We have sold some property that means cleaning out a pole barn. Thank God we have one, because my husband is a bit of a pack rat, and we have owned the property for 46 years and used to live there. We kept it (29 acres on Little Paw Paw Lake), but sold the house and 5 acres to our son years ago. He is selling the house now, and a storm two years devastated the beautiful woods. My husband was able to clean up a lot of it, but some is just impossible – huge, up-rooted trees lying in a deep creek bed – things like that. Anyway, we have realized that now is the time to sell the entire property, while prices are up, so we are selling to a developer who has the means and the money to properly clear it and do much more with it than we can at our age.

        But, oh, the memories! Our sons, who are now 52 and 51, were 5 and 6 years old when we bought the property, and it would take pages and pages to describe the kind of work we put into it back then. It was totally overgrown, the house looked like something out of the back hills of the Smoky Mountains, and there were two cottages (1 since burned down) that were falling apart, and the woods had been used like a junk yard. We made it beautiful over the years, a lot of remodeling, built a barn, did a lot of clearing and tree cutting, burned a lot of brush piles. We farmed Christmas trees for a while, potatoes on part of the land, then asparagus and blueberries. In a Michigan winter, we had a ½ mile driveway to plow.

        Memories there are vivid, and we cry about selling it. Once it’s gone and changed and developed, it will be hard for us to drive by there. I will never be able to look at it without “seeing” my husband sitting up by the lake, or by a pond we dug on another piece of he property. He loved it there. After we moved to where we live now (32 years ago), the lake property was still “ours” and we went there a lot, just to sit in the woods and talk. And my husband went out there and farmed and putzied round every single day all these 46 years.

        My most personal memory of the place, besides all the hard work I put into helping develop this property, was that I wrote my first several books there – probably at least 20 of them, maybe more like 25. It’s where I got my start, and I wrote those books while working full-time, then going home to two active boys, helping pull brush, helping pick asparagus, and all the things that go with being a working mother. It all started with SAVAGE DESTINY, and once I sold that first book, I was off to the races. I wrote 50 more books after we moved to the house where we live now, and I’m still going strong in spite of many surgeries and personal problems I won’t even mention here. Thank God, my husband has been loving and a great supporter since I wrote that first book. He believed in me.

        Back to cleaning out that barn. That includes finding what to do with the many books I had stored there. I kept several original copies of all my books, and today I went through 26 bins of books! What memories! Each one brings a vivid memory of the characters and stories involved. I thumb through them and I wonder when in hell I wrote all these books amid all the other things I was doing and going through. I do know I slept about 3-5 hours a night for years, and I learned how to shut my mind away from problems and how to block out the sound of the TV in that small house where we first lived. While hubby and sons were snoring away deep in the night, I was sitting at the typewriter “clicking” away – first a clickety-clack old Royal on which I made carbon copies of my books, then an electric typewriter, then my first computer (which I thought I would never learn how to use).


       I don’t know how or why so many stories came out of my common, non-college-educated, plain old working mom brain, but they did, and they still are. My only advantage was being good at typing and spelling because I was an executive secretary, and my love of reading and researching, and of course, my love for the American West and pioneers and Indians and all the exciting events in settling this country. I also read – a LOT – but always books about America history and pioneers. I don’t care about WOKE or any of the other lies going on today. I will always write the truth. History is what it is, and it is silly and almost traitorous to try erasing or changing it. History is how we learn, but mankind seems to keep ignoring it and making the same mistakes all over again – but that is a subject for a different blog.

        Well, I got 26 bins down to 17, thanks to consolidating a lot of titles into one bin, but what a project! Now I have to figure out where to put those 17 bins. I have some ideas, and one of them is wondering how many of you wonderful readers would like original copies of certain older books. First I have to go through them again once I get them home and see which ones have never been reissued and probably never will be. I might be able to help new readers find some of those old titles, or help some of you long-time readers get fresh copies of some of those old paperbacks (signed to you). I have to figure out what to charge, and I want to find out if some of the hurricane-devastated states have libraries that need books. I have plenty I can send them, and I have copies of every single book I’ve ever written – a lot of many of them, only a few of others, which I of course need to hang on to for my family.

        I’m going to sound crazy here – but – the only thing that depresses me about dying some day is thinking about all the stories I could have kept writing. Writing has been my life for almost forty years now. We bought that lake property in 1976, and I started writing my first-first book (never published) in 1979. It was my learning tool, as were the 8 more I wrote after that. Only one of them sold – SAVAGE DESTINY #1 – SWEET PRAIRIE PASSION. Seeing that book and that series reissued several times and still selling just makes me cry with sentimental memories.




Post a Comment