Archive for the ‘storytelling’ Category


February 26, 2018


Before you jump to conclusions, this isn’t my granddaughter, but a horse-loving reader (like my granddaughters). Her teacher asked students to dress up as their favorite character from a book, and I’m honored to say that this student chose Ellie from my BACKYARD HORSES series. In case you don’t know what a “backyard horse” is, it’s what we called horses that weren’t fancy, would never be show horses, and didn’t belong in a stable. We kept our horses in a pasture, but we also had a small pen and barn in our yard.

A horse book, a pink cowgirl hat, boots, and a stuffed horse–what could be better than that? Answer: All the similarities between this cowgirl, Helen, and my oldest granddaughter, the “star” of the BACKYARD HORSES series. Although we call her “Ellie,” our granddaughter’s real name is “Helen,” named after her great-grandmother, Helen Daley (co-star of WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE). Both gals love horses, reading, and writing. It’s amazing how many letters and emails I get from guys and gals who love these three things: horses, reading, and writing. As it happens, I’ve always loved horses, reading, and writing too!


WITH LOVE, for Grandfather “Pete”

February 8, 2018

Pete 1942 (2)

Although I was barely 3 when my Grandfather Daley died, I remember him. I’m sure stories have blended with memory so that I can’t separate them, but I don’t want to. I called him “Pete,” not “Grandfather” or any variation thereof. I sensed his kindness and good humor. One story of where my “Dandi” name came from says that when I was born, Pete declared, “She’s a dandy!” I can still see him leaving our house and heading for his car, with me running after him, begging to come along. This photo from 1942 is labeled Camp Robinson. The Arkansas camp trained soldiers and housed German prisoners during WW2. And from 1942-1944, a Medical Training Replacement Center was located there to train soldiers as medical personnel. 13,500 trainees passed through in 8-week training cycles. The time was shortened if medics were needed more quickly. Pete is briefly mentioned in a couple of anecdotes in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE. Like many of the characters in the novel, Pete deserves his own book.


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.



December 23, 2017


Santa. This is the real Santa, the one at Macy’s in Kansas City, Mo.–not the skinny Santas (elves in disguise, of course) who stood on sidewalk corners and rang bells. Can’t fool me. Can you tell that Little Dandi is inspecting that beard and mustache, getting ready to test Santa by asking intimate details about his reindeer? Meanwhile, Maureen, my trusting sister, shakes Santa’s hand and gives him a smile. I was probably asking for a horse for Christmas. My big sister undoubtedly was beseeching Santa to help the poor and bring about world peace.

Merry Christmas, one and all!



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!



December 12, 2017

Christmas 3

You have to remember that we haven’t always had easy-to-make photo Christmas cards. Dad (Captain Frank R. Daley, M.D. from With Love Wherever You Are) happily settled in Hamilton, MO, to family and country-doctor life after WW2. But he always had new projects, new things to learn. He began developing his own pictures in our tiny garage, and he made his own Christmas card pictures. Don’t ask me why he decided on this specific image–little Maureen and Dandi being run over by Santa. But that was my dad.


WW2 Etretat Mystery

November 28, 2017


I found this postcard wedged at the bottom of the Army trunk I inherited from my parents, the one with over 600 letters they’d written each other while serving as Army Dr. and nurse on different fronts of the war. I knew Etretat was a French coastal city, where Mom and her 199th General Hospital unit had to sail to from Liverpool to catch the SS Leopoldville because the major harbor, Le Havre, was destroyed. That’s all I knew and all I included in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE. But on the back of the postcard, Mom had written: After climbing up a steep bluff, one has this view as a reward. Apparently, she’d made that climb before sailing off. Wish I had that story….



November 14, 2017

Dad and Dandi

My dad, Captain Frank R. Daley, M.D., told me stories before I understood what he was saying. I remember that when I was very young, Mom would read me a story at bedtime. Then Dad would come in and make up a story. My favorites were part of a “Big Foot Dan” series, where Dan always beat Superman and Mighty Mouse in races. It wasn’t until a decade later that I figured out the amazing similarities between Dan’s feet and mine.

When I was a bit older, I got to partake in the story creation. Dad: “Once upon a time, there were four horses grazing on a hill. Their colors were. . .” Dandi’s turn: “Um, brown and brown and brown and brown?” Thankfully, my answers grew more sophisticated as time went on.




November 9, 2017

Ohio Mom

For the last five years of my mother’s life, she came to live with us in Ohio. What an honor and a blessing it was to listen to her stories, to hear poignant details of the war, stories she’d never told me before!

In With Love, Wherever You Are, I retold the story of the day 9-year-old Helen determined she wanted to be a nurse. She’d raced home from school and found her mother lying in the garden, unconscious, blood spurting like a fountain from her leg. Helen ran to the house and called Dr. Roberts, who lived a good distance from their farm. He told Helen that a varicose vein must have ruptured and she would have to stop that bleeding before he got there. Then he instructed her to get a dime and hold it over the source of the bleeding, pressing hard until he arrived. Doc must have heard her gasp because he said, “Helen, I know you don’t want to touch that blood and–.” Helen interrupted him. “It’s not that, Doc. Where in tarnation am I going to find a dime in this house?”

Not only did little Helen find a dime, but she managed to stop the bleeding and keep up the pressure until Doc arrived. He had to pry her fingers away and proclaimed that Helen Eberhart was going to make a fine nurse one day. He was right.



November 7, 2017

Schnapps (2)

This is my mom, Lt. and Nurse Helen Eberhart Daley, holding Schnapps on the steps of my grandparents’ home in Cissna Park, Illinois. Maybe because Grandma Eberhart was such a good storyteller, Mom was too. Even Grandpa Eberhart, never too talkative to the grandkids, told me stories of buying horses at auction and training and trading them.

When Mom was 3 years old and the Depression descended on America, she was sent to live with her aunts, away from her parents and siblings. She loved it! As the only child in residence from age 3-6, she received first-class spoiling. When she had to return home for the start of school, poor Helen saw her trunkful of lovely toys and dresses divided by her 10 siblings, who told her she wasn’t really one of them, but had been left on their step by the gypsies. Maybe that was good training to prepare her for serving in WW2, where she was called upon to speak German and care for German POW’s, causing some of her fellow nurses to whisper that she wasn’t one of them either.