific author that wrote under several pseudonyms for different genres -- but Jean Plaidy wrote the historical novels about European royalty and history. This woman's stories captured my imagination and I learned more from those novels about history than I ever did in school. I even impressed a fellow who had been nominated for the position of "Sheriff of Nottingham" (really) with my knowledge of English history. Not so much credit to me but a huge credit to a great novelist!


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