Host/Producer Dmae Roberts talks with Oregon author Jane Kirkpatrick. She’s authored more than 20 books and is an Oregon Book award finalist for “A Flickering Light.” Her latest is “The Daughter’s Walk” which is based on the true story of a mother and daughter in 1896 who both walked from Spokane, Washington to New York City to save the family farm.
Kirkpatrick talks about the research and process of writing an historic novel and reads an excerpt from her book. She lives in Central Oregon and considers herself a writer inspired by the landscape. She tells us about how she approached the real life events in “The Daughter’s Walk” to focus on Clara Etsby who journeyed with her mother on the 3600-mile trek only to come to a 20-year estrangement from her family. The young woman goes on to become a successful business woman and carves out an earl feminist path for herself.
Dmae talked with Kirkpatrick at Warner Pacific College before she spoke at the Women’s Tea. To find out where you might hear her read visit her website.
Exerpt from “The Daughter’s Walk” by Jane Kirkpatrick:
“It began on an April morning in 1896, inside our Mica Creek farmhouse in the rolling Palouse Hills of eastern Washington State, when my mother informed me that we would be walking from Spokane to New York City. Walking, mind you, when there were perfectly good trains a person could take. Walking—nearly four thousand miles to earn ten thousand dollars that would save our farm from foreclosure. Also to prove that a woman had stamina.
Also to wear the new reform dress and show the freedom such garments offered busy,active, sturdy women.
Freedom. The only merit I saw in the shorter skirts and absence of corsets was that we could run faster from people chasing us for being foolish enough to embark on such a trek across the country, two women, alone.
We were also making this journey to keep me “from making a terrible mistake,” Mama told me. I was nineteen years old and able to make my own decisions, or so I thought. But not this one.
Mama stood stiff as a wagon tongue, her back to my father and me, drinking a cup of coffee that steamed the window. I could see my brother Olaf outside, moving the sheep to another field with the help of Sailor, our dog, dots of white like swirling cotton fluffs bounding over an ocean of green. Such a bucolic scene about to reveal hidden rocks beneath it.
“We are going to walk to New York City, Clara, you and I.”
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