Two of my favorite characters in my Elsie Whitmore novel are Elsie’s grandfather and a tree. Yes, a tree! I hope you don’t mind me introducing them to you!
Grandpa Whitmore is a farmer who has a strong faith and loves his family. He is quite the storyteller, and he loves to laugh. It is one of his stories that really makes “Big Maple” come to life in the novel. (I am attaching Grandpa Whitmore’s Big Maple story below.)
Big Maple is a giant maple tree that is on the Whitmore Farm. This “character” is a tribute to the huge maple on my parents’ property during my own childhood. In Elsie’s story the glen where Big Maple stands is a scene of both romance and heartbreak. It is place where Elsie’s dearest hopes are dashed, but also a place where she feels much joy.
The treasured maple of my own childhood was a place where we played as children. The branches were as broad as most large tree trunks. Those branches were a great place to lie back and read my Trixie Beldens and Nancy Drews. This tree provided a canopy that was so lush that the typical brush and multiflora rose bushes of NEPA could not thrive, so it provided a nice clearing. My dad decorated it with resin and ceramic crazy-looking faces, so it seemed like the tree was a living creature with a personality — not just a plant. We had swings from its branches and a bench under its shade for hot summer days.
I hope those who read Elsie Whitmore: A Star from Oak Hills get a taste of the beauty and the nostalgia I feel for Big Maple, and nature in general!
Enjoy the photos and Grandpa Whitmore’s story!