Character Interview: Clarinda Tuttle Finch
Clarinda, please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do? What story did you bring to your author?
I am Clarinda Tuttle Finch. I grew up in Maple Notch, Vermont, on the farm where my family has lived since before the Revolutionary War. We moved to town, to the Bailey Mansion. I work with my Aunt Flo at the Maple Notch Female Seminary, founded by my grandmother Clara Farley Tuttle.
By the time my book begins, my dear husband Howard died during the first few months of the War. I took over his position as the mayor of Maple Notch.
My grandmother, Clara Farley Tuttle, believed strong in education and opportunities for women. I would have been happy to spend the rest of my life with my beloved Howard and helping at the seminary, but the War began, Howard died, and I had to change. My author found me in the middle of the changing times and guided me through the twists and turns.
I sensed in the story that history and family tradition mean a lot to you. Much had been handled down to you through the generations, but World War II brought many changes to your life, including loss of not only loved ones but of cherished things. I believe that Americans today, like no time since World War II are facing changes and losing cherished traditions. How did you cope with letting go of people and possessions that were important to you?
You could almost say my life prepared me. Long before Pearl Harbor, my parents died in the ’19 ‘flu epidemic. In the height of the Depression, I had twin daughters, one of whom died.
But we did have to make do with what we had. When something wore out, we’d rework it and find a new use for it. So I’m not comfortable with people buying new things when the old ones still work.
The hardest change was watching the Maple Notch Female Seminary close. My grandmother founded the school about the same time that the University of Vermont was founded.
You have two sons, and they both chose to enlist in the military and join the war effort. How did you cope with their decisions especially after your husband was killed in action?
I hated my daughter’s choice to enlist the most of all, even while I was proud of her for wanting to do her part in the war. I didn’t let myself think about it. If I ever worried about it, I told myself not to be silly. Wives and mothers across the country made greater sacrifices than I did. Did you ever hear about five Sullivan brothers who all served on the same submarine and died together?
I hated my sons being in danger, but relished the reunions at the end of the War.
Is there scripture or a biblical concept that you leaned upon which helped you to cope with the changes around you and with the decisions your children were making?
Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13, KJV)
The words reminded me to use all the weapons put at my disposal—and then to stand. I didn’t have to do it all. God would go to battle for me.
And because I’m a romantic at heart, I just have to ask this question: Ralph is a very nice fellow. He’s intelligent, very organized, and he has multiple talents, but you sometimes found yourself opposed to some of his ideas. What characteristics do the two of you share that you might believe helped to draw you together?
We’re both educators, committed to helping young people grow into responsible adults. Whenever he is assigned a task, he follows through. He’s a committed Christian. I’ve always thought well of him, but my feelings changed to something deeper as we both worked on the town council.
More about Hometown Dreams:
Clarinda Finch hates change.
As the newly elected mayor of Maple Notch, the war widow must lead her town through the dark days of World War II. But where she finds comfort in tradition, the town council insists on trying new ways of handling the homefront challenges. Her most untraditional opponent? Councilman Ralph Quincy.
High school principal Ralph never expected to become a friend to Clarinda and her family. But as she spars with him over the war effort, the smart, spirited mayor is the most compelling woman he’s ever known. Can they put aside their differences and fight for both their town and a future together?
Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written twenty-seven books, been published in twenty more, and has written more than 200 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from TexasF to Vermont. You can find Darlene online elsewhere at: http://darlenehfranklinwrites.blogspot.com/, http://mydailynibble.blogspot.com, and https://www.facebook.com/darlene.franklin.3