Before beginning posts about my new work in progress, I wanted to reflect on the four main characters from Yours in a Hurry, all members of the Hartle clan. They are actual historical characters, but some of their experiences were fictionalized for the book. I need to start with Addison. The newspaper articles my family kept about his life in Los Angeles started the research that led to other characters and to other plot directions.
Here’s an excerpt from the book about Addison:
Dominguez Hills was nearly fourteen miles due south from the plaza in the center of Los Angeles, and it sloped upward to the west. Addison, the Beveridges, Joseph, and Anna took the same railroad route as Addison had the previous day.
The women wore what the newspapers were featuring as "ladies wear" for the air show, an ankle-length pleated skirt—including pebbles sewn in the hem—high-collared blouse, and a long coat for the wind, which was to be expected atop a plateau like Dominguez Hills. The coat had the added benefit of covering Anna's condition.
"Thank you for getting us here, Addison," Ida said as they made their way through the crowds. "But we must find a more suitable way home. I feel absolutely claustrophobic.” She turned to Philo. "Unfortunate isn't it, dear, that none of our land was suitable for the event. I would have loved to provide some."
Joseph smiled as Philo replied, "Yes, what publicity that would have afforded Beveridge and Beveridge!"
Twenty-five thousand sat in bleachers as thousands more milled around the field watching imported monoplanes and biplanes compete with domestic machines. The hawkers included Fatima, The Sultan's Delight, and the Siamese twins Cora-Etta. The men tittered as Anna and Ida diverted their glance and giggled. Addison glanced at his timepiece and then in the direction of Curtiss's tent." This is where we are supposed to meet Ernie."
Joseph waved as a tall, well-dressed woman approached them. White lace parasols protected her and her companion from the sun. "Good to see you, Joseph," she said.
Addison stared. It couldn't be the Harriet Quimby.
Joseph reached for her hand. "How are your parents, Harriet?"
"Very well, thank you."
Joseph turned to the others. "Meet Miss Harriet Quimby. I know her parents who live in San Francisco. She . . ."
Anna stepped forward before Joseph could finish and took Harriet's hand. "I'm Joseph's associate, Anna Hartle. I'm honored to meet you, Miss Quimby. I read all of your articles in Leslie's."
"See, Harriet? Your reputation precedes you!"
Ida extended her hand. "Miss Quimby, I'm also an admirer—Ida Beveridge, and this is my husband, Philo."
"Of course, Mrs. Beveridge, I've seen your photograph. What changes you have made in the city. I remember reading about you and Mr. Wilcox when I worked in San Francisco years ago. I believe we have an acquaintance in common, David Griffith. He and his wife Linda are long time colleagues of mine."
"Yes, since he has started filming his motion pictures here, he's become acquainted with our neighbor Paul deLongpre."
Ernie arrived just as Joseph introduced Addison.
"This is Addison Hartle, Anna's brother," he said, turning to Addison.
For once in his life, Addison was speechless as he shook Harriet's outstretched hand.
Joseph turned to Ernie. "And you must be Anna's former pupil, Ernie."
"Joseph! What a way to introduce Ernie," Anna said. She placed an arm on Ernie's shoulder and turned toward Harriet and Carrie. "Ernie is a mechanic for Glenn Curtiss."
"Are you writing about the event, Harriet?" Joseph asked.
She nodded toward the hangars. "I've been reading about these flyers and want to see them myself. I've written about local flying fields around New York."
"It must be interesting working for Glenn Curtiss," Harriet said to Ernie.
"Never a dull moment, especially in Europe last year," Ernie replied.
"You were at Reims and Brescia? I'm envious. I've traveled much of the world, but to see aeroplane exhibitions in France and Italy would be exciting. Did you meet Louis Blériot?"
"Yes, he's a crowd pleaser," Ernie quickly replied. "Can you imagine, a fellow like me coming from a crossroads town in Ohio and getting to do all that? But Addison is going to outdo me and buy an aeroplane sometime soon."
Addison could tell that Ernie was reaching to impress Harriet.
She said, "I'll be interested in how you progress, Mr. Hartle."
His face turned a slight pink. Harriet turned to the others. "I'm hoping to write more about flying, if my editor agrees. Well, I must meet some of my journalist friends. It was wonderful meeting you all."
Joseph tipped his hat. "Give my regards to your parents."
"It was nice meeting you all," Carrie said.
"Likewise," they all replied in near unison.
Harriet opened her parasol and smiled as she strolled away.
"She's real pretty, just like in her pictures," said Ernie.
"I've always respected Miss Quimby," Anna reflected. "She takes on so many causes and writes about people and places that others wouldn't—tenements, immigrants, and working girls in New York. She's taken photographs all over the world."
Anna gave Addison a slight shove on the shoulder. "I have never seen you blush. I thought you were incapable."
Addison rolled his eyes at her.
Joseph said to Anna, "You really should try to find some of her early articles from the San Francisco Chronicle where she started. Jack London and Ambrose Bierce were working there at the same time. Better stories than her more recent ones, I think."
The group's attention switched to the main event. The master of ceremonies declared the meet open and introduced Glenn Curtiss as "greatest flyer in the world." Ernie flushed with pride.
Soon the crowd gazed into the sky, their eyes wide and mouths open as four aeroplanes took off at once. Addison figured some were in disbelief and some in trepidation. The pilots flew in formation and then pursued each other around the field.
"Incredible!" said Joseph.
Addison replied, "Can you imagine, most of these people have never seen an aeroplane in flight, and many held for years that it was impossible to fly."
Ida said, "It reminds me of Mr. Edison's inventions. It's hard to imagine."
Next time: From Ohio to Hollywood
Ann Otto writes fiction based on factual as well as oral history. Her debut novel, Yours in a Hurry, about Ohioans relocating to California in the 1910’s, is available on-line at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kindle, and at locations listed on her website at www.ann-otto.com. Ann’s academic background is in history, English, and behavioral science, and she has published in academic and professional journals. She enjoys speaking with groups about all things history, writing, and the events, locations, and characters from Yours in a Hurry. She is currently working on her next novel about Ohio’s Appalachia in the 1920’s and prepared for future works by blogging about a recent World War 2 European tour. She can be reached through the website, or on Facebook @Annottoauthor or www.Goodreads.com.