“If one of my children were a writer I’d say ‘God help you. You’ll
need it’. There must be easier ways of making a living, such as
working the salt mines.”
September 7, 1900–August 30, 1985
TAYLOR CALDWELL had a “tough” upbringing, as she put it herself in the title of her autobiography — On Growing Up Tough. Her family wasn’t poor, but it believed in hard work and discipline.
She was born Janet Miriam Taylor Holland Caldwell in the Prestwich district of the large industrial city of Manchester in Northwest England. Her family was middle class and she started at a private school aged four. Every moment of her time, seven days a week was accounted for. If she wasn’t at her studies, there were fires to lay, dishes to wash, and clothes to mend and iron. On the weekend, church, Sunday school and more domestic tasks awaited. Punishment for any transgression was likely to be a beating from her parents or from the head-teacher if she stepped out of line at school. By the time she left with her family for