I could boil the inspiration for my novel, Henderson House, down to two words: artificial flowers. Why? Because when I was in high school, my father and I would make an annual Memorial Day pilgrimage to take my Grandma Simpson and my Great Aunt Boo Boo to the Woodlawn Cemetery in Claremore, Oklahoma. One of the highlights was watching the two tiny sisters totter around the graveyard with K-Mart bags full of artificial flowers, arguing about whose favorite color was what.
As my character, Johnny says, "I never met any of the folks who are buried in Claremore. I know all their favorite colors, but I never knew them."
It was during these visits I first thought about writing a novel based on the life of my Aunt Boo Boo. What struck me most while spending time with these two sisters was how different their attitudes were about life and love, faith and family.
If you haven't read the sample chapters of my novel on Inkshares, Chapter Four focuses on a flower project for Decoration Day. From the moment I began writing, I knew there would be a family trip to the cemetery at the end of May to plant flowers for Decoration Day. This one specific detail helped my novel take shape. I also learned a few interesting facts about Memorial Day during my research.
Decoration Day began after the Civil War when families would decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers. The first National Decoration Day was held on May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery. It's been said that May 30th was chosen because flowers were in bloom in Virginia at that time. After WWI, Decoration Day began to include any fallen soldier and the term Memorial Day started to slip into the vernacular. Memorial Day was not an official holiday until 1968 and was moved to a Monday as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of the same year.
Thanks to all who serve, all who have served, and all who have given their lives for our freedom.