We had a country house and a town home. The town home was only slightly smaller than the country house. Some would call either of them a mansion. I called them prison when Grandmother was there.
Of course, there were servants, but only a few. We had a housekeeper, a cook, and a chauffeur who often doubled as a gardener. We could not possibly have done without any one of them.
I attended a private school for girls, and was driven to and from school by the chauffeur. Though Springfield was a smaller metropolis, I was not allowed out unchaperoned. Period. Though times were changing all around us, Grandmother insisted on decorous behavior at all times.
Many of my friends bobbed their hair, wore short dresses, and partied. Grandmother wouldn’t allow any of that. So whenever possible, I escaped, usually by way of my bedroom window. Grandmother’s idea of a good time was a celebratory dinner with her peers, or an afternoon tea given by one her employee’s wives.
A trip to Europe was the highlight of my youth, for it was on that voyage, I met Rebecca Lewis. I’ll never forget the peaceful, sunny days we spent on the French Riviera when Grandmother assumed Mrs. Lewis was chaperoning. She was not.
You’re a dreamer. That’s clear from the start of the story. How do you think being a dreamer affected your life?
You may understand why I was a dreamer after reading my answer to the former question. Dreaming got me through some difficult, empty places in my life. Most of my dreams were very foolish, but there were positive elements. When my life was at its darkest point, I made use of my imagination to survive.
I believe that grandparents can make a tremendous impact in a child’s life. I know your grandmother Amelia did that for you, but I’d like to hear about your grandmother from your point of view.
My grandmother stepped in and took over raising me when my parents died. She was often distant. Partly because she had also taken over running the company her father had built and her husband maintained until his death. Her strength was a steadfast presence in my life. As a child, I longed for her approval and love. It took a health crisis in her life for her to realize she’d shortchanged me in that department. She tried to make up for it, and for a few bright days, we enjoyed one another’s company. That was a gift.
You went through most of your life without a relationship with the Lord. How would you describe the troubled years when you did not know that you had a loving Savior to lean upon?
My idea of God was one of a judge sitting at a great desk, ever ready to exact judgment on His children. We seldom attended church, but Grandmother made me memorize scriptures pertaining to obedience and honoring ones’ elders. For this reason, I constantly struggled with guilt and condemnation. I felt that every bad thing that happened to me, came as a direct consequence of my guilty behavior. I deserved it.
Life didn’t turn out exactly as you expected it to, but we know that God promises that all things happen for good to those who know the Lord … Nancy, looking back over your life, even as far back as the loss of your parents, are you able to see how God used those things—including the mistakes you made—to bring the good to light?
Oh goodness, yes. If my parents had lived, no doubt I’d have been spoiled rotten. I hate to admit it, but Grandmother knew exactly what I needed all along. I think she was trying to right the wrongs in her life—the mistakes she’d made with my father.
Some of my worst mistakes, especially one of them, produced great gifts for which I am so thankful. If there ever was a guiltless person, which there isn’t except for our Savior, they would never know the true joy of being forgiven. That’s the best “good thing” to come out of all this. I’ve been forgiven. That’s true freedom.
Thank you for being with us today and speaking so candidly. I look forward to talking, once again, with your author, Betty Thomason Owens on Wednesday.
More About Amelia’s Legacy:
It’s the Roaring Twenties and anything goes …
Orphaned and living with her grandmother since the age of six, Nancy Sanderson desires only her freedom from her strict grandmother, Amelia Woods Sanderson, who divides her time between Nancy and a successful career. Her grandmother’s plans include a wealthy, smart, and well-connected young lawyer named Robert Emerson, who bores Nancy.
Instead, Nancy seeks the company of the wild-hearted Nate Conners. When her rebellion turns deadly and her dalliance with Nate leaves her in trouble, Nancy turns to Robert, who promises to protect her. But Robert has underestimated Nate’s thirst for revenge.
As hidden truths become known, can Nancy find the strength to forgive herself and gain true and lasting freedom?
Betty Thomason Owens lives in Kentucky with her husband, Robert. They have three grown sons living in the area, along with their daughters-in-law, four beautiful granddaughters (one more on the way!), and two handsome grandsons.
Betty is semiretired, and spends most of her time writing, studying about writing, and critiquing other peoples’ writing. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and attends regular local meetings. She’s also involved with Bluegrass Christian Writers, a lively group of Kentucky writers, who meet quarterly in a Lexington, Kentucky bookstore.
Betty has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale Books, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell Press.
She also writes historical fiction. Her most recent release, Amelia’s Legacy is the first novel in the Legacy series for Write Integrity Press. In addition to the ’20’s era romances, Betty also writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and the upcoming Love Boat Bachelor.