Josepha May Brown has been putting up with me writing her story, first with When Mother Calls, and now with Be Careful What You Say. That second book will be out once we she has decided that what I have written is really what she wants to say. What follows is a letter she wrote to me, in order to state her feelings on some of the things I had written about her.
I never knew that having someone write your story for you was so much work! Here I have to dredge up memories that are so deeply buried — memories that I would rather forget. And, no matter how carefully I tell you what happened, and who said or did the other, you generally get it wrong, and I have to go over and over it with you a dozen or more times, till you get it right. Then you turn around and change all of it!
O.K. Enough with my complaints. I am not about to look for someone else to tell my story, though sometimes it is a temptation. Still, you do make my story sound more interesting than it ever would if I had to write it. You know, you do exaggerate sometimes. Really, my ability to speak with spirits is totally a myth, and it’s boring. And traveling through time? It’s more of a bother than it is worth; though I am glad I met my sister in 1845, and I do want to get back there. I liked Wilton during that decade.
Now, you asked me a few questions. The first one was: What do I want most out of life? That is an open ended question if ever there was one. I think my answer would be different, depending on the time of day, and what I happen to be doing. But, let’s see. You ask: What is the over-riding thing that I want most of all?
I want to lead a life that does not leave me feeling at the end that there was so much more I could have seen and done. On the other hand, I would like to have a family, something like my sister Olivia’s family. I would like to teach my children those values that I learned in the twenty-first century that had me independently insisting that I must somehow take care of myself. On the other hand, I want them to learn the value of a simple life, well lived, such as what I learned from my sister and her husband in the nineteenth century.
There. I gave you an open ended answer. I believe what I just said is fairly universal. Doesn’t everyone want those things?
Your next question: What am I willing to do to achieve this goal? I suppose I must put to use whatever I can, wherever and whenever I happen to be. I need to be ready to hop on board and hold tight to whatever opportunity comes my way. I do hope to marry someone who is good and kind, and who would be a good father to our children. Would that be Rudi, or would it be the parson? The parson has more patience than Rudi does. Rudi has more to offer in other ways.
At the moment, I am caught up in a time that is neither the 1840s nor the twenty-teens. I would love to get back, but I have not been able to figure out how. So, I will watch and keep an open mind. Some means should present itself. In the meantime, I will do my best to adapt to the time where I am, which happens to be the twelfth century, caught up in the First Crusade. Help! I would love to ask anyone I knew for help. Maggie will not let me return until I have succeeded in helping Rudi. Helping him to do what I am not certain. But, he is closely tied to one of the foot soldiers; Kennet of Durham Town.
It is all very puzzling. I have no idea how I am to help this man, so, I simply stay by him, and attempt to make myself useful.
I hope this answers your questions. I am also not certain whether this letter will reach you. You see, I have had to place it in an earthen flask, and bury it under a rock behind a waterfall, and just hope that it is still there nine centuries from now, when — if all goes well — someone will find it and follow the instructions I wrote on it, to mail it to you. So you see the trouble I must go through so that you will write my story.
Josepha May Brown