July 1, 1837
I’ve unpacked my meager belongings, having sold whatever I could to purchase passage to America. Many of the things were Da’s, things he’d given me as I was growin up. Many were bribes to keep me quiet about what he did to me. Mayhap I shouldn’ta kept them but they help me remember there were good times, too, when da wasn’t in his cups. But it’s over now, and my seasickness has passed. Mrs. Wheeler’s tea she gave me yester eve helped some.
She’s a sweet widow lady who has kindly offered to teach me a trade to make a livin for my wee bairn and myself. She’s goin to teach me to sew. Lord, I hope I’ll be a good student and be able to make enough money so I can stay home to watch my child and not have to beg, borrow, or steal. It would be good to be able to hold my head high.
I did keep a few things that were precious to me. There’s a quilt my mam and aunties made for me when I was a wee lass. It’s a little tattered and worn, but it carries the warmth I treasure in my heart from my family. Then there’s the locket, a picture in either side of my mam and my da. I mightn’t keep the picture of my da. If my wee one would ever want to know who the man was, how would I tell him that man is his da and his seanair? And lastly, there’s a ring with the family crest engraved in the gem in the setting. Perhaps one day these things will be passed on to my wee one.
I’m thinking of using this as the opening of the first book in my trilogy. Does it grab your attention? Does it make you want to read more? This is a journal entry from a Scottish immigrant. Is this a strong or a weak opening? If you read an entry like this from your deceased mother’s journal, how would that impact you? How would you feel? Would it change your perception of who you are, especially if you’re a young man with two toddler children?