Although many of us know her by the name L.M. Montgomery, many of her close friends affectionately called her “Maud”. She was a Canadian, a writer, a true dreamer.
On this day, we want to say,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAUD!
Born in the small town of Clifton, Prince Edward Island on November 30, 1874 little Maud lost her mother to tuberculosis when she was just one year of age. Shortly afterwards, her father turned her into the care of her maternal grandparents, too stricken with grief to raise his young child. The older pair lived in the nearby farming community, Cavendish, and although they raised her strictly they showed her love and kindness. Montgomery spent the bulk of her younger years alone, coping with loneliness and developing her imagination.
By the time she was a teenager, she already was submitting creative pieces to the local Charlottetown paper. At the age of 16 her first work was published titled “On Cape LeForce” by The Daily Patriot. Around this time, her father remarried and sadly Montgomery did not get along well with his new wife. Although she visited her father briefly to try living with this new family, she returned to her grandparents’ house in Cavendish to complete the rest of her studies. Once having completed her secondary grade school education, she attended Prince of Wales College for a teacher’s license. Between 1895 and 1896, she went onto study literature at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Many believe Montgomery’s grandparents were her inspiration behind the beloved characters of Marilla and Matthew. Her literary references to Dalhousie University, at which Gilbert Blythe is said to have studied, are all taken from her first-hand experiences there.
After her time at Dalhousie, she enjoyed working as a teacher in various schools on the island. She was content with writing in her spare time, and having short stories published in magazine and newspapers. Between 1897 to 1907, she had over 100 stories publicized. In 1889, she began her fist relationship with a Cavendish boy named Nate Lockhart. Although he took the relationship quite seriously, she did not- and the connection ended abruptly when she refused his proposal for marriage. Afterwards, she went onto be courted by several gentleman whose proposals she refused or accepted, then refused again.
During this time, in 1908, she wrote and published her first book- Anne of Green Gables. The journals that she wrote during this time reveal that she felt great uncertainty with what she wanted at this point in her life, and was struggling between the desire to find romantic love and the practicality of ensuring security.
She soon resolved she could not find romantic love, and in 1911 married Ewen MacDonald out of a desire for “protection”. He was a Presbyterian Minister who held a post at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, in Leaksdale – current day Uxbridge, Ontario. She would go onto have three sons with him, the second who was stillborn. She would later say that she missed Prince Edward Island extraordinarily, and the writing was her only solace during this time.
The next books that followed in the Anne of Green Gables series were written in Leaksdale. In 1935 she was awarded the Order of the British Empire for her literary contributions. In the last year of her life, Montgomery completed a ninth book featuring Anne, titled The Blythes Are Quoted which included 15 short stories and 41 poems. She died on April 24, 1942 of coronary thrombosis in Toronto. A note was found beside her bed that read:[blockquote align=”right”] I have lost my mind by spells and I do not dare think what I may do in those spells. May God forgive me and I hope everyone else will forgive me even if they cannot understand. My position is too awful to endure and nobody realizes it. What an end to a life in which I tried always to do my best. -L.M. Montgomery’s final words [/blockquote]
During her lifetime, Montgomery published 20 novels, over 500 short stories, an autobiography and a book of poetry. Her works are read around the world, and have been made into film productions, and are studied by scholars and readers alike.