Heroine Interview from Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green

» Posted on Jul 4, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off on Heroine Interview from Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green

This week I’m hosting Keli Gwyn with A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, Jocelyn Green with Wedded to War, Cheri Cowell with Parables and Word Pictures from the New Testament (I will forward the entries to the publicist for a 3 basket giveaway. The winners will be contacted by her.) and Margaret Brownley with Dawn Comes Early. If you want to enter the drawings for the books, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at margaretdaley@gmail.com. The drawings end Sunday (July  8th) evening.

Interview with the heroine  from Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green:

1. Charlotte, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

Judging from the scandalized reactions I’ve been getting, I would say my decision to become a nurse. As you certainly are aware, nursing has always been a man’s job, up until the war. But with only 28 surgeons for the whole of the Union army, the medical department was virtually forced to accept help from women. And why not? We are as patriotic and sacrificial as men. I don’t know what shocks people most about this. The fact that we have to give up our hoops under our skirts to be nurses, or the fact that we have to touch strange men to care for them. I, for one, am so grateful for the change to actually do something for once, rather than just sit and look refined. It’s actually the most freeing thing I’ve ever done.

2.  What do you do for fun?

Since the war began I’ve had very little time for leisure activities, but before April 1861, my days were filled with luncheons and tea with the women in my set, my evenings were occupied with operas and balls. But my idea of fun is much more subdued. Reading in the parlor with a cup of tea would suit me just fine.

3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it?

Lately, I’ve been putting off writing to my mother. She’s home in New York City, no doubt worried sick about me and my sister Alice as we tend the sick and wounded here on the hospital transports of the Virginia Peninsula. I know I need to respond to her letters, but in every one of them, she begs me to come home. I am simply running out of ways to say no.

4.  What are you afraid of most in life?

Before I was a nurse, I was most afraid my life would not matter at all. Most of my friends are content to find their purpose in the number of gowns in their dressing rooms or in their role as a wife and mother. Those things aren’t bad. But I can’t help but feel like I can do more than get married and have babies. Actually, I’m not at all convinced I can do either of those things. So you see, I must find purpose elsewhere. Nursing gives that to me.

5.  What do you want out of life?

I answered this in the question above, but I would just emphasize that what I want most out of life is to be part of something bigger than myself. To know at the end of it all that what I did made a difference.

6.  What is the most important thing to you?

Other than the intangible things I’ve already talked about, the single most important possession I have is my late father’s Bible, underlined by his own hand. He died in New York’s cholera epidemic when I was 16, but reading his Bible helps me remember what was important to him. And if it was important to him, it’s important to me.

7.  Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?

Oh yes, of course. I studied literature, history and the Bible in finishing school and seminary and I read all kinds of books, from Frederick Law Olmsted’s Cotton Kingdom, his commentary on the South, to Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Alice tells me I should really read a brand new book by a fellow named Victor Hugo—Les Miserables, I believe is the title—only I haven’t had the time just yet. Nursing on a transport leaves little time for reading anything but my own scribbled notes.

8.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I know exactly what I would change, but I can’t tell you here. It’s very private. Women’s health issues, etc.—it has something to do with why I could never be a perfect wife. We’ll let it rest at that.

9.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?I do indeed. A marmalade and cream-colored cat named Dickens, named in honor of my favorite author. I know it’s very childish of a grown woman to have a pet—pets are for children, everyone knows that. But Dickens was the kitten of my childhood pet, and my father said I should keep him, before he died. Mother hates Dickens, though, so I often wonder how the two of them are getting along back in New York City together.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I would travel back to the time my family was whole, before the cholera epidemic, to see my father again.