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A heart warming Christmas Story to share with your friends and family.

The Girl in the Red Bonnet A Christmas Story  By Cliff Miles

The Story Behind the story

The girl in the red bonnet always tried to make every Christmas the best one ever. On her eighteenth Christmas Natalie Cooper did exactly that for the citizens of Chester New Jersey, her family and Collin Bradley, a boy whose heart had been shattered.  



When Natalie Cooper was born in the year of our Lord 1864. A tiny bundle with lots of brunette hair, she came as an early morning Christmas gift to Mr. Cooper and his wife, Clarice. 

As a child Natalie was in no way exceptional. She was just a pretty little girl who liked playing with her dolls, being outdoors, and finding interesting things to bring home.  

That all changed after she learned that her Name was Latin for Christmas Day. Soon after that she received a red Bonnet that became her official Christmas symbol where upon She made Christmas her mission in life.  


Story History as of 21 Jan. 2015 


(Show title) The Girl in the Red Bonnet 


For many years I had wanted to write a Christmas Story. The problem was that I never had any ideas of what to write. This story came about because the Idea was presented to me as a whisper 

“Every Year, my wife Natalie and I drive to Glendale Arizona for Thanksgiving. I was driving as I do most of the time. We were traveling down through the center of Utah on highway 89 and Natalie was catching up on her sleep. I noticed a couple of hawks flying that I couldn’t identify. I’m a birder and I’m always on the lookout for new ones. I looked at Natalie sleeping and when my Eyes came back the road the Idea was passed through me. The spirit said “You can write about this (arm sweep) and I understood. I don’t want to reveal my exact impressions because it will spoil the story for you. That was on Friday November 22nd, 2013. 


  I told Natalie what had happened and as always, she was supportive. As we drove I started to develop the story in my head. I knew from the very beginning that I was going to use Natalie’s name for the main character to honor her. Did you know that Natalie is Latin for “Christmas Day?” It was after I learned that fact that I had Natalie Cooper born on Christmas Day.  


I felt that I would like to have a new Christmas Symbol for my book and for whatever reason a red bonnet came to mind.  

I knew that I didn’t want telephones, Electric lights, or Cars. I wanted Sleighs.  


When I started writing this story, I wanted to have it take place at a One of the old-fashioned mills like you see on calendars. I love them and they are quite beautiful. I found the Cooper Mill doing a google picture search. It was located in New Jersey. I was Named after Nathan Cooper.  


I wanted use mistletoe in the story and researched the plant and discovered that the Northern most part of the east coast where you can find mistletoe is New Jersey.  


I felt that it was important to have Poinsettias in my story. I researched the history of the plant and discovered that the cultivar that most of the Poinsettia’s come from came from a nursery in New Jersey.  


I wanted Natalie Coopers mother to be French and knew that part of the story was going to take place in France. I didn’t know why except for the fact that I have always been attracted to France and its culture. 


I wanted my story to take place when Christmas was as close as today’s traditions as I could get without phones or cars. I wanted sleighs. I also needed to have glass blown Christmas ornaments coming into vogue. I needed Christmas to be on a Sunday. I found 1881 fit what I needed.  


All along I intended to use a picture of my wife Natalie that I like and have her painted wearing a Red Bonnet. I googled red Bonnet and discovered that lovely painting by Harlamoff. I was captivated by the painting and decided that I should have it for my cover. That little girl has hauntingly sad eyes. Why are they sad?  


In researching Harlamoff I discovered that he was painting in Paris at the same time that Natalie and her mother go to France after the death of her brother Benjamin in 1874. I tied the painting to my story and the rest is history. I have no Idea when or where the actual painting was executed because Harlamoff  rarely dated his paintings.  


After I started writing I decided that I was going to have a short story version ready as a Christmas present for Natalie.  


I have a terrible time keeping secrets and I wanted to tell someone about the plot. I told my daughter Vanessa and her eyes lit up. Because I teased Vanessa with the plot I promised her that she would be the first person to read the story after I finished what I consider to be a completed draft.  


I completed my short story version and read it to Natalie on Christmas eve 2013. We sat downstairs near the Christmas tree with just its lights on and a lamp to read by. While I was reading the story, I became choked up a number of times. When I finished Natalie said, “You have to finish this” That was a 10,000-word version 


My brother Clark and I had to go up to Idaho Falls Idaho to repair the furnace of our last childhood home. We were selling the home  

I read him the story as we drove and at one point he threatened to make me walk to Idaho Falls. He was concerned about what was happening in the story which delighted me. I said, “just wait, and let me keep reading.” 

I finished the story on the way back home and Clark said, “Cliff this is a very very good story” This was a version of just over 20,000 words. The finished draft is just over 46,000 words. I’m excited for everyone to read it.  


March 4th, 2014. I Did a picture search for Broom Straw Kite. I wanted to know how far back the design goes to see if it properly fit my story. I haven’t found the answer. In the process I found a single picture of boys at a kite day which was taken at Orange, New Jersey.  


A couple of weeks before Christmas 2015 I learned that Dr. Brian Danneman lives in New Jersey! 

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