“My whole life had changed…”

October 17, 2011 at 8:25 pm (diaries, history, news) (, , , , , , , )

Tonight’s WCAX News broadcast ended with an author interview regarding Lynn Bonfield’s book on Alfred and Chastina Rix, a Peacham couple who migrated west for a better life than 1850s Vermont could offer.

A telling sentence in the interview:

“I picked up this old copy book. I opened it. I read the first entry and I knew my whole life had changed.”

EXACTLY how I felt when Mary Gosling and Lady Smith turned out to be the same person!

I felt myself saying to absent friends and family, “See!”, when I heard that Bonfield found this diary in 1972 (it was an uncatalogued manuscript) and has spent decades “compiling names and places from the diary.” Yes, YES, YES!

Suddenly, I feel less “alone”.

You can read the interview — and even watch the video — at the WCAX link here.

Published by the University of Oklahoma Press, New England to Gold Rush California: The Journal of Alfred and Chastina W. Rix, 1849-1854, a joint journal, “captures the turbulence of life and events during the gold rush era,” yet it is also “a personal…chronicle of a singular family’s separation and reunion.” Chastina stayed with her son in Vermont when Alfred left for the west, and she continued their journal, “describing her loneliness and fatigue as she labored to maintain the household.” She also “summariz[ed] Alfred’s frequent letters.” Thirty-eight illustrations and 356 pages makes this a to-look-for book.

Lynn Bonfield’s book blog has background news and reviews. Read it!


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