Volume 6 | January 2019
Fountain Pen Tales
Happy New Year!
It’s out with the old and in with the new! Most people will greet 2019 with a Champagne toast. But that was definitely not the way we did it when I was a girl. Back then New Year’s Eve was known as Watch Night in the African American community and most of us celebrated in church. We’d arrive at 9:30 p.m. and, without following a regular order of service, spontaneously praised God, sang hymns and spirituals, and shared testimonies of God’s grace. I remember songs like “I Thank You, Jesus”; “Somebody Prayed for Me”; and “God Will Take Care of You”. I remember men and women telling of the hunger, sickness, and sorrow endured during the passing year, yet gratefully stood to acknowledge God’s provisional mercy. “He brought me through it all,” they’d triumphantly testify, “and I’m still here, clothed and in my right mind!”
As the midnight hour grew nigh, everyone—the young, the elderly, even the infirmed, slipped to their knees. Bent over the pews in a unified posture of prayer, some folks hummed softly, some fervently whispered, while others wailed in anguished release, or perhaps, tears of joy. Only those who wept knew for sure. But one thing I do know is that even as a child, the songs and the faith of those nights brought comfort. Though I strayed many times throughout the ensuing years, I never missed attending Watch Night. The spirituality of the people and God’s mystical reassurance provided sustaining strength, always drawing me back into the fold.
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The origin of Watch Night is often debated. To learn why, click the link below.
Tale of the Month
January’s Tale is an excerpt from my novel, Free to Be . The chapter covers Lincoln’s hectic December 31,1862 day while contrasting Fredrick Douglass’ stressful December 31,1862 night, waiting for word that the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed.

Click on the link to read January’s Tale of the Month.

Free To Be is now available in print and e-book. Click link below to purchase.
Meet the Author Podcast
I’m Gracie Chandler—author and creator of the Fountain Pen Tales newsletter. To learn more about my long and winding path to becoming an author, tune in to my interview with Stacey Horan on her Podcast The Bookshop at the End of the Internet . Sit back, relax, and enjoy a cup of something delicious as you listen to the podcast. After all, you deserve a break today! 

Click below to listen to Podcast.
About Fountain Pen Tales
This newsletter, Fountain Pen Tales, was created with two goals in mind:
  • To share memories of a by-gone era through stories, essays, poems, book reviews and interviews.
  • To uncover the imprecise reporting of some historical events and learn the truth about them.
This is my New Year’s Resolution!
Drop me an encouraging line at www.gracielchandler.com . And be sure to share your grand plan for 2019; after all, we’re all so in this together!