My Darlings is a memoir of the rollicking life and times of the grande dame of Oakland, Florida--from growing up in the frontier town of Denver, to studying voice in the big city of Chicago, to pioneering in the backwoods of central Florida. Grace was born in 1884 in Denver and moved to Chicago around the turn of the century to study voice in hopes of becoming an opera singer. Instead, she married the delightful Charles Frederic Mather-Smith, twenty years her senior, and the newlyweds made their winter home in rural Oakland, Florida, when central Florida was still a primeval jungle teeming with wild animals and exotic flora just beginning to be tamed by homesteading farmers, ranchers, and fishermen. As Grace says, it was the hand of Destiny that led her new husband and her to Oakland, where Grace raised her family, shook up the community, and lived for more than fifty happy years. As recounted in her memoir, Grace was a devoted wife and mother, a pioneer, a community organizer, an opera singer, a midwife, a businesswoman, a philanthropist--and a great beauty whom men found irresistible. Grace was the first woman in Florida to drive a car; the owner of the first telephone and phonograph in Oakland, and of the first bathtub and flushing toilet in central Florida; and the first person to drive a car to the top of Pike's Peak without a mechanic. Grace's voice comes across loud and clear in her memoir, which is illustrated with more than 20 family photos. She was flamboyant, theatrical, uninhibited, adventurous, energetic, glamorous, exuberant, unconventional, willful, irrepressible, big-hearted, and generous to a fault. Her memoir quotes family and friends who describe Grace as being "like a thoroughbred horse ... always out there in the limelight," "born for the concert stage and the opera," and "prone to gallivantin' around." She was larger than life--a force of nature--and has been likened to Auntie Mame. As Eve Bacon wrote in her book Oakland: The Early Years, Grace "hit staid little Oakland" like "a social bombshell."