Preface: Waking to Mourning Doves
Waking to the soulful call of a mourning dove shortly after my mother’s death gave me the inspiration for my book title. Their plaintive cooing evokes nostalgic reminders of my life growing up on rural South Dakota prairies in the 1940s and 1950s, a memory of the simpler times of my youth. Soft spring mornings, gentle breezes stirring the curtains and a cacophony of birdsong and farm animal sounds define contentment to me. Their cooing still evokes the same feeling that all is right with the world. Mourning doves are unassuming, not flashy and don’t push and shove or bully other birds out of their space. They have adapted to blend into their surroundings, just as the women who settled the Great Plains did. Their nests and homes aren’t fancy, but they have survived and thrived, just like my immigrant ancestral families. Furthermore, they symbolize much of the happenings of my life and the experiences that have molded it, for they are like the soft-spoken ladies that surrounded me in my childhood: women who helped form my character and outlook on the world. These ladies were strong women and full partners in life, but with the polite, gentle demeanor of mourning doves. My book is built around excerpts from my personal diary entries from ages ten to twenty-one, adult journaling and my memories. Dated diary entries and family journals are printed verbatim and expanded upon. It is obvious from this book that I have an interest in preserving family history. My husband and I have published seven family-history books that describe our ancestors as far back as we can find records. Many go back hundreds of years and dozens of generations to our northern European roots. In addition to the history of our ancestors, I wish to pass on to my descendants my own personal history. It is my hope that this memoir will inspire readers to record their own life experiences.
Copyright © 2011 Caryl Crozier
Crozier, Caryl, "Walking to Mourning Doves: A Memoir" (2011). South Dakota Sate University Alumni Publications. 3.