Rose Creek was a turn-of-the-century western community with a mix of stolid local citizens and eccentrics. What made it different from other small towns, however, was that an inner community of time travelers was integrated within its safe confines.
Among Rose Creek's citizens was a young woman, MelvaDean Stanton McAnary, whose mother was a midwife and thought her daughter would follow in her footsteps. However, life has a way of not going as parents plan for their offspring, and over time MelvaDean decided to leave the birthing to the local doctor and devote herself to the broader advancement of women's rights and social justice.
"I could help a few women here deliver their babies successfully, but now I know I would rather help all women deliver themselves from the bondage of male domination. And more than anything else, we deserve the right to vote."
At first, MelvaDean confined herself to communication with other women in the region, but as she educated herself about legislatures and the processes for getting laws passed, she realized she needed to be able to be part of the larger nationwide movement. And when she learned about the time travelers in her community, she was convinced that this was her way out of Rose Creek and into the fray.
When Thaddeus Gearbender, a resident of Rose Creek, developed a train that could move with incredible speed, MelvaDean was one of his first customers.
"I am ready to travel at a moment's notice when I learn of an event," she said. Her problem, however, was that time travel was not always as certain as she wished. Occasionally she wound up too far in advance of an event, or too long after. "Well, I am determined, I am patient, and I will not be deterred," she said. "If I get there too soon, I will educate them. If I get there too late, I will let them tell me all about what happened."
She kept her trunk, lap robe, hat and briefcase ready for conventional travel, and her portmaneu for traveling through time.
"I learned quickly that trying to carry a briefcase while time traveling is not realistic. For instance, I really want to attend this debate between two women three years in the future, and it's hard just holding onto my hat and totebag!"
"We all know that many men don't think women should vote, but can you believe there are actually some women who don't, either? My philosophy is, stay at home and be ignorant if you want to, but don't actively try to keep others from what should be rightfully theirs!"
"I keep pamphlets and articles in my totebag to read if I go on the train, as well as The Rose Creek Time Traveler's Almanac, which Ima Rose of The Rose Creek Weekly published. It really helps to know the weather and the time of day or night in advance. One Rose Creek resident wound up in a city at 3 a.m. in the morning, and I don't want to have that experience!"
"I just read a book I picked up on one of my travels called The Rational Dress Movement, and I am all for that. It isn't easy moving through time and space in the bulky clothing we have to wear. I would love to be able to wear trousers. I know some local women do, like the blacksmith and the owner of the stables, and they don't give a hoot what people think. But when traveling in wider society, well, conservatism is the rule."
"In the meantime, if you should attend one of these meetings, I may see you there! Hurrah for Woman Suffrage!"
MelvaDean was created for a special project on the Minidolls list, which is owned by Dana Burton. The theme was Rose Creek, a small turn-of-the-century western community where, "Back in the days ... of Silk and Steam a new kind of traveler emerged. Men and women who combined technology and Victorian flourish, while time traveling from one point of interest to another, needed a place to call home."
In the course of that project, members of the list created dolls representing around 40 characters who resided in Rose Creek. (Thaddeus Gearbender, mentioned above, was a creation of Mysty Black.) As my part of the project, Dana Burton asked me if I could provide a newspaper, and I created The Rose Creek Weekly, where I commented on all the characters and their doings. That was a lot of fun, so, in addition to MelvaDean, I created Ima Rose, its publisher.
At the time I created these two dolls, I was pressed for time because of my work on the newspaper, so I did not take pictures while making them. Basically, I followed the same processes as I have used for all my other dolls.