The Story Behind The Story

The Blue Portal SeriesThis is the patent medicine bottle that inspired The Blue Portal series. Well… sort of…. the original bottle disappeared during our house fire. I’d already started the story and I was devastated when it was lost.

The original was a Yardley bottle my husband and I found when we dug up our front lawn to plant a garden. It inspired me to write the story as well as the title, Tendrils. I wondered about who had owned it and how it had ended up buried in our front lawn. So I went in search of another one.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t lucky enough to find a second Yardley bottle. But I did find something even better – a patent medicine bottle. It naturally led to so many questions, not only about the person who used it, but I ended up researching about old bottles and patent medicines (which I will address in future blogs). Who knew old bottles could be so interesting? And patent medicines led to a whole other piece of research about the suffragette movement.

Anyway, back to the bottle… I asked a local antique dealer whether he had any old bottles. He smiled and bent down behind his counter. I heard things clink and rattle as he dragged out an old, dusty milk crate. It was full bottles from the Victorian era. So much for them being a rare find. There was actually a piece of masking tape for the price tag of $5.00, which only emphasized how easy they are to find.

To my delight I carried home the bottle pictured above. There was so much backstory around patent medicines that I didn’t have to invent very much for Tendrils, except the ghost.

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