“It Meant a Change in Plans”

Sally's daffodilMy original plan was a schedule of events that began in March and ended in late September. I was going to come to Oregon for the birth of my first grandchild and stay a couple of weeks to help out afterward.

Then, I planned to go home to host our wine club–this time, the “bold and rich” wines of Bordeaux–and dig into tasks for Happy Landings. I planned to add more quotes from her books, and I needed to find some pages and volume numbers for the reference notes. I planned trips to Wisconsin, Norway, and Sweden over the summer, finishing up in Maine for Emilie Loring’s birthday.

Archive and books
Oh, how I could use my archive now!

When I arrived, all of that still seemed possible, but now, I cannot tell you–to the month, or even to the season–when I will leave Oregon. Had I known, I would have packed differently. I would have brought more clothes, my address book, and regular-sized  toiletries. Even a trunk couldn’t have brought enough of my Emilie Loring archive to do the work I had intended, but I could sure use a suitcase filled with her paperbacks.

It means a change in plans.

Dad and saxophone
Dad would have loved to play in the US Navy Band.

Those words have extra meaning for me. As a young man, my father planned to attend Annapolis and make a career of the Navy. Then, in December of 1933, what seemed like a cold turned to several days of fever, and his legs felt weak. It was polio, his generation’s second viral epidemic. He wrote in his autobiography:

“Polio was a very new disease then, and not much was known about treatment.  It meant a change in plans.”

Although Dad was always a little wistful about the Naval Academy, he became a professor of zoology, traveled the globe, and made a name for himself among scientists in desert regions of the world.

“Do you ever think back and wonder what would have happened had you taken the right turn instead of the left at a certain crossroad?”  A Certain Crossroad

I hadn’t realized it in just this way before, but Emilie Loring’s novels begin with abrupt changes in plans.

The Trail of Conflict – Geraldine Glamorgan is all set to meld her husband’s heritage with her father’s wealth. Then an uncle makes a deathbed demand, and all of a sudden, she’s headed to Wyoming to ride the lonely range on horseback and help her husband succeed on his ranch.

Here Comes the Sun!   Julie Lorraine is headed for Shorehaven, where she hopes to spike her aunt’s matrimonial plans for her, but a cocker spaniel leaps off the train platform, she goes after it, and all of a sudden, she’s pretend-married to an up-and-coming politician.

A Certain Crossroad – Judith wants to get away from her past, but she goes to a coastal village and lands smack dab in the middle of both her past relationship and a smuggling ring.

Emilie Loring described the plot device herself in Fair Tomorrow:

“Mr. A starts for B at the other end of a straight line. Half way he meets C. That contact sidetracks him to D.”

Oregon park
Distancing in Oregon

It’s on to “D” for me: For the foreseeable future, I will live here in Oregon with my daughter, son-in-law, and new granddaughter–lucky me, to have gotten to their house before shelter-in-place orders were announced. We’ll make things work; it’s just a change in plans.

makeshift study
This will work just fine!

Like Lissa Barclay in her lighthouse (Give Me One Summer), I’ve rigged up a workspace in the corner of my bedroom. Outside my window, I can enjoy flowering camellias–red, pink, and white. With neither archive nor books at my disposal, I will fine-tune the flow of Happy Landings–when I’m not holding my granddaughter, that is.

seed catalog
“Besides, I like seeing things grow. To me the most interesting thing in life is trying to do what I have to do superlatively well. Get a tremendous kick out of it.” Gay Courage

Like Emilie’s gardening heroines, I have ordered seeds for a vegetable garden: peas, potatoes, onions, cucumber, squash, and tomatoes. Soon, they will accompany my daughter’s strawberries, raspberries, hula berries and rhubarb.

An Emilie Loring book that relates to my life right now is When Hearts Are Light Again. We plan meals on the findings of our freezer, pantry, and whatever we can get from our list at the grocery store. A la Greg Hunt, I treated the new parents to a steak dinner when they came home from the hospital, exhausted and bleary-eyed from 48 hours in the OB ward. We had no bread or yeast, so I stirred up a batch of sour cream muffins with streusel topping for breakfast.

“When hearts are light again.  That’s a thought for anxious days and wakeful nights.  Just the sound of the word lifts the weight from my spirit and reminds me that the skies always clear.”

We are the authors of our own stories through this pandemic. We are not in control of the plot complications, but we can make resilient choices in the face of them–our changes in plans.

I am sadly aware that many have extraordinarily difficult circumstances to bear right now, and I wish them strength to see it through.

What was the thing which wouldn’t let them give up, which nine times out of ten pulled them through?  Molly B. had it.  So had Tim Grant.  Would it come to her in a desperate need?  Beckoning Trails

We are following curve-flattening protocols here, and so far, we have remained healthy. When this is over, I will add the needed quotes and references to Happy Landings, and my wine club will have some extra-aged Bordeaux to taste.

Until then, I will put my energy into my change in plans. I have a garden to plant, blog posts to write for you, and my first grand-baby to cuddle.

Painted in Waterlogue
My first grand-baby to cuddle

Her name?  Molly B__  I wonder if she’ll be a writer?

Colorized Emilie Loring at her desk
“That means that Molly B.—Madam Stewart to you—has finished her latest whodunit…”

Happy landings, everyone!


16 thoughts on ““It Meant a Change in Plans”

  1. Congratulations on your granddaughter! So glad you are able to be there to help. I gave birth to my first child on March 22, and the hardest thing is that we are on our own and our families can’t visit and help. It breaks my heart that the grandparents are missing her first newborn days. But we have video calls and lots of pictures being sent. Not how I, or I’m sure your daughter, imagined things would go!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congratulations, and welcome to your baby daughter! I feel so fortunate to have gotten here just under the wire—and now, to have this extra time with my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. Photos and video calls help those far away, including the candid, “baby-crying/new mom is exhausted” ones! There’s no blueprint; we’ll figure this out as we go along. So glad you are all safe and well.


  2. Patti, Congratulations on your new granddaughter (granddaughters are the best!). Have you considered ordering a relatively inexpensive set of Emilie Loring books off of ebay to help with your research since you have no way of knowing how long you will need to remain in Oregon? Good luck and stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on your new granddaughter!

    Change of plans, indeed! For the entire world. No exaggeration, there.

    If you need book references, let me know. I can look something up for you. (Many are ebooks too as you know.)

    Welcome to your new reader Beth. Glad to hear her child does not have covid-19, but I assume (s)he’s still ill. Best wishes for recovery. Homeschooling here too these days.

    May we all stay in good health and find productive, happy ways to pass this time of limited activity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Peggy. I may take you up on your offer to check the books for me.

      Homeschooling takes a lot of work. What a nice opportunity, though, to augment the usual curriculum with enriching experiences of your own design or one of the units provided now by specialized entities. I’m a genealogist, but I didn’t know Ancestry had a K-12 program; it’s now available for free. I’d like to see what’s in it.

      Yes, stay healthy, and happy landings!


    2. Thanks for the welcome! My daughter is doing well – she was back to normal by the time we got the test results back – ear infection gone and no more cough! Trying to teach her how to add fractions right now – with unlike denominators. I was in the process of doing this with my 4th grade Title 1 math group when schools closed. Downside of having mom being a former teacher and current educational assistant. My sons’ math (algebra and physics) is a bit more of a challenge. Oregon is not expecting to return to school this year. I have a senior and an 8th grader who are both pretty down about that. I’ve read 3 more books by Emilie the past few days. It’s been great to check out the info about the different books on here as I read them!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Being a teacher gives you a leg up on at-home schooling. I hope a creative combination of virtual and delayed events will help them to still experience their transition celebrations. One of Emilie’s sons was about to be the starting pitcher for Harvard in his junior year, and just like that, they graduated him and sent him off to the Great War. Talk about a change of hopes and dreams! I’ll be interested to hear which books you especially like. In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a post about some of my favorites: https://pattibender.com/2017/09/05/for-her-birthday-my-favorite-emilie-loring-books/


  4. I just discovered your blog the other night. I first read some Emilie Loring books in the late 90s when I started teaching. I don’t even remember how I found her books – used book store when I was looking for Trixie Belden and Grace Livingston Hill? I’m not even sure where those paperbacks are now. In the past month I’ve started “checking them out” via archive.org and read not only ones I remember but many new ones too. I read about 1 a day in the past week as dealt with the anxiety of waiting for my 10 year child’s covid19 test results to come back. I couldn’t focus on much else, so her books were a marvelous escape. Test results came back negative yesterday, thank goodness. And I’ve got 9 books to read. With 3 kids to “home school” starting next week I’m not sure when I’ll fit my reading in, but it is supposed to be rainy here in my part of Oregon. Looking forward to checking out you blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome to the blog and website, Beth! Be sure to check out the “Bookshelf” page that lists all of Emilie Loring’s books and links to posts about them. It also helps you to know when you are reading an original Emilie Loring or one of the (partially) ghostwritten ones.

      It looks like we’ll be neighbors for awhile, both in Oregon. I am glad that your child’s test was clear and hope you will all stay healthy in the coming weeks. Happy reading–both books and blog posts (200+)!


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