Well friends and fans, since you’ve already met Ethan Allen Doyle, the lad in Spare Change, I thought you’d like to meet some of the other characters and get to know a bit about them. Today I’ll be interviewing Olivia Ann Westerly, the protagonist of the story. Olivia is a woman who at a young age developed an overabundance of superstitions and beliefs that clung to her for most of her years. Granted, some of those beliefs may seem a bit quirky to those of us who see life through the eye of reality, but Olivia knew what she knew and there was no changing her mind until Ethan Allen came along.
Q: Olivia, you married Charlie Doyle when you were well into your fifties; but as a young woman you were engaged to Herbert Flannery, why didn’t you marry him?
A: It wasn’t because of Herbert, he was a fine gentleman, but I wanted to be somebody and do something with my life—that was never going to happen if I was tied to a man who expected me to cook, clean house and have babies.
Q: That leads me to believe you’re an extremely independent woman, are you?
A: I suppose I am, but it’s little wonder. I’ve seen so many of my friends lose their dreams and expectations in a pile of dirty diapers; marriage means babies and with babies that’s exactly what happens. After seeing how Francine had to beg her no-good husband for a few dollars to buy a new dress, I knew I never wanted to be in such a position. Right then and there I decided to be in charge of my own life and make my way in world alone, without a husband to boss me around or babies to weigh me down.
Q: But making your way alone, isn’t that rather lonely?
A: Yes. There were times when I was very lonely—but I thought loneliness was the price I had to pay if I wanted a career and independence. It wasn’t until after Charlie died that I came to understand how terribly lonely, loneliness is.
Q: After Charlie died, did you ever consider remarrying?
A: Heavens no! There was only one Charlie Doyle in this world, and not a man on earth could measure up to him. Of course Ethan Allen finally happened along—he was the spitting image of Charlie, the same eyes, same mischievous smile, same way of stealing a woman’s heart…
Q: Ethan Allen, was he related to you?
A: At first I didn’t think so, but once I came to know the boy he was as close to me as my own skin.
Q: When did you first meet Ethan Allen?
A: It was a few months after Charlie died. I’d gone to the movies with Fred Porter and when I got home the boy and that sorry-looking dog of his were sleeping in front of my apartment door.
Q: Were you glad to see him?
A: I should say not! First off, the boy was eleven years old—eleven is the unluckiest number on earth! Everything bad that has ever happened to me was somehow connected to the number eleven. I had the measles when I was eleven, my best friend moved away when I was eleven and Charlie died on the eleventh day of our honeymoon. So no, I was not happy to discover an eleven-year old boy claiming that I was his only living relative.
Q: The story of your and Ethan Allen’s relationship is told in the book SPARE CHANGE – are you the hero of that story?
A: Hero? ~Laugh~ I rather think not. I didn’t exactly step up to save Ethan Allen, the lad just sort of burrowed his way into my heart and once he was there, I only did what any grandma would do. I guess if there’s a hero in the story it would be him. He’s the one who turned his poor little life around and made something of himself.
Q: Didn’t you also turn your life around?
A: Yes, but I was fortunate enough to have any number of friends to help me. The only person Ethan Allen had, was me.
Q: Looking back, are you happy with the way things turned out?
A: ~sigh~ Well, I would have liked to have had more time on earth with Charlie, but God in all His wisdom, gave me Ethan Allen instead.
Q: If you could do it all over again, what would you change?
A: I was about to say that I wouldn’t have wasted all those years worrying about a husband and babies weighing me down ~laugh~ but then I realized, if things were different, I might never have known Charlie and Ethan Allen, so after thinking it over, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Q: Would you suggest book lovers read SPARE CHANGE?
A: Sugar, that’s something they ought to decide for themselves.