How I see a very tired, rather young Maggie at a time when she is gossip fodder for Blaineton. Image purchased from iStockphoto (https://www.istockphoto.com/vector/young-women-seated-at-desk-1862-journal-gm471427101-20625385)
Although my next book in the Saint Maggie series involves an epidemic, I don’t want to neglect another important aspect of the book. It is odd that I did not notice this right off the bat, but I suddenly realized that the character of Maggie Beatty Blaine Smith has a trajectory. One would think that as the author and her creator, I would realize that something significant was happening. But I didn’t, although it now is clear to me that my subconscious obviously had a plan for my central character. So, let’s start the journey!
In A Balm in Gilead, Maggie explains that she once was the widow “who owned a boarding house filled with men with strange jobs who scarcely paid me rent.” Whispers circulated throughout Blaineton because Maggie dared to have Emily Johnson, a Black woman, as her best friend. More pearl-clutching yet, Emily and her husband Nate lived in the same house with them – and right on Blaineton’s town square! Oh, the scandal of it all!
Rumors also circulated about Maggie’s alleged involvement in the Underground Railroad, something which was a reality. However, Nate and Emily, who were the "station masters” in Blaineton, invited the kind-hearted Maggie into the movement. The three of them, with the knowledge of the men who lived in the boarding house, helped freedom seekers make the journey north to New York state and beyond (often to Canada). Eli Smith, who later marries Maggie (see Saint Maggie), joins the operation shortly after he takes up residence and starts a penny weekly newspaper in the old caretaker’s house on Maggie’s property (see, The Newcomer).
But Maggie becomes even more of a pariah when she shows compassion on a man who has committed murder and, with Eli’s help, seeks to uncover the whole story (see Saint Maggie).
So, how does the lowly Maggie in a mere four years develop enough power and self-confidence to bring the squabbling population of Blaineton into a newly born unity and at the same time consider running for the office of Town Council?
More next week!
Remember: be kind like Maggie.
Janet R. Stafford
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder