February 13, 2016

Character Development

GSL's Great-Great Grandfather, Colonel Porter, who I discovered only a few years ago. After fruitlessly pestering Auntie J for any tidbits regarding my patrilineal line and finally solving the riddle after countless hours of research, she mentioned this in passing at her annual Xmas Brunch: "Colonel Porter sounds so interesting! You know, I have some old telegrams some guy named Mackenzie used to always send him on his birthday..."
I wanted to strangle her.

GSL stands in stark contrast to his biological parents although is easily and immediately recognized as his Dear Mother's son. My father is a far cry from what you might suspect and our only shared trait is a near identical voice.

I am far more similar to my paternal grandfather, 'Pete', and he always thought so too as we had a very close bond when I was a boy. Pete's parents died six months apart when he was 17 which was such a painful ordeal, he never spoke of it and my father and siblings knew never to broach the subject so very little of his background was known such as even his parent's names with my grandmother 'Dodie'  of little help as dementia set in.

Grandfather JRL aka "Pete' and Auntie J.circa 1945
Pete's parents died six months apart when he was 17 and was so traumatized never spoke of them.
Pic taken in Scarsdale, NY to Auntie J's best recollection.

I was curious and did some digging at www.ancestry.com and made some startling discoveries. Pete's parents were both expat Americans living in Canada and my great grandfather founded an insurance company that grew into a successful business with offices throughout Canada and was just absorbed by a large company a few years ago. Pete's maternal grandfather was an expat American also living in Canada and was one of the most prominent newspapermen of his day. After learning some of his backstory, it broke my heart that he was predeceased by his only child (my great grandmother, a great beauty according to my Great Aunt Connie) and wife, and died alone at his desk writing the following day's column.
Colonel Porter aka Master of Hounds
In my new children's book series, I have cast it with characters based on real people I like and care about; some of whom I've never actually met. Colonel Porter is based on Colonel Garnet Clay Porter who operates the rescue dog shelter. This 'Master of Hounds' likes nothing more than finding loving homes for dogs in need. In Book 8 or 9 he'll be (with Mrs. Porter) adopting 2 little girls (sisters) and enlisting the protagonist and his 2 pups to be their fearless protectors. They won't disappoint.

As many of you know my Estella has a meaty supporting role. 'Mean Mel' as she is often referred in furtive whispers, is actually only a bit bossy and has a warm generous heart the boys and girls later discover.  Mean Mel and her pup Ripley will soon have their names echoed in classrooms and playgrounds from sea to shining sea.

Estella & her Welsh Pony 'Tell Me Secrets' circa 1977.
Estella will be known as Mean Mel in my book series and that pony will feature in at least 1 story.

Estella arrived in GSL's orbit in 8th grade as a very pretty but shy girl. She had an aura about her being the new girl, having recently lived in Europe for a spell, and an older brother who resembled Brad Pitt....if Brad Pitt was better looking, 6 foot 4, with a body by Michelangelo and an iconoclastic charisma that rendered his physicality an afterthought. Estella was greatly envied by girls and desired by boys. But for all this good fortune,  what was noteworthy was how much her classmates who weren't 'popular' liked her. I noticed how the girls without the perfect figure, beautiful hair, the popular boys fawning all over them, and who always at least felt shunned by the cool crowd always had beaming smiles when having a quick word and receiving acknowledgement and often a compliment from that girl everybody made such a fuss over. That's why GSL liked her best.

Estella still fills out a swimsuit quite nicely.

Happy Birthday Estella!

Taken 40 years ago today.


  1. Thank you Moss. What great times (good and bad) we've been through. I miss the good old days of long ago. Happy Valentine's ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

    1. GSL obviously has the patience of Job to endure 4 decades with The Most Ridiculous Woman in America....although I imagine I've tried your patience once or twice...