After writing Monday’s post, it occurred to me that Carlotta Ratts was a sufficiently unusual name that I might be able to track her down via the Internet. So, I did a search and here’s what I found out about the woman who once owned my copy of Longfellows Poems:
James Albert Ford was born on 2 April 1863 and was buried in Ford Graveyard, Smyma Township, Jefferson, IN. James married Carlotta Ratts on 11 October 1888 in Clark, IN. Carlotta was born in September 1860, died on 23 May 1933 in Volga, Smyma Township, Jefferson, IN at age 72, and was buried in Ford Graveyard, Smyma Township, Jefferson, IN.
That has to be her–right? Who knows, maybe this book was a gift from James to the young woman he eventually married. Her son, William Nathan Ford, died in 1996 at age 97. Her grandson, William Nathan Ford, Jr., was born in 1935 or so. He might still be around. Would he be interested in a book his grandmother once owned? Or am I, a stranger, more intrigued by it?
This is where story ideas come from. I’d read a book about a woman who tracks down the descendants of an old book she owns. It could be a mystery with clues that the book provides. It could be a romance with the new owner of the book falling in love with the great-grandson of the original owner. It could be women’s fiction about healing old wounds and finding forgiveness.
Stories are all around us. You don’t even have to write them down to enjoy them.