There was a lot to think about as I wrote the story of my grandparents, Wilmer Kearns and Edna Buckman.
What was the truth exactly? I listened to the stories my grandfather Wilmer and my mother Wilma told me as a child. Then I filled in the blanks with research, family legends, and documents from Edna’s journals and documents stored away in Aunt Serena’s closet until I was older.
HOW TO GET TO THE ESSENCE OF WHAT HAPPENED…THE CHALLENGE OF WRITING A BOOK!
I can’t claim to have been a witness to what happened decades before I was born. I’ve tried and decided that what I present as “the truth” can only be an approximation of what actually happened. I bonded with my grandmother Edna when I was a child. I closed my eyes and imaged her being in my life. Some days I joke that over the years she had taken over my life.
Edna Buckman Kearns died in 1934, before I was born. So I had to ask many questions of my mother and grandfather over the years. I inherited the suffrage campaigning documents that Edna kept behind, and I had access to stacks of vintage family images.
I grew up knowing that Edna’s “Spirit of 1776″suffrage campaign wagon was in my grandfather Wilmer’s garage. He loved that old wagon and every summer my mother took us children to Wilmer’s house to sit in the wagon and have our photos taken.
THE RESEARCH WAS A COLLABORATION WITH MY MOTHER OVER 10 YEARS!
My mother, Wilma Buckman Kearns, spent ten years with me, going through and interpreting the family archives. For the most part, our collaboration was anxiety and trouble free. I found out a great deal about my ancestors and Quaker family members. We got stuck on how deep I should dig into the family background. During the writing of my memoir, I agonized over issues of privacy. Did readers need to know all of the family secrets?
I didn’t officially start writing “An Unfinished Revolution” until more than a decade after my mother died in 1997. In between, I had other life issues competing for my attention. If I didn’t write our family story, no one would.
STAY TUNED TO HEAR WHAT BESS, EDNA’S BEST FRIEND HAS TO SAY!
I have been blogging about my grandmother, Edna Buckman Kearns and her suffrage campaign wagon since 2009. I’ve called it Suffrage Wagon News Channel, a place to learn, share, vent, and get close to “the truth.” Join me in sharing some of the story!
Suffrage Wagon News Channel has been publishing since 2009.