Friday, August 30, 2019

Fearless Women: Grandmother and Granddaughter by Sally Brandle #fearlessfriday


I have a special place in my heart for grandmothers, maybe because I am one. Please welcome my guest, Sally Brandle, who has that same special spot in her heart.

I imitated the grandmother I never met.

My Irish grandmother, Margaret (Maggie) Mary Gallagher, boarded a steamer for New York in 1902 at the age of nineteen. Seventy-six years later, at twenty-one, I moved from rural Michigan to Seattle. Both of us followed brothers to a new life—a fact I realized upon writing this post. Maggie bid goodbye to her Irish sister and parents in Newcastle. I hesitated to vacate Saginaw, knowing my newly divorced mom-my best friend-would reside alone in our empty childhood home. Mom devoted her life to her family and insisted I pursue my dreams. The saving grace was my other brother who visited Mom daily.

And so, I drove 2,200 miles in my yellow Firebird Formula, towing a turquoise utility trailer. An observer may have concluded the circus was coming to town. At times I hovered on a high wire. My Seattle brother encouraged me and remains a part of my life.

My grandmother
Sadly, Maggie’s brother died in a tragic accident a few months after her arrival in her new country. Maggie dealt with a time period of disdain for the Irish, being a pretty single woman in a huge city, and employment as a domestic servant for the wealthy Gould family. I’d recently graduated from college and acclimation to a bigger city and an unexpected teaching job challenged me. I wish I could’ve spoken to her about shared feelings of insecurity, missing friends and family, and her sense of self. She died during the Great Depression, leaving behind a small metal trunk filled with postcards and a diary of her life in 1907. A photo shows we share a love of riding horseback. Piecing together the snippets of her life into a story will be my tribute to an adventurous woman.

The first three heroines in my Emma Springs series leave Seattle for a new life in a picturesque Montana town. Deep down, do I long for the simplicity of my childhood in scenic Michigan? Hmmm. The book I’m editing now features a thirty-nine-year-old heroine with twin sons in their first year of college. I understand her bittersweet emotion each time
Me on Lance
she ends a phone conversation with them after she’s moved to a job she wasn’t trained for in an unwelcome environment. Her hunky, annoyed employer thought he’d hired a man as his welder. I trained for teaching second and third grade special education and ended up in a high school behavior disorders classroom. At the beginning of the year, a few of my students were my age.

Strong women survive and trust their instincts. That’s what I’ve learned to do over the years, and I hope my books encourage others to do the same. The opening book in the series features a woman who is in the right place at the right time. You’ll understand if you dive into The Hitman’s Mistake.

Happy trails,

Haynet (horse enthusiast) Review:


  1. Thank you, Brenda for a fabulous post. If any of your readers are in the Seattle area on Saturday, October 19th, I'll be womaning a table at the FREE reader event, Passport to Romance. Over 40 authors will be in attendance with free books and swag. It's at the Bellevue Westin from 6-8 PM. Free parking, too.

    1. You are welcome. I'll post your event on my FB page. Good luck!

  2. Ohmygosh - this is a fabulous post. Can't wait to read your story! The strong, smart, brave women who paved the way for us deserve to be honored just like this! Maggie would be very proud of you!

    1. Thank you! Her diary is difficult to read, but I'm making headway. I'll post transcripts on my website. Thank you for commenting, Sally