Archive for the ‘books, writers, mystery’ Category

WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE

August 3, 2018

photo

Believe it or not, this wedding-cake topper dates back to August 4, 1944, the anniversary of Helen and Frank Daley, my parents. Actually, the wedding dress should be an Army uniform too. I’ll be posting (and re-posting) a few pictures in August because my publisher has selected WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE for their August promotional, offering the e-book version for $2.99.

I’ve written a lot of books, and I’ve been grateful for each opportunity to tell or create stories. But in the back of my mind was this story of my parents’ experiences as Army doctor and nurse in WW2. For a couple of decades, I’d been writing down stories I grew up on, amazing stories full of details of the war and how my parents met in boot camp, married, then had nothing to keep them together but their letters, since they both served overseas in different countries. Until my dad died, I had no idea that they’d managed to keep every one of those 600+ letters. I inherited that treasure, packed inside an old Army trunk in the attic. Eventually, I was able to blend the letters, stories, and research into WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE.

 

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SUGAR THE SUPER HORSE

April 24, 2018

Bareback on Sugar

I want to pay a final tribute to my first horse, Sugar. She put up with me when I was just beginning to ride and to understand horses. She taught me about friendship and loyalty, and I credit her with my lifelong love of horses. Sugar is the Pinto I write about in the first chapter of Horse Dreams, the first book in the Backyard Horses series, the shaggy mare that becomes a best friend. She probably made an appearance or two in the Winnie the Horse Gentler and Horsefeathers! series, but I’d have to look that one up. (Or, if any of my wonderful readers would like to inform me, that would be great. Many of my horse-loving readers know the details of those books better than I do!)

I remember sitting by Sugar’s side on that last day. Her chest barely moved, and I watched it to make sure it did. Her breath was raspy, but she didn’t seem to be in pain. I stayed out in the pen with her well after dark, missing supper, until I couldn’t take it anymore. I returned to the house and curled up on the couch. I pretended to be asleep, but minutes later I heard my sister ask Mom, “Should we wake her up?” And Mom answered, “No. It will keep.” And I knew Sugar was gone.

But not completely. That night I broke out a fresh Big Chief tablet and started writing down everything Sugar and I had ever done together–the morning rides before school, the “explores” after school, the races with Maureen and Rocket, the Cowboys and Indians games with neighbors and cousins. When I ran out of stories, I made up more. I created “Sugar the Wonder Horse,” followed by the sequel, “Sugar the Super Horse.” So maybe that first horse taught me even more than I thought.

WITH LOVE…WHEREVER YOU’RE GOING

January 18, 2018
train

Lt. Frank on a German Freight Train

My last post was of Mom (Helen) in her helmet, so I needed to post this one of Dad (Frank) in his. He hated to cover his curly black hair, but he definitely needed to wear his helmet. Here, he’s on a “captured” German train that had carried prisoners to concentration camps. He and a few other doctors are heading to Alsace-Lorraine, and then he’ll move into German battlefields. In case you’re wondering what’s with that odd expression, the only words on back of the photo are: “I’m sucking on a piece of hard candy.”

WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE continued

January 12, 2018

Helen and Frank (2)

Guess what! I thought I’d have to rely on photos I posted last year, but I discovered some new ones–if you call pictures from 1944 new. They weren’t in the Army trunk, but in a very small photo album I discovered while searching for something in the attic. The photos are a bit faded and blurry; but if you’ve read the book, you’ll recognize Lt. Helen Eberhart Daley and Lt. (later, Capt.) Frank R. Daley, Army nurse and doctor in WW2, my parents.

MERRY CHRISTMAS#3

December 14, 2017

Christmas 5

Merry Christmas, once again! True, this is a pretty funny card, pasted together by my dad. But it makes me think about the way my multitude of Christmas memories bounce around in my mind. At the time, this was my family (minus Santa): Mom and Dad looking much as I picture them in their WW2 days, young and handsome; my sister, Maureen, urging me to be quiet; Sugar, our first and beloved horse; Susie, our Dalmatian dog (I think that’s Susie at Santa’s feet.); a hint of house and fireplace; and a book. I’m not sure how much I understood about the true meaning of Christ’s birth, but that would come. Merry Christmas!

I would love to hear about your favorite Christmas memories!

“By Order of the Secretary of War”

December 4, 2017

name change

Well, I found this “R E S T R I C T E D” order in that old Army trunk I keep writing about. The first time I looked at the “restricted” label, I expected to see a war report from my Uncle Jack Daley, a spy in WW2, one of the first members of the OSS, which morphed into the CIA. The order had passed through the War Department at the direction of the President, by order of the Secretary of War. It was approved by Marshall, Chief of Staff and Ulio, Major General, The Adjutant General, then signed by Geisler. And what was this secret and restricted order? An announcement of the change of name of: 2nd Lt. Helen Marie Eberhart to Helen Eberhart Daley. It had only taken the Army nearly 3 months to register the change.

READING . . .

September 26, 2017

Dad on step

This is my dad (Frank from WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE) reading on our back step in Hamilton, MO. I think I was in high school when I took this picture. Just this morning I read an article that explained how reading creates more white matter in the brain and expands learning areas of the brain, enhancing intelligence and empathy. Dad read every chance he got–everything from novels to medical journals, how-to books to Alfred Hitchcock magazines. I remember Mom laughing over funny novels, like Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, while Maureen and I read novels . . . and comic books. What books do you guys remember reading when you were kids? What did your parents read? What are you reading now?

WW2, BASEBALL, & ROCK AND ROLL

September 21, 2017

Rock and roll

I had the best time when I took the family back to Hamilton, MO, my hometown, birth through college (at Mizzou, of course). I loved sharing Hamilton with Joe and our granddaughters. In a library talk, Ellie (short for Helen) dressed in Mom’s (Helen’s) Army jacket when I talked about WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE. She changed into her rock ‘n’ roll persona when I read ROCK AWAY GRANNY. But I got to wear my Royals’ jersey as K.C. Batgirl for A GIRL NAMED DAN. Dream come true for this small-town gal!

WITH LOVE, HELEN EBERHART DALEY

September 19, 2017

Ohio Mom

This is my mom from 2009, Helen from WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE. She was as lovely then as in her WW2 days. We convinced her to come live with us in Ohio, and to leave Hamilton, MO, her home with Frank, my dad, for 60 years or so. It wasn’t an easy battle with this feisty gal! But once committed, she never complained, but looked for new ways to share the Spirit that lived inside her and touched everyone she met. Those last 5 years were my best with my mom. I pumped her for war stories, never mentioning the stacks of letters secure in the Army trunk and untouched since 1945, letters she and Dad wrote as newlyweds on different war fronts, letters I wasn’t allowed to open until she joined Dad in heaven.

LETTERS

August 8, 2017

Just Sayin'

When is the last time you wrote a letter? When is the last time you received one? In our age of texts and emojis, letters have dwindled. When I wrote WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, I was able to study over 600 letters written by my parents serving in WW2. Who preserves texts, even for the life of the phone? I decided I’d write a novel totally in letters. The result is JUST SAYIN’, a middle-grade novel in letters. The postmark and setting are Hamilton, MO, where I grew up.