Archive for the ‘humor’ Category

WITH LOVE, . . . Whatever I Was

June 20, 2017

Nurse Dandi

I just ran across this photo yesterday. (And I probably should have kept running.) It’s funny because last week Joe (my wonderful husband) asked me if I ever wanted to be a nurse or doctor like my parents. I said no. I always wanted to be a horse trainer or a writer. And yet, here I am, nursing a bandaged doll. But I didn’t play with dolls. I preferred plastic horses. My big sister, Maureen, wanted to be a nurse from the moment she was born . . . until her biology class had to pith a frog. She loved to play hospital with her dolls. So I’m guessing she made me do it.

WITH LOVE . . . TO MY SISTER

June 12, 2017

Maureen and Dandi

The cute blonde is my sister–my older sister by 3 years–Maureen Mae Daley (now Pento). Growing up in our little town of Hamilton, MO, I think we were best friends. We rode our horses bareback, swam in the pond, played with our dogs, cats, ducks, birds. We built forts in the summer and igloos and snowmen in the winter. At night, we slept in our bunk beds and whispered in the dark. When we both got the measles at the same time, we shared glorious days missing school and reading books and comic books together.

Maureen is still my best friend. She’s been more exited about WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE than I have, and she’s done more marketing and publicity too. If you’ve read the book, you have an idea where Maureen got her name. Everybody loves Maureen, especially her sister.

BOOK SALE–BACKYARD HORSES

June 5, 2017

Horse Dreams

Every now and then, my publisher puts a book on sale for a few days or a month. I love that! But I confess I dropped the ball on this one, since we’re already into June. (How did that happen?) For the month of June, wherever they sell books, the first e-book in BACKYARD HORSES,  a series of juvenile novels, is $1.99 (which always sounds better than $2). It’s set in Hamilton, MO, where I grew up, where I rode our “backyard horses,” un-fancy horses boarded in our backyard or a near pasture–definitely not in a fancy stable.

DAD & DANDI

May 31, 2017
Dad and Dandi


Hamilton, Missouri

Since my last blog featured Mom (Helen) and my big sister, Maureen, I decided to share these photos of Dad (Frank) and me, taken in the home where I grew up, the first and last house my parents owned. I loved growing up in a small town (population 1,701, before the shoe factory closed).

If you’ve read With Love, Wherever You Are, you know from the letters he wrote that Frank was a very good writer. Being a doctor, however, did get in the way of becoming an author. Still, the American Medical Association kept electing him secretary because they loved to read his witty versions of their boring meetings. Once, he had a cartoon in Reader’s Digest. And during a time before the Vietnam war became unpopular, he wrote an anti-war editorial for the Kansas City Star. I can still remember defending my dad’s stance when I went to school the day after the article came out, although none of us had a clue about Vietnam or war.

May 26, 2017

sillouettes

If all goes as expected, I should be arriving in Hamilton tonight, after a 2-day drive with Joe and Ellie and Cassie, ages 6 and 9. Then tomorrow we’ll all be at the public library/J.C. Penney Museum for two talks/readings/book signings. At 10, I get to talk mainly to kids. At 11, I’ll talk about the stories and letters behind WITH LOVE WHEREVER YOU ARE.

My roots are deep in Hamilton, and this picture is of my family. Dad was the family photographer, but Mom created these silhouettes. I remember sitting behind a sheet while lights and camera clicked on the other side of the sheet. In case you can’t guess, Mom and Dad are on top. Then Maureen (left) and Dandi. And last, Susie, our Dalmatian. Apparently, my first word was “Susie.”sillouettes (2)

I tried to lighten the silhouettes, but I’m not sure if these are better or worse. So, I’m including both. Sorry!

SUPER HELEN

April 30, 2017

helen-in-cape

I have to admit that I’m not sure how I came across this cape. I discovered it when I unrolled an Army sleeping bag. Helen did not like the Army’s fashion sense. More than once, she got in trouble for not wearing her helmet or her cap.

Who could blame her? Here’s how the Army described the clothing for Army nurses:  Cape, Olive Drab, Nurses’ – Stock No. 55-C-5910
Wool Barathea Cape in two layers, with newly designed collar and buttoned tab closure, in Olive Drab Shade No. 51      Jacket, Wool, Olive Drab, Women;  Skirt, Wool, Olive Drab Dark; Trenchcoat, Wool . . .

Adding insult to injury (as Mom used to say), nurses had to pay for their own uniforms–plus their nurse’s uniforms! Not many of my frugal parents’ uniforms survived because as soon as they were out of the Army, they re-purposed coats and jackets so they could wear them in civilian life.

SCHNAPPS

April 9, 2017

Schnapps (2)

I can easily identify 2 out of 3 in this photo: Lt. Helen Eberhart Daley, Army Nurse, and Schnapps, a true-to-life stuffed dog, whose name was a mystery to me before I read the letters I found in the Army trunk. If you’ve read this far in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, you know how the dog got its name.

Mom (Helen) was too generous for her own good. If I complimented her necklace or bracelet, she’d attempt to give it to me. But one day when I was probably 7 or 8, I was playing in the attic and found this cute, black stuffed dog. Thinking I’d add it to my stuffed animal collection, I carried it down and ran to find Mom. “Mom! Look what I found in the attic! It’s kind of beat-up, but the stuffing isn’t leaking.”

She took that dog and smiled at it as if she’d finally run into an old friend from another life. “Take it back to the attic, Dandi.”

“But I wanted to play with it!” I protested.

She smiled again at that curly-haired black dog. “Not this one, honey. This one is special. Schnapps belongs to me.”

I thought about telling her “Schnapps” was a dumb name for a dog. I thought about pointing out that she was too old for stuffed animals. But something stopped me–maybe her expression; maybe having her keep something I wanted. It certainly wasn’t like the mother I knew.

When I came to the first mention of Schnapps in a letter Mom had written Dad in WW2, I’d already started seeing “the mother I knew” as something more–Helen, a young newlywed in a war zone, lonely, missing her husband, caring for so many injured and dying soldiers. Another dozen or so letters mentioned the dog. I finally knew why Schnapps meant so much to her.

As for the real dog in the picture, I have no idea, and you won’t find that one in the book. You’re on your own there.

WITH LOVE, WHEREVER THEY MET…

April 3, 2017

Battle Creek (2)

If you’re reading WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, you are already familiar with Battle Creek, MI. And if you were paying attention, you know quite a bit about things that happened in this hospital. Anyone know these answers??

I’m planning to post a bunch of pictures, postcards, memorabilia from WW2 over the next few weeks. Many of the items or locations are mentioned in the book. Other things are letters, etc. that didn’t make it into the book. I hope some of you will “play” along with me–not just answering the questions, but asking some of your own, or commenting, or telling me some of the vast information I don’t know!

WAR WEDDING

April 1, 2017

photo

If you’ve read this far in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, I’ll bet you know exactly what this is. Clues: 1) It’s nearly 75 years old and still intact. 2) The cake it topped is long gone. 3) That lovely white dress really should have been another Army uniform. 3) Check out that flag–only 48 stars.  So, have you read this far?

LITERARY LOVERS’ MARCH MADNESS

March 20, 2017

I love March Madness, except for the fact that Mizzou didn’t make it this year. (We’ll get ’em next year!) So, look what someone else is doing–a Literary-Lovers’ March Madness. And LARA and I made it to the second round. LARGER-THAN-LIFE LARA contains just about everything I know about writing. And since everyone has been bullied and has bullied in some way, readers get the subtle anti-bullying theme. I don’t think I’ve asked anyone to vote for me since I ran for office at  Missouri Girls State…and loss. Round 2 ends Thursday. Here’s the link if you’re up for it: http://readthearc.com/literary-lovers-madness-round2/