My mother was born in 1828, in Pennsylvania. Her father was this really well-to-do shopkeeper in Pittsburgh. When he heard about the gold strike out in California in 1849, my grandfather Carl sold his business and packed up his whole family and headed for the gold fields. Twenty-one-year-old Elizabeth liked the idea of an adventure out West, but the trip ended in disaster. Her father caught influenza and died in a muddy gold camp only a month after arriving. His wife (my grandmother) immediately packed up the two younger children and returned to Pennsylvania. My mother, however, decided to stay and make a life for herself in the new boom town of San Francisco. She opened a store (I guess Grandfather Carl had taught her well), and being an intelligent woman with a whole lot of common sense, along with her Eastern upbringing as a well-bred lady, she made her store one of the most popular in town.
Of course, this is where my father comes into the picture (I'll write about him some other time). But out of all the young, crazy gold prospectors, Father was different. He never bragged about his gold or spent it on wasteful things. He was saving it up and eventually bought a ranch in the foothills (you can bet I'm glad he did that all those years ago!). To make what could be a long story short, they got married and left San Francisco for the new Circle C ranch. And they pretty much lived happily ever after (until the sad accident when Father was killed).
Mother is very patient with me. I think she sees some of herself in me--even if she won't admit it. When I once asked her why she stayed in California instead of returning home with her mother, she told me she was tired of all the social expectations for women back East and wanted the freedom she had found in the West. I sure can relate to that! But Mother always expects me to act like a Christian young lady, even if she does allow me to dress as I please (as long as I don't step a foot off the ranch in overalls).
I love her a lot!