Too young to marry?

Barbie_fur_coat From Loretta:
Some years ago I wrote a novella, “The Mad Earl’s Bride,” for an anthology titled THREE WEDDINGS AND A KISS.  The Big Name on the cover was Katheleen E. Woodiwiss, and the book rocketed to the top of all the bestseller lists.  I’m not sure it ever went out of print, but whether it did or didn’t it’s decidedly in print now.  Wench Susan/Miranda called me from a Borders bookstore to tell me it was being pushed to the front of the store.  This month it’s part of their Buy 4 get 1 Free deal.

All of which fits in nicely with today’s bridal theme.

ThreeweddingssmSharon Baumgartner is going to win an autographed Loretta Chase book for asking the following question:
It seems like most of the heroines in historical romances are 18, 19, 20.  There are some older, but usually those are referred to as being VERY old to be still looking for a husband and pretty much firmly "on the shelf".  When my daughter was 18 or 19, I would have been very concerned about her getting married, thinking that she was not at all mature enough for taking that step.  I know that a lot of marriages back in the Regency era (or whatever era the historical might be set in) were arranged by the families for reasons having nothing to do with personal selection (except in our favorite books, of course).  But my question is were the young women back then that much more mature than girls today?  Even if they had been trained to do all of the things to run a household, etc., that they were expected to do, would they have been emotionally ready for marriage?  Or do authors give them the correct age for marrying at the time but write them with more maturity?

Bride_groom Let me start by saying that my paternal grandmother was married by parental arrangement when she was fourteen years old.  My maternal grandmother married for love (it was a shocking thing to do in Albania at that time) when she was sixteen.  In those days, the bride went to live in the groom’s household where his mother ruled and her daughters-in-law did what they were told.  This happened in the 20th century.  Were my grandmothers more mature than today’s 16-year-old girl?  Possibly.  Or maybe not.  Maybe they simply had less freedom and fewer choices.  And maybe maturity depends on the girl.
Mother_child

In my grandmothers’ time and place, girls didn’t have a lot of choices.  They got married and had children.  They would have been trained for marriage:  how to run a household, cook & clean& sew & so forth–or (depending on socioeconomic class) supervise those who did.  So they were better prepared for marriage than today’s average American sixteen-year-old.

Brock_pride_and_prejudicewk When creating women for my stories, I assume that, while manner and mores change, young women of two hundred years ago must have something in common with those of today.  Some girls are mature and responsible at a young age.  Then there are the ones like Lydia Bennett of PRIDE & PREJUDICE.  It’s hard to imagine Lydia ever maturing, isn’t it?  Look at her sisters Jane and Elizabeth.  They’re in their early twenties, and far more mature than their mother.

Mature or not, most women needed to marry, and the simple fact was and is, young women–generally speaking–are more attractive to men–generally speaking.  Look at all those Gidget & Geezer movies.  Look at all those Gidget & Geezer marriages in the land of millionaires and movie stars.  Do the Geezers care if their Gidgets are mature?

Soldiers_lady Women had then, as many do today, a real fear that past a certain magical age (past their “first bloom”), they would become unappealing or invisible to men.  This is a truly worrisome prospect for some families, absolutely, in the Regency era.   Think about Mrs. Bennett, frantic to get her daughters married ASAP.  She had a genuine economic concern:  When her husband died, she & her girls could be thrown out of their house, as was the case with the Dashwood women in SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.  Think of the sorry plight of genteel but impoverished single women of this time.  How do they support themselves?  Mostly, they can’t.  Mostly, they depend on others.  Being “on the shelf” wasn’t simply rejection; it could be a financial catastrophe. 

Anabella_milbankewk In Judith Schneid Lewis’s IN THE FAMILY WAY: Childbearing in the British Aristocracy 1750-1860, I find ladies marrying from the age of 15 (Elizabeth, Lady Holland, b 1771) to 37 (Susan, Marchioness of Stafford, b 1731).  Princess Charlotte, King George IV’s heir, married at age 20.  Queen Victoria was 21.  The majority were married between the ages of 18 and 20, but there are quite a few marrying in their early to mid-twenties.  Anne Isabella Milbanke was 23 when she married Lord Byron.

Mainly, though, as in the books Sharon refers to, upper class women were marrying at 18, 19, 20.  And from what I’ve read, they were at about the same maturity level as young women of 18, 19, and 20 today.  The difference is that they were expected to get married at that age and were trained to be wives and mothers as well as in the duties of the lady of the house.

Bride I’ve made my heroines various ages but tend toward older heroines–mid to late twenties, and one heroine (Mirabel of MISS WONDERFUL )thirty-one.  This is mainly because I simply find them more interesting when they have some life experience.  And that’s why, too, a number of my heroines are widows.   Whatever their age, I’ve made them mature, though I try to show why they might be more so or more responsible than other girls of their social class and age.  Being left motherless at a young age, being educated in an unusual way, having to fend for oneself, having to cope with a distant or psychologically troubled parent, etc.–these are all ways of giving a character maturity beyond her years.  Gwendolyn Adams, the heroine of “The Mad Earl’s Bride,” is one such character.  She needs to be levelheaded and mature, because the arranged marriage she agrees to is a very challenging one.

This is a big topic, and other Wenches might be addressing it in weeks to come.  But for now I'd like to hear your views on any of the matters I've touched on.  For instance, do you think young women were/are emotionally ready for marriage at 18, 19, 20?  How do you feel about young heroines?  Do you think young women 100-200 years ago were or weren’t like young women of today?

160 thoughts on “Too young to marry?”

  1. I think one reason they wanted to marry younger women is that they assumed that once they got into their mid-twenties, they’d be less fertile; and one of the main reasons for marriage was usually to get the heir and the spare. I don’t know if this was true or not: such things as size, health, and the onset of menarche tend to be functions of nutrition and general health. The daughters of the ton would be able to have access to ample food; but then they were the ones most likely to be on silly diets, like Lord Byron’s famous potatoes-and-vinegar regimen.
    I think it was on this blog that I once mentioned the gravestones I’d seen in the original Jamestown Colony churchyard: a man who died at around the age of 52 (pretty good for that time and place, considering that they planted the colony in a fever swamp) and the three wives who predeceased him, none of whom got past 21.
    And we must remember too that a lot of the women who went west in Conestoga wagons to settle the frontier weren’t out of their teens yet.
    BTW, in case anyone is interested, I’ve started posting on my blog again.

    Reply
  2. I think one reason they wanted to marry younger women is that they assumed that once they got into their mid-twenties, they’d be less fertile; and one of the main reasons for marriage was usually to get the heir and the spare. I don’t know if this was true or not: such things as size, health, and the onset of menarche tend to be functions of nutrition and general health. The daughters of the ton would be able to have access to ample food; but then they were the ones most likely to be on silly diets, like Lord Byron’s famous potatoes-and-vinegar regimen.
    I think it was on this blog that I once mentioned the gravestones I’d seen in the original Jamestown Colony churchyard: a man who died at around the age of 52 (pretty good for that time and place, considering that they planted the colony in a fever swamp) and the three wives who predeceased him, none of whom got past 21.
    And we must remember too that a lot of the women who went west in Conestoga wagons to settle the frontier weren’t out of their teens yet.
    BTW, in case anyone is interested, I’ve started posting on my blog again.

    Reply
  3. I think one reason they wanted to marry younger women is that they assumed that once they got into their mid-twenties, they’d be less fertile; and one of the main reasons for marriage was usually to get the heir and the spare. I don’t know if this was true or not: such things as size, health, and the onset of menarche tend to be functions of nutrition and general health. The daughters of the ton would be able to have access to ample food; but then they were the ones most likely to be on silly diets, like Lord Byron’s famous potatoes-and-vinegar regimen.
    I think it was on this blog that I once mentioned the gravestones I’d seen in the original Jamestown Colony churchyard: a man who died at around the age of 52 (pretty good for that time and place, considering that they planted the colony in a fever swamp) and the three wives who predeceased him, none of whom got past 21.
    And we must remember too that a lot of the women who went west in Conestoga wagons to settle the frontier weren’t out of their teens yet.
    BTW, in case anyone is interested, I’ve started posting on my blog again.

    Reply
  4. I think one reason they wanted to marry younger women is that they assumed that once they got into their mid-twenties, they’d be less fertile; and one of the main reasons for marriage was usually to get the heir and the spare. I don’t know if this was true or not: such things as size, health, and the onset of menarche tend to be functions of nutrition and general health. The daughters of the ton would be able to have access to ample food; but then they were the ones most likely to be on silly diets, like Lord Byron’s famous potatoes-and-vinegar regimen.
    I think it was on this blog that I once mentioned the gravestones I’d seen in the original Jamestown Colony churchyard: a man who died at around the age of 52 (pretty good for that time and place, considering that they planted the colony in a fever swamp) and the three wives who predeceased him, none of whom got past 21.
    And we must remember too that a lot of the women who went west in Conestoga wagons to settle the frontier weren’t out of their teens yet.
    BTW, in case anyone is interested, I’ve started posting on my blog again.

    Reply
  5. I think one reason they wanted to marry younger women is that they assumed that once they got into their mid-twenties, they’d be less fertile; and one of the main reasons for marriage was usually to get the heir and the spare. I don’t know if this was true or not: such things as size, health, and the onset of menarche tend to be functions of nutrition and general health. The daughters of the ton would be able to have access to ample food; but then they were the ones most likely to be on silly diets, like Lord Byron’s famous potatoes-and-vinegar regimen.
    I think it was on this blog that I once mentioned the gravestones I’d seen in the original Jamestown Colony churchyard: a man who died at around the age of 52 (pretty good for that time and place, considering that they planted the colony in a fever swamp) and the three wives who predeceased him, none of whom got past 21.
    And we must remember too that a lot of the women who went west in Conestoga wagons to settle the frontier weren’t out of their teens yet.
    BTW, in case anyone is interested, I’ve started posting on my blog again.

    Reply
  6. “For instance, do you think young women were/are emotionally ready for marriage at 18, 19, 20? How do you feel about young heroines?”
    As I met my husband when I was 18 and got married to him when I was 22, I don’t have any trouble believing that people can be emotionally ready for marriage at that age. Quite a few other couples I know who went to the same university also met and married at around the same time/at similar ages.
    I think this may be one of the reasons why I can’t understand the appeal of a lot of chick lit (apart from the fact that I have no interest in fashion). I was already engaged to be married when I got my first job, so I’m probably a “smug married” and have been most of my adult life.

    Reply
  7. “For instance, do you think young women were/are emotionally ready for marriage at 18, 19, 20? How do you feel about young heroines?”
    As I met my husband when I was 18 and got married to him when I was 22, I don’t have any trouble believing that people can be emotionally ready for marriage at that age. Quite a few other couples I know who went to the same university also met and married at around the same time/at similar ages.
    I think this may be one of the reasons why I can’t understand the appeal of a lot of chick lit (apart from the fact that I have no interest in fashion). I was already engaged to be married when I got my first job, so I’m probably a “smug married” and have been most of my adult life.

    Reply
  8. “For instance, do you think young women were/are emotionally ready for marriage at 18, 19, 20? How do you feel about young heroines?”
    As I met my husband when I was 18 and got married to him when I was 22, I don’t have any trouble believing that people can be emotionally ready for marriage at that age. Quite a few other couples I know who went to the same university also met and married at around the same time/at similar ages.
    I think this may be one of the reasons why I can’t understand the appeal of a lot of chick lit (apart from the fact that I have no interest in fashion). I was already engaged to be married when I got my first job, so I’m probably a “smug married” and have been most of my adult life.

    Reply
  9. “For instance, do you think young women were/are emotionally ready for marriage at 18, 19, 20? How do you feel about young heroines?”
    As I met my husband when I was 18 and got married to him when I was 22, I don’t have any trouble believing that people can be emotionally ready for marriage at that age. Quite a few other couples I know who went to the same university also met and married at around the same time/at similar ages.
    I think this may be one of the reasons why I can’t understand the appeal of a lot of chick lit (apart from the fact that I have no interest in fashion). I was already engaged to be married when I got my first job, so I’m probably a “smug married” and have been most of my adult life.

    Reply
  10. “For instance, do you think young women were/are emotionally ready for marriage at 18, 19, 20? How do you feel about young heroines?”
    As I met my husband when I was 18 and got married to him when I was 22, I don’t have any trouble believing that people can be emotionally ready for marriage at that age. Quite a few other couples I know who went to the same university also met and married at around the same time/at similar ages.
    I think this may be one of the reasons why I can’t understand the appeal of a lot of chick lit (apart from the fact that I have no interest in fashion). I was already engaged to be married when I got my first job, so I’m probably a “smug married” and have been most of my adult life.

    Reply
  11. It seems to me like having a successful marriage at such a young age is more a matter of luck than judgement. I don’t find such young people so interesting to read about because from my age now they seem like idiots!
    So, though I’m all for historical accuracy, I’m not attracted towards reading books with a young heroine. If they’re accurately written then girls are infuriatingly naive. Give me a mature heroine with experience and wit. Then you can match them with an equally interesting hero…which leads us back to The Mad Earl’s Bride.

    Reply
  12. It seems to me like having a successful marriage at such a young age is more a matter of luck than judgement. I don’t find such young people so interesting to read about because from my age now they seem like idiots!
    So, though I’m all for historical accuracy, I’m not attracted towards reading books with a young heroine. If they’re accurately written then girls are infuriatingly naive. Give me a mature heroine with experience and wit. Then you can match them with an equally interesting hero…which leads us back to The Mad Earl’s Bride.

    Reply
  13. It seems to me like having a successful marriage at such a young age is more a matter of luck than judgement. I don’t find such young people so interesting to read about because from my age now they seem like idiots!
    So, though I’m all for historical accuracy, I’m not attracted towards reading books with a young heroine. If they’re accurately written then girls are infuriatingly naive. Give me a mature heroine with experience and wit. Then you can match them with an equally interesting hero…which leads us back to The Mad Earl’s Bride.

    Reply
  14. It seems to me like having a successful marriage at such a young age is more a matter of luck than judgement. I don’t find such young people so interesting to read about because from my age now they seem like idiots!
    So, though I’m all for historical accuracy, I’m not attracted towards reading books with a young heroine. If they’re accurately written then girls are infuriatingly naive. Give me a mature heroine with experience and wit. Then you can match them with an equally interesting hero…which leads us back to The Mad Earl’s Bride.

    Reply
  15. It seems to me like having a successful marriage at such a young age is more a matter of luck than judgement. I don’t find such young people so interesting to read about because from my age now they seem like idiots!
    So, though I’m all for historical accuracy, I’m not attracted towards reading books with a young heroine. If they’re accurately written then girls are infuriatingly naive. Give me a mature heroine with experience and wit. Then you can match them with an equally interesting hero…which leads us back to The Mad Earl’s Bride.

    Reply
  16. “If they’re accurately written then girls are infuriatingly naive. Give me a mature heroine with experience and wit.”
    It depends on the girls and women, I think. A younger woman may have had fewer life experiences than an older one (and she may have had more, depending on what she’s been through as a child), but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s naive. Conversely, as Loretta says, some older women (like Mrs Bennet, or Lydia Bennet as she ages) may grow older but not become any less silly as they age.

    Reply
  17. “If they’re accurately written then girls are infuriatingly naive. Give me a mature heroine with experience and wit.”
    It depends on the girls and women, I think. A younger woman may have had fewer life experiences than an older one (and she may have had more, depending on what she’s been through as a child), but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s naive. Conversely, as Loretta says, some older women (like Mrs Bennet, or Lydia Bennet as she ages) may grow older but not become any less silly as they age.

    Reply
  18. “If they’re accurately written then girls are infuriatingly naive. Give me a mature heroine with experience and wit.”
    It depends on the girls and women, I think. A younger woman may have had fewer life experiences than an older one (and she may have had more, depending on what she’s been through as a child), but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s naive. Conversely, as Loretta says, some older women (like Mrs Bennet, or Lydia Bennet as she ages) may grow older but not become any less silly as they age.

    Reply
  19. “If they’re accurately written then girls are infuriatingly naive. Give me a mature heroine with experience and wit.”
    It depends on the girls and women, I think. A younger woman may have had fewer life experiences than an older one (and she may have had more, depending on what she’s been through as a child), but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s naive. Conversely, as Loretta says, some older women (like Mrs Bennet, or Lydia Bennet as she ages) may grow older but not become any less silly as they age.

    Reply
  20. “If they’re accurately written then girls are infuriatingly naive. Give me a mature heroine with experience and wit.”
    It depends on the girls and women, I think. A younger woman may have had fewer life experiences than an older one (and she may have had more, depending on what she’s been through as a child), but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s naive. Conversely, as Loretta says, some older women (like Mrs Bennet, or Lydia Bennet as she ages) may grow older but not become any less silly as they age.

    Reply
  21. I found my interest in young heroines decreasing as I got older, now I can barely read a book if she is 18 or younger (especially younger). I can, however, remember what I was like at 18 and I thought I was pretty mature, but when I reflect back on some of the thoughts that went through my mind at that age, I know I wasn’t.
    I also don’t like to read books where there is a large age difference between the couple, even though my own grandparents were 11 years apart. While I have memories of both of them, I don’t remember them being deliriously happy and when I look at the old photographs of them, I can find only one in which my grandmother had a faint smile on her face. I think they had a volatile relationship, he seemed to be pretty domineering and she didn’t take much crap from him.
    For some reason, everytime I read a book with a large age difference, I always have a tendancy to think of Prince Charles and Diana.

    Reply
  22. I found my interest in young heroines decreasing as I got older, now I can barely read a book if she is 18 or younger (especially younger). I can, however, remember what I was like at 18 and I thought I was pretty mature, but when I reflect back on some of the thoughts that went through my mind at that age, I know I wasn’t.
    I also don’t like to read books where there is a large age difference between the couple, even though my own grandparents were 11 years apart. While I have memories of both of them, I don’t remember them being deliriously happy and when I look at the old photographs of them, I can find only one in which my grandmother had a faint smile on her face. I think they had a volatile relationship, he seemed to be pretty domineering and she didn’t take much crap from him.
    For some reason, everytime I read a book with a large age difference, I always have a tendancy to think of Prince Charles and Diana.

    Reply
  23. I found my interest in young heroines decreasing as I got older, now I can barely read a book if she is 18 or younger (especially younger). I can, however, remember what I was like at 18 and I thought I was pretty mature, but when I reflect back on some of the thoughts that went through my mind at that age, I know I wasn’t.
    I also don’t like to read books where there is a large age difference between the couple, even though my own grandparents were 11 years apart. While I have memories of both of them, I don’t remember them being deliriously happy and when I look at the old photographs of them, I can find only one in which my grandmother had a faint smile on her face. I think they had a volatile relationship, he seemed to be pretty domineering and she didn’t take much crap from him.
    For some reason, everytime I read a book with a large age difference, I always have a tendancy to think of Prince Charles and Diana.

    Reply
  24. I found my interest in young heroines decreasing as I got older, now I can barely read a book if she is 18 or younger (especially younger). I can, however, remember what I was like at 18 and I thought I was pretty mature, but when I reflect back on some of the thoughts that went through my mind at that age, I know I wasn’t.
    I also don’t like to read books where there is a large age difference between the couple, even though my own grandparents were 11 years apart. While I have memories of both of them, I don’t remember them being deliriously happy and when I look at the old photographs of them, I can find only one in which my grandmother had a faint smile on her face. I think they had a volatile relationship, he seemed to be pretty domineering and she didn’t take much crap from him.
    For some reason, everytime I read a book with a large age difference, I always have a tendancy to think of Prince Charles and Diana.

    Reply
  25. I found my interest in young heroines decreasing as I got older, now I can barely read a book if she is 18 or younger (especially younger). I can, however, remember what I was like at 18 and I thought I was pretty mature, but when I reflect back on some of the thoughts that went through my mind at that age, I know I wasn’t.
    I also don’t like to read books where there is a large age difference between the couple, even though my own grandparents were 11 years apart. While I have memories of both of them, I don’t remember them being deliriously happy and when I look at the old photographs of them, I can find only one in which my grandmother had a faint smile on her face. I think they had a volatile relationship, he seemed to be pretty domineering and she didn’t take much crap from him.
    For some reason, everytime I read a book with a large age difference, I always have a tendancy to think of Prince Charles and Diana.

    Reply
  26. Life experiences, grief, and early responsibilities tend to age us. I’m amazed at how immature some modern women are at 25 or more, but they have been dependents much longer than people were in earlier times. If aristocracy were marrying at 18 or 19, think of the men who went to sea at 10 or 11 years old, or the lower class children who were earning their living in factories at 8 or 9. Most people had experienced the death of a parent or sibling by the time they were 20. You grew up quicker in those days, I think. That is why our founding fathers set the voting age at 21. They thought that was old enoughto make mature, rational decisons about the candidates. HA!
    But even as late as my generation (baby boomers) many girls married right out of high school. You were just expected to enter into adult responsibilities as soon as your education was completed. I don’t think girls of earlier times were more mature- I think girls of the present are LESS mature- they go to school longer and are under less pressure to marry and have kids, so now they have a longer adolescence. Since we live into our 80’s, why not enjoy your youth as long as possible?

    Reply
  27. Life experiences, grief, and early responsibilities tend to age us. I’m amazed at how immature some modern women are at 25 or more, but they have been dependents much longer than people were in earlier times. If aristocracy were marrying at 18 or 19, think of the men who went to sea at 10 or 11 years old, or the lower class children who were earning their living in factories at 8 or 9. Most people had experienced the death of a parent or sibling by the time they were 20. You grew up quicker in those days, I think. That is why our founding fathers set the voting age at 21. They thought that was old enoughto make mature, rational decisons about the candidates. HA!
    But even as late as my generation (baby boomers) many girls married right out of high school. You were just expected to enter into adult responsibilities as soon as your education was completed. I don’t think girls of earlier times were more mature- I think girls of the present are LESS mature- they go to school longer and are under less pressure to marry and have kids, so now they have a longer adolescence. Since we live into our 80’s, why not enjoy your youth as long as possible?

    Reply
  28. Life experiences, grief, and early responsibilities tend to age us. I’m amazed at how immature some modern women are at 25 or more, but they have been dependents much longer than people were in earlier times. If aristocracy were marrying at 18 or 19, think of the men who went to sea at 10 or 11 years old, or the lower class children who were earning their living in factories at 8 or 9. Most people had experienced the death of a parent or sibling by the time they were 20. You grew up quicker in those days, I think. That is why our founding fathers set the voting age at 21. They thought that was old enoughto make mature, rational decisons about the candidates. HA!
    But even as late as my generation (baby boomers) many girls married right out of high school. You were just expected to enter into adult responsibilities as soon as your education was completed. I don’t think girls of earlier times were more mature- I think girls of the present are LESS mature- they go to school longer and are under less pressure to marry and have kids, so now they have a longer adolescence. Since we live into our 80’s, why not enjoy your youth as long as possible?

    Reply
  29. Life experiences, grief, and early responsibilities tend to age us. I’m amazed at how immature some modern women are at 25 or more, but they have been dependents much longer than people were in earlier times. If aristocracy were marrying at 18 or 19, think of the men who went to sea at 10 or 11 years old, or the lower class children who were earning their living in factories at 8 or 9. Most people had experienced the death of a parent or sibling by the time they were 20. You grew up quicker in those days, I think. That is why our founding fathers set the voting age at 21. They thought that was old enoughto make mature, rational decisons about the candidates. HA!
    But even as late as my generation (baby boomers) many girls married right out of high school. You were just expected to enter into adult responsibilities as soon as your education was completed. I don’t think girls of earlier times were more mature- I think girls of the present are LESS mature- they go to school longer and are under less pressure to marry and have kids, so now they have a longer adolescence. Since we live into our 80’s, why not enjoy your youth as long as possible?

    Reply
  30. Life experiences, grief, and early responsibilities tend to age us. I’m amazed at how immature some modern women are at 25 or more, but they have been dependents much longer than people were in earlier times. If aristocracy were marrying at 18 or 19, think of the men who went to sea at 10 or 11 years old, or the lower class children who were earning their living in factories at 8 or 9. Most people had experienced the death of a parent or sibling by the time they were 20. You grew up quicker in those days, I think. That is why our founding fathers set the voting age at 21. They thought that was old enoughto make mature, rational decisons about the candidates. HA!
    But even as late as my generation (baby boomers) many girls married right out of high school. You were just expected to enter into adult responsibilities as soon as your education was completed. I don’t think girls of earlier times were more mature- I think girls of the present are LESS mature- they go to school longer and are under less pressure to marry and have kids, so now they have a longer adolescence. Since we live into our 80’s, why not enjoy your youth as long as possible?

    Reply
  31. I think it has everything to do with the responsibilities placed upon them at the time. Even children today run the gamut.
    I don’t mind an age difference at all, even as I mature. It simply gives the author a bit more work to do, to convince me the couple is meant to be together.
    I think some people are born with ‘old souls’ and the maturity is always there, so marriage at 17 or 18 would be perfectly acceptable.
    I also assume sexual interest played into the equation, and it would have been so much simpler and safer to have your young daughters married than worry about an out-of-wedlock child. Or was this not a factor?

    Reply
  32. I think it has everything to do with the responsibilities placed upon them at the time. Even children today run the gamut.
    I don’t mind an age difference at all, even as I mature. It simply gives the author a bit more work to do, to convince me the couple is meant to be together.
    I think some people are born with ‘old souls’ and the maturity is always there, so marriage at 17 or 18 would be perfectly acceptable.
    I also assume sexual interest played into the equation, and it would have been so much simpler and safer to have your young daughters married than worry about an out-of-wedlock child. Or was this not a factor?

    Reply
  33. I think it has everything to do with the responsibilities placed upon them at the time. Even children today run the gamut.
    I don’t mind an age difference at all, even as I mature. It simply gives the author a bit more work to do, to convince me the couple is meant to be together.
    I think some people are born with ‘old souls’ and the maturity is always there, so marriage at 17 or 18 would be perfectly acceptable.
    I also assume sexual interest played into the equation, and it would have been so much simpler and safer to have your young daughters married than worry about an out-of-wedlock child. Or was this not a factor?

    Reply
  34. I think it has everything to do with the responsibilities placed upon them at the time. Even children today run the gamut.
    I don’t mind an age difference at all, even as I mature. It simply gives the author a bit more work to do, to convince me the couple is meant to be together.
    I think some people are born with ‘old souls’ and the maturity is always there, so marriage at 17 or 18 would be perfectly acceptable.
    I also assume sexual interest played into the equation, and it would have been so much simpler and safer to have your young daughters married than worry about an out-of-wedlock child. Or was this not a factor?

    Reply
  35. I think it has everything to do with the responsibilities placed upon them at the time. Even children today run the gamut.
    I don’t mind an age difference at all, even as I mature. It simply gives the author a bit more work to do, to convince me the couple is meant to be together.
    I think some people are born with ‘old souls’ and the maturity is always there, so marriage at 17 or 18 would be perfectly acceptable.
    I also assume sexual interest played into the equation, and it would have been so much simpler and safer to have your young daughters married than worry about an out-of-wedlock child. Or was this not a factor?

    Reply
  36. What an excellent topic. I, too, prefer “older” heroines (may be because I am “older” myself– and getting older by the minute). I agree that historically younger brides were probably medically preferable– too many died young, whether due to childbirth or illness or accident. I suppose in part what I really like is a certain degree of reflection– or self-knowledge– in characters. That’s why I/we like the older Bennett sisters, rather than the silly younger ones.

    Reply
  37. What an excellent topic. I, too, prefer “older” heroines (may be because I am “older” myself– and getting older by the minute). I agree that historically younger brides were probably medically preferable– too many died young, whether due to childbirth or illness or accident. I suppose in part what I really like is a certain degree of reflection– or self-knowledge– in characters. That’s why I/we like the older Bennett sisters, rather than the silly younger ones.

    Reply
  38. What an excellent topic. I, too, prefer “older” heroines (may be because I am “older” myself– and getting older by the minute). I agree that historically younger brides were probably medically preferable– too many died young, whether due to childbirth or illness or accident. I suppose in part what I really like is a certain degree of reflection– or self-knowledge– in characters. That’s why I/we like the older Bennett sisters, rather than the silly younger ones.

    Reply
  39. What an excellent topic. I, too, prefer “older” heroines (may be because I am “older” myself– and getting older by the minute). I agree that historically younger brides were probably medically preferable– too many died young, whether due to childbirth or illness or accident. I suppose in part what I really like is a certain degree of reflection– or self-knowledge– in characters. That’s why I/we like the older Bennett sisters, rather than the silly younger ones.

    Reply
  40. What an excellent topic. I, too, prefer “older” heroines (may be because I am “older” myself– and getting older by the minute). I agree that historically younger brides were probably medically preferable– too many died young, whether due to childbirth or illness or accident. I suppose in part what I really like is a certain degree of reflection– or self-knowledge– in characters. That’s why I/we like the older Bennett sisters, rather than the silly younger ones.

    Reply
  41. I suspect that in terms of life experience, females today are a lot more advanced than those 200 years ago, but I don’t think that necessarily makes them more *mature*. I would hazard a guess that the Regency 18-year-old was a lot better prepared for doing her “duty” (can you imagine today’s teenagers’ expressions if you even offered them such a reason for a given action?) and accepting an adult version of proper behavior.
    I remember a brief debate I once had with a British editor, who thought it rather hubristic of the distinctly thirtyish Emma Thompson to play 19-year old Elinor in “Sense and Sensibility.” My reply: Elinor Dashwood doesn’t *behave* like any 19-year-old I ever met.
    My point, if I have one (?), is that I don’t much care what age you tell your reader the heroine is, as long as she’s mature enough, insightful enough, lively enough, etc. to interest ME.

    Reply
  42. I suspect that in terms of life experience, females today are a lot more advanced than those 200 years ago, but I don’t think that necessarily makes them more *mature*. I would hazard a guess that the Regency 18-year-old was a lot better prepared for doing her “duty” (can you imagine today’s teenagers’ expressions if you even offered them such a reason for a given action?) and accepting an adult version of proper behavior.
    I remember a brief debate I once had with a British editor, who thought it rather hubristic of the distinctly thirtyish Emma Thompson to play 19-year old Elinor in “Sense and Sensibility.” My reply: Elinor Dashwood doesn’t *behave* like any 19-year-old I ever met.
    My point, if I have one (?), is that I don’t much care what age you tell your reader the heroine is, as long as she’s mature enough, insightful enough, lively enough, etc. to interest ME.

    Reply
  43. I suspect that in terms of life experience, females today are a lot more advanced than those 200 years ago, but I don’t think that necessarily makes them more *mature*. I would hazard a guess that the Regency 18-year-old was a lot better prepared for doing her “duty” (can you imagine today’s teenagers’ expressions if you even offered them such a reason for a given action?) and accepting an adult version of proper behavior.
    I remember a brief debate I once had with a British editor, who thought it rather hubristic of the distinctly thirtyish Emma Thompson to play 19-year old Elinor in “Sense and Sensibility.” My reply: Elinor Dashwood doesn’t *behave* like any 19-year-old I ever met.
    My point, if I have one (?), is that I don’t much care what age you tell your reader the heroine is, as long as she’s mature enough, insightful enough, lively enough, etc. to interest ME.

    Reply
  44. I suspect that in terms of life experience, females today are a lot more advanced than those 200 years ago, but I don’t think that necessarily makes them more *mature*. I would hazard a guess that the Regency 18-year-old was a lot better prepared for doing her “duty” (can you imagine today’s teenagers’ expressions if you even offered them such a reason for a given action?) and accepting an adult version of proper behavior.
    I remember a brief debate I once had with a British editor, who thought it rather hubristic of the distinctly thirtyish Emma Thompson to play 19-year old Elinor in “Sense and Sensibility.” My reply: Elinor Dashwood doesn’t *behave* like any 19-year-old I ever met.
    My point, if I have one (?), is that I don’t much care what age you tell your reader the heroine is, as long as she’s mature enough, insightful enough, lively enough, etc. to interest ME.

    Reply
  45. I suspect that in terms of life experience, females today are a lot more advanced than those 200 years ago, but I don’t think that necessarily makes them more *mature*. I would hazard a guess that the Regency 18-year-old was a lot better prepared for doing her “duty” (can you imagine today’s teenagers’ expressions if you even offered them such a reason for a given action?) and accepting an adult version of proper behavior.
    I remember a brief debate I once had with a British editor, who thought it rather hubristic of the distinctly thirtyish Emma Thompson to play 19-year old Elinor in “Sense and Sensibility.” My reply: Elinor Dashwood doesn’t *behave* like any 19-year-old I ever met.
    My point, if I have one (?), is that I don’t much care what age you tell your reader the heroine is, as long as she’s mature enough, insightful enough, lively enough, etc. to interest ME.

    Reply
  46. Hi, Talpianna, glad to see you back again!
    I agree with Gillian about the Old Souls. Whatever reason you’d like to give, some people mature faster than others. I married while still in college, and there was nothing naive about me. Still married to the same man and about to celebrate a many decade anniversary.
    As to the men marrying younger women–I believe I’ve read in some materials from the period that some men preferred to “train” a wife and a young woman was much more malleable. Yuck. But there you have it.

    Reply
  47. Hi, Talpianna, glad to see you back again!
    I agree with Gillian about the Old Souls. Whatever reason you’d like to give, some people mature faster than others. I married while still in college, and there was nothing naive about me. Still married to the same man and about to celebrate a many decade anniversary.
    As to the men marrying younger women–I believe I’ve read in some materials from the period that some men preferred to “train” a wife and a young woman was much more malleable. Yuck. But there you have it.

    Reply
  48. Hi, Talpianna, glad to see you back again!
    I agree with Gillian about the Old Souls. Whatever reason you’d like to give, some people mature faster than others. I married while still in college, and there was nothing naive about me. Still married to the same man and about to celebrate a many decade anniversary.
    As to the men marrying younger women–I believe I’ve read in some materials from the period that some men preferred to “train” a wife and a young woman was much more malleable. Yuck. But there you have it.

    Reply
  49. Hi, Talpianna, glad to see you back again!
    I agree with Gillian about the Old Souls. Whatever reason you’d like to give, some people mature faster than others. I married while still in college, and there was nothing naive about me. Still married to the same man and about to celebrate a many decade anniversary.
    As to the men marrying younger women–I believe I’ve read in some materials from the period that some men preferred to “train” a wife and a young woman was much more malleable. Yuck. But there you have it.

    Reply
  50. Hi, Talpianna, glad to see you back again!
    I agree with Gillian about the Old Souls. Whatever reason you’d like to give, some people mature faster than others. I married while still in college, and there was nothing naive about me. Still married to the same man and about to celebrate a many decade anniversary.
    As to the men marrying younger women–I believe I’ve read in some materials from the period that some men preferred to “train” a wife and a young woman was much more malleable. Yuck. But there you have it.

    Reply
  51. Oh but the possibilities in a romance, Patricia! She could turn the lessons on their head and “train” him, instead. I just love the thought of all that conflict.

    Reply
  52. Oh but the possibilities in a romance, Patricia! She could turn the lessons on their head and “train” him, instead. I just love the thought of all that conflict.

    Reply
  53. Oh but the possibilities in a romance, Patricia! She could turn the lessons on their head and “train” him, instead. I just love the thought of all that conflict.

    Reply
  54. Oh but the possibilities in a romance, Patricia! She could turn the lessons on their head and “train” him, instead. I just love the thought of all that conflict.

    Reply
  55. Oh but the possibilities in a romance, Patricia! She could turn the lessons on their head and “train” him, instead. I just love the thought of all that conflict.

    Reply
  56. I don’t mind young heroines if the hero is also young, but I don’t like large age differences. If a 36 y.o. hero marries a heroine half his age, it implies there was something wrong with all the 20-and 30-somethings in his universe. I find the thought that women are over the hill once out of their teens immensely sad. I wonder if one reason there are so many gravestones for those very young wives is precisely because they were so young when they bore their first child. Plus, the concept of the much younger trophy wife mirrors too much of the Real World, where Donald Trump is not my hero but Paul Newman is.
    Furthermore, there is everything we now know about the brain’s structure and development, which shows that those neurons are not completely developed until sometime in the mid-20s. Clearly people mature at different ages, but on average an 18 y.o.’s brain just doesn’t have all the neural connections that a 25 y.o.’s brain does. I don’t think the brain has evolved much in the past 200 years, so whether we’re talking about 1808 or 2008, the underlying structure is the same. Authors like Loretta can provide plausible reasons why a Jessica isn’t married in her 20s or a Mirabel at 31. To my mind these aren’t old heroines, just mature ones.
    Forgive me if I sound grumpy, but today is my birthday so I’m extremely aware of the need for heroines whose stories I can read as Romance and not coming-of-age stories.

    Reply
  57. I don’t mind young heroines if the hero is also young, but I don’t like large age differences. If a 36 y.o. hero marries a heroine half his age, it implies there was something wrong with all the 20-and 30-somethings in his universe. I find the thought that women are over the hill once out of their teens immensely sad. I wonder if one reason there are so many gravestones for those very young wives is precisely because they were so young when they bore their first child. Plus, the concept of the much younger trophy wife mirrors too much of the Real World, where Donald Trump is not my hero but Paul Newman is.
    Furthermore, there is everything we now know about the brain’s structure and development, which shows that those neurons are not completely developed until sometime in the mid-20s. Clearly people mature at different ages, but on average an 18 y.o.’s brain just doesn’t have all the neural connections that a 25 y.o.’s brain does. I don’t think the brain has evolved much in the past 200 years, so whether we’re talking about 1808 or 2008, the underlying structure is the same. Authors like Loretta can provide plausible reasons why a Jessica isn’t married in her 20s or a Mirabel at 31. To my mind these aren’t old heroines, just mature ones.
    Forgive me if I sound grumpy, but today is my birthday so I’m extremely aware of the need for heroines whose stories I can read as Romance and not coming-of-age stories.

    Reply
  58. I don’t mind young heroines if the hero is also young, but I don’t like large age differences. If a 36 y.o. hero marries a heroine half his age, it implies there was something wrong with all the 20-and 30-somethings in his universe. I find the thought that women are over the hill once out of their teens immensely sad. I wonder if one reason there are so many gravestones for those very young wives is precisely because they were so young when they bore their first child. Plus, the concept of the much younger trophy wife mirrors too much of the Real World, where Donald Trump is not my hero but Paul Newman is.
    Furthermore, there is everything we now know about the brain’s structure and development, which shows that those neurons are not completely developed until sometime in the mid-20s. Clearly people mature at different ages, but on average an 18 y.o.’s brain just doesn’t have all the neural connections that a 25 y.o.’s brain does. I don’t think the brain has evolved much in the past 200 years, so whether we’re talking about 1808 or 2008, the underlying structure is the same. Authors like Loretta can provide plausible reasons why a Jessica isn’t married in her 20s or a Mirabel at 31. To my mind these aren’t old heroines, just mature ones.
    Forgive me if I sound grumpy, but today is my birthday so I’m extremely aware of the need for heroines whose stories I can read as Romance and not coming-of-age stories.

    Reply
  59. I don’t mind young heroines if the hero is also young, but I don’t like large age differences. If a 36 y.o. hero marries a heroine half his age, it implies there was something wrong with all the 20-and 30-somethings in his universe. I find the thought that women are over the hill once out of their teens immensely sad. I wonder if one reason there are so many gravestones for those very young wives is precisely because they were so young when they bore their first child. Plus, the concept of the much younger trophy wife mirrors too much of the Real World, where Donald Trump is not my hero but Paul Newman is.
    Furthermore, there is everything we now know about the brain’s structure and development, which shows that those neurons are not completely developed until sometime in the mid-20s. Clearly people mature at different ages, but on average an 18 y.o.’s brain just doesn’t have all the neural connections that a 25 y.o.’s brain does. I don’t think the brain has evolved much in the past 200 years, so whether we’re talking about 1808 or 2008, the underlying structure is the same. Authors like Loretta can provide plausible reasons why a Jessica isn’t married in her 20s or a Mirabel at 31. To my mind these aren’t old heroines, just mature ones.
    Forgive me if I sound grumpy, but today is my birthday so I’m extremely aware of the need for heroines whose stories I can read as Romance and not coming-of-age stories.

    Reply
  60. I don’t mind young heroines if the hero is also young, but I don’t like large age differences. If a 36 y.o. hero marries a heroine half his age, it implies there was something wrong with all the 20-and 30-somethings in his universe. I find the thought that women are over the hill once out of their teens immensely sad. I wonder if one reason there are so many gravestones for those very young wives is precisely because they were so young when they bore their first child. Plus, the concept of the much younger trophy wife mirrors too much of the Real World, where Donald Trump is not my hero but Paul Newman is.
    Furthermore, there is everything we now know about the brain’s structure and development, which shows that those neurons are not completely developed until sometime in the mid-20s. Clearly people mature at different ages, but on average an 18 y.o.’s brain just doesn’t have all the neural connections that a 25 y.o.’s brain does. I don’t think the brain has evolved much in the past 200 years, so whether we’re talking about 1808 or 2008, the underlying structure is the same. Authors like Loretta can provide plausible reasons why a Jessica isn’t married in her 20s or a Mirabel at 31. To my mind these aren’t old heroines, just mature ones.
    Forgive me if I sound grumpy, but today is my birthday so I’m extremely aware of the need for heroines whose stories I can read as Romance and not coming-of-age stories.

    Reply
  61. “I don’t mind young heroines if the hero is also young, but I don’t like large age differences.”
    I feel the same way. And what I consider a large age difference depends on the age of the younger half of the couple. An 18-year-old girl with a 33-year-old man gives me the creeps. Make it a woman of 30 with a man of 45, and I’m just fine.
    (Yes, the Marianne/Col. Brandon and Emma/Mr. Knightley pairings in Jane Austen bother me a little. It doesn’t spoil my enjoyment of the books, but I wouldn’t write such a large age gap myself, at least not as a pairing the reader is meant to feel wholly positive about.)

    Reply
  62. “I don’t mind young heroines if the hero is also young, but I don’t like large age differences.”
    I feel the same way. And what I consider a large age difference depends on the age of the younger half of the couple. An 18-year-old girl with a 33-year-old man gives me the creeps. Make it a woman of 30 with a man of 45, and I’m just fine.
    (Yes, the Marianne/Col. Brandon and Emma/Mr. Knightley pairings in Jane Austen bother me a little. It doesn’t spoil my enjoyment of the books, but I wouldn’t write such a large age gap myself, at least not as a pairing the reader is meant to feel wholly positive about.)

    Reply
  63. “I don’t mind young heroines if the hero is also young, but I don’t like large age differences.”
    I feel the same way. And what I consider a large age difference depends on the age of the younger half of the couple. An 18-year-old girl with a 33-year-old man gives me the creeps. Make it a woman of 30 with a man of 45, and I’m just fine.
    (Yes, the Marianne/Col. Brandon and Emma/Mr. Knightley pairings in Jane Austen bother me a little. It doesn’t spoil my enjoyment of the books, but I wouldn’t write such a large age gap myself, at least not as a pairing the reader is meant to feel wholly positive about.)

    Reply
  64. “I don’t mind young heroines if the hero is also young, but I don’t like large age differences.”
    I feel the same way. And what I consider a large age difference depends on the age of the younger half of the couple. An 18-year-old girl with a 33-year-old man gives me the creeps. Make it a woman of 30 with a man of 45, and I’m just fine.
    (Yes, the Marianne/Col. Brandon and Emma/Mr. Knightley pairings in Jane Austen bother me a little. It doesn’t spoil my enjoyment of the books, but I wouldn’t write such a large age gap myself, at least not as a pairing the reader is meant to feel wholly positive about.)

    Reply
  65. “I don’t mind young heroines if the hero is also young, but I don’t like large age differences.”
    I feel the same way. And what I consider a large age difference depends on the age of the younger half of the couple. An 18-year-old girl with a 33-year-old man gives me the creeps. Make it a woman of 30 with a man of 45, and I’m just fine.
    (Yes, the Marianne/Col. Brandon and Emma/Mr. Knightley pairings in Jane Austen bother me a little. It doesn’t spoil my enjoyment of the books, but I wouldn’t write such a large age gap myself, at least not as a pairing the reader is meant to feel wholly positive about.)

    Reply
  66. “Do you think young women 100-200 years ago were or weren’t like young women of today?”
    I suspect their levels of maturity were as varied as those of young women today. But I also suspect that most of them — and most of the young men — were expected to shoulder far more responsibilities. At least the poor were. You were expected to earn your keep as soon as you were physically able. Wealthy young women would be more sheltered and protected than the poor, but early marriage for them might have been the equivalent of going into service or working in a mill — taking on the job for which they had been trained.

    Reply
  67. “Do you think young women 100-200 years ago were or weren’t like young women of today?”
    I suspect their levels of maturity were as varied as those of young women today. But I also suspect that most of them — and most of the young men — were expected to shoulder far more responsibilities. At least the poor were. You were expected to earn your keep as soon as you were physically able. Wealthy young women would be more sheltered and protected than the poor, but early marriage for them might have been the equivalent of going into service or working in a mill — taking on the job for which they had been trained.

    Reply
  68. “Do you think young women 100-200 years ago were or weren’t like young women of today?”
    I suspect their levels of maturity were as varied as those of young women today. But I also suspect that most of them — and most of the young men — were expected to shoulder far more responsibilities. At least the poor were. You were expected to earn your keep as soon as you were physically able. Wealthy young women would be more sheltered and protected than the poor, but early marriage for them might have been the equivalent of going into service or working in a mill — taking on the job for which they had been trained.

    Reply
  69. “Do you think young women 100-200 years ago were or weren’t like young women of today?”
    I suspect their levels of maturity were as varied as those of young women today. But I also suspect that most of them — and most of the young men — were expected to shoulder far more responsibilities. At least the poor were. You were expected to earn your keep as soon as you were physically able. Wealthy young women would be more sheltered and protected than the poor, but early marriage for them might have been the equivalent of going into service or working in a mill — taking on the job for which they had been trained.

    Reply
  70. “Do you think young women 100-200 years ago were or weren’t like young women of today?”
    I suspect their levels of maturity were as varied as those of young women today. But I also suspect that most of them — and most of the young men — were expected to shoulder far more responsibilities. At least the poor were. You were expected to earn your keep as soon as you were physically able. Wealthy young women would be more sheltered and protected than the poor, but early marriage for them might have been the equivalent of going into service or working in a mill — taking on the job for which they had been trained.

    Reply
  71. Hello Loretta,
    This is an interesting topic for me because I have a nineteen year old daughter and between her and all her friends I have to say that they are all at different maturity levels. The one thing that is true, however, is their lack of experience in dealing with adult situations. Therefore, the don’t always have confidence when dealing with others. My daughter, however, is learning fast and I really enjoyed listening to her on the phone with her cell phone company demanding they fix the error they made on her account, which they refused to do at first but eventually did.
    Because I am around young women a lot I don’t mind the young heroine who fluctuates between flashes of maturity and then makes an unwise decision. Although I usually like a heroine with some experience I don’t mind the occasional young heroine and I believe that there is no right age to be married there is just the right person and situation.

    Reply
  72. Hello Loretta,
    This is an interesting topic for me because I have a nineteen year old daughter and between her and all her friends I have to say that they are all at different maturity levels. The one thing that is true, however, is their lack of experience in dealing with adult situations. Therefore, the don’t always have confidence when dealing with others. My daughter, however, is learning fast and I really enjoyed listening to her on the phone with her cell phone company demanding they fix the error they made on her account, which they refused to do at first but eventually did.
    Because I am around young women a lot I don’t mind the young heroine who fluctuates between flashes of maturity and then makes an unwise decision. Although I usually like a heroine with some experience I don’t mind the occasional young heroine and I believe that there is no right age to be married there is just the right person and situation.

    Reply
  73. Hello Loretta,
    This is an interesting topic for me because I have a nineteen year old daughter and between her and all her friends I have to say that they are all at different maturity levels. The one thing that is true, however, is their lack of experience in dealing with adult situations. Therefore, the don’t always have confidence when dealing with others. My daughter, however, is learning fast and I really enjoyed listening to her on the phone with her cell phone company demanding they fix the error they made on her account, which they refused to do at first but eventually did.
    Because I am around young women a lot I don’t mind the young heroine who fluctuates between flashes of maturity and then makes an unwise decision. Although I usually like a heroine with some experience I don’t mind the occasional young heroine and I believe that there is no right age to be married there is just the right person and situation.

    Reply
  74. Hello Loretta,
    This is an interesting topic for me because I have a nineteen year old daughter and between her and all her friends I have to say that they are all at different maturity levels. The one thing that is true, however, is their lack of experience in dealing with adult situations. Therefore, the don’t always have confidence when dealing with others. My daughter, however, is learning fast and I really enjoyed listening to her on the phone with her cell phone company demanding they fix the error they made on her account, which they refused to do at first but eventually did.
    Because I am around young women a lot I don’t mind the young heroine who fluctuates between flashes of maturity and then makes an unwise decision. Although I usually like a heroine with some experience I don’t mind the occasional young heroine and I believe that there is no right age to be married there is just the right person and situation.

    Reply
  75. Hello Loretta,
    This is an interesting topic for me because I have a nineteen year old daughter and between her and all her friends I have to say that they are all at different maturity levels. The one thing that is true, however, is their lack of experience in dealing with adult situations. Therefore, the don’t always have confidence when dealing with others. My daughter, however, is learning fast and I really enjoyed listening to her on the phone with her cell phone company demanding they fix the error they made on her account, which they refused to do at first but eventually did.
    Because I am around young women a lot I don’t mind the young heroine who fluctuates between flashes of maturity and then makes an unwise decision. Although I usually like a heroine with some experience I don’t mind the occasional young heroine and I believe that there is no right age to be married there is just the right person and situation.

    Reply
  76. I don’t care about the age of the heroine as long as she’s mature or grows more mature in the course of the story. I don’t mind if there’s a largish difference of age between the h & h. For example, I have no problem with the huge age difference between Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes in the mystery series by Laurie R. King. It’s a bit of a stretch, but she does it convincingly.
    I think most women expected to marry young, bear children and live a largely domestic life. They expected to marry one man and stay married to him (unless he died, of course, which was not all that unlikely). They were more likely to be mature in that they were prepared for this course in life and knew they would have to live with the consequences of their actions and decisions. Nowadays divorce is so easy and acceptable, and pregnancy so easy to prevent, that people don’t have as much incentive to be mature in their relationships. One thing I like a lot about historicals is that the consequences of not being mature were much more dire then than they are today.

    Reply
  77. I don’t care about the age of the heroine as long as she’s mature or grows more mature in the course of the story. I don’t mind if there’s a largish difference of age between the h & h. For example, I have no problem with the huge age difference between Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes in the mystery series by Laurie R. King. It’s a bit of a stretch, but she does it convincingly.
    I think most women expected to marry young, bear children and live a largely domestic life. They expected to marry one man and stay married to him (unless he died, of course, which was not all that unlikely). They were more likely to be mature in that they were prepared for this course in life and knew they would have to live with the consequences of their actions and decisions. Nowadays divorce is so easy and acceptable, and pregnancy so easy to prevent, that people don’t have as much incentive to be mature in their relationships. One thing I like a lot about historicals is that the consequences of not being mature were much more dire then than they are today.

    Reply
  78. I don’t care about the age of the heroine as long as she’s mature or grows more mature in the course of the story. I don’t mind if there’s a largish difference of age between the h & h. For example, I have no problem with the huge age difference between Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes in the mystery series by Laurie R. King. It’s a bit of a stretch, but she does it convincingly.
    I think most women expected to marry young, bear children and live a largely domestic life. They expected to marry one man and stay married to him (unless he died, of course, which was not all that unlikely). They were more likely to be mature in that they were prepared for this course in life and knew they would have to live with the consequences of their actions and decisions. Nowadays divorce is so easy and acceptable, and pregnancy so easy to prevent, that people don’t have as much incentive to be mature in their relationships. One thing I like a lot about historicals is that the consequences of not being mature were much more dire then than they are today.

    Reply
  79. I don’t care about the age of the heroine as long as she’s mature or grows more mature in the course of the story. I don’t mind if there’s a largish difference of age between the h & h. For example, I have no problem with the huge age difference between Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes in the mystery series by Laurie R. King. It’s a bit of a stretch, but she does it convincingly.
    I think most women expected to marry young, bear children and live a largely domestic life. They expected to marry one man and stay married to him (unless he died, of course, which was not all that unlikely). They were more likely to be mature in that they were prepared for this course in life and knew they would have to live with the consequences of their actions and decisions. Nowadays divorce is so easy and acceptable, and pregnancy so easy to prevent, that people don’t have as much incentive to be mature in their relationships. One thing I like a lot about historicals is that the consequences of not being mature were much more dire then than they are today.

    Reply
  80. I don’t care about the age of the heroine as long as she’s mature or grows more mature in the course of the story. I don’t mind if there’s a largish difference of age between the h & h. For example, I have no problem with the huge age difference between Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes in the mystery series by Laurie R. King. It’s a bit of a stretch, but she does it convincingly.
    I think most women expected to marry young, bear children and live a largely domestic life. They expected to marry one man and stay married to him (unless he died, of course, which was not all that unlikely). They were more likely to be mature in that they were prepared for this course in life and knew they would have to live with the consequences of their actions and decisions. Nowadays divorce is so easy and acceptable, and pregnancy so easy to prevent, that people don’t have as much incentive to be mature in their relationships. One thing I like a lot about historicals is that the consequences of not being mature were much more dire then than they are today.

    Reply
  81. First some greetings:
    Talpianna. welcome back!__SusanD/C, Happy Birthday! You still look very young to me.__ I’m loving reading these comments. Writing this blog drove me nuts because there was so much to say. I found I had two points of view about various aspects of the question(s), and could have written a blog on subjects like children going to work/apprenticeship at shockingly young ages…the role of birth control (or lack thereof)…the various reasons for Gidget & Geezer marriages…how we baby boomers grew up in a world where marriage right out of high school–or at least right after college– was the norm…and so on. But you are all tackling these issues, and some I hadn’t thought of, so I’m glad I shut up and let you talk.

    Reply
  82. First some greetings:
    Talpianna. welcome back!__SusanD/C, Happy Birthday! You still look very young to me.__ I’m loving reading these comments. Writing this blog drove me nuts because there was so much to say. I found I had two points of view about various aspects of the question(s), and could have written a blog on subjects like children going to work/apprenticeship at shockingly young ages…the role of birth control (or lack thereof)…the various reasons for Gidget & Geezer marriages…how we baby boomers grew up in a world where marriage right out of high school–or at least right after college– was the norm…and so on. But you are all tackling these issues, and some I hadn’t thought of, so I’m glad I shut up and let you talk.

    Reply
  83. First some greetings:
    Talpianna. welcome back!__SusanD/C, Happy Birthday! You still look very young to me.__ I’m loving reading these comments. Writing this blog drove me nuts because there was so much to say. I found I had two points of view about various aspects of the question(s), and could have written a blog on subjects like children going to work/apprenticeship at shockingly young ages…the role of birth control (or lack thereof)…the various reasons for Gidget & Geezer marriages…how we baby boomers grew up in a world where marriage right out of high school–or at least right after college– was the norm…and so on. But you are all tackling these issues, and some I hadn’t thought of, so I’m glad I shut up and let you talk.

    Reply
  84. First some greetings:
    Talpianna. welcome back!__SusanD/C, Happy Birthday! You still look very young to me.__ I’m loving reading these comments. Writing this blog drove me nuts because there was so much to say. I found I had two points of view about various aspects of the question(s), and could have written a blog on subjects like children going to work/apprenticeship at shockingly young ages…the role of birth control (or lack thereof)…the various reasons for Gidget & Geezer marriages…how we baby boomers grew up in a world where marriage right out of high school–or at least right after college– was the norm…and so on. But you are all tackling these issues, and some I hadn’t thought of, so I’m glad I shut up and let you talk.

    Reply
  85. First some greetings:
    Talpianna. welcome back!__SusanD/C, Happy Birthday! You still look very young to me.__ I’m loving reading these comments. Writing this blog drove me nuts because there was so much to say. I found I had two points of view about various aspects of the question(s), and could have written a blog on subjects like children going to work/apprenticeship at shockingly young ages…the role of birth control (or lack thereof)…the various reasons for Gidget & Geezer marriages…how we baby boomers grew up in a world where marriage right out of high school–or at least right after college– was the norm…and so on. But you are all tackling these issues, and some I hadn’t thought of, so I’m glad I shut up and let you talk.

    Reply
  86. Susan/DC said — If a 36 y.o. hero marries a heroine half his age, it implies there was something wrong with all the 20-and 30-somethings in his universe.–
    I’m not sure I agree, particularly when it comes to historicals. I imagine that men of the past experienced social pressure to be economically sound– able to support a wife and family –before getting married. For some men that economic viability probably came later on in life. (A friend of mine who did PhD research in history found that historical people in the lower social classes married later than those in the upper classes for just this reason.) This is sometimes given as a one of the reasons for contemporary rates of out of wedlock births, too–young men, unemployed or without a “good enough” job don’t feel that they have the economic resources to marry their partners and support a family.
    I have to admit that I have a soft spot in my heart for the youngish heroine and for the May/December romance. I think it’s that element of the unexpected, the surprise that love is flowering between two people who are so different– possibly the unexpected vulnerability of the older (whether experienced and powerful or sad and damaged by life) hero to the younger heroine. . .
    I also confess that in my own life I never had much use for guys my own age, and ended up marrying a man 8 years my senior. (My great-grandmother married my great-grandfather when she was 16 and he was 30-something–they had 9 kids and from all appearances seemed to be happy, although he did leave her a youngish widow.)

    Reply
  87. Susan/DC said — If a 36 y.o. hero marries a heroine half his age, it implies there was something wrong with all the 20-and 30-somethings in his universe.–
    I’m not sure I agree, particularly when it comes to historicals. I imagine that men of the past experienced social pressure to be economically sound– able to support a wife and family –before getting married. For some men that economic viability probably came later on in life. (A friend of mine who did PhD research in history found that historical people in the lower social classes married later than those in the upper classes for just this reason.) This is sometimes given as a one of the reasons for contemporary rates of out of wedlock births, too–young men, unemployed or without a “good enough” job don’t feel that they have the economic resources to marry their partners and support a family.
    I have to admit that I have a soft spot in my heart for the youngish heroine and for the May/December romance. I think it’s that element of the unexpected, the surprise that love is flowering between two people who are so different– possibly the unexpected vulnerability of the older (whether experienced and powerful or sad and damaged by life) hero to the younger heroine. . .
    I also confess that in my own life I never had much use for guys my own age, and ended up marrying a man 8 years my senior. (My great-grandmother married my great-grandfather when she was 16 and he was 30-something–they had 9 kids and from all appearances seemed to be happy, although he did leave her a youngish widow.)

    Reply
  88. Susan/DC said — If a 36 y.o. hero marries a heroine half his age, it implies there was something wrong with all the 20-and 30-somethings in his universe.–
    I’m not sure I agree, particularly when it comes to historicals. I imagine that men of the past experienced social pressure to be economically sound– able to support a wife and family –before getting married. For some men that economic viability probably came later on in life. (A friend of mine who did PhD research in history found that historical people in the lower social classes married later than those in the upper classes for just this reason.) This is sometimes given as a one of the reasons for contemporary rates of out of wedlock births, too–young men, unemployed or without a “good enough” job don’t feel that they have the economic resources to marry their partners and support a family.
    I have to admit that I have a soft spot in my heart for the youngish heroine and for the May/December romance. I think it’s that element of the unexpected, the surprise that love is flowering between two people who are so different– possibly the unexpected vulnerability of the older (whether experienced and powerful or sad and damaged by life) hero to the younger heroine. . .
    I also confess that in my own life I never had much use for guys my own age, and ended up marrying a man 8 years my senior. (My great-grandmother married my great-grandfather when she was 16 and he was 30-something–they had 9 kids and from all appearances seemed to be happy, although he did leave her a youngish widow.)

    Reply
  89. Susan/DC said — If a 36 y.o. hero marries a heroine half his age, it implies there was something wrong with all the 20-and 30-somethings in his universe.–
    I’m not sure I agree, particularly when it comes to historicals. I imagine that men of the past experienced social pressure to be economically sound– able to support a wife and family –before getting married. For some men that economic viability probably came later on in life. (A friend of mine who did PhD research in history found that historical people in the lower social classes married later than those in the upper classes for just this reason.) This is sometimes given as a one of the reasons for contemporary rates of out of wedlock births, too–young men, unemployed or without a “good enough” job don’t feel that they have the economic resources to marry their partners and support a family.
    I have to admit that I have a soft spot in my heart for the youngish heroine and for the May/December romance. I think it’s that element of the unexpected, the surprise that love is flowering between two people who are so different– possibly the unexpected vulnerability of the older (whether experienced and powerful or sad and damaged by life) hero to the younger heroine. . .
    I also confess that in my own life I never had much use for guys my own age, and ended up marrying a man 8 years my senior. (My great-grandmother married my great-grandfather when she was 16 and he was 30-something–they had 9 kids and from all appearances seemed to be happy, although he did leave her a youngish widow.)

    Reply
  90. Susan/DC said — If a 36 y.o. hero marries a heroine half his age, it implies there was something wrong with all the 20-and 30-somethings in his universe.–
    I’m not sure I agree, particularly when it comes to historicals. I imagine that men of the past experienced social pressure to be economically sound– able to support a wife and family –before getting married. For some men that economic viability probably came later on in life. (A friend of mine who did PhD research in history found that historical people in the lower social classes married later than those in the upper classes for just this reason.) This is sometimes given as a one of the reasons for contemporary rates of out of wedlock births, too–young men, unemployed or without a “good enough” job don’t feel that they have the economic resources to marry their partners and support a family.
    I have to admit that I have a soft spot in my heart for the youngish heroine and for the May/December romance. I think it’s that element of the unexpected, the surprise that love is flowering between two people who are so different– possibly the unexpected vulnerability of the older (whether experienced and powerful or sad and damaged by life) hero to the younger heroine. . .
    I also confess that in my own life I never had much use for guys my own age, and ended up marrying a man 8 years my senior. (My great-grandmother married my great-grandfather when she was 16 and he was 30-something–they had 9 kids and from all appearances seemed to be happy, although he did leave her a youngish widow.)

    Reply
  91. I’ve done a little demographic reading (although I’m sure not as much as RevMelinda’s PhD friend) and also found that, with the exception of the upper classes, women did not marry as young as Romance novels would have us believe. I also found that the age difference between bride and groom averaged about 3 years for many of the periods studied. One surprising statistic was that one of the periods of earliest first marriage was the mid-20th C.
    I certainly understand the beauty of the unexpected romance just when one has given up hope of the HEA, but I don’t see why it has to come from someone half one’s age. As Anne Meara said about why she converted to Judaism when she married Jerry Stiller, being a man and a woman was enough of a mixed marriage. Dain certainly didn’t expect Jessica Trent, but that didn’t prevent him from being gobsmacked (I love that word) from the moment he met her without her having to be significantly younger. And, in my baby boomer feminist heart, I’m a bit put off by the fact that May/December is considered romantic but December/May is all too often seen as either perverted or comical.
    Now if I seem not merely grumpy but aggressive, I blame the wine and sweets consumed at my birthday dinner. Thank you Loretta for the b-day greetings, and I’m happy to say that I look barely a day older than I did yesterday.

    Reply
  92. I’ve done a little demographic reading (although I’m sure not as much as RevMelinda’s PhD friend) and also found that, with the exception of the upper classes, women did not marry as young as Romance novels would have us believe. I also found that the age difference between bride and groom averaged about 3 years for many of the periods studied. One surprising statistic was that one of the periods of earliest first marriage was the mid-20th C.
    I certainly understand the beauty of the unexpected romance just when one has given up hope of the HEA, but I don’t see why it has to come from someone half one’s age. As Anne Meara said about why she converted to Judaism when she married Jerry Stiller, being a man and a woman was enough of a mixed marriage. Dain certainly didn’t expect Jessica Trent, but that didn’t prevent him from being gobsmacked (I love that word) from the moment he met her without her having to be significantly younger. And, in my baby boomer feminist heart, I’m a bit put off by the fact that May/December is considered romantic but December/May is all too often seen as either perverted or comical.
    Now if I seem not merely grumpy but aggressive, I blame the wine and sweets consumed at my birthday dinner. Thank you Loretta for the b-day greetings, and I’m happy to say that I look barely a day older than I did yesterday.

    Reply
  93. I’ve done a little demographic reading (although I’m sure not as much as RevMelinda’s PhD friend) and also found that, with the exception of the upper classes, women did not marry as young as Romance novels would have us believe. I also found that the age difference between bride and groom averaged about 3 years for many of the periods studied. One surprising statistic was that one of the periods of earliest first marriage was the mid-20th C.
    I certainly understand the beauty of the unexpected romance just when one has given up hope of the HEA, but I don’t see why it has to come from someone half one’s age. As Anne Meara said about why she converted to Judaism when she married Jerry Stiller, being a man and a woman was enough of a mixed marriage. Dain certainly didn’t expect Jessica Trent, but that didn’t prevent him from being gobsmacked (I love that word) from the moment he met her without her having to be significantly younger. And, in my baby boomer feminist heart, I’m a bit put off by the fact that May/December is considered romantic but December/May is all too often seen as either perverted or comical.
    Now if I seem not merely grumpy but aggressive, I blame the wine and sweets consumed at my birthday dinner. Thank you Loretta for the b-day greetings, and I’m happy to say that I look barely a day older than I did yesterday.

    Reply
  94. I’ve done a little demographic reading (although I’m sure not as much as RevMelinda’s PhD friend) and also found that, with the exception of the upper classes, women did not marry as young as Romance novels would have us believe. I also found that the age difference between bride and groom averaged about 3 years for many of the periods studied. One surprising statistic was that one of the periods of earliest first marriage was the mid-20th C.
    I certainly understand the beauty of the unexpected romance just when one has given up hope of the HEA, but I don’t see why it has to come from someone half one’s age. As Anne Meara said about why she converted to Judaism when she married Jerry Stiller, being a man and a woman was enough of a mixed marriage. Dain certainly didn’t expect Jessica Trent, but that didn’t prevent him from being gobsmacked (I love that word) from the moment he met her without her having to be significantly younger. And, in my baby boomer feminist heart, I’m a bit put off by the fact that May/December is considered romantic but December/May is all too often seen as either perverted or comical.
    Now if I seem not merely grumpy but aggressive, I blame the wine and sweets consumed at my birthday dinner. Thank you Loretta for the b-day greetings, and I’m happy to say that I look barely a day older than I did yesterday.

    Reply
  95. I’ve done a little demographic reading (although I’m sure not as much as RevMelinda’s PhD friend) and also found that, with the exception of the upper classes, women did not marry as young as Romance novels would have us believe. I also found that the age difference between bride and groom averaged about 3 years for many of the periods studied. One surprising statistic was that one of the periods of earliest first marriage was the mid-20th C.
    I certainly understand the beauty of the unexpected romance just when one has given up hope of the HEA, but I don’t see why it has to come from someone half one’s age. As Anne Meara said about why she converted to Judaism when she married Jerry Stiller, being a man and a woman was enough of a mixed marriage. Dain certainly didn’t expect Jessica Trent, but that didn’t prevent him from being gobsmacked (I love that word) from the moment he met her without her having to be significantly younger. And, in my baby boomer feminist heart, I’m a bit put off by the fact that May/December is considered romantic but December/May is all too often seen as either perverted or comical.
    Now if I seem not merely grumpy but aggressive, I blame the wine and sweets consumed at my birthday dinner. Thank you Loretta for the b-day greetings, and I’m happy to say that I look barely a day older than I did yesterday.

    Reply
  96. But consider some of the books most of us read as girls. The March sisters in LITTLE WOMEN had to cope with a father gone to war, poverty, the death of the youngest sister, Beth, and in LITTLE MEN, of Meg’s husband. Anne of Green Gables was an orphan, lost her beloved adopted uncle Matthew, had to work hard for most of her life, and lost her first child at birth (of course, by then she was 25, I think). Even Mary in THE SECRET GARDEN lost her home and family and found herself in the care of people who didn’t give a damn about her. And don’t get me started on poor Sara Crewe!
    These were reasonably realistic books about young girls in the mid- to late-19th century, and they certainly didn’t lack for maturing experiences. As I’ve said before, this sort of learning of life lessons is characteristic of girls’ books as opposed to boys’ books, which tend to be pure adventure.
    Adolescence itself is a fairly recent invention, a result of the Industrial Age and the need to keep young people out of the labor market for a longer time. (I think the Tigress knows more about the causes and effects of this.) In earlier eras, one went straight from childhood to adulthood. Richard III, as Duke of Gloucester, commanded a wing of his brother’s army at a major battle. Won it for him, too. He was 16 at the time. And remember, Shakespeare’s Juliet was only 14. Not that I’m holding her up as a model of mature behavior.

    Reply
  97. But consider some of the books most of us read as girls. The March sisters in LITTLE WOMEN had to cope with a father gone to war, poverty, the death of the youngest sister, Beth, and in LITTLE MEN, of Meg’s husband. Anne of Green Gables was an orphan, lost her beloved adopted uncle Matthew, had to work hard for most of her life, and lost her first child at birth (of course, by then she was 25, I think). Even Mary in THE SECRET GARDEN lost her home and family and found herself in the care of people who didn’t give a damn about her. And don’t get me started on poor Sara Crewe!
    These were reasonably realistic books about young girls in the mid- to late-19th century, and they certainly didn’t lack for maturing experiences. As I’ve said before, this sort of learning of life lessons is characteristic of girls’ books as opposed to boys’ books, which tend to be pure adventure.
    Adolescence itself is a fairly recent invention, a result of the Industrial Age and the need to keep young people out of the labor market for a longer time. (I think the Tigress knows more about the causes and effects of this.) In earlier eras, one went straight from childhood to adulthood. Richard III, as Duke of Gloucester, commanded a wing of his brother’s army at a major battle. Won it for him, too. He was 16 at the time. And remember, Shakespeare’s Juliet was only 14. Not that I’m holding her up as a model of mature behavior.

    Reply
  98. But consider some of the books most of us read as girls. The March sisters in LITTLE WOMEN had to cope with a father gone to war, poverty, the death of the youngest sister, Beth, and in LITTLE MEN, of Meg’s husband. Anne of Green Gables was an orphan, lost her beloved adopted uncle Matthew, had to work hard for most of her life, and lost her first child at birth (of course, by then she was 25, I think). Even Mary in THE SECRET GARDEN lost her home and family and found herself in the care of people who didn’t give a damn about her. And don’t get me started on poor Sara Crewe!
    These were reasonably realistic books about young girls in the mid- to late-19th century, and they certainly didn’t lack for maturing experiences. As I’ve said before, this sort of learning of life lessons is characteristic of girls’ books as opposed to boys’ books, which tend to be pure adventure.
    Adolescence itself is a fairly recent invention, a result of the Industrial Age and the need to keep young people out of the labor market for a longer time. (I think the Tigress knows more about the causes and effects of this.) In earlier eras, one went straight from childhood to adulthood. Richard III, as Duke of Gloucester, commanded a wing of his brother’s army at a major battle. Won it for him, too. He was 16 at the time. And remember, Shakespeare’s Juliet was only 14. Not that I’m holding her up as a model of mature behavior.

    Reply
  99. But consider some of the books most of us read as girls. The March sisters in LITTLE WOMEN had to cope with a father gone to war, poverty, the death of the youngest sister, Beth, and in LITTLE MEN, of Meg’s husband. Anne of Green Gables was an orphan, lost her beloved adopted uncle Matthew, had to work hard for most of her life, and lost her first child at birth (of course, by then she was 25, I think). Even Mary in THE SECRET GARDEN lost her home and family and found herself in the care of people who didn’t give a damn about her. And don’t get me started on poor Sara Crewe!
    These were reasonably realistic books about young girls in the mid- to late-19th century, and they certainly didn’t lack for maturing experiences. As I’ve said before, this sort of learning of life lessons is characteristic of girls’ books as opposed to boys’ books, which tend to be pure adventure.
    Adolescence itself is a fairly recent invention, a result of the Industrial Age and the need to keep young people out of the labor market for a longer time. (I think the Tigress knows more about the causes and effects of this.) In earlier eras, one went straight from childhood to adulthood. Richard III, as Duke of Gloucester, commanded a wing of his brother’s army at a major battle. Won it for him, too. He was 16 at the time. And remember, Shakespeare’s Juliet was only 14. Not that I’m holding her up as a model of mature behavior.

    Reply
  100. But consider some of the books most of us read as girls. The March sisters in LITTLE WOMEN had to cope with a father gone to war, poverty, the death of the youngest sister, Beth, and in LITTLE MEN, of Meg’s husband. Anne of Green Gables was an orphan, lost her beloved adopted uncle Matthew, had to work hard for most of her life, and lost her first child at birth (of course, by then she was 25, I think). Even Mary in THE SECRET GARDEN lost her home and family and found herself in the care of people who didn’t give a damn about her. And don’t get me started on poor Sara Crewe!
    These were reasonably realistic books about young girls in the mid- to late-19th century, and they certainly didn’t lack for maturing experiences. As I’ve said before, this sort of learning of life lessons is characteristic of girls’ books as opposed to boys’ books, which tend to be pure adventure.
    Adolescence itself is a fairly recent invention, a result of the Industrial Age and the need to keep young people out of the labor market for a longer time. (I think the Tigress knows more about the causes and effects of this.) In earlier eras, one went straight from childhood to adulthood. Richard III, as Duke of Gloucester, commanded a wing of his brother’s army at a major battle. Won it for him, too. He was 16 at the time. And remember, Shakespeare’s Juliet was only 14. Not that I’m holding her up as a model of mature behavior.

    Reply
  101. I’ve been thinking all day about the teenagers/young adults I know, and whether they’re more or less mature than their 18th and 19th century counterparts. In my (admittedly upper middle class white American) corner of the world, they seem to me in some ways very sophisticated and worldly, and in other ways so immature.
    If I were pressed to “make a general statement” I might say that young people today have seen more and done more (communication, TV and movies, travel, sex with multiple partners, drugs, raves, orgies in the back of limousines after the prom, etc)–but have much less responsibility (for themselves or for others) and have suffered less of the privation, loss, and tragedy (illness, death, having to work to keep the family afloat, war and the draft,etc) that were features of young people’s ordinary lives for many previous generations.
    Also, in the US in the last 100 years, we have gained something like 30 additional years of average life expectancy, so our life trajectories and expectations are different now than in the past–.
    Has anyone else seen the marvelous film “49 Up” by Michael Apted? He’s been following a group of people since they were 7 years old and updates the film every 7 years (they’re 49 now). It is entirely fascinating to see these folks as children, adolescents, young adults, and adults–how they change, how they grow, and how they remain the same over the years.
    Susan/DC, I am sorry to say that I can give no rational reasoning for liking the May/December thing except that they give me that little zing (masquerade stories do it for me too). I bet a good therapist could help me resolve these issues! But I can say that I am entirely open to December/May concept (being about October myself now, LOL).
    OK Loretta, you and Sharon Baumgartner really got me going today. Thanks for the great topic!

    Reply
  102. I’ve been thinking all day about the teenagers/young adults I know, and whether they’re more or less mature than their 18th and 19th century counterparts. In my (admittedly upper middle class white American) corner of the world, they seem to me in some ways very sophisticated and worldly, and in other ways so immature.
    If I were pressed to “make a general statement” I might say that young people today have seen more and done more (communication, TV and movies, travel, sex with multiple partners, drugs, raves, orgies in the back of limousines after the prom, etc)–but have much less responsibility (for themselves or for others) and have suffered less of the privation, loss, and tragedy (illness, death, having to work to keep the family afloat, war and the draft,etc) that were features of young people’s ordinary lives for many previous generations.
    Also, in the US in the last 100 years, we have gained something like 30 additional years of average life expectancy, so our life trajectories and expectations are different now than in the past–.
    Has anyone else seen the marvelous film “49 Up” by Michael Apted? He’s been following a group of people since they were 7 years old and updates the film every 7 years (they’re 49 now). It is entirely fascinating to see these folks as children, adolescents, young adults, and adults–how they change, how they grow, and how they remain the same over the years.
    Susan/DC, I am sorry to say that I can give no rational reasoning for liking the May/December thing except that they give me that little zing (masquerade stories do it for me too). I bet a good therapist could help me resolve these issues! But I can say that I am entirely open to December/May concept (being about October myself now, LOL).
    OK Loretta, you and Sharon Baumgartner really got me going today. Thanks for the great topic!

    Reply
  103. I’ve been thinking all day about the teenagers/young adults I know, and whether they’re more or less mature than their 18th and 19th century counterparts. In my (admittedly upper middle class white American) corner of the world, they seem to me in some ways very sophisticated and worldly, and in other ways so immature.
    If I were pressed to “make a general statement” I might say that young people today have seen more and done more (communication, TV and movies, travel, sex with multiple partners, drugs, raves, orgies in the back of limousines after the prom, etc)–but have much less responsibility (for themselves or for others) and have suffered less of the privation, loss, and tragedy (illness, death, having to work to keep the family afloat, war and the draft,etc) that were features of young people’s ordinary lives for many previous generations.
    Also, in the US in the last 100 years, we have gained something like 30 additional years of average life expectancy, so our life trajectories and expectations are different now than in the past–.
    Has anyone else seen the marvelous film “49 Up” by Michael Apted? He’s been following a group of people since they were 7 years old and updates the film every 7 years (they’re 49 now). It is entirely fascinating to see these folks as children, adolescents, young adults, and adults–how they change, how they grow, and how they remain the same over the years.
    Susan/DC, I am sorry to say that I can give no rational reasoning for liking the May/December thing except that they give me that little zing (masquerade stories do it for me too). I bet a good therapist could help me resolve these issues! But I can say that I am entirely open to December/May concept (being about October myself now, LOL).
    OK Loretta, you and Sharon Baumgartner really got me going today. Thanks for the great topic!

    Reply
  104. I’ve been thinking all day about the teenagers/young adults I know, and whether they’re more or less mature than their 18th and 19th century counterparts. In my (admittedly upper middle class white American) corner of the world, they seem to me in some ways very sophisticated and worldly, and in other ways so immature.
    If I were pressed to “make a general statement” I might say that young people today have seen more and done more (communication, TV and movies, travel, sex with multiple partners, drugs, raves, orgies in the back of limousines after the prom, etc)–but have much less responsibility (for themselves or for others) and have suffered less of the privation, loss, and tragedy (illness, death, having to work to keep the family afloat, war and the draft,etc) that were features of young people’s ordinary lives for many previous generations.
    Also, in the US in the last 100 years, we have gained something like 30 additional years of average life expectancy, so our life trajectories and expectations are different now than in the past–.
    Has anyone else seen the marvelous film “49 Up” by Michael Apted? He’s been following a group of people since they were 7 years old and updates the film every 7 years (they’re 49 now). It is entirely fascinating to see these folks as children, adolescents, young adults, and adults–how they change, how they grow, and how they remain the same over the years.
    Susan/DC, I am sorry to say that I can give no rational reasoning for liking the May/December thing except that they give me that little zing (masquerade stories do it for me too). I bet a good therapist could help me resolve these issues! But I can say that I am entirely open to December/May concept (being about October myself now, LOL).
    OK Loretta, you and Sharon Baumgartner really got me going today. Thanks for the great topic!

    Reply
  105. I’ve been thinking all day about the teenagers/young adults I know, and whether they’re more or less mature than their 18th and 19th century counterparts. In my (admittedly upper middle class white American) corner of the world, they seem to me in some ways very sophisticated and worldly, and in other ways so immature.
    If I were pressed to “make a general statement” I might say that young people today have seen more and done more (communication, TV and movies, travel, sex with multiple partners, drugs, raves, orgies in the back of limousines after the prom, etc)–but have much less responsibility (for themselves or for others) and have suffered less of the privation, loss, and tragedy (illness, death, having to work to keep the family afloat, war and the draft,etc) that were features of young people’s ordinary lives for many previous generations.
    Also, in the US in the last 100 years, we have gained something like 30 additional years of average life expectancy, so our life trajectories and expectations are different now than in the past–.
    Has anyone else seen the marvelous film “49 Up” by Michael Apted? He’s been following a group of people since they were 7 years old and updates the film every 7 years (they’re 49 now). It is entirely fascinating to see these folks as children, adolescents, young adults, and adults–how they change, how they grow, and how they remain the same over the years.
    Susan/DC, I am sorry to say that I can give no rational reasoning for liking the May/December thing except that they give me that little zing (masquerade stories do it for me too). I bet a good therapist could help me resolve these issues! But I can say that I am entirely open to December/May concept (being about October myself now, LOL).
    OK Loretta, you and Sharon Baumgartner really got me going today. Thanks for the great topic!

    Reply
  106. I love the Apted series.
    Anyway, depends on the woman. I married at (just) 20 to a boy I’d been living with and had met at 15. My cousin married at 18, my mother at 19, my mother in law at 20, etc etc etc. Most of us made good choices. Better than a lot of my friends who waited. On the other hand, if you don’t know yourself and what you need, I don’t care what age you are, you shouldn’t get married. Self awareness is necessary.
    As to 100 – 200 years ago – I think it was the same as now. My great grandmother was starved and beaten until she agreed to marry her widowed brother in law, despite already having a fiance. (Her brother in law knew nothing about it and was horrified). I could see my father doing that if he could’ve gotten away with it – many cultures would still do it. Contraception isn’t that new – look French Restoration era birth rates vs English ones in the upper classes. Divorce is newer, but my family history abounds with women living apart from their spouses or leaving them for life during the time when divorce ‘didn’t happen’.
    I honestly believe people are eternal and it’s the clothes that change.

    Reply
  107. I love the Apted series.
    Anyway, depends on the woman. I married at (just) 20 to a boy I’d been living with and had met at 15. My cousin married at 18, my mother at 19, my mother in law at 20, etc etc etc. Most of us made good choices. Better than a lot of my friends who waited. On the other hand, if you don’t know yourself and what you need, I don’t care what age you are, you shouldn’t get married. Self awareness is necessary.
    As to 100 – 200 years ago – I think it was the same as now. My great grandmother was starved and beaten until she agreed to marry her widowed brother in law, despite already having a fiance. (Her brother in law knew nothing about it and was horrified). I could see my father doing that if he could’ve gotten away with it – many cultures would still do it. Contraception isn’t that new – look French Restoration era birth rates vs English ones in the upper classes. Divorce is newer, but my family history abounds with women living apart from their spouses or leaving them for life during the time when divorce ‘didn’t happen’.
    I honestly believe people are eternal and it’s the clothes that change.

    Reply
  108. I love the Apted series.
    Anyway, depends on the woman. I married at (just) 20 to a boy I’d been living with and had met at 15. My cousin married at 18, my mother at 19, my mother in law at 20, etc etc etc. Most of us made good choices. Better than a lot of my friends who waited. On the other hand, if you don’t know yourself and what you need, I don’t care what age you are, you shouldn’t get married. Self awareness is necessary.
    As to 100 – 200 years ago – I think it was the same as now. My great grandmother was starved and beaten until she agreed to marry her widowed brother in law, despite already having a fiance. (Her brother in law knew nothing about it and was horrified). I could see my father doing that if he could’ve gotten away with it – many cultures would still do it. Contraception isn’t that new – look French Restoration era birth rates vs English ones in the upper classes. Divorce is newer, but my family history abounds with women living apart from their spouses or leaving them for life during the time when divorce ‘didn’t happen’.
    I honestly believe people are eternal and it’s the clothes that change.

    Reply
  109. I love the Apted series.
    Anyway, depends on the woman. I married at (just) 20 to a boy I’d been living with and had met at 15. My cousin married at 18, my mother at 19, my mother in law at 20, etc etc etc. Most of us made good choices. Better than a lot of my friends who waited. On the other hand, if you don’t know yourself and what you need, I don’t care what age you are, you shouldn’t get married. Self awareness is necessary.
    As to 100 – 200 years ago – I think it was the same as now. My great grandmother was starved and beaten until she agreed to marry her widowed brother in law, despite already having a fiance. (Her brother in law knew nothing about it and was horrified). I could see my father doing that if he could’ve gotten away with it – many cultures would still do it. Contraception isn’t that new – look French Restoration era birth rates vs English ones in the upper classes. Divorce is newer, but my family history abounds with women living apart from their spouses or leaving them for life during the time when divorce ‘didn’t happen’.
    I honestly believe people are eternal and it’s the clothes that change.

    Reply
  110. I love the Apted series.
    Anyway, depends on the woman. I married at (just) 20 to a boy I’d been living with and had met at 15. My cousin married at 18, my mother at 19, my mother in law at 20, etc etc etc. Most of us made good choices. Better than a lot of my friends who waited. On the other hand, if you don’t know yourself and what you need, I don’t care what age you are, you shouldn’t get married. Self awareness is necessary.
    As to 100 – 200 years ago – I think it was the same as now. My great grandmother was starved and beaten until she agreed to marry her widowed brother in law, despite already having a fiance. (Her brother in law knew nothing about it and was horrified). I could see my father doing that if he could’ve gotten away with it – many cultures would still do it. Contraception isn’t that new – look French Restoration era birth rates vs English ones in the upper classes. Divorce is newer, but my family history abounds with women living apart from their spouses or leaving them for life during the time when divorce ‘didn’t happen’.
    I honestly believe people are eternal and it’s the clothes that change.

    Reply
  111. There are a number of different topics under discussion here.
    The first topic is historical age of marriage. This is something that demographic historians have answered in detail, but:
    1) if girls married young, it was because their families could afford for them to — whether because their families were wealthy/upper class in England and provided dowries, because there was plenty of land available in the American/Canadian colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries or pre-civil war US, or because the couple lived with their families (Ashkenazic Jewry in early modern Europe, the Albanian example, or Mediterranean custom). This last approach meant that the teenaged bride still had older women around to supervise while she finished growing up.
    Otherwise, all evidence indicates that from the introduction of parish registers in European countries in the 1530s to the coming of the Industrial Revolution, the average age of first marriage for women was mid to late twenties (23 to 28) and the average age of first marriage for men was late twenties to early thirties (26 to 31). There were exceptions, but that was the statistical rule.
    And, of course, a lot of people could never afford to marry at all. That is one major difference between the demographic patterns Europe and the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries.
    The second topic is emotional maturity. The only answer is “it varies.” My brother and his wife started dating when he was a high school junior and she was a high school sophomore. They were both 18 when they married, which was 1961, and they’re still perfectly happy. By contrast, our parents were 39 and 30 at marriage; one of my great-grandmothers was seven years older than her husband.
    The third topic appears to be multiple wives. Always remember that a woman was ordinarily buried with her last husband. A man planted with four wives in the plot may have married four young women, but it wasn’t common. His last couple of wives, if you check out the pattern, probably have a prior husband or two planted elsewhere in the cemetery. Only genealogical research can answer these questions.

    Reply
  112. There are a number of different topics under discussion here.
    The first topic is historical age of marriage. This is something that demographic historians have answered in detail, but:
    1) if girls married young, it was because their families could afford for them to — whether because their families were wealthy/upper class in England and provided dowries, because there was plenty of land available in the American/Canadian colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries or pre-civil war US, or because the couple lived with their families (Ashkenazic Jewry in early modern Europe, the Albanian example, or Mediterranean custom). This last approach meant that the teenaged bride still had older women around to supervise while she finished growing up.
    Otherwise, all evidence indicates that from the introduction of parish registers in European countries in the 1530s to the coming of the Industrial Revolution, the average age of first marriage for women was mid to late twenties (23 to 28) and the average age of first marriage for men was late twenties to early thirties (26 to 31). There were exceptions, but that was the statistical rule.
    And, of course, a lot of people could never afford to marry at all. That is one major difference between the demographic patterns Europe and the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries.
    The second topic is emotional maturity. The only answer is “it varies.” My brother and his wife started dating when he was a high school junior and she was a high school sophomore. They were both 18 when they married, which was 1961, and they’re still perfectly happy. By contrast, our parents were 39 and 30 at marriage; one of my great-grandmothers was seven years older than her husband.
    The third topic appears to be multiple wives. Always remember that a woman was ordinarily buried with her last husband. A man planted with four wives in the plot may have married four young women, but it wasn’t common. His last couple of wives, if you check out the pattern, probably have a prior husband or two planted elsewhere in the cemetery. Only genealogical research can answer these questions.

    Reply
  113. There are a number of different topics under discussion here.
    The first topic is historical age of marriage. This is something that demographic historians have answered in detail, but:
    1) if girls married young, it was because their families could afford for them to — whether because their families were wealthy/upper class in England and provided dowries, because there was plenty of land available in the American/Canadian colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries or pre-civil war US, or because the couple lived with their families (Ashkenazic Jewry in early modern Europe, the Albanian example, or Mediterranean custom). This last approach meant that the teenaged bride still had older women around to supervise while she finished growing up.
    Otherwise, all evidence indicates that from the introduction of parish registers in European countries in the 1530s to the coming of the Industrial Revolution, the average age of first marriage for women was mid to late twenties (23 to 28) and the average age of first marriage for men was late twenties to early thirties (26 to 31). There were exceptions, but that was the statistical rule.
    And, of course, a lot of people could never afford to marry at all. That is one major difference between the demographic patterns Europe and the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries.
    The second topic is emotional maturity. The only answer is “it varies.” My brother and his wife started dating when he was a high school junior and she was a high school sophomore. They were both 18 when they married, which was 1961, and they’re still perfectly happy. By contrast, our parents were 39 and 30 at marriage; one of my great-grandmothers was seven years older than her husband.
    The third topic appears to be multiple wives. Always remember that a woman was ordinarily buried with her last husband. A man planted with four wives in the plot may have married four young women, but it wasn’t common. His last couple of wives, if you check out the pattern, probably have a prior husband or two planted elsewhere in the cemetery. Only genealogical research can answer these questions.

    Reply
  114. There are a number of different topics under discussion here.
    The first topic is historical age of marriage. This is something that demographic historians have answered in detail, but:
    1) if girls married young, it was because their families could afford for them to — whether because their families were wealthy/upper class in England and provided dowries, because there was plenty of land available in the American/Canadian colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries or pre-civil war US, or because the couple lived with their families (Ashkenazic Jewry in early modern Europe, the Albanian example, or Mediterranean custom). This last approach meant that the teenaged bride still had older women around to supervise while she finished growing up.
    Otherwise, all evidence indicates that from the introduction of parish registers in European countries in the 1530s to the coming of the Industrial Revolution, the average age of first marriage for women was mid to late twenties (23 to 28) and the average age of first marriage for men was late twenties to early thirties (26 to 31). There were exceptions, but that was the statistical rule.
    And, of course, a lot of people could never afford to marry at all. That is one major difference between the demographic patterns Europe and the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries.
    The second topic is emotional maturity. The only answer is “it varies.” My brother and his wife started dating when he was a high school junior and she was a high school sophomore. They were both 18 when they married, which was 1961, and they’re still perfectly happy. By contrast, our parents were 39 and 30 at marriage; one of my great-grandmothers was seven years older than her husband.
    The third topic appears to be multiple wives. Always remember that a woman was ordinarily buried with her last husband. A man planted with four wives in the plot may have married four young women, but it wasn’t common. His last couple of wives, if you check out the pattern, probably have a prior husband or two planted elsewhere in the cemetery. Only genealogical research can answer these questions.

    Reply
  115. There are a number of different topics under discussion here.
    The first topic is historical age of marriage. This is something that demographic historians have answered in detail, but:
    1) if girls married young, it was because their families could afford for them to — whether because their families were wealthy/upper class in England and provided dowries, because there was plenty of land available in the American/Canadian colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries or pre-civil war US, or because the couple lived with their families (Ashkenazic Jewry in early modern Europe, the Albanian example, or Mediterranean custom). This last approach meant that the teenaged bride still had older women around to supervise while she finished growing up.
    Otherwise, all evidence indicates that from the introduction of parish registers in European countries in the 1530s to the coming of the Industrial Revolution, the average age of first marriage for women was mid to late twenties (23 to 28) and the average age of first marriage for men was late twenties to early thirties (26 to 31). There were exceptions, but that was the statistical rule.
    And, of course, a lot of people could never afford to marry at all. That is one major difference between the demographic patterns Europe and the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries.
    The second topic is emotional maturity. The only answer is “it varies.” My brother and his wife started dating when he was a high school junior and she was a high school sophomore. They were both 18 when they married, which was 1961, and they’re still perfectly happy. By contrast, our parents were 39 and 30 at marriage; one of my great-grandmothers was seven years older than her husband.
    The third topic appears to be multiple wives. Always remember that a woman was ordinarily buried with her last husband. A man planted with four wives in the plot may have married four young women, but it wasn’t common. His last couple of wives, if you check out the pattern, probably have a prior husband or two planted elsewhere in the cemetery. Only genealogical research can answer these questions.

    Reply
  116. Virginia’s statistics are very helpful, showing us which groups in which parts of the world were marrying younger, when, & the circumstances that made this reasonable. Jack Larkin’s _The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840_ (in the U.S.), tackles a slightly later era: “American women began to marry in their late teens; around different parts of the United States the average age of marriage varied from nineteen to twenty-three. This was later than in most of the world’s societies, but earlier than in Western Europe.”

    Reply
  117. Virginia’s statistics are very helpful, showing us which groups in which parts of the world were marrying younger, when, & the circumstances that made this reasonable. Jack Larkin’s _The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840_ (in the U.S.), tackles a slightly later era: “American women began to marry in their late teens; around different parts of the United States the average age of marriage varied from nineteen to twenty-three. This was later than in most of the world’s societies, but earlier than in Western Europe.”

    Reply
  118. Virginia’s statistics are very helpful, showing us which groups in which parts of the world were marrying younger, when, & the circumstances that made this reasonable. Jack Larkin’s _The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840_ (in the U.S.), tackles a slightly later era: “American women began to marry in their late teens; around different parts of the United States the average age of marriage varied from nineteen to twenty-three. This was later than in most of the world’s societies, but earlier than in Western Europe.”

    Reply
  119. Virginia’s statistics are very helpful, showing us which groups in which parts of the world were marrying younger, when, & the circumstances that made this reasonable. Jack Larkin’s _The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840_ (in the U.S.), tackles a slightly later era: “American women began to marry in their late teens; around different parts of the United States the average age of marriage varied from nineteen to twenty-three. This was later than in most of the world’s societies, but earlier than in Western Europe.”

    Reply
  120. Virginia’s statistics are very helpful, showing us which groups in which parts of the world were marrying younger, when, & the circumstances that made this reasonable. Jack Larkin’s _The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840_ (in the U.S.), tackles a slightly later era: “American women began to marry in their late teens; around different parts of the United States the average age of marriage varied from nineteen to twenty-three. This was later than in most of the world’s societies, but earlier than in Western Europe.”

    Reply
  121. For English-speaking readers, I recommend E.A. Wrigley, R.S. Davis, J.E. Oeppen, and R.S. Schofield, English Population History from Family Reconstitution 1580-1837. Cambridge Studies in Population, economy and Society in Past Time (Cambridge University Press, 1997). 657 pages.
    If anyone wants more titles, I’ll be glad to list some, but Wrigley et al. have an 11-page bibliography of secondary literature.
    For colonial Quebec, there’s a huge PRDH web site (Programme de Recherche en Demographie Historique). You can track every known human being who lived in the province from settlement to the English takeover, and a lot of the families to about 1800.

    Reply
  122. For English-speaking readers, I recommend E.A. Wrigley, R.S. Davis, J.E. Oeppen, and R.S. Schofield, English Population History from Family Reconstitution 1580-1837. Cambridge Studies in Population, economy and Society in Past Time (Cambridge University Press, 1997). 657 pages.
    If anyone wants more titles, I’ll be glad to list some, but Wrigley et al. have an 11-page bibliography of secondary literature.
    For colonial Quebec, there’s a huge PRDH web site (Programme de Recherche en Demographie Historique). You can track every known human being who lived in the province from settlement to the English takeover, and a lot of the families to about 1800.

    Reply
  123. For English-speaking readers, I recommend E.A. Wrigley, R.S. Davis, J.E. Oeppen, and R.S. Schofield, English Population History from Family Reconstitution 1580-1837. Cambridge Studies in Population, economy and Society in Past Time (Cambridge University Press, 1997). 657 pages.
    If anyone wants more titles, I’ll be glad to list some, but Wrigley et al. have an 11-page bibliography of secondary literature.
    For colonial Quebec, there’s a huge PRDH web site (Programme de Recherche en Demographie Historique). You can track every known human being who lived in the province from settlement to the English takeover, and a lot of the families to about 1800.

    Reply
  124. For English-speaking readers, I recommend E.A. Wrigley, R.S. Davis, J.E. Oeppen, and R.S. Schofield, English Population History from Family Reconstitution 1580-1837. Cambridge Studies in Population, economy and Society in Past Time (Cambridge University Press, 1997). 657 pages.
    If anyone wants more titles, I’ll be glad to list some, but Wrigley et al. have an 11-page bibliography of secondary literature.
    For colonial Quebec, there’s a huge PRDH web site (Programme de Recherche en Demographie Historique). You can track every known human being who lived in the province from settlement to the English takeover, and a lot of the families to about 1800.

    Reply
  125. For English-speaking readers, I recommend E.A. Wrigley, R.S. Davis, J.E. Oeppen, and R.S. Schofield, English Population History from Family Reconstitution 1580-1837. Cambridge Studies in Population, economy and Society in Past Time (Cambridge University Press, 1997). 657 pages.
    If anyone wants more titles, I’ll be glad to list some, but Wrigley et al. have an 11-page bibliography of secondary literature.
    For colonial Quebec, there’s a huge PRDH web site (Programme de Recherche en Demographie Historique). You can track every known human being who lived in the province from settlement to the English takeover, and a lot of the families to about 1800.

    Reply
  126. This is another very nice, if specialized book, in the Cambridge series:
    Richard T. Vann and David Eversley, Friends in Life and Death: British and Irish Quakers in the Demographic Transition (Cambridge Studies in Population, Economy and Society in Past Time).
    It has useful comparisons with the available detailed studies of the Genevan bourceoisie by Louis Henry and Alfred Perrenoud, La Population de Geneve du seizieme au Debut du Dix-neuvieme siecle. Etude Demographique. Tome I; Structures et Mouvements, published about 1979, 611 pages, and the English peerage (T.H. Hollingsworth, The demography of the British peerage (Population studies) (1964).
    There’s a fairly good review of Hollingsworth’s book on amazon.com.
    There’s an introduction to the “Hajnal line” here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajnal_line
    It refers to:
    Hajnal, John, “The European marriage pattern in historical perspective,” in: D.V. Glass and D.E.C. Eversley, (eds.) Population in History (London: Arnold, 1965).

    Reply
  127. This is another very nice, if specialized book, in the Cambridge series:
    Richard T. Vann and David Eversley, Friends in Life and Death: British and Irish Quakers in the Demographic Transition (Cambridge Studies in Population, Economy and Society in Past Time).
    It has useful comparisons with the available detailed studies of the Genevan bourceoisie by Louis Henry and Alfred Perrenoud, La Population de Geneve du seizieme au Debut du Dix-neuvieme siecle. Etude Demographique. Tome I; Structures et Mouvements, published about 1979, 611 pages, and the English peerage (T.H. Hollingsworth, The demography of the British peerage (Population studies) (1964).
    There’s a fairly good review of Hollingsworth’s book on amazon.com.
    There’s an introduction to the “Hajnal line” here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajnal_line
    It refers to:
    Hajnal, John, “The European marriage pattern in historical perspective,” in: D.V. Glass and D.E.C. Eversley, (eds.) Population in History (London: Arnold, 1965).

    Reply
  128. This is another very nice, if specialized book, in the Cambridge series:
    Richard T. Vann and David Eversley, Friends in Life and Death: British and Irish Quakers in the Demographic Transition (Cambridge Studies in Population, Economy and Society in Past Time).
    It has useful comparisons with the available detailed studies of the Genevan bourceoisie by Louis Henry and Alfred Perrenoud, La Population de Geneve du seizieme au Debut du Dix-neuvieme siecle. Etude Demographique. Tome I; Structures et Mouvements, published about 1979, 611 pages, and the English peerage (T.H. Hollingsworth, The demography of the British peerage (Population studies) (1964).
    There’s a fairly good review of Hollingsworth’s book on amazon.com.
    There’s an introduction to the “Hajnal line” here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajnal_line
    It refers to:
    Hajnal, John, “The European marriage pattern in historical perspective,” in: D.V. Glass and D.E.C. Eversley, (eds.) Population in History (London: Arnold, 1965).

    Reply
  129. This is another very nice, if specialized book, in the Cambridge series:
    Richard T. Vann and David Eversley, Friends in Life and Death: British and Irish Quakers in the Demographic Transition (Cambridge Studies in Population, Economy and Society in Past Time).
    It has useful comparisons with the available detailed studies of the Genevan bourceoisie by Louis Henry and Alfred Perrenoud, La Population de Geneve du seizieme au Debut du Dix-neuvieme siecle. Etude Demographique. Tome I; Structures et Mouvements, published about 1979, 611 pages, and the English peerage (T.H. Hollingsworth, The demography of the British peerage (Population studies) (1964).
    There’s a fairly good review of Hollingsworth’s book on amazon.com.
    There’s an introduction to the “Hajnal line” here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajnal_line
    It refers to:
    Hajnal, John, “The European marriage pattern in historical perspective,” in: D.V. Glass and D.E.C. Eversley, (eds.) Population in History (London: Arnold, 1965).

    Reply
  130. This is another very nice, if specialized book, in the Cambridge series:
    Richard T. Vann and David Eversley, Friends in Life and Death: British and Irish Quakers in the Demographic Transition (Cambridge Studies in Population, Economy and Society in Past Time).
    It has useful comparisons with the available detailed studies of the Genevan bourceoisie by Louis Henry and Alfred Perrenoud, La Population de Geneve du seizieme au Debut du Dix-neuvieme siecle. Etude Demographique. Tome I; Structures et Mouvements, published about 1979, 611 pages, and the English peerage (T.H. Hollingsworth, The demography of the British peerage (Population studies) (1964).
    There’s a fairly good review of Hollingsworth’s book on amazon.com.
    There’s an introduction to the “Hajnal line” here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajnal_line
    It refers to:
    Hajnal, John, “The European marriage pattern in historical perspective,” in: D.V. Glass and D.E.C. Eversley, (eds.) Population in History (London: Arnold, 1965).

    Reply
  131. Jo here. This is such a fun topic.
    I love young heroes and heroines, and it doesn’t seem to change as I get older. I don’t think I bring my real world existence into my reading or writing preferences very much!
    To me, young people (say under 30 for sure, and early-mid twenties for preference) are probably getting into their first serious relationship (though they might not realize it at the beginning) and that’s emotional high-wire stuff.
    Also, they feel everything so much more intensely. They’re often wildly idealistic and passionate about causes, and also have that damn belief that they’re immortal and can and should leap into the fray.
    I also think upbringing and experience plays a huge part in maturity. We might consider the upbringing of children in the past as lacking, but they were raised differently, faced different expectations — including things like sacrifice and duty — and had hands-on experience of life’s realities.
    A couple of other things. In the upper classes — the main setting for British historical romance — young men, especially heirs, were often married quite young,in part because they could, but also because their parents wanted them tied up before they were really independent and got any crazy ideas about actresses and poor-but-pretty.
    Also, life expectancy is often underestimated. I happen to have just used again some data I found on Italian nuns in my research.
    In brief: “from “HISTORIAN LOOKS AT WHY CONVENT LIFE WAS LONG LIFE” by Professor Judith Brown of Stanford University. Nuns had a longer life expectancy than married women, but
    half the women (all women, not just nuns) born in Milan between 1700 and 1743 lived to 67 or older. (Note the born. That means this includes infant deaths.)
    A quarter lived to over 74. Nuns tended to a particularly long life. Roughly half of the nuns lived to age 70, and a quarter to their late 70s.”
    Always fascinating,
    Jo

    Reply
  132. Jo here. This is such a fun topic.
    I love young heroes and heroines, and it doesn’t seem to change as I get older. I don’t think I bring my real world existence into my reading or writing preferences very much!
    To me, young people (say under 30 for sure, and early-mid twenties for preference) are probably getting into their first serious relationship (though they might not realize it at the beginning) and that’s emotional high-wire stuff.
    Also, they feel everything so much more intensely. They’re often wildly idealistic and passionate about causes, and also have that damn belief that they’re immortal and can and should leap into the fray.
    I also think upbringing and experience plays a huge part in maturity. We might consider the upbringing of children in the past as lacking, but they were raised differently, faced different expectations — including things like sacrifice and duty — and had hands-on experience of life’s realities.
    A couple of other things. In the upper classes — the main setting for British historical romance — young men, especially heirs, were often married quite young,in part because they could, but also because their parents wanted them tied up before they were really independent and got any crazy ideas about actresses and poor-but-pretty.
    Also, life expectancy is often underestimated. I happen to have just used again some data I found on Italian nuns in my research.
    In brief: “from “HISTORIAN LOOKS AT WHY CONVENT LIFE WAS LONG LIFE” by Professor Judith Brown of Stanford University. Nuns had a longer life expectancy than married women, but
    half the women (all women, not just nuns) born in Milan between 1700 and 1743 lived to 67 or older. (Note the born. That means this includes infant deaths.)
    A quarter lived to over 74. Nuns tended to a particularly long life. Roughly half of the nuns lived to age 70, and a quarter to their late 70s.”
    Always fascinating,
    Jo

    Reply
  133. Jo here. This is such a fun topic.
    I love young heroes and heroines, and it doesn’t seem to change as I get older. I don’t think I bring my real world existence into my reading or writing preferences very much!
    To me, young people (say under 30 for sure, and early-mid twenties for preference) are probably getting into their first serious relationship (though they might not realize it at the beginning) and that’s emotional high-wire stuff.
    Also, they feel everything so much more intensely. They’re often wildly idealistic and passionate about causes, and also have that damn belief that they’re immortal and can and should leap into the fray.
    I also think upbringing and experience plays a huge part in maturity. We might consider the upbringing of children in the past as lacking, but they were raised differently, faced different expectations — including things like sacrifice and duty — and had hands-on experience of life’s realities.
    A couple of other things. In the upper classes — the main setting for British historical romance — young men, especially heirs, were often married quite young,in part because they could, but also because their parents wanted them tied up before they were really independent and got any crazy ideas about actresses and poor-but-pretty.
    Also, life expectancy is often underestimated. I happen to have just used again some data I found on Italian nuns in my research.
    In brief: “from “HISTORIAN LOOKS AT WHY CONVENT LIFE WAS LONG LIFE” by Professor Judith Brown of Stanford University. Nuns had a longer life expectancy than married women, but
    half the women (all women, not just nuns) born in Milan between 1700 and 1743 lived to 67 or older. (Note the born. That means this includes infant deaths.)
    A quarter lived to over 74. Nuns tended to a particularly long life. Roughly half of the nuns lived to age 70, and a quarter to their late 70s.”
    Always fascinating,
    Jo

    Reply
  134. Jo here. This is such a fun topic.
    I love young heroes and heroines, and it doesn’t seem to change as I get older. I don’t think I bring my real world existence into my reading or writing preferences very much!
    To me, young people (say under 30 for sure, and early-mid twenties for preference) are probably getting into their first serious relationship (though they might not realize it at the beginning) and that’s emotional high-wire stuff.
    Also, they feel everything so much more intensely. They’re often wildly idealistic and passionate about causes, and also have that damn belief that they’re immortal and can and should leap into the fray.
    I also think upbringing and experience plays a huge part in maturity. We might consider the upbringing of children in the past as lacking, but they were raised differently, faced different expectations — including things like sacrifice and duty — and had hands-on experience of life’s realities.
    A couple of other things. In the upper classes — the main setting for British historical romance — young men, especially heirs, were often married quite young,in part because they could, but also because their parents wanted them tied up before they were really independent and got any crazy ideas about actresses and poor-but-pretty.
    Also, life expectancy is often underestimated. I happen to have just used again some data I found on Italian nuns in my research.
    In brief: “from “HISTORIAN LOOKS AT WHY CONVENT LIFE WAS LONG LIFE” by Professor Judith Brown of Stanford University. Nuns had a longer life expectancy than married women, but
    half the women (all women, not just nuns) born in Milan between 1700 and 1743 lived to 67 or older. (Note the born. That means this includes infant deaths.)
    A quarter lived to over 74. Nuns tended to a particularly long life. Roughly half of the nuns lived to age 70, and a quarter to their late 70s.”
    Always fascinating,
    Jo

    Reply
  135. Jo here. This is such a fun topic.
    I love young heroes and heroines, and it doesn’t seem to change as I get older. I don’t think I bring my real world existence into my reading or writing preferences very much!
    To me, young people (say under 30 for sure, and early-mid twenties for preference) are probably getting into their first serious relationship (though they might not realize it at the beginning) and that’s emotional high-wire stuff.
    Also, they feel everything so much more intensely. They’re often wildly idealistic and passionate about causes, and also have that damn belief that they’re immortal and can and should leap into the fray.
    I also think upbringing and experience plays a huge part in maturity. We might consider the upbringing of children in the past as lacking, but they were raised differently, faced different expectations — including things like sacrifice and duty — and had hands-on experience of life’s realities.
    A couple of other things. In the upper classes — the main setting for British historical romance — young men, especially heirs, were often married quite young,in part because they could, but also because their parents wanted them tied up before they were really independent and got any crazy ideas about actresses and poor-but-pretty.
    Also, life expectancy is often underestimated. I happen to have just used again some data I found on Italian nuns in my research.
    In brief: “from “HISTORIAN LOOKS AT WHY CONVENT LIFE WAS LONG LIFE” by Professor Judith Brown of Stanford University. Nuns had a longer life expectancy than married women, but
    half the women (all women, not just nuns) born in Milan between 1700 and 1743 lived to 67 or older. (Note the born. That means this includes infant deaths.)
    A quarter lived to over 74. Nuns tended to a particularly long life. Roughly half of the nuns lived to age 70, and a quarter to their late 70s.”
    Always fascinating,
    Jo

    Reply
  136. Jo, thanks for pointing out that infant mortality is the signifigant factor in longevity. It always irritates me when people talk as if an average life expectancy of 35 means people were old at 35. If you had six children, and three of them died in infancy and the other three lived to 70, their average life expectancy was 35. Once you got past infancy in almost any era, you had a good shot at your three score years and ten (assuming you survived childbirth aided by a doctor who didn’t wash his hands).
    Of course, people were apt to have lousy teeth — or few or none — which made them look a lot older.

    Reply
  137. Jo, thanks for pointing out that infant mortality is the signifigant factor in longevity. It always irritates me when people talk as if an average life expectancy of 35 means people were old at 35. If you had six children, and three of them died in infancy and the other three lived to 70, their average life expectancy was 35. Once you got past infancy in almost any era, you had a good shot at your three score years and ten (assuming you survived childbirth aided by a doctor who didn’t wash his hands).
    Of course, people were apt to have lousy teeth — or few or none — which made them look a lot older.

    Reply
  138. Jo, thanks for pointing out that infant mortality is the signifigant factor in longevity. It always irritates me when people talk as if an average life expectancy of 35 means people were old at 35. If you had six children, and three of them died in infancy and the other three lived to 70, their average life expectancy was 35. Once you got past infancy in almost any era, you had a good shot at your three score years and ten (assuming you survived childbirth aided by a doctor who didn’t wash his hands).
    Of course, people were apt to have lousy teeth — or few or none — which made them look a lot older.

    Reply
  139. Jo, thanks for pointing out that infant mortality is the signifigant factor in longevity. It always irritates me when people talk as if an average life expectancy of 35 means people were old at 35. If you had six children, and three of them died in infancy and the other three lived to 70, their average life expectancy was 35. Once you got past infancy in almost any era, you had a good shot at your three score years and ten (assuming you survived childbirth aided by a doctor who didn’t wash his hands).
    Of course, people were apt to have lousy teeth — or few or none — which made them look a lot older.

    Reply
  140. Jo, thanks for pointing out that infant mortality is the signifigant factor in longevity. It always irritates me when people talk as if an average life expectancy of 35 means people were old at 35. If you had six children, and three of them died in infancy and the other three lived to 70, their average life expectancy was 35. Once you got past infancy in almost any era, you had a good shot at your three score years and ten (assuming you survived childbirth aided by a doctor who didn’t wash his hands).
    Of course, people were apt to have lousy teeth — or few or none — which made them look a lot older.

    Reply
  141. Virginia, thank you for the reading suggestions. I’ve written down some of the titles.__Good point, Jo & Jane O, regarding life expectancy. No wonder I had so much trouble deciding what to talk about–the subject is immense, involving numerous subtopics, and so many ways of looking at what seems, at first, like such a simple question. Once again, thanks to Sharon for asking it.

    Reply
  142. Virginia, thank you for the reading suggestions. I’ve written down some of the titles.__Good point, Jo & Jane O, regarding life expectancy. No wonder I had so much trouble deciding what to talk about–the subject is immense, involving numerous subtopics, and so many ways of looking at what seems, at first, like such a simple question. Once again, thanks to Sharon for asking it.

    Reply
  143. Virginia, thank you for the reading suggestions. I’ve written down some of the titles.__Good point, Jo & Jane O, regarding life expectancy. No wonder I had so much trouble deciding what to talk about–the subject is immense, involving numerous subtopics, and so many ways of looking at what seems, at first, like such a simple question. Once again, thanks to Sharon for asking it.

    Reply
  144. Virginia, thank you for the reading suggestions. I’ve written down some of the titles.__Good point, Jo & Jane O, regarding life expectancy. No wonder I had so much trouble deciding what to talk about–the subject is immense, involving numerous subtopics, and so many ways of looking at what seems, at first, like such a simple question. Once again, thanks to Sharon for asking it.

    Reply
  145. Virginia, thank you for the reading suggestions. I’ve written down some of the titles.__Good point, Jo & Jane O, regarding life expectancy. No wonder I had so much trouble deciding what to talk about–the subject is immense, involving numerous subtopics, and so many ways of looking at what seems, at first, like such a simple question. Once again, thanks to Sharon for asking it.

    Reply
  146. “I suppose in part what I really like is a certain degree of reflection– or self-knowledge– in characters. That’s why I/we like the older Bennett sisters, rather than the silly younger ones.”
    But remember that Elizabeth confessed herself to be “not yet twenty.” I think, rather, that Jane and Elizabeth are two of those with “old souls,” if you like.
    As I read the discussion, I thought of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. Jane, who has been through so much, is ready for marriage and a lot more mature than Mr. R. about the broken up wedding.
    (I hope I didn’t offend any of you lovely Wenches with my “making love” comment yesterday! I should have remembered that I am in a bastion of romance writing and there are, after all, only so many ways to say it! :))

    Reply
  147. “I suppose in part what I really like is a certain degree of reflection– or self-knowledge– in characters. That’s why I/we like the older Bennett sisters, rather than the silly younger ones.”
    But remember that Elizabeth confessed herself to be “not yet twenty.” I think, rather, that Jane and Elizabeth are two of those with “old souls,” if you like.
    As I read the discussion, I thought of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. Jane, who has been through so much, is ready for marriage and a lot more mature than Mr. R. about the broken up wedding.
    (I hope I didn’t offend any of you lovely Wenches with my “making love” comment yesterday! I should have remembered that I am in a bastion of romance writing and there are, after all, only so many ways to say it! :))

    Reply
  148. “I suppose in part what I really like is a certain degree of reflection– or self-knowledge– in characters. That’s why I/we like the older Bennett sisters, rather than the silly younger ones.”
    But remember that Elizabeth confessed herself to be “not yet twenty.” I think, rather, that Jane and Elizabeth are two of those with “old souls,” if you like.
    As I read the discussion, I thought of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. Jane, who has been through so much, is ready for marriage and a lot more mature than Mr. R. about the broken up wedding.
    (I hope I didn’t offend any of you lovely Wenches with my “making love” comment yesterday! I should have remembered that I am in a bastion of romance writing and there are, after all, only so many ways to say it! :))

    Reply
  149. “I suppose in part what I really like is a certain degree of reflection– or self-knowledge– in characters. That’s why I/we like the older Bennett sisters, rather than the silly younger ones.”
    But remember that Elizabeth confessed herself to be “not yet twenty.” I think, rather, that Jane and Elizabeth are two of those with “old souls,” if you like.
    As I read the discussion, I thought of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. Jane, who has been through so much, is ready for marriage and a lot more mature than Mr. R. about the broken up wedding.
    (I hope I didn’t offend any of you lovely Wenches with my “making love” comment yesterday! I should have remembered that I am in a bastion of romance writing and there are, after all, only so many ways to say it! :))

    Reply
  150. “I suppose in part what I really like is a certain degree of reflection– or self-knowledge– in characters. That’s why I/we like the older Bennett sisters, rather than the silly younger ones.”
    But remember that Elizabeth confessed herself to be “not yet twenty.” I think, rather, that Jane and Elizabeth are two of those with “old souls,” if you like.
    As I read the discussion, I thought of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. Jane, who has been through so much, is ready for marriage and a lot more mature than Mr. R. about the broken up wedding.
    (I hope I didn’t offend any of you lovely Wenches with my “making love” comment yesterday! I should have remembered that I am in a bastion of romance writing and there are, after all, only so many ways to say it! :))

    Reply
  151. I’d guess that one reason nuns lived to a grand old age was that they weren’t likely to have died in childbirth! That was a major killer of women. Another possible set of reasons related to lifestyle- hard work, restrained diet, community ties, hopeful outlook.

    Reply
  152. I’d guess that one reason nuns lived to a grand old age was that they weren’t likely to have died in childbirth! That was a major killer of women. Another possible set of reasons related to lifestyle- hard work, restrained diet, community ties, hopeful outlook.

    Reply
  153. I’d guess that one reason nuns lived to a grand old age was that they weren’t likely to have died in childbirth! That was a major killer of women. Another possible set of reasons related to lifestyle- hard work, restrained diet, community ties, hopeful outlook.

    Reply
  154. I’d guess that one reason nuns lived to a grand old age was that they weren’t likely to have died in childbirth! That was a major killer of women. Another possible set of reasons related to lifestyle- hard work, restrained diet, community ties, hopeful outlook.

    Reply
  155. I’d guess that one reason nuns lived to a grand old age was that they weren’t likely to have died in childbirth! That was a major killer of women. Another possible set of reasons related to lifestyle- hard work, restrained diet, community ties, hopeful outlook.

    Reply
  156. This is a story of “I wish I had asked.” I remember my maternal grandparents with great fondness and through the young eyes. My grandfather died in 1957 and my grandmother died in 1968. Now, to me my grandfather was this funny sarcastic guy and my grandmother was this witty take no prisoner’s type of woman. Shortly before my mother died, we were talking about her father and I said I always thought he was funny, and she said “He was a mean man.” Of course, I never asked her why, I wish I had. Where am I going with this, my grandparents had an 11 year difference in their ages. I never knew anything about their courtship, wish I had. I don’t know if it was even a love match. When I think back on that time I see us all as one big happy family, but just recently I’ve been restoring family photos and there is only one photograph in which my grandmother is smiling or should I say grimacing. The photograph was taken shortly before my grandfather died and he has thrown his arms around her and is attempting to kiss her, she is moving her head away from him and grimacing. Interesting body language and this is where the “I wish I had asked” comes in. In the course of restoring photos and doing genealogy dabbling, I’ve found more mysteries in my family than I thought were there. Anyway, doesn’t really have anything to do with the discussion except that the discussion reminded me of my grandparents.

    Reply
  157. This is a story of “I wish I had asked.” I remember my maternal grandparents with great fondness and through the young eyes. My grandfather died in 1957 and my grandmother died in 1968. Now, to me my grandfather was this funny sarcastic guy and my grandmother was this witty take no prisoner’s type of woman. Shortly before my mother died, we were talking about her father and I said I always thought he was funny, and she said “He was a mean man.” Of course, I never asked her why, I wish I had. Where am I going with this, my grandparents had an 11 year difference in their ages. I never knew anything about their courtship, wish I had. I don’t know if it was even a love match. When I think back on that time I see us all as one big happy family, but just recently I’ve been restoring family photos and there is only one photograph in which my grandmother is smiling or should I say grimacing. The photograph was taken shortly before my grandfather died and he has thrown his arms around her and is attempting to kiss her, she is moving her head away from him and grimacing. Interesting body language and this is where the “I wish I had asked” comes in. In the course of restoring photos and doing genealogy dabbling, I’ve found more mysteries in my family than I thought were there. Anyway, doesn’t really have anything to do with the discussion except that the discussion reminded me of my grandparents.

    Reply
  158. This is a story of “I wish I had asked.” I remember my maternal grandparents with great fondness and through the young eyes. My grandfather died in 1957 and my grandmother died in 1968. Now, to me my grandfather was this funny sarcastic guy and my grandmother was this witty take no prisoner’s type of woman. Shortly before my mother died, we were talking about her father and I said I always thought he was funny, and she said “He was a mean man.” Of course, I never asked her why, I wish I had. Where am I going with this, my grandparents had an 11 year difference in their ages. I never knew anything about their courtship, wish I had. I don’t know if it was even a love match. When I think back on that time I see us all as one big happy family, but just recently I’ve been restoring family photos and there is only one photograph in which my grandmother is smiling or should I say grimacing. The photograph was taken shortly before my grandfather died and he has thrown his arms around her and is attempting to kiss her, she is moving her head away from him and grimacing. Interesting body language and this is where the “I wish I had asked” comes in. In the course of restoring photos and doing genealogy dabbling, I’ve found more mysteries in my family than I thought were there. Anyway, doesn’t really have anything to do with the discussion except that the discussion reminded me of my grandparents.

    Reply
  159. This is a story of “I wish I had asked.” I remember my maternal grandparents with great fondness and through the young eyes. My grandfather died in 1957 and my grandmother died in 1968. Now, to me my grandfather was this funny sarcastic guy and my grandmother was this witty take no prisoner’s type of woman. Shortly before my mother died, we were talking about her father and I said I always thought he was funny, and she said “He was a mean man.” Of course, I never asked her why, I wish I had. Where am I going with this, my grandparents had an 11 year difference in their ages. I never knew anything about their courtship, wish I had. I don’t know if it was even a love match. When I think back on that time I see us all as one big happy family, but just recently I’ve been restoring family photos and there is only one photograph in which my grandmother is smiling or should I say grimacing. The photograph was taken shortly before my grandfather died and he has thrown his arms around her and is attempting to kiss her, she is moving her head away from him and grimacing. Interesting body language and this is where the “I wish I had asked” comes in. In the course of restoring photos and doing genealogy dabbling, I’ve found more mysteries in my family than I thought were there. Anyway, doesn’t really have anything to do with the discussion except that the discussion reminded me of my grandparents.

    Reply
  160. This is a story of “I wish I had asked.” I remember my maternal grandparents with great fondness and through the young eyes. My grandfather died in 1957 and my grandmother died in 1968. Now, to me my grandfather was this funny sarcastic guy and my grandmother was this witty take no prisoner’s type of woman. Shortly before my mother died, we were talking about her father and I said I always thought he was funny, and she said “He was a mean man.” Of course, I never asked her why, I wish I had. Where am I going with this, my grandparents had an 11 year difference in their ages. I never knew anything about their courtship, wish I had. I don’t know if it was even a love match. When I think back on that time I see us all as one big happy family, but just recently I’ve been restoring family photos and there is only one photograph in which my grandmother is smiling or should I say grimacing. The photograph was taken shortly before my grandfather died and he has thrown his arms around her and is attempting to kiss her, she is moving her head away from him and grimacing. Interesting body language and this is where the “I wish I had asked” comes in. In the course of restoring photos and doing genealogy dabbling, I’ve found more mysteries in my family than I thought were there. Anyway, doesn’t really have anything to do with the discussion except that the discussion reminded me of my grandparents.

    Reply

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