Learning has always been important in the Blackburn Family, but the means whereby that was accomplished has taken on different forms across the years.
For the record, Mr. and Mrs. Blackburn were very supportive of the choices of their sons, for as far as their role extended. Those roles were quite important, if severely limited.
The essential thing to understand about this family was that magic was unusually kept back from their children. Not out of a cruelty, or a warped sense of control, but rather to help them to get more out of life.
Coming from a long line of well practiced and capable witches and wizards, Mrs. Blackburn had become disillusioned and apathetic towards the traditions of her people. She had seen so many of her kind become dismissive and complacent. Most wizard-kind really had little deference and no respect towards themselves and what it meant to be magical. It was almost like life didn't matter to them. And when you can just wave a wand to solve your problems, who could blame them?
She saw apathy everywhere she looked, and she wanted to solve this. It just so happens that at that time, there was a movement of like-minded witches and wizards who as a group had decided it was better to reject magic entirely. They'd live and work together, using the old ways of taking care of themselves. They believed it was better to live without an easy solution, learning to appreciate the difficulty and struggle of life than to skate by without a care, and waving your problems away with the flick of a wrist.
This idealistic and motivated woman set out to live her convictions, literally snapping her wand in half and burning all her books, parchments, and every trace of her magical training, clothing, and culture. She'd already met and married someone without a scrap of magical ability, moved away from her home town, and proceeded to distance herself from her family in order to make a fresh start. Then she'd gotten pregnant, and had set out to have a completely natural childbirth.
But as things go, reality was so much harsher than even a witch hippy might plan for. Conditions surrounding her pregnancy had made her susceptible to complications even a twentieth century physician might miss, and she was expecting twins. And before a competent wizarding midwife might be apparated in, she passed. She had a chance to hold her boys, but soon after gave up the ghost, bequeathing in her way this new tradition of understanding and vitality to her sons.
And so this is how, only a short time later, a kind but overwhelmed woman had found herself helping raise twin baby boys in an unfamiliar but not so distant land. Aunt Sarah was not the kind of woman to deny the last wishes of a dying sister. In fact, she had been the only one she'd trusted to know where she was living when the sad word came that her sister had died. While the family had discounted and undermined her sister, she had seen value in her philosophy, and had respected her for her character. And she had kept her word: raise the boys outside of wizardry in order to give them a life of meaning.
At least she had done her best. Life in early nineteenth century Ireland was not easy for anyone, let alone magic folk with no history of the menial ways of non magic people. But for a single woman like her, (her brother-in- law was at sea most of the year) it was downright awful.
But she did her best, and got by for the most part. At least for the first couple years. But two young boys take the wind out of the best parents, and she was only one. Plus, to not be able to use witchcraft to solve so many problems was just a tragedy, and deep down, she couldn't deny that she had these thoughts.
However, she was justified in being quite proud of herself. She had done so well! She had become quite good at milking a cow, and sewing. But she was rubbish at keeping house; it always was getting on top of her. So much so, that on one dark evening, she finally gave in and pulled out her dusty wand.
And no consequences followed. The boys slept soundly, and she had a clean house, small as it was. All the chores were done, and she could finally get to finishing that frock that had been dragging on for months! The next morning, the boys didn't notice anything (not that typical boys would).
But as these things go, she quickly grew accustom to the extra help that night. Once wasn't enough. But she was always careful to use wizardry after the boys had gone to sleep. Besides, she had promised to not teach them magic, not necessarily to use it herself!
It wasn't until a month into her reemerging wand use that, in the middle of the night, one of the boys had caught her mid-cleaning incantations (boys may not notice clean floors and dishes, but they do have a thing for dancing brooms and animated scrub brushes).
After the initial shock and attendant fear surrounding substitutionary locomotion, she had to explain herself. It took afull week before the boys would stop having her account for the entire experience in detail: the fact of what she was, how she did it, that magic was, indeed, real. That their mother was a witch, their father knew it, and that they, themselves could in fact, could learn to use it by going to a special school when they came of age. And that their aunt AND mother had both attended this school for developing wizards (and witches). And that they had kept all this from them in order to help them.
This was the part that gave them pause. Especially Benjamin.
But that was many years ago.
Fast forward to Utah, and the brothers, having had very opposite experiences at magic school, had developed diverging philosophies regarding magic, as well as the importance of formal education. Mortimer was so much more hands off, and relied more on life experience and learning-as-you-go. He also was somewhat bored of magic after his initial exposure. Granted, it could solve problems, but it kinda just got old after the umpteenth time seeing a self-propelled broom clean a floor.
Benjamin, on the other hand, was much more interested in the formality of institutional instruction. He could hardly imagine the possibilities of how magic could augment the difficult lives they had lived up until then. From that day forward, their lives were comfortable, and he remembered!
It was many years later that they came to Utah, and the first thing Benjamin sought to do was open a house of learning for kids and adults just like him. And as his brother could help organize and pay for it, they did it together. So was born the Blackburn Academy of the Magical Arts.
Join Us for Magic Classes
We follow largely after the European magical tradition, but with a distinctive American flair. We hold beginner classes for seven different subjects, including potions, divination, magical creatures, herbology, candle making, wand making, and quills and ink. We also teach more involved heritage skill classes.
The school is particularly well known for it's elaborate and sundry feasts. The magical mercantile on the premises also has a considerable reputation; students and adults visit regularly to buy school supplies, and to fulfill common household wizarding needs.
We are currently open for business, and can give you a free tour; just send us an owl to let us know you're coming!