Eli & Margaret’s Wedding Day
Fact vs. Fiction
Becoming Herself is historical fiction; translated it includes real historical events. The characters and other events may be based on real life people but the events surrounding their lives may not be real.  Although this book is a story of one woman’s life; it is neither a biography nor a memoire. 
Becoming Herself is set at the turn of the 20th Century when women were protesting to get the right to vote, man was taking to the skies and the world was facing an international conflict unlike one it had ever seen.  These are facts, these events actually occurred.   
Fiction is defined as “an imaginative creation or a pretense that does not represent actuality but has been invented.”  When one pretends, it is a product of the mind, an invention of one’s imagination.
These are facts about Margaret: 
  1. She was my maternal grandmy mother Eva was her 6th child
  2. She was adopted by John and Elizabeth Meyer
  3. She was married to Eli J. George 
  4. She was a farmer’s wife 
  5. She lived in Sheldon, New York 
  6. She was the organist in her church 
  7. She died tragically as a result of a kitchen fire on November 21, 1936 
What my imagination led me to write: 
  1. Eli, as the antagonist for the story, and his behaviors are totally my invention.  According to any record I have read and my own mother’s musings, Eli was the best of men.  He was involved in local politics and elected Sheldon’s Town Supervisor numerous times. 
  2. Leon was their first born son and served in WWII.  He never spoke of his relationship with his father—at least not to me.  The other children are fictional, though you will find the names of my aunts and uncles scattered throughout the story. 
  3. Her brother James and sister Nell have been created for the story only.  There is no record of Margaret having any siblings.  
Mr. and Mrs. Meyer, soon after Margaret was adopted.
And history tells us: 
  1. Women had to fight to get the right to vote.  Alice Paul was real and so was her imprisonment and suffering.   
  2. World War I saw the patriotism of German-Americans questioned in this country. The book burning account was one of my mother’s earliest memories. 
  3. Ireland’s path to independence was troubled with blood, and blame on both sides of the conflict. 
Becoming Herself is a blend of fact and fiction.  Yet in all the hours I have spent introducing Margaret to you, she has become very real to me.  I think of her as a woman with the intellect and drive to want to carve out a place in the world that was not ready for that sculpture to exist.  I am not sure if Margaret was invention or inspiration.  It is, however, the thought of her that lit the flame for this book. 







Picture of the neighborhood children. My mother Eva is pictured
in the front row with her thumb in her mouth.

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