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Monday, October 1, 2012

Why I Want A WABAC Machine ~ Guest Post from Author: Deborah Heal

by Deborah Heal

Some people I could mention have already started dropping hints about the gifts they want for Christmas. As for me, I’m hoping for a WABAC Machine. I’ve wanted one ever since I saw Sherman and Mr. Peabody’s on our black and white TV when I was a kid. In each episode, Sherman and Mr. Peabody went back in time to a famous event in history, which was always humorously skewed to show what had “really” happened.

My desire to know about the past comes from growing up in an old house, in an old village, both steeped in history.

I grew up in Woodburn, Illinois, an unincorporated village so tiny it only had one store where you could get Wonder Bread, bologna, bacon, Cokes, cookies, and gasoline. Woodburn may have been boring compared to the city we had left behind, but we lived in a cool vintage brick house. I loved that old house for its character, or as I like to say, its “soul.”

And some of that soul seemed to be embodied in what my family still calls "The Brick." We discovered it, engraved with the date the house was built, on the back porch when we moved there. I used to run my fingers over that date, wishing I could go back to see what it was really like so long ago.

Woodburn wasn’t always so small. Once it had been a thriving little town with numerous stores, including the one owned by Mr. Welch, the builder of our house, which had stood where the petunias grew in our front yard. I learned that the brick for our house had been made right there in Woodburn. That where our pasture was, there once had been a livery stable and blacksmith shop. That down the street from us once stood an inn that served as a stagecoach stop. That Abraham Lincoln used to travel through our town and sleep in the inn and in some of the houses.

I used to tell the kids at school that Lincoln had slept in my house too. How I wish that were true. But since the house was built in 1874 that wasn’t likely, unless he had managed to be reincarnated and decided to come back for a visit to Woodburn for old time’s sake.

My brothers and sister and I were thrilled the summer we discovered Mr. Stevenson had an actual stagecoach stored in his old barn. We may have trespassed just a bit to sneak in and explore this wondrous blast from the past.

There are a couple of old houses still standing in the country around Woodburn that were also stagecoach stops. There’s the old Pennington place north of Woodburn, painted blue with white trim. And then Shake Rag Corner, between Woodburn and Brighton. It wasn’t a regular stop. If you wanted to board the coach, someone waved a rag out the window so the driver would know to stop.

I loved imagining the bustling little town. Late at night, I could almost hear the sounds of horses clomping down the street, the stage coach rushing by, the blacksmith clanking out horseshoes. I could read the history books, and I could imagine those earlier days. But I always yearned to know more.

When I grew up and married my husband, I moved two miles up the road from Woodburn to the Heal Farm. One day the county got around to giving our road a name, and with it came a shiny new sign. I got curious about how they came up with the name. Miles Station? What kind of a Station? So I went back to the library to find out.

Amazingly, there used to be a town named Miles Station just down the road from our farm, named, not for a unit of measurement as I had first assumed, but for its founder Jonathan Miles, a pioneer from Kentucky who settled there in 1832. He and his wife had three children, one of them a girl named Charlotte. Today, you’d never know a town once thrived there, but if you look closely, you can see clues.

All that history seeped into my bones as I grew up there in Woodburn. And so, when I sat down to write Time and Again, I told the story of Abby and Merrideth, who live in an old, rundown house in Nowhereville which had in the 1850s been the town of Miles Station. And, although I have never found a WABAC Machine, my characters (Ah, the beauty of fiction!) get to “time-surf” back to see what it was like in the “olden days.”


About Time and Again: Charlotte of Miles Station The History behind Time and Again
About Unclaimed Legacy, the second book in the seriesThe History behind Unclaimed Legacy

About the Author

Where to buy the books
    Barnes & Noble

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for allowing me to be a guest on Reviews from the Heart. I gave you the wrong link for the History Behind Time and Again. Here's the right one:


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