"Purl saw a light in the parlor and entered. Anna was sitting on the sofa, motionless. Only a flicker from the oil lamp lighted the room. I can't go to the reunion today," she said. He looked down at her and placed his hands in his pockets, helpless that she should be so sad. So little had changed since May."
Whenever I stop to reflect on Anna Hartle's early life in Yours in a Hurry I am saddened by all of her losses and disappointments. A psychologist mentor of mine from the medical school I used to work for is very adept in many subjects, and he's often asked about grief and depression. I asked for his thoughts about Anna's many painful experiences.
A Reader's First Look
I was asked to comment on Ann Otto's historical novel, Yours in a Hurry. This story, or more accurately, these stories, take the reader in many directions…following the many adventures of three of the siblings of a family of eight, orphaned when their prosperous parents die suddenly. Three of the eight move to California after they come of age and live exciting, while very different lives. Addison, the author’s great-uncle, becomes an aviation pioneer; Purl, her grandfather, loses his inheritance and joins the military; but it is Anna’s life that is of most interest to me.
Loss Changes Us
As a psychologist, I recognize how melancholy haunted Anna throughout her life…and with just reason. Sadness, melancholy, and depression have as their roots, LOSS. And if the reader follows Anna’s life, she certainly experienced more than her share of loss: the most obvious of these are (p. 237) right after she witnesses Addison's death, and the chapter where she and Purl go back to Ohio for the family reunion starting (p. 255). Her losses/important life changes include: her parents death in 1901; her move to Los Angeles from a small village in 1908; her marriage in 1909 to a man who manipulates her; the loss of their child through adoption (1910); witnessing Addison's death (1911); and, the death of a younger sister and one of the aunts who raised them (1912).
Ann Otto explores these losses and how they impact her great aunt. We often try to hide the blemishes of family members who are long gone, but Ann realizes how important these issues are to her family's story.
Meet the Blog Contributor
Dr. Glenn Saltzman is a retired professor and popular professional speaker. Please go to his website postings at www.drglenn.net which are both educational and entertaining.
I returned to the Hollywood Heritage Museum this month. My family has been to Los Angeles many times, and we always visit Hollywood. This time, we stayed in the heart of it.
Sixteen other authors and I were invited to the Fifth Annual book signing event at the Museum. Yours in a Hurry was the only historical fiction work this year, and it follows my ancestors, including Hollywood founder, Daeida Wilcox Beveridge. Many of these authors have spent much of their career researching specific topics—films, stars, studios, Hollywood stories. Here are a few. You can find their work and bios online, and I hope you'll do that. Their personal histories, like those they write about, are impressive and engrossing.
Mollie (seated left in photo right) was my table partner. She's had an interesting life, and she met 65 other women with interesting lives when she interviewed them about their careers as stuntwomen. By sharing their own stories and stories about those who went before them, Mollie was able to document women from the beginning of film history in Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story. I just received my copy of another of her books, Women Who Run the Show: How a Brilliant and Creative New Generation of Women Stormed Hollywood, about how women in the film industry rose to leading roles from 1970 to the 2000s.
Lois is an academician who writes about famous women, with more than one book about Marilyn Munroe. Her latest is Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox. She's written Women in Modern Americaand biographies about Margaret Mead and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Marc is an expert and consultant in film history who has worked in many facets of film production, exhibition, and research for several decades. Possibly the most prolific of the authors present, Marc writes about everything from the early studios to Southern California history, often through the Images of America Series. He also collaborates with others, such as Erika Thomas. They spoke about their new collaboration, Max Factor and Hollywood: A Glamorous History. Marc's company, Bison Archives holds an extensive and unique photo archive, used by film professionals, authors, and others.
Charles is one of the younger generation who is passionate about the early film industry. He has written extensively, and just started the Silent Film Quarterly. His latest book is Bebe Daniels: Hollywood's Good Little Bad Girl. I'd heard of this popular and multi-talented silent film star, but didn't know about her life after "talkies" when she went to England, married, and became a radio and TV personality with her husband.
Tim has written several books, and I had to buy his latest, Artie Shaw King of the Clarinet: His Life and Times. Watching the elderly Shaw talk about his life and describe the early 20th century music business was a highlight of Ken Burn's 2001 PBS Jazz series.
My spouse is a fan of the old comedy teams, and he had to have Robert's new book Four of the Three Musketeers: The Marx Brothers on Stage. Robert decided to chronicle the brothers before film stardom, when they were vaudeville sensations.
After the presentations, other authors mentioned that they liked the way the Yours in a Hurry Hollywood story connected the city's people and events to the broader culture of the 1910s. Mission accomplished!
The Hollywood Heritage Museum and early Hollywood is the subject of an earlier post by Richard Adkins, Museum Collections Manager. Another related post by Yvonne Montoya is about the growth of movie theaters in Hollywood.
Wishing you a happy and peaceful holiday season!