Adding Pictures to My Life

Collins farm house

Collins farm house

This is the house where I lived from fourth grade until I left home. It’s in the north­west cor­ner of Wash­ing­ton state—Whatcom Coun­ty, to be exact. (Since I now live in Penn­syl­va­nia, I must add the word “state,” as I’ve dis­cov­ered the naked word “Wash­ing­ton” always means Wash­ing­ton, D.C.)

Now I live in Penn­syl­va­nia with my hus­band. When our chil­dren were most­ly grown, we got into boat­ing on Chesa­peake Bay. The pic­tures of our lives changed.

We boat­ed on the bay, south on the Intra­coastal, and north into Canada’s canals. But we remem­ber Chesa­peake Bay. We had a sail­boat — Cloud Nine, then a mini-tug cruis­er, Ivory Cloud, and final­ly, a sec­ond mini-tug cruis­er, Sun­set Cloud. We named the last one delib­er­ate­ly, for the sun­set of our boat­ing expe­ri­ence. We were then, and still are, land-based, but we enjoyed these pic­tures in our lives. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I’ve placed both my mys­ter­ies on Chesa­peake Bay. I have many pic­tures and mem­o­ries to guide my writing.

The Four Diamonds

Last week the lead arti­cle in our local news­pa­per brought tears to my eyes. I’d remem­bered the sto­ry while it was still hap­pen­ing in 1972. An eighth grade boy named Chris Mil­lard had writ­ten a sto­ry called The Four Dia­monds. He was a can­cer patient and the Can­cer Soci­ety was using his sto­ry, with his approval, of course, to raise funds. There were inter­views, sto­ries, and, lat­er that year, the obit­u­ary when he died. He was coura­geous and great­ly missed.

In fol­low­ing years, the sto­ry was told again. But I had­n’t heard too much about it in recent years. Until this year. The woman who had been his teacher real­ized that the cur­rent stu­dents knew noth­ing about his sto­ry. So she and the boy’s father told bits about it for the newspaper.

The teacher had asked her stu­dents to write an auto­bi­og­ra­phy, but Chris told her, since he was so sick, and knew how the dis­ease would end, did­n’t real­ly want to. She sug­gest­ed he write what­ev­er he want­ed to, and he did. His father said he nev­er showed his work in progress, but occa­sion­al­ly said, “I’ve got anoth­er diamond!”

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I’ve nev­er read his sto­ry, The Four Dia­monds. But I do know that it impressed everyone.

I expect I’ll learn how to do this bet­ter, but here is the link to that arti­cle:

My first blog post

My new blog is a work in progress, so please excuse any weird­ness. I’m tak­ing a class, so it will improve, right? I will learn how to add a pic­ture of my choice to the head­line ban­ner. Although the cur­rent one is quite nice, it does­n’t have the feel­ing I’m look­ing for.

My sec­ond title, or what­ev­er it is called, is MYSTERY, HISTORY, AND SPOOKS, OH MY! As the Grand­ma Moses of Mys­tery, I write mys­tery, so that accounts for the first word. The mys­tery part refers to com­ments about his­to­ry in my first mys­tery, Yes­ter­day’s Body, but that isn’t my entire rea­son for “His­to­ry.” The sequel to my first book (I’m writ­ing it now) is For­got­ten Body and takes place dur­ing reen­act­ments of the War of 1812. (Hey, it’s 200 years since that hap­pened. Did you know that?) Plus, a YA I’ve writ­ten and is cur­rent­ly knock­ing on a pub­lish­er’s door has a 1946 com­po­nent. That’s his­to­ry too, right?

Now for the “Spooks.” Well, prac­ti­cal­ly every­thing I write has a bit of woo woo embed­ded. Yes­ter­day’s Body has an imag­i­nary cat. Death of a Hot Chick has a ghost with an agen­da. And the so-far unpub­lished YA? Well, that has a ghost and sort of time-trav­el as well. Even my short sto­ries that have been pub­lished are a bit woo woo. (You can read them on my web­site:

Tues­day is my next les­son. Come back to see what impres­sive things I’ve accom­plished with the aid of Pep­per O’Neal’s class.