Saturday, October 20, 2018

Birds that Symbolized Christianity in the Middle Ages

Birds represented the soul in medieval thought, capable of winging above worldly cares and possessions to reach God. The concept isn't hard to grasp. It ia, in fact, unforgettable. Individual birds took on special meanings in the Middle Ages, just as they do today. Some of the most notable are listed below and may surprise you.
This article is brought to you by Janalyn Voigt

Birds that Symbolized Christianity in the Middle Ages


When the lead crane tired during flight, that bird would drop to the rear of the flock, to be replaced by another. The first thus became last, an example of humility. Christians also looked to cranes for a reminder of vigilance. This connection began with Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist, who taught that a single crane clutching a stone in its claw kept watch over the flock at night. If the feathered sentry began to fall asleep, the stone would fall and wake the crane. In medieval heraldry, a crane holding a stone became the very image of watchfulness.  


Found in the pages of the Bible, the dove represented the Holy Spirit, peace and purity in the Middle Ages as it does today.


It was once believed that eagles flew near the sun, then plunged into water to renew their plumage and restore their youth. This idea was based on Psalm 103:5: “…so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.” (World English Bible) This association made the eagle a symbol of resurrection, new life, and Christ Himself.


The falcon had two interpretations in the Middle Ages. As a persistent hunter, the wild falcon brought to mind evil thoughts and actions. However, the domesticated falcon represented the gentile converted to Christianity. This duality makes clear the peril of those separated from God and the mercy of God’s grace in offering salvation to all mankind.


Because of a fondness for thistles thorns, the tiny goldfinch became a powerful symbol of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in dying to save lost sinners.


In ancient times, people suggested that peacock flesh would not decay. The birds were thought to be immortal. Peacocks shed and regrow their tail feathers, a feat that reminded people of the death and resurrection of Christ.


In the Middle Ages, pelicans were considered attentive to their young. A pelican who brought no food to the nest might even wound itself so its young could dine upon their parent’s blood. The pelican thus symbolized the passion of Christ, who poured out his blood for a starving world.

Deutsch: Friedrich Justin Bertuch, Bilderbuch für Kinder, 1790-1830 (Eigenbesitz), Bertuch-fabelwesen.JPG: Friedrich Johann Justin Bertuch (1747-1822)derivative work: Tsaag Valren (Bertuch-fabelwesen.JPG) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Introduced into Christianity possibly during the first century, the Phoenix was a mythical bird of surpassing beauty from the Egyptian dessert. This bird was said to burn itself on a funeral pyre, only to rise from its ashes, restored to youth and ready to live out another long lifespan. Popular in medieval art, the phoenix represented the death and resurrection of Christ.  

Note from the Author

Maybe it’s because I write allegorical fiction, but symbolism fascinates me. The creatures and objects chosen to represent Christian spiritual concepts, the Christian Church, and in many cases, Christ Himself, reveal a lot about medieval culture. Needless to say, I’m hooked on this study. Every third month I'll offer a new post on this topic.

About Janalyn Voigt

Janalyn Voigt offers readers a unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and whimsy. She creates breathtaking fictional worlds for readers. Known for her vivid writing, this multi-faceted author writes in the western historical romance, medieval epic fantasy, and romantic suspense genres.

Janalyn is represented by Wordserve Literary Agency. Her memberships include ACFW and NCWA. When she's not writing, she loves to garden and explore the great outdoors with her family.

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Thin Blue line: Oklahoma City Police Department Pt 2

1889 Oklahoma City Police Dept. Flag
Wikimedia Commons,
By Alanna Radle Rodriguez and Judge Rodriguez

Hello Friends!
Thank you for joining us this month as we continue our series about first responders in our great state.

First allow us to say: we wish to pay our respects to the brave men and women of our military, and let them know our thoughts and prayers are with them, particularly those currently on deployment outside our country and away from their families.

However, we also wish to add our gratitude to those that serve outside of our military forces as well. Also called the thin blue line, this group of dedicated public servants serve to keep us, our families, and our property safe. Our hats are off to you, and our gratitude for all you do.
Last month, we recalled the story of the Oklahoma City Police department, up to when Bill Tilghman took over.
Bill Tilghman, 1912
Wikimedia Commons
Marshall Tilghman was the Chief of Police in Oklahoma City for two years (1911-1913), during which time he cleaned up not only the streets, but the police force as well. At the time crime was rampant, and Oklahoma City more closely resembled Dodge City in the mid-1870’s with brothels, saloons, and opium dens. At this time, there was also endemic corruption and brutality in the police force as well. In the two years Tilghman was chief, he was able to clean up not only the streets, but the police force as well. This had the effect of having OCPD be known as one of the most incorruptible forces in the US.
After Chief Tilghman left office, the officers of the OCPD continued his efforts, particularly with the prohibition of alcohol, prostitution, and drugs on the streets. During World War I, the police department established a motorcycle division, which survives to today. They also established a call-box system, in which officers on the beat were required to call in hourly status reports.

In the early 1920’s, OCPD added a mounted unit to patrol the residential districts. Around this time, the Sicilian, and Irish mafia had started gaining control of much of OKC. This prompted the police department to create a “raiding squad” which eventually became “Vice” and to increase the force from 90 officers, to 150. This also forced the department into becoming more of a force of professionally trained officers, rather than just a loose collection of “untrained badges”.

The OCPD Raiding Squad with shotguns and tommy guns. Front center: Detective "Jelly" Bryce

During the Great Depression, however, OCPD also started up their “radio units”, which was a collection of patrol cars that had radios in them. One of the most notable officers from this time period was D.A. “Jelly” Bryce, known for his dapper appearance and for being a quick draw. He was featured in Life Magazine and was timed electronically at two-fifths of a second. It was stated in the article “if a criminal blinked at him, he would die with his eyes closed”.

Thank you, for joining us this month as we discuss a part of the history of the Oklahoma City Police Department, and please join us next month as we cover the history of the Department from World War II further.

Born and raised in Edmond, Oklahoma, Alanna Radle Rodriguez is the great-great granddaughter of one of the first pioneers to settle in Indian Territory. Judge was born and raised in Little Axe, Oklahoma, the son of A.F. Veterans. Judge and Alanna love the history of the state and relishe in volunteering at the 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse in Edmond. Her first published story, part of a collaborative novella titled Legacy Letters, came out September 2016. Alanna and Judge live with her husband and parents in the Edmond area. They are currently collaborating on a historical fiction series that takes place in pre-statehood Waterloo, Oklahoma.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Robert Smalls, Escape to Freedom

By Nancy J. Farrier

Fog drifted in the air above the harbor. The slap of water against the sides of the boat became a counterpoint to the men’s pounding hearts. The guard on the wharf strode toward them as they pulled away from the dock. Robert Smalls held his breath as he waved a hand at the man. He prayed the lifting fog would be enough to hide their deception and save their lives. The guard turned back. Robert breathed a sigh of relief. The first hurdle of his plan had been passed.

Robert Smalls, photo from
Harper's Bazaar, Wikipedia
Robert Smalls, born in 1839 to a slave woman, Lydia Polite, and possibly fathered by her slave owner, Henry Mckee. When he was twelve, Robert’s mother insisted his owner find him a trade to learn. Robert went to Charleston where he held many jobs, but he loved the sea and began to learn about ships. From making sails to learning to pilot a boat, Robert’s lessons—and his knowledge of the Charleston harbor—would save his family and many others..

In 1856, Robert married a hotel maid, Hannah Jones. Robert was 17 and Hannah was 22. Hannah already had two daughters and by the start of the Civil War in 1861, she and Robert had a daughter and a son. One of Robert’s great fears was that of losing his family by one or more of them being sold off. He had the dream of being free with his family, which led to him risking everything to gain that freedom.

In 1862, Robert was working as a pilot for a Confederate ship, Planter, docked in Charleston harbor. Smalls had a small group of men, also a part of the ship’s
Gunboat CSS Planter,
crew and all were slaves. After much planning, Smalls waited for the perfect night to enact his escape. The multi-part plan included stealing the Planter from the well-guarded harbor, slipping into the North Atlantic Harbor to pick up Hannah, the children and a few others, then getting past Fort Sumpter without alerting any of the Confederate army that they were stealing the Planter.

The night finally arrived. The Planter’s captain and the other officers in charge left the boat to go for drinks on shore. This was against regulations but was often done. With the fog rolling in, Smalls knew the guards would have a more difficult time discerning the people aboard. He volunteered to stand in as Captain. All of the men knew if they were caught, they would be put to death. Their wives and children would be sold, but they would die. For them, freedom was worth the risk.

Map showing Smalls involvement in the Civil War
Courtesy of Wikimedia
They left Charleston harbor and arrived at the North Atlantic Wharf. They kept the boat to a slow pace and didn’t have to stop as the women and children boarded. They got them below and headed to the next obstacle, passing the Fort. Smalls donned the Captain’s hat and as they came to the fort, he gave the signal on the whistle—two long blows and one short one. The sentry yelled to them and let them pass.

The steamship was now free of the Confederate forces, but not free from danger. As they approached the Yankee navy, they brought down the Confederate flags and raised a white bedsheet they hoped would be seen as a sign of their surrender. If the Yankee’s didn’t believe them, they would sink the Planter and all would die.

The women were terrified. They were below decks praying for safety, praying the Yankee captains would give them a chance. Fog thickened, making it harder for the Union soldiers to be able to see the white flag. The possibility of being rammed and sunk was high.

The Union ship, Onward, waited until they were within hailing distance and yelled for the ship’s name and their intent. John Frederick Nickels, Captain of the Onward,called for them to come alongside. Smalls and his crew may not have heard the command because they started to go around the Onward. Nickels commanded them to stop or be blown out of the water and Smalls and his crew came alongside the Onward.

Smalls house, now a historic landmark
Courtesy of Wikimedia
This daring escape led to the freedom of sixteen people, including Robert Smalls and his family. Robert went on to be an invaluable aid to the Union forces, showing them the strengths and weaknesses of the Confederates in the area and leading to the Union army being able to advance. He did many heroic things during the war and also learned much. Also, within a few months he taught himself to read.

After the war, Smalls went into business with Richard Gleaves. They opened a store that would serve to help the freedmen. In 1868, Smalls went into politics. He was instrumental in getting education for the freed slaves. He served in both State politics and in National politics, being elected to the House of Representatives. 
Robert Smalls,
Courtesy of Wikimedia

Robert Smalls received many honors. His house in Beaufort, SC is a historic landmark. In 2004, a U.S. ship was named after Smalls, the first one to be named after and African American. 

I found Robert Smalls escape on the Planterfascinating. His bravery and intelligence amazed me. There is much more I could have included in this blog, but the post would have been too long. What an incredible person.

In doing my research, I found this book, Be Free or Die, released in 2017, that details Robert Smalls life and accomplishments. You can listen to an interview with the author here. You can see the book here

Nancy J Farrier is an award-winning author who lives in Southern Arizona in the Sonoran Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. When Nancy isn’t writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. Nancy is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Literary Agency. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website:

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

If the Need Arose


When I was a preteen, my father bought me a lever-action .22 rifle and taught me how to use it. I didn’t have much occasion to do so, but he believed I needed to know. Dad seemed to have a little of the Old West in his veins and wanted his women-folk to be capable of doing what was required if the need arose.

Now I write historical fiction about women just like that. Hmm.

I haven’t yet written about crack-shot Phoebe Ann Moses, but I do have two cats named Annie and Oakley. And I have an old Leanin’ Tree birthday card with an untitled Fred Fellows painting of an aproned woman standing on the wide prairie. She’s holding a bouquet of flowers in one hand and her horse’s reins in the other. A Henry rifle hangs off the saddle horn.

“Prairie Garden” by Fred Fellows
I’ve kept that birthday card for more than twenty years because of what the picture says about pioneer women of the plains and Old West: There wasn’t much they couldn’t handle if the need arose.

My childhood .22 vanished years ago, but I have Dad’s trusty shotgun which is great for scaring off coyotes. A distant double-barrel cousin of the old standby made a cameo appearance in one of my novellas about a young widow and her two small children.

But it’s a double-barrel of a different sort that has piqued my interest lately. One that is not quite so bulky and fits discreetly in the folds of a lady’s skirt—a compact Remington double derringer smaller than a woman’s hand.

Nederlands: Een 4de Generatie over-under Remington Derringer in .41 
randvuur Southpaw Dutch Wikipedia/commons
Concealed carry is nothing new, and Henry Deringer of Philadelphia offered his first single-shot, muzzle-loading, miniature power-packed pistol in 1852. Often called a pocket pistol, the popularity of the original Philadelphia Deringer eventually gave way to the double barrel .41 Rimfire Remington Model 95.
From The Look of the Old West by William Foster-Harris,
illustrated by Evelyn Curro, Skyhorse Publishing, 2007.
Remington wasn’t the only company to pilfer Henry’s label, and competitors added an “r” to the well-known name to keep ol' Henry at bay. However the Remington model quickly became synonymous with “derringer.”

Cold-eyed, nimble-fingered gamblers weren’t the only people in the Old West carrying a holdout or concealed weapon, and derringers showed up in the cuffs and vest pockets of men on both sides of the law.

They also showed up in the reticules, boots, and garters of ladies bearing equally contrasting reputations.

With its signature hook handle, the derringer had a fairly accurate range of between fifteen and twenty feet. Up close, it could do serious damage.

One could be had for about eight dollars, ten if the owner wanted to fancy things up with a pearl or ivory stock or engraving.

Western film buffs easily identify the snappy little weapon that was scattered across screens and pages of Western lore, becoming one of the most widely recognized American handguns.

James West, the fictional Secret Service agent in Hollywood’s The Wild Wild West sported a Remington double derringer as a sleeve gun (or dismantled inside the hollow heels of his boots), and Miss Kitty Russell from television’s Gun Smoke had no qualms about drawing a well-concealed derringer if necessary.

The Remington derringer also fit nicely into the hands of my character Elizabeth (Betsy) Parker in An Unexpected Redemption. In fact, she had two Remingtons: one with bullets and one with keys. But that’s a story for another time.

As a woman on her own, Betsy had good reason to be proactive regarding her safety, but she didn’t hesitate to use it in defense of others:
She dashed down the narrow stairway, counting the steps so she didn’t tumble off at the bottom, and ran into her room, where she threw open her trunk. After tossing clothing onto the floor, she opened the secret compartment, loaded her Remington derringer, and slipped it into her skirt pocket.
It was no Winchester rifle, nor would it hold a candle to Garrett’s Colt, but in a tight spot, the double-barreled derringer could be the difference between dead or alive.
However, the derringer, left casually in a desk drawer, almost marked that very difference in Betsy:
The mantle clock’s ticking drowned out his future brother-in-law’s voice as Garrett planned a discreet exit. But a thud from upstairs and breaking glass sent him running from the room.
Lamp-oil fumes met him on the landing.
He kicked in Betsy’s door. With a hungry rush, flames followed the path of spilled oil and leaped up the window curtains. Garrett jerked them off the wall, yanked the quilt from the bed, and smothered the fire. Water from the basin and pitcher soaked the smoking mound, and he stomped it into submission. Only then did he sense he was not alone.
Betsy stood in the corner near the door, eyes wide, hands gripping a man’s arm clamped across her throat.
Garrett slapped his right hip—and found nothing. His gun and holster were in his room.
A double-barrel derringer pressed into Betsy’s right temple, held steady by the hand of Anthony Rochester. He laughed. “Unprepared, are you, cowboy?”
Garrett’s hands balled into fists and he took a step forward.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Elizabeth’s Remington is closer to her pretty curls than you are to me.”
Thank goodness, many a woman has been capable of doing what was required when the need arose.

Wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, Davalynn Spencer writes Western romance. She is a Publisher's Weekly bestselling author and winner of the Will Rogers Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction. Connect with her at

Desperate to redeem her reputation and independence, runaway Betsy Parker returns home to face her toughest critics—the people she grew up with, a rugged lawman who threatens to steal her heart, and the one person unwilling to forgive her.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The O'Sheas: The Bond of Brotherhood

by Pam Hillman

You’ve probably heard the saying “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.”

It goes back to the late 1800s. The story goes that a young Scottish girl was carrying her little brother who was almost as big as she was, and someone commented about how heavy he must be. Sounding somewhat surprised (and quite protective), she replied with a phrase similar to the iconic one we’re so familiar with today.

Ballads have been written, works of art painted, and photos taken of youngsters bravely toting even smaller youngsters on their backs, soldiers carrying their comrades out of battle, and even animations of animals with similar themes. Statues have been erected, orphanages formed with the saying adopted as the catch phrase for caring for—and carrying—each other.

Siblings. Brothers. Sisters.

There’s a special bond between siblings that transcends any other bond on earth. Siblings are the only people who know each other from birth until death and all the stages in between. Granted, being siblings doesn’t mean being alike in personality, having the same goals in life, or even expressing faith in our Lord and Savior. The truth is, siblings might not see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. But the bond is still there, and in healthy relationships, that bond is hard to break.

But sometimes misunderstandings, outside influences, mental illnesses, or tragedy can cause that bond to become frayed or even broken.

Such is the case for the O’Shea brothers in the 18th century in the Natchez, Mississippi district. The eldest brother, Connor O’Shea, was forced to leave Ireland years ago when he became romantically involved with a woman of the upper class. Quinn O’Shea, the hero in The Road to Magnolia Glen, arrives in Natchez harboring feelings of resentment that his older brother had abandoned the family when they needed him most. And, then there’s the third brother, Caleb, who left for parts unknown some years ago and hasn’t been seen since. Throw in deceased parents and two younger brothers, and all of this makes for some serious grudges between the three oldest brothers.

I have two sons of my own, and while they’ve never had to deal with the tragedy of losing a parent, being torn from their homeland or separated from their siblings, they were your normal rowdy, rough and tough boys. Sometimes I despaired that they’d ever get along.

You moms know what I mean. You’re in the kitchen preparing dinner after a long day and hear a ruckus that raises the roof. It might be the fight over the remote. Or whose turn it is to choose the next video game, or whose job it is to take out the trash this week. It could be anything or nothing, but it was always huge at the moment. This stage seemed to last about 15 years or so with my boys.

But sprinkled throughout those 15 years were times I heard (mostly second-hand) of my oldest coming to the defense of the younger when someone else mistreated him in some way. There’s nothing like having a big brother on the bus when other kids start picking on you, is there?

There’s another saying about siblings. Variations abound, but the gist of it is, “You mess with my brother, you mess with me.”

It’s one thing for brothers and sisters to argue and fight with each other, but if someone else attempts to do the same, their own squabbles are forgotten and they band together to stand against the “enemy”.

I grew up with two older brothers, and as the “baby girl” in the family, I knew they’d come to my rescue. It’s funny, I can’t think of a single time when I really needed either of them to save me. There were no bullies, no crazy accidents, and no late night clandestine shenanigans. But somehow I knew that if I needed either of them, all I had to do was ask. Decades later, nothing has changed.

The O’Shea brothers in my Natchez Trace Novel series can square off, glare and growl at each, circle like half-mad tigers in a cage, and even consider throwing a punch or two, but you know what?

When all is said and done, their true allegiance comes out when someone else threatens one of them. Past hurts aren’t always easily forgiven or forgotten, but when push comes to shove, the O’Shea brothers still stand shoulder-to-shoulder against the world.

And that’s as it should be.

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

CBA Bestselling author PAM HILLMAN was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn't afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove an Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn't mind raking. Raking hay doesn't take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that's the kind of life every girl should dream of.

Monday, October 15, 2018

What is Hell's Half Acre? PLUS Giveaway!!

I started doing some Texas research for one of my books. I considered the setting of Fort Worth, and though that wasn't where I ultimately decided to set my story, I did find some rather interesting information about Fort Worth to share.

During the late nineteenth century the frontier was dotted with unruly and lawless areas called Hell's Half Acre. Fort Worth, Texas was no exception. As a matter of fact, Forth Worth had some infamous visitors.

Hell's Half Acre, also known as 'The Acre' got its start in Fort Worth in the 1870's. Cattle drovers used the Fort Worth area as a stop along the cattle trails to Kansas. The Acre was on the lower end of town, making it the first thing the drivers would see when coming into town from the south.

These photos are from one of our trips to Texas. Fort Worth is a city that stole my heart. Here are beautiful sculptures that show the drivers and cattle being moved through the cattle trail.

Your average law abiding citizen didn't step foot onto Hell's Half Acre. This area which was not limited to a true half acre brought in some of the meanest criminals and unscrupulous people of their time. 

Hell's Half Acre consisted of mercantile businesses (even the scoundrels had to buy things, right?), but along with the mercantile businesses were dance halls, gambling parlours, saloons, and houses of ill repute/ brothels.

An average day and night at The Acre could easily see horse racing, cockfighting, drinking, gambling, brawls, ladies of the night, and the list could go on. 

The Sundance Kid

As unknowing travelers came through Hell's Half Acre they were prayed upon by conmen, robbers and unscrupulous women. The Acre was used  as a hideout for notorious gang members. Some of the famous characters that visited Fort Worth's Acre were train and bank robber Butch Cassidy, gambler and gunfighter Doc Holiday, gunfighter Luke Short, outlaw and train robber Sam Bass, outlaw The Sundance Kid, lawman and gambler Wyatt Earp, and professional gambler and lawman Bat Materson.

People became concerned with the violence in Fort Worth and in 1876 elected Timothy Isaiah Courtright to city marshal. He was expected to bring order to the unruly area. The marshal did crack down and on Saturday nights might fill a jail with the arrested. Courtright was successful, but his success was not appreciated by some of the business owners who were losing money due to the crackdown. Because of this a stance was taken against it and soon the lawless were welcomed back. Bottom line was those gunmen, robbers, conmen, gamblers, and brothels made the city money that they didn't want to give up. 

Poor Courtwright lost his support because of it and when the next election rolled around he wasn't reelected.

The good news is after a shoot out that left one man dead and after a prostitute was found murdered and nailed to an outhouse, some of the cities officials realized things had to change. 1889 brought the beginning of that change with new businesses and homes to Hell's Half Acre. 

Another of the beautiful sculptures

This is a picture of the cattle being driven through town

The famous Texas Longhorns

GIVEAWAY: For a chance to win Shattered Memories or one of my other novels answer one of the following questions and don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you should you win! 

Have you heard about the Hell's Half Acres that were dotted around the country? If so where was the one you knew about located?

Do you like to read? If so where do you most enjoy your settings in the United States, any where out west, a true western, New England States, Southern states or the mid-west?

Olivia Macqueen wakes in a makeshift hospital, recovering from a head injury. With amnesia stealing a year of her memories, she has trouble discerning between lies and truth. When her memories start returning in bits and pieces, she must keep up the charade of amnesia until she can find out the truth behind the embezzlement of her family’s business while evading the danger lurking around her.

Doctor Andrew Warwick frantically searches through the rubble left by the Charleston earthquake for the lady who owns his heart. He finds her injured and lifeless. When she regains consciousness, the doctor’s hopes are dashed as he realizes she doesn’t remember him. But things only get worse after he discovers she believes she’s still engaged to the abusive scoundrel, Lloyd Pratt. Now Drew is on a race with the wedding clock to either help her remember or win her heart again before she marries the wrong man.

Debbie Lynne Costello is the author of Sword of Forgiveness, Amazon's #1 seller for Historical Christian Romance. She has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina with their 5 horses, 3 dogs, cat and miniature donkey.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Charles A. Lindbergh: A Legacy and an Enigma

Gabrielle Here:

January 13, 2017, Erica Vetsch shared a little about our amazing Minnesota Historical Society and the twenty-five sites that dot the map of our beautiful state. One of those sites is the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site in Little Falls, Minnesota.

I'm especially fond of this historic site because it sits right across the river from where I live in my hometown, and I spent ten years of my life working there as a site guide, an assistant site manager, and later as an interim manager.

Charles Lindbergh is one of the most fascinating men I've ever studied. On the surface, many people know him as the shy, handsome hero who made the first non-stop, transatlantic flight in his monoplane, The Spirit of St. Louis, in May 1927.

Others may know him as the father of the baby who was kidnapped and murdered on March 1, 1932. The horrible event became known as The Crime of the Century and an important law, known informally as the Lindbergh Law, was enacted from that event, which allows federal authorities to step in and pursue kidnappers once they cross state lines with their victim.

Some may be more familiar with Charles Lindbergh's wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, who wrote several books, her most famous being A Gift from the Sea. It continues to change women's live, over half a century after it was written.

And, yet, many others remember Charles A. Lindbergh for his stance on America's entry into WWII and his connection with Nazi Germany.

For a few, when they think of Charles Lindbergh, they think of his conservation work toward the end of his life, his design of the perfusion pump, which was the first apparatus to keep organs alive outside of the body, his work on the first rocket with Robert Goddard, and the routes he and Anne mapped out for air traffic, many of which are still used to this day.

Still others see Lindbergh as the father of illegitimate children in Germany, who came forward in 2003. DNA test proved their story was true, and they are now able to claim one of the most famous men in history as their father.

But, for me, I see Charles Lindbergh as a young boy, growing up on the banks of the Upper Mississippi River in Little Falls, Minnesota. A quiet, curious boy whose father was a lawyer and U.S. Congressman, and whose mother was a school teacher. He loved nothing better than working on the family farm until he left for college in 1920.

If you thought of any of those things, you'd know exactly who Charles Lindbergh was--yet, how many people really knew him? I spent ten years studying his life, reading his journals, letters, biography, and autobiographies--yet, I learned something new about him all the time.

He was a quiet, reserved man who was thrust into the world's spotlight as the first super-hero. He became the most famous person in the world in 1927, and despite his attempts to "retire" from his public life, he could never escape the fame. Very few people know what it was like to be Charles Lindbergh. He was hounded his entire life. Out of desperation and survival, he learned to keep things hidden, to shy away from reporters, and he drew into himself more and more.

There are points in his life that I admire--and others that I abhor. He was an American icon, a role-model for millions, yet he did unthinkable things throughout his life. He invented devises that saved lives, he was a pioneer for aviation, and he was tireless in his work for conservation efforts--yet, his respect for Nazi Germany is questionable, his marital affairs were deplorable, and his relationship with his wife and children was less than commendable.

Lindbergh is an American Legacy, and I applaud him for the great advancements he made. I even understand a few of the choices that shaped his life. But I still like to think of him best as the young man who made the transatlantic flight in 1927, or the child who roamed the woods of his family's property in Little Falls, before fame changed him forever.

He's also an enigma. A man hard to understand, who led a life that few will ever experience.

When I look at his life, I have to look at it through the lens of all these things. Not one individual moment, but the accumulation of seventy-two years of remarkable events that changed the world forever.

Gabrielle Meyer
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