Aunt Sarah in high school. Brunette and second from left. Doesn't she look every inch the flapper?
In this 1927 photograph, Aunt Sarah (second from the left) is ready to graduate from high school and head off to Ohio State University.
The third girl from the right is wearing bar shoes favored by flappers for staying on your feet while you were dancing.
My aunt's high school scrapbook was full of newspaper articles about a school play, annual auditions for an all-girl debating society, and the outdated attitudes (even for the 1920s) of the male teacher who was its adviser. Fitting these things into the novel made me feel like I was walking in Sarah's footsteps.
An uncle who died mysteriously one night in an automobile accident while my grandfather was driving, the still my bootlegger grandfather built in the attic that threatened to blow his family to kingdom come, the liquor mash that stank of old socks, and the bedroom next to the still Aunt Sarah shared with her sisters--all these memories found their way into the book.