It's a lot of fun to create new "people."
I hope you enjoy reading about Andi's family and friends!
Andrea Rose Carter (Andi) is twelve years old, with blue eyes and dark hair, which she always wears in braids. She doesn't like being the youngest in a busy ranching family, but with her beloved horse, Taffy, she manages to make the best of it and find plenty of adventure. Overalls are her preferred clothes, but she only wears them on the ranch. When she is feeling blue, she and Taffy head for Andi's special spot up by the creek.
Justin Carter is the oldest son and carries the responsibility of the firstborn very seriously . . . especially since their father was killed in a roundup accident several years ago. Justin is a lawyer and enjoys politics, but he can flush out a stray cow or brand a calf when he has to. He has dark hair and blue eyes, and is patient and understanding with his youngest sister. Justin is Andi's favorite brother.
Chad Carter is doing what he always dreamed of growing up--running the Circle C ranch. He didn't expect to take over so soon, but with the help of Sid, their foreman, and Mitch, he manages just fine--as long as everybody pulls their weight. He loves Andi but has no patience when she disregards his instructions regarding the ranch. Andi thinks he's bossy and is always willing to argue with him. However, that rarely turns out well. Chad and Andi are way too much alike.
Katherine Carter Swanson and Andi look a lot alike, but Andi wishes they didn't. She knew nothing about her older sister until the fall of 1880, when Kate showed up on the ranch with her 3 little kids in tow. She had been gone ten years, and Andi had a hard time accepting this prodigal sister. It took a few mis-adventures, but Andi and Kate are now "real" sisters. Katherine and her children live in San Francisco with Aunt Rebecca.
Mitchell Carter is the youngest of the Carter brothers. He is also the most easy-going and not quite ready to take life too seriously. He's happy to let Chad run the ranch. He is the opposite of his brothers in looks--blond and blue-eyed. Mitch can find the good in everybody and is loyal to a fault, which sometimes causes problems. He'll take Andi's side, even when she's in the wrong. Mitch and Andi get along splendidly.
Melinda Carter has discovered corsets, Godey's Lady's Book, beaux, and social events in town, much to Andi's dismay. She's not much for racing or fishing any longer. But in spite of Melinda's growing up, Andi looks up to her pretty, golden-haired older sister. Melinda never trips and fall into the horse trough. Melinda always thinks things through. Melinda likes learning how to run a household. Andi wonders, "Can anyone be that perfect?"
Elizabeth Carter is Andi's mother. This picture was taken right after Andi's father and mother were married. Andi loves her mother dearly and wants to grow up to be just like her (no easy goal). Elizabeth is patient and understanding with Andi--seeing some of herself in Andi's desire to live unrestrained from outward social expectations. However, she does expect Andi to conduct herself with honesty, kindness, and self-control, and deals firmly with her when she falls short.
Levi Swanson has had a hard childhood. When Andi's ten-year-old nephew arrives on the ranch, he is a foul-mouthed, fighting little brat, who has no use for girls of any kind. That suits Andi fine, but she finds herself stuck with him. Mitch gives Levi Patches, a paint horse, and eventually Andi and her nephew become friends. He lives with his mother and sisters in San Francisco.
Elizabeth Swanson (Betsy) is Andi's six-year-old tag-a-long niece. Whiny and stubborn, Betsy throws fits and gets into trouble. She does adore Andi, however, much to Andi's dismay. She follows Andi around whenever she can. Betsy has brown hair and brown eyes and likes to ride Coco, the Carter's old, old pony. She now lives with her mother, brother, and little sister in San Francisco.
Hannah Swanson is a spoiled little three-year-old with golden curls and blue eyes. She likes to wreck Andi's room, steal her locket, and in general cause all kinds of toddler problems for Andi. She is never without her doll, Tilly, and she likes to suck her thumb. She is a cuddly little girl when all is said and done, and Andi learned to love her a lot. She really misses her nieces and nephew, now that they've moved in with Aunt Rebecca in the city.
Cory Blake is one of Andi's best friends. He has a head full of straw-colored hair and mischievous gray-blue eyes. Cory is a friendly fellow and loves to play good-natured jokes on Andi and on his classmates in general. He doesn't take school seriously because the lessons are difficult for him. He'd much rather work with his father at the livery or racing around the country looking for adventure.
Rosa Garduno is Andi's best friend. She comes from a tiny village in northern Mexico. She is one of five children, but only she and her brother Joselito have survived the harsh life of a peasant family. The Garduno family eventually found a welcome and steady work on the Circle C ranch. Rosa has shiny black braids, black eyes, and is a cautious, sensible girl. She's a good balance for Andi's impulsiveness.
Lin Mei comes from Canton, China. As a child of only five years old, she was sold by her gambling father in China to a woman who brought her to the United States and sold her as a slave to Feng Chee, the cook at Miss Whitaker's Academy for Young Ladies in San Francisco, CA. Andi met her while attending school in the winter of 1881. Fearing that Lin Mei might be sold again, Andi helped rescue her. Lin Mei now lives at the Mission Home, where she is safe at last.
Jenny Grant was Andi's roommate for two terms at her boarding school in San Francisco. Jenny comes from Washington Territory, and spent one year at the academy. Her father is a rich sawmill owner in Tacoma, and her brothers (five of them) are loggers. Jenny's mother wanted her daughter to have some finer education. Jenny is a rough-and-tumble girl, and possibly even more impulsive than Andi. She has bright red hair and brown eyes.
Juan Carlos is the stable boy for the young ladies' academy, where Andi attended school for two terms in 1881. Although his grandfather was an important Spanish don years ago, those days are over and Juan Carlos must work hard to support his mother and younger sisters. He is 16 years old and befriends a lonely Andi on her first day of school. He treats her like a little sister, which is comfortable and familiar to Andi.
Virginia Foster and Andi did not start off as friends. As the new teacher's daughter, Virginia appeared to hold a deep grudge against Andi for nearly trampling her father during an impromptu horse race through town. The two girls have resolved their differences, and while they are not best friends, they are getting along much better than before. Virginia has pale blond hair, dark gray eyes, and is a bright student.
Aunt Rebecca Carter is the older sister of Andi's father, James. Rebecca never married, and when her parents passed away back East, she packed up and moved to San Francisco to be closer to her younger brother's family. Rebecca is strong-willed and considers it her Christian duty to let Andi and her family know what is proper behavior before God and society. She's a blustery, bossy old lady, who is constantly trying to turn Andi into a proper young lady.
James Carter is Andi's father. This picture was painted shortly before his death in 1874, when Andi was five-and-a-half years old. He was thrown from his horse during spring round-up. Andi remembers that her father always let her ride in front of him when he went out on the range. His horse was a big buckskin named "Caesar." Andi also remembers how tickly his beard felt when he kissed her goodnight. She wishes she could remember more.
Horses, Adventure, and the Old West!