Reviewing a Childhood Classic

The Original Text of Boxcar Children

By Jeff Salter

On one of the FB groups (I belong to) where some of the “old-time” children’s series books are discussed, someone recently mentioned something about the original Boxcar Children series having been revised at some point… presumably because certain details were now considered a bit dicey. When I read that, I wondered, “what on earth could have been dicey about the Boxcar kids?”

Someone (on that thread) explained that at least one of those details had to do with their father being a drunk… and dying (drunk) shortly after they’d moved to a new town.

Well, that’s certainly an unseemly beginning of their story, but I saw no need for any later editors to have censored those facts. Nevertheless, the interchange about this book aroused my curiosity and I decided I must obtain a copy of the original 1924 text. So I did.

Summary

There are four siblings in the newly-orphaned family: two boys and two girls. The oldest (Henry) is 13; next is Jessie, a girl of 12. Violet is next and the youngest is a boy (Benny) who’s around 3, as I recall.

These kids had been told by their late father that their only living relative was a grandfather who supposedly disliked them… he was a cruel man who had basically disinherited their (alcoholic) father when he’d married and started this young family. [There’s no mention of their mother, presumably deceased.]

Now that the kids are orphaned, some of the local neighborhood folks want to “help” — but the only assistance they can imagine is either to admit the kids to an orphanage or to deliver them into the hands of the grandfather they’ve been taught to fear.

So, as you’ve likely guessed, the kids slip away during the night and begin a trek to a different town, some distance away. As they near this new place, they discover an abandoned freight car on a dis-used railroad spur, tucked away in a forest. In those woods they can trap small game, and there’s a nearby brook where they can drink and wash. There are berries and fruits about. So these plucky, resourceful kids will be able to stay together and face whatever obstacles come their way.

Henry ventures into town to find work and earns enough to buy a few staples. Jessie visits a town dump, where they find a few pans and plates that they can wash and use to cook meals.

The older boy – working odd jobs in town – is very careful not to tell anyone where he lives, or who he lives with, or that they are orphaned. But bit-by-bit, a few concerned citizens begin to piece together the truth of these kids’ situation.

Soon the younger girl gets sick and needs medical attention — and there begins the degree of attention (from citizens in this new community) which potentially threatens this little family’s isolated independence.

Review

I found their story charming. Their poverty reminded me of the stories my father told us about his own early years… in which there was often hardly a scrap of food in the house and the older siblings had to hunt for hard work just to bring in a few coins.

And I was really impressed with the cheerful way they all worked together… and looked after each other. There was no sense of self-pity and no expectation of “charity.” They were willing to work hard to procure what they needed to survive… and what they wanted most was to be allowed to remain together as a family.

Another reason I enjoyed this story was because it ties in with what I suppose is a fairly common theme of a typical child’s life when things at home aren’t going his way — that he’d consider (or actually threaten) “running away from home.” I can recall making such an announcement to my mom at various points during my early years. [She always cheerfully told me to “be sure to write”!]

I feel no need to read any additional entries in this extensive series, but I’m glad I located and read this first installment… in its original text.

Information

[From Wiki:] The Boxcar Children is a children’s book series originally created and written by the American first-grade school teacher Gertrude Chandler Warner. Today, the series includes nearly 160 titles, with more being released every year. The series is aimed at readers in grades 2–6.

Question:

Have YOU ever read any title in the Boxcar Children series? If it was this first title, did you read the original text… or was it one that had been revised?

[JLS # 544]

Posted in book review, book series, Books, characters, childhood, Children's books, Family, Jeff Salter, memories, reviews | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Introducing Laura Haley McNeil and the Beaumont Brides

Friends, please help me welcome Laura to Four Foxes One Hound.

A native of California, Laura Haley-McNeil spent her youth studying ballet and piano, though her favorite pastime was curling up with a good book. Without a clue as to how to write a book, she knew one day she would. 

After college, she segued into the corporate world, but she never forgot her love for the arts and served on the board of two community orchestras. Finally realizing that the book she’d dreamt of writing wouldn’t write itself, she planted herself in front of her computer. She now immerses herself in the lives and loves of her characters in her romantic suspense and her contemporary romance novels. Many years later, she lived her own romantic novel when she married her piano teacher, the love of her life. 

Though she and husband have left warm California for cooler Colorado, they enjoy the outdoor life of hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and snow skiing. They satisfy their love of music by attending concerts and hanging out with their musician friends, but Laura still catches a few free moments when she can sneak off and read. 

Beaumont Brides Boxed Set Books 1-3

Here come the brides!

Book 1: Wherever Love Finds You

It’s his game. He makes the rules. Rule number one – only he can break the rules.

Zach Lowe lives his life without relationships in business and personally. Getting involved doesn’t work well when you’re the Black Knight of Wall Street.

Ellora Duvall, the sweet kid who crushed on him in high school, waltzes into the world of corporate finance with the same wide eyed innocence she had in chemistry class. He hadn’t expected her to affect him the way she did, but he’s in control. A few weeks with Ellora will be pure pleasure, then he’ll move on. She’ll understand. He should, too.

Who broke his rules?

Book 2: When Love Whispers

Sometimes, love comes in packages.

As the top ranked student at Charleston’s military academy, Preston Lowe excels in class, in sports and with women. Only Willow Dockery, a barmaid at the city’s trendy nightclub, sees the pain in his eyes when he’s out with friends having a good time. But Willow doesn’t know how Preston inwardly struggles to forget a past that could derail the career he’s worked hard to achieve.

Willow wrestles with her own secrets. After a disastrous relationship leaves her broke and disillusioned, she vows never to let anyone rob her of her dreams again. But as she gets to know Preston, it’s as if their tumultuous pasts meld together into something so startling it transforms their relationship and their lives forever.

Book 3: Call It Love

A kiss isn’t just a kiss …

Struggling actress Addison Duvall hustles background acting jobs at the Hollywood studios in hopes for her big break. When she’s cast as the stand in for the lead actress in a blockbuster spy film, she can’t believe her luck. The surprises rush in―her first test shot is with Hollywood heartthrob Spencer Kingsley. Her even bigger surprise is when the director yells, “Action!” and Spencer presses his lips to hers in a kiss.

Behind Spencer’s Hollywood façade hides the secret pain no one suspects. He’s the first to take a risk except when it comes to his heart. He can’t deny he and Addison have chemistry―chemistry onscreen and off―and he’s tempted to lower his guard. She seems real, not like the women he usually meets.

Once Addison’s star rises, so do Spencer’s doubts. She’s no different than the others looking for the connection to catapult their careers. He won’t let another woman damage his heart. His decision made, Spencer wishes her success.

But it’s already too late. How does he heal this Addison shaped hole in his heart? Should he risk more heartbreak for another chance at love?

Excerpt: Chapter One Call It Love

Addison Duvall stood apart from the cast and crew crowded across the Hollywood soundstage and ended the call on her cell phone. She dropped her head back against the concrete wall and closed her eyes, but that did little to still the emotions rising in her chest. 

Her agent, Donny White, had just told her she didn’t get the part on the sitcom that she was sure she had. The director was looking for someone tanner, blonder, shorter. She could be all those things if given a chance. She could go to a tanning salon, dye her dark hair, and slouch. 

Donny laughed and told her he’d scheduled her for another audition. “Don’t worry, kid. I’ll get you something,” he said. But he said that every time they talked.

Sometimes she wondered if she should’ve accepted the teaching job she’d been offered and stayed in Colorado―even if it was January and freezing.

Conversations on the set silenced. Addison’s eyes flew open, and she clutched her copy of the screenplay for When We Say Goodbye to her chest. She’d been hired as the stand-in for Irene Wayne, the female lead in this top-budget spy film, and she didn’t want to miss her cue. 

A tall, powerfully built man stepped onto the set. Spencer Kingsley, the film’s star, was the grandson of Hollywood great Mirabelle La Marr Kingsley and the hottest actor in town. His parents would’ve been acting legends had a tragic accident not claimed their lives.

Addison’s heart beat rapidly. She might be Irene’s stand-in, but this was the closest she’d ever get to Spencer Kingsley. When Irene’s scenes were shot, she’d be with Spencer in nearly every scene. Lucky girl. 

Spencer’s blue gaze swept over the cast and crew and he greeted everyone near him, from the key grips to the supporting actors. Addison’s pulse quickened at Spencer’s outrageously handsome face and his easy manner. 

If Addison hadn’t taken Donny’s call, she would be standing with the extras in the cast, and Spencer would’ve talked to her. He stopped and chatted with a group of women standing a few feet away from Addison. They were leggy, tan and blond, and giggled when he said hello. He looked past them and straight at Addison. 

Spencer’s dazzling smile radiated, and he moved past the women and extended his hand to her. Everyone around her quieted, their stares like coarse sandpaper rubbing against her skin.

“You’re Irene’s stand-in for the Ruby character,” Spencer spoke into the silence. “Addison Duvall.”

Addison’s mouth dropped open. He knew her name? “Yes,” she stammered. Logical thought vanished from her mind. Staring into his brilliant blue eyes, she slipped her hand into his. It was large and well-shaped, its strength filling her with warmth.

“It’s nice to meet you.” His mouth spread into a roguish grin, and his hand fell away. “I’ll see you around.”

Chilly air rushed in where his heat had cocooned her. 

Turning away, Spencer moved across the set to the row of canvas chairs emblazoned with the names of the leading cast and crew.

The extras pushed around her, all gushing at once. Spencer knew Addison’s name. That had to mean something. 

If only that were true. Doubt crept in. Why would a big Hollywood star want to remember the stand-in for his leading lady? The answer was simple. He wouldn’t.

Spencer stood next to the film’s director, Howie Post. They laughed as if one of them had cracked a joked, then their conversation seemed to turn serious. Spencer lifted his gaze to where Addison and the other extras stood, but he wasn’t looking at the extras. He was looking at her. Howie looked at her, too. Addison let out her breath. Were they talking about her? Spencer said something to Howie that made the director lift his brows. 

“Get Irene.” Howie’s voice boomed through the hangar-like structure. He looked at his assistant, Effie. 

The young woman nodded. The strain of not knowing where Irene was pressed lines into her smooth cheeks, and she darted behind the cameras. 

Addison scanned the crowd, but didn’t see Irene. Not unusual. The actress was known for arriving on set bleary-eyed and late. Photos of her nightly antics graced the entertainment websites. If Effie had to search for Irene again, filming would be delayed, which meant Addison might be late for her catering job at The Palacio Hotel tonight. Her stomach knotted. She hoped Effie found Irene, and quick. 

A few minutes later, a pale Effie rushed onto the set. Whatever she said to Howie made his eyes bulge.

“What do you mean you can’t find her?” Howie’s face reddened. Before Effie could answer, he yelled, “She’s fired.” 

Everyone on the set stared at him. No one moved. No one breathed. Addison’s heart throbbed a sickening beat. Did that mean filming was canceled? Or would the set be locked until Irene was found? If it were locked, Addison would miss her catering job for sure. Not good. She needed the money. 

Howie’s stormy gaze swept over the crowd. He opened his mouth and yelled, “Get me Addison Duvall.”

Spencer looked at her, his blue eyes as beautiful as they were serious. The extras around Addison turned and stared. 

Addison’s knees turned to water, and she grabbed the back of a chair. “Me?” she whispered. Why did Howie want her?

“Where’s Addie?” Howie looked at Effie. 

His assistant scanned the crowd. When she spied Addison, she pointed. 

“I’m here.” Addison gulped air and moved past the tall blondes. With a weak smile, she gave a slight wave.

“I want you here.” Howie pointed to the floor in front of him then stared at his tablet.

Addison clutched the bound screenplay to her chest and wove through the crowd. When she reached Howie, Spencer smiled at her and stepped to one side. 

Howie looked up from his device. “You got a script?” His gaze dropped to the well-thumbed binder.

“Yes, sir.” She held it out to him.

“I don’t want it.” A frown pressed between his brows. “You’re going to need it.” His gaze moved from her to Spencer. “You got one hour, then I want you in makeup.” 

Addison didn’t know why Howie looked at her. She was a background actor. She had no reason to report to makeup.

Turning away, Howie strode through the crowd. “Set up the next scene,” he shouted.

The camera crew jumped to their feet and rushed across the set.

Addison stared after Howie, confusion roiling through her mind. 

“Are you ready?” Spencer’s deep voice broke through the commotion surrounding them. When she looked at him, he flashed her a reassuring smile.

“I might be if I knew what I should be ready for,” she said.

“We’re rehearsing the next scene, the one I was supposed to shoot with Irene this morning.” His manner was casual, relaxed. 

Addison closed her eyes and shook her head. “I don’t understand. Why am I rehearsing for Irene’s role?”

“I believe Howie made it clear.” Spencer looked at her, his brilliant gaze intense. “This role no longer belongs to Irene.”

And now a word from Laura.

Writers seem to have two basic styles of writing:

  1. They write by the seat of their pants, or
  2. They outline.

As for me, I’d love to have the discipline to outline. I’ve read tons of craft books about how it saves time and keeps the author on track for the plot and the ending. Outlining is a cure for that frustration of going off on a tangent and then realizing I have to cut the last twenty pages I wrote because it no longer fits into the plot. My deleted scenes file tends to be quite lengthy.

With the best of intentions, I outline. Because I write romance, I know the ending. It’s how I get to that ending that can increase my annoyance. I’d like to say it’s not my fault. I should know by now my characters will do something totally unexpected taking me in a completely different direction that I’d planned. When that happens, the outline flies out the window. I’m sitting on the edge of my seat, steam pouring out of my laptop with one question dangling in front of me:  And then what happened?

So I guess I’m a hybrid writer. I will continue to start my book with an outline. It helps me to get to know my characters, but as my characters become more real to me, they tend to surprise me. With their own personalities and their own ideas, they will continue to do exactly as they please, and that’s when I feel more like a reader than a writer barely able to contain my impatience to turn the page to find out what happens next. 

When I started writing the Beaumont Brides Series, I knew I wanted to write about adult children from two different families who find they have more in common than high school friendship. Kim Lowe, the mother of six sons, and Steve Duvall, the father of six daughters, shock their families with one little detail: they just got married.

I hope you’ll want to read the Beaumont Brides Boxed Set Books 1-3 and that you’ll enjoy the ups and downs of twelve young people excited to embark on their careers but tend to get caught up in this crazy little thing called love.

Be well and safe, dear friends. God bless you all!

Laura, thanks so much for sharing the Beaumont Brides with us. The series sounds fantastic.

Posted in Miscellaneous | 1 Comment

Presenting Laura Haley-McNeil

My guest today is Laura Haley-McNeil. Laura, thanks so much for joining us Four Foxes One Hound. We can’t wait to meet you and sample your work.

Biography

A native of California, Laura Haley-McNeil spent her youth studying ballet and piano, though her favorite pastime was curling up with a good book. Without a clue as to how to write a book, she knew one day she would. 

After college, she segued into the corporate world, but she never forgot her love for the arts and served on the board of two community orchestras. Finally realizing that the book she’d dreamt of writing wouldn’t write itself, she planted herself in front of her computer. She now immerses herself in the lives and loves of her characters in her romantic suspense and her contemporary romance novels. Many years later, she lived her own romantic novel when she married her piano teacher, the love of her life. 

Though she and husband have left warm California for cooler Colorado, they enjoy the outdoor life of hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and snow skiing. They satisfy their love of music by attending concerts and hanging out with their musician friends, but Laura still catches a few free moments when she can sneak off and read. 

Laura Haley-McNeil – My Writing Style

Writers seem to have two basic styles of writing:

  1. They write by the seat of their pants, or
  2. They outline.

As for me, I’d love to have the discipline to outline. I’ve read tons of craft books about how it saves time and keeps the author on track for the plot and the ending. Outlining is a cure for that frustration of going off on a tangent and then realizing I have to cut the last twenty pages I wrote because it no longer fits into the plot. My deleted scenes file tends to be quite lengthy.

With the best of intentions, I outline. Because I write romance, I know the ending. It’s how I get to that ending that can increase my annoyance. I’d like to say it’s not my fault. I should know by now my characters will do something totally unexpected taking me in a completely different direction that I’d planned. When that happens, the outline flies out the window. I’m sitting on the edge of my seat, steam pouring out of my laptop with one question dangling in front of me:  And then what happened?

So I guess I’m a hybrid writer. I will continue to start my book with an outline. It helps me to get to know my characters, but as my characters become more real to me, they tend to surprise me. With their own personalities and their own ideas, they will continue to do exactly as they please, and that’s when I feel more like a reader than a writer barely able to contain my impatience to turn the page to find out what happens next. 

When I started writing the Beaumont Brides Series, I knew I wanted to write about adult children from two different families who find they have more in common than high school friendship. Kim Lowe, the mother of six sons, and Steve Duvall, the father of six daughters, shock their families with one little detail: they just got married.

I hope you’ll want to read the Beaumont Brides Boxed Set Books 1-3 and that you’ll enjoy the ups and downs of twelve young people excited to embark on their careers but tend to get caught up in this crazy little thing called love.

Be well and safe, dear friends. God bless you all!

Beaumont Brides Boxed Set Books 1-3

Here come the brides!

Book 1: Wherever Love Finds You

It’s his game. He makes the rules. Rule number one – only he can break the rules.

Zach Lowe lives his life without relationships in business and personally. Getting involved doesn’t work well when you’re the Black Knight of Wall Street.

Ellora Duvall, the sweet kid who crushed on him in high school, waltzes into the world of corporate finance with the same wide eyed innocence she had in chemistry class. He hadn’t expected her to affect him the way she did, but he’s in control. A few weeks with Ellora will be pure pleasure, then he’ll move on. She’ll understand. He should, too.

Who broke his rules?

Book 2: When Love Whispers

Sometimes, love comes in packages.

As the top ranked student at Charleston’s military academy, Preston Lowe excels in class, in sports and with women. Only Willow Dockery, a barmaid at the city’s trendy nightclub, sees the pain in his eyes when he’s out with friends having a good time. But Willow doesn’t know how Preston inwardly struggles to forget a past that could derail the career he’s worked hard to achieve.

Willow wrestles with her own secrets. After a disastrous relationship leaves her broke and disillusioned, she vows never to let anyone rob her of her dreams again. But as she gets to know Preston, it’s as if their tumultuous pasts meld together into something so startling it transforms their relationship and their lives forever.

Book 3: Call It Love

A kiss isn’t just a kiss …

Struggling actress Addison Duvall hustles background acting jobs at the Hollywood studios in hopes for her big break. When she’s cast as the stand in for the lead actress in a blockbuster spy film, she can’t believe her luck. The surprises rush in―her first test shot is with Hollywood heartthrob Spencer Kingsley. Her even bigger surprise is when the director yells, “Action!” and Spencer presses his lips to hers in a kiss.

Behind Spencer’s Hollywood façade hides the secret pain no one suspects. He’s the first to take a risk except when it comes to his heart. He can’t deny he and Addison have chemistry―chemistry onscreen and off―and he’s tempted to lower his guard. She seems real, not like the women he usually meets.

Once Addison’s star rises, so do Spencer’s doubts. She’s no different than the others looking for the connection to catapult their careers. He won’t let another woman damage his heart. His decision made, Spencer wishes her success.

But it’s already too late. How does he heal this Addison shaped hole in his heart? Should he risk more heartbreak for another chance at love?

Excerpt from Call It Love

Chapter One

Addison Duvall stood apart from the cast and crew crowded across the Hollywood soundstage and ended the call on her cell phone. She dropped her head back against the concrete wall and closed her eyes, but that did little to still the emotions rising in her chest. 

Her agent, Donny White, had just told her she didn’t get the part on the sitcom that she was sure she had. The director was looking for someone tanner, blonder, shorter. She could be all those things if given a chance. She could go to a tanning salon, dye her dark hair, and slouch. 

Donny laughed and told her he’d scheduled her for another audition. “Don’t worry, kid. I’ll get you something,” he said. But he said that every time they talked.

Sometimes she wondered if she should’ve accepted the teaching job she’d been offered and stayed in Colorado―even if it was January and freezing.

Conversations on the set silenced. Addison’s eyes flew open, and she clutched her copy of the screenplay for When We Say Goodbye to her chest. She’d been hired as the stand-in for Irene Wayne, the female lead in this top-budget spy film, and she didn’t want to miss her cue. 

A tall, powerfully built man stepped onto the set. Spencer Kingsley, the film’s star, was the grandson of Hollywood great Mirabelle La Marr Kingsley and the hottest actor in town. His parents would’ve been acting legends had a tragic accident not claimed their lives.

Addison’s heart beat rapidly. She might be Irene’s stand-in, but this was the closest she’d ever get to Spencer Kingsley. When Irene’s scenes were shot, she’d be with Spencer in nearly every scene. Lucky girl. 

Spencer’s blue gaze swept over the cast and crew and he greeted everyone near him, from the key grips to the supporting actors. Addison’s pulse quickened at Spencer’s outrageously handsome face and his easy manner. 

If Addison hadn’t taken Donny’s call, she would be standing with the extras in the cast, and Spencer would’ve talked to her. He stopped and chatted with a group of women standing a few feet away from Addison. They were leggy, tan and blond, and giggled when he said hello. He looked past them and straight at Addison. 

Spencer’s dazzling smile radiated, and he moved past the women and extended his hand to her. Everyone around her quieted, their stares like coarse sandpaper rubbing against her skin.

“You’re Irene’s stand-in for the Ruby character,” Spencer spoke into the silence. “Addison Duvall.”

Addison’s mouth dropped open. He knew her name? “Yes,” she stammered. Logical thought vanished from her mind. Staring into his brilliant blue eyes, she slipped her hand into his. It was large and well-shaped, its strength filling her with warmth.

“It’s nice to meet you.” His mouth spread into a roguish grin, and his hand fell away. “I’ll see you around.”

Chilly air rushed in where his heat had cocooned her. 

Turning away, Spencer moved across the set to the row of canvas chairs emblazoned with the names of the leading cast and crew.

The extras pushed around her, all gushing at once. Spencer knew Addison’s name. That had to mean something. 

If only that were true. Doubt crept in. Why would a big Hollywood star want to remember the stand-in for his leading lady? The answer was simple. He wouldn’t.

Spencer stood next to the film’s director, Howie Post. They laughed as if one of them had cracked a joked, then their conversation seemed to turn serious. Spencer lifted his gaze to where Addison and the other extras stood, but he wasn’t looking at the extras. He was looking at her. Howie looked at her, too. Addison let out her breath. Were they talking about her? Spencer said something to Howie that made the director lift his brows. 

“Get Irene.” Howie’s voice boomed through the hangar-like structure. He looked at his assistant, Effie. 

The young woman nodded. The strain of not knowing where Irene was pressed lines into her smooth cheeks, and she darted behind the cameras. 

Addison scanned the crowd, but didn’t see Irene. Not unusual. The actress was known for arriving on set bleary-eyed and late. Photos of her nightly antics graced the entertainment websites. If Effie had to search for Irene again, filming would be delayed, which meant Addison might be late for her catering job at The Palacio Hotel tonight. Her stomach knotted. She hoped Effie found Irene, and quick. 

A few minutes later, a pale Effie rushed onto the set. Whatever she said to Howie made his eyes bulge.

“What do you mean you can’t find her?” Howie’s face reddened. Before Effie could answer, he yelled, “She’s fired.” 

Everyone on the set stared at him. No one moved. No one breathed. Addison’s heart throbbed a sickening beat. Did that mean filming was canceled? Or would the set be locked until Irene was found? If it were locked, Addison would miss her catering job for sure. Not good. She needed the money. 

Howie’s stormy gaze swept over the crowd. He opened his mouth and yelled, “Get me Addison Duvall.”

Spencer looked at her, his blue eyes as beautiful as they were serious. The extras around Addison turned and stared. 

Addison’s knees turned to water, and she grabbed the back of a chair. “Me?” she whispered. Why did Howie want her?

“Where’s Addie?” Howie looked at Effie. 

His assistant scanned the crowd. When she spied Addison, she pointed. 

“I’m here.” Addison gulped air and moved past the tall blondes. With a weak smile, she gave a slight wave.

“I want you here.” Howie pointed to the floor in front of him then stared at his tablet.

Addison clutched the bound screenplay to her chest and wove through the crowd. When she reached Howie, Spencer smiled at her and stepped to one side. 

Howie looked up from his device. “You got a script?” His gaze dropped to the well-thumbed binder.

“Yes, sir.” She held it out to him.

“I don’t want it.” A frown pressed between his brows. “You’re going to need it.” His gaze moved from her to Spencer. “You got one hour, then I want you in makeup.” 

Addison didn’t know why Howie looked at her. She was a background actor. She had no reason to report to makeup.

Turning away, Howie strode through the crowd. “Set up the next scene,” he shouted.

The camera crew jumped to their feet and rushed across the set.

Addison stared after Howie, confusion roiling through her mind. 

“Are you ready?” Spencer’s deep voice broke through the commotion surrounding them. When she looked at him, he flashed her a reassuring smile.

“I might be if I knew what I should be ready for,” she said.

“We’re rehearsing the next scene, the one I was supposed to shoot with Irene this morning.” His manner was casual, relaxed. 

Addison closed her eyes and shook her head. “I don’t understand. Why am I rehearsing for Irene’s role?”

“I believe Howie made it clear.” Spencer looked at her, his brilliant gaze intense. “This role no longer belongs to Irene.”

Laura, I enjoyed your excerpt very much. I hope you have good luck with your boxed set.

Readers, don’t forget to leave your questions and comments for Laura.

Posted in Miscellaneous | 4 Comments

Guest Author: Jessica James and the Shades of Gray trilogy

My guest this month is a fellow member of the Marketing for Romance Writers support group. Jessica James responded when I mentioned to the group that I was looking for clean romances to promote here. She is celebrating the release of her Civil War trilogy, called Shades of Gray. The first book, Duty Bound, was released last week. Book two, Honor Bound, will be available this week, with Glory Bound scheduled for next week.

Asked for details, Jessica tells us: Duty Bound is Volume I in the Shades of Gray Civil War Serial Trilogy. Called the “greatest love story ever told” when it was first released in 2008, the book has been expanded and enhanced in this new three-book series that according to InD’tale Magazine, “stays in the reader’s mind long after the last page is turned.”

I asked Jessica to share with us her inspiration for the series and the book. Here’s her reply:

****

I often get asked about the inspiration for my novels and the Shades of Gray Trilogy is one that can be traced to a real-life historical figure. The character of Colonel Alexander Hunter came about after I moved to northern Virginia and learned about the legendary—and almost mythical—Confederate cavalry officer John S. Mosby.

It is impossible not to learn about Mosby when you’re traveling in Loudoun County, Va. A sign with the figure of a caped man on horseback welcomes visitors and lets them know they are entering “Mosby’s Confederacy.”

Mosby and his band of recruits caused havoc in the Federal ranks from 1863 to 1865. Like the fictional Colonel Hunter, Mosby grew into a myth, effectively using terror as his weapon of choice and surprise as his watchword. The Yankees believed that Mosby and his band of outlaws appeared and disappeared with the mist; that when they arrived they made no sounds, and when they departed they left no tracks.

And just like Mosby, Colonel Hunter and his men appear “out of nowhere,” and disappear “in the same direction.” This trait gave the real-life Mosby the added distinction of being called “the Gray Ghost of the Confederacy.”

Today, travelers on Route 50 (John Mosby Highway until recently stripped of its name) can still enjoy the beautiful vistas and quaint towns and villages where Mosby and his Rangers once roamed. It is one of the few areas of northern Virginia that has been preserved and retains the historical character of the past—so much so that I was able to visit many of the houses where Mosby and his men once stayed.

Just as John Mosby inspired me, I hope that Duty Bound—and the entire Shades of Gray Trilogy—inspires readers to learn more about the brave men and women who were willing to sacrifice so much for their beliefs and values.

Of course the novel is, above all else, a love story set against the backdrop of war. With a determined, tenacious character like Colonel Hunter, I pondered the question: What if honor and conviction—the very soul of a man—clash with loyalty and love?

Throughout the Shades of Gray Trilogy, the characters are forced to make the difficult choice between following their hearts or standing for their convictions.

Will they choose honor? Loyalty and allegiance?

Or love?”

You’ll have to read the Trilogy to find the answer, but a wise person once said, “There can be no bond stronger than that which unites enemies.”

Blurb:

Duty Bound takes readers across the rolling hills of Virginia in a page-turning tale of love and war, as a Union spy spars with a legendary Confederate cavalry commander. Gallantry and chivalry are put to the test when Colonel Alexander Hunter discovers that Andrea Evans is not only the woman he promised his dying brother he would protect, but is the mysterious spy he has vowed to his men he would destroy.

Duty Bound, Vol. 1 of the SHADES OF GRAY CIVIL WAR TRILOGY, is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords

Author Bio:

Jessica James believes in honor, duty, and true love—and that’s what she writes about in her award-winning novels that span the ages from the Revolutionary War to modern day.

She is a four-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and has won more than a dozen other literary awards, including a Readers’ Favorite International Book Award and a Gold Medal from the Military Writers Society of America. Her novels have been used in schools and are available in hundreds of libraries including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy.

Jessica can be found at her website, on her blog, and on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, BookBub, Amazon, YouTube, and One Link. You are invited to sign up for her Newsletter for more news.

Posted in authors, book series, Books, Clean Writing, Guest author, Guest author post, historical, Patricia Kiyono, romance | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

Funny,(and No So Funny), Family Facts

This week we are telling family stories that we hope get handed down in the family.

I know a lot of family stories, (some of which I am not all that sure should be passed down!)

 I have had to press the case of other tales. My mother’s parents married when my grandfather was forty-five and she was who was in her early thirties, a widow with three sons. My grandfather treated the boys as his own and when they were old enough, he took them into the business he had with his brother ‘flipping’ houses, (before the term was coined).

The oldest stepson did not want to continue in that line of work, he wanted to run a store, so my grandfather set him up in business. That uncle was well-known and loved as a good man and a man fair in business. He and my grandfather were best friends. An uncle-by-marriage told me that when my grocer-uncle died in his mid-thirties from a ruptured appendix, three surrounding small towns all but  completely closed down, he was that well-regarded. Everyone watched out for his widow and two young children afterward.
But that is not the part that I had to press. The other two stepsons stayed in the building business. One ended up in California making scale models and sets for the movies, at (I think) Paramount Pictures. The other became a very successful builder-remodeler. His wife unfortunately also died young, along with their newborn son, leaving him with two daughters. His wife’s family took their care upon themselves when my grandmother, who was no longer young but still had children at home, simply could not take them on, plus my grandfather was in his 70s and had a bad heart by then. 

The girls did beautifully under their grandparents’ and aunts’ care, (you’d never meet nicer people  than those cousins), but the story their mother’s side of the family told them was that my grandfather was selfish and lazy, never worked and put his nose into everyone’s business.

My grandfather went broke helping others; he could never say no to those who asked for help.  He made many loans that were never paid back, and lost property by picking up the loans he had co-signed when the principals defaulted, all done to keep their families safe. My mother and her siblings  heard an argument about him giving away money when my grandmother told him he had to stop, since they were  losing what they had left. “They have children”, he told her.  “What  about your children?” she countered. He walked up to her and said softly, “MY children don’t need to have money”.  (It made the children who overheard proud, but they learned that he was mistaken.)

Had he not treated my mother’s half-brother as a son and taught him the building trade well, my uncle would not have succeeded, nor would the family have thrived. Nor was it made known to my cousins how very old and unwell my grandfather had been by the time their mother died.

When I heard that my cousins were lied-to and had no idea of the truth, and I told it to them in order to try to set the record straight. I have also contacted their children and told many of them. It simply is not fair for them not to know; it certainly is not fair to my grandfather, flawed man that he was. The cousins  had no idea that my uncle was so taken care of and set up for success by my grandfather..

There are many funny stories from Mom’s side of the family as well as serious ones, but I am going to be lightening  up this post by going with a couple of stories from my father’s side, since we lost my Aunt Marion, (Dad’s youngest sister), this week, as she was  nearing her ninety-ninth birthday.

I wish that I knew more from that side, but several stories stick out and I will tell a few.

Both of my parents’ mothers had 10 surviving children in a short period of time, (Mom’s mother had a break between being widowed and remarried, and another when, after a five year break, she had twins when she was forty-seven and my grandfather was sixty-one.)

 My Grandma Joyce first had a daughter, soon after a son, and then my father.  The daughter was not quite four and could not say “Irwin”, which was my father’s name, so she called him “Fermin”, a name my grandmother continued to use affectionately, much to my father’s consternation.

Little Aunt Effie apparently did something that caused my grandmother to come down on her and send her to her room. Grandma went back to her work but as she looked out of the kitchen window, she saw her little daughter trotting down the dirt road leading from their house, carrying a bundle. Grandma ran after her and found Newborn Dad in the bundle. “What are you doing?” Grandma cried, to which her little girl said, “I’m running away from home and I’m taking Fermin with me!” 

Both of my father’s parents were very religious. When their oldest son was ill and in danger of dying, my grandmother made a pact with God: If he spared her son, she’d see to it that he was a man of God. Uncle Johnnie recovered and made good on his mother’s promise; he became a minister and an Army chaplain.

 However, my father was not religious and apparently wasn’t from the start.
 Every evening, the Joyce children would sit at the table and plates stayed upside-down until the blessing was said, then everyone flipped their plates and supper started. Each child listened to learn the blessings, so in turn, when they were deemed old enough, they were asked to lead. One day, unexpectedly, his mother said, “Irwin will say the blessing tonight”. My father looked up and said, “But, Mumma, my plate doesn’t have a blessing!” Having paid no attention to what had been being said, he only stared at the bottom of his plate every night and presumed that the hallmarks there were the ‘blessings’.

Grandma had been mistaken; he wasn’t ready to lead the prayers,

and the family never let him live it down.

Posted in America, blessings, childhood, experiences, Faith-centered stories, Family, Life, memories, Miscellaneous, Tonette Joyce, traditions | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

A New Batch of Tales

More Favorite Family Stories

By Jeff Salter

We’re talking this week about favorite family stories. Well, two of mine have already been revealed in an earlier 4F1H blog:

No need to repeat them here — the country doctor and his vanishing hitch-hiker (circa 1900, BEFORE it became an “urban legend”) and great-grandfather spotting a UFO in 1897.

So, today, I’ll reveal a few additional Family Tales.

Dad Hitchhikes from MS to DC… and back

One of my favorite family stories – verified with actual evidence – is the brave adventure my dad undertook when he was a month shy of age 17. He hitch-hiked (alone) from Biloxi MS to Washington D.C. to attend the first American Boy Scout Jamboree in the summer of 1937.

[The first national jamboree was held in Washington, D.C. for ten days – June 30 to July 9,1937, attended by 25,000 Scouts, most of whom arrived by train. Region campsites were set up around the Washington Monument and Tidal Basin.]

It was the kind of heroic adventure that most young boys dream of… and my dad actually accomplished it. He had attained the rank of Eagle Scout, so he was truly “prepared” for just about anything (as long as it didn’t cost any money).

Without enough funds for the train fare, he struck out on foot, carrying only a canteen of water a minimum of food, the official Boy Scout hatchet he’d earned as an achievement prize… and a thin “Indian blanket” he’d won in a scouting contest. He told us he’d spent one night on a pew in an open church and another night on four chairs in a courthouse (thanks to a kindly policeman). Most nights were spent under trees, beside haybales, or in any barn he could find. He was “not allowed” to remain in one Virginia town, so he camped 15 miles outside the city limits.

Having started his travel on June 28, he arrived in Washington around mid-day on July 3 (the fourth day of the Jamboree).

When he finally arrived in D.C., he managed to locate the Mississippi delegation and then to find some of the boys in his own Biloxi troop — whom he camped with for a couple of nights. His stay at the Jamboree did not include all 10 days, as his trip had taken longer than he’d planned.

The most incredible (to me) detail from his trip diary was that after 5.5 days of travel TO D.C. – and hardly two days at the Jamboree, he departed for home on the morning of July 5, with four days left in the Jamboree activities. [I never learned why he departed early — but it certainly could have been due to having no money… and not willing to ask for “charity.”]

After side trips to see relatives in various cities, he returned to Biloxi on the evening of July 13 with a souvenir booklet which had been autographed by several big names in the world of Scouts. The more leisurely return trip occupied 9 days, 6 of which were spent in Greenwood SC with one of his sisters.

Native American Heritage

From my youngest age, I remember Dad singing a Choctaw song — which, decades later, I finally found (if you can believe it) in a denominational hymnal! (though I cannot locate my photocopy). Dad told us his mother – maiden name of Whitehead – was “the granddaughter of an Indian Chief.” Members of my family recall different versions of which generation Grandmother Zanie was… my brother recently stated he recalled our grandmother was the great-great-granddaughter of the Native American chief. Which generation she was only makes a difference if we’re trying to nail down whether I am 1/64 or 1/32 Native American.

But, on with my story.

One of my first cousins did a lot of genealogical research and (as I remember it) she uncovered that our grandmother was actually a descendant of the great Seminole Chief, Osceola. Of course, the Seminoles are not the Choctaws. [Note: Osceola – born Billy Powell – was originally of the Creek tribe, his mother being a “mixed race Creek woman”. Osceloa’s father was a Scottish tradesman. So Osceola himself was only “half” Native American… and had no Seminole blood whatsoever.] Assuming our connection to Osceola is valid, then I have Creek blood, “slave” blood, and Choctaw blood… and some allegiance to the Seminoles.

Buried Treasure

I was married and in my twenties when I first heard this family legend… from my Aunt Ethel Salters Broadway, who was something of the Salters family historian. Aunt Ethel said family lore had it that – during the Civil War – one of their ancestors had buried a pot of gold somewhere in their field. Her own grandfather – my great-grandfather – had served in that war – as a Confederate, who was captured after a battle somewhere, imprisoned, and later released after swearing allegiance to the Union – so my dad / aunts / uncles were only two generations away from the source of that legend of buried treasure. The flaws in this story (for me) are threefold:

1. as poor as my Salter ancestors had reputedly been, I’m stretched to believe they ever had any significant treasure (though I’m sure they would have hidden whatever resources they had, in advance of a Yankee invasion). Sherman’s “march to the sea” proved that he had a scorched earth policy and would not have had any pity on any family, no matter how desolate their circumstances were.

2. I’m hard-pressed to believe that my Salter ancestors of the 1860s even possessed any land of their own (on which to bury anything of value). To the best of my knowledge, my Salter ancestors of that period were share-croppers.

3. Finally, MANY families of the Depression era seemed to have a legend of buried treasure. Perhaps some of them actually DID have hidden riches. But I tend to believe it was more of a coping mechanism to help boost their morale and keep some glimmer of hope during the extraordinarily grim existence of the “dirt poor” families during the Great Depression.

Question:

Does YOUR family have any family stories / legends / tales which captivated you as a kid?

[JLS # 543]

Posted in Miscellaneous | 17 Comments

Grandparents Are the Best Storytellers

“Do you have a favorite story about your family that has been passed down, or one that you hope will get passed down?”

I had two great storytellers as I was growing up. The first one was my Grandpa Pace. He was born in 1890 something. I can’t remember the exact year, but he knew a lot of stories about Brer (Brother) Rabbit. If you don’t know these were trickster tales made up by slaves back during slave times. In these stories a small weaker animal always tricked larger more powerful animals and got the better of them. Of course in the stories the slaves always identified with the rabbit, and the more powerful animals were the slave owners. The ones my grandfather told me were not original. He didn’t make them up. He just repeated what he had been told. My sister and i were thrilled with the stories and always wanted Brer Rabbit to win.

The other great storyteller in my life was Grandma Pace. This lady had a lot of things happen to her, and she made stories out of most of it that made the past come alive. One of my favorite stories was the one about the time Uncle Will had to spend the night in town. My grandmother lived with her mother’s brother Uncle Will on a farm not too far from where I live now. There were about eight children in the family, and they all worked and did chores on the farm. Anyway, one day Uncle Will had to spend the night in town on business. That left the children and Aunt Margaret all alone in an isolated area. They had their dinner and had gone to bed when they heard someone rattling the door. Aunt Margaret jumped up and crept into the kitchen. Someone was on the porch trying to get in. The children were up by this time because the intruder was going from window to window trying to gain access to the house. Aunt Margaret was a decisive woman. She stirred up the fire under a pot of water that she’d heated for the children to use washing their faces and feet before bed. It only took a few minutes for it to boil because it had still been hot. All the while someone was outside nosing around.

Aunt Margaret told all the children except her oldest son to hide. When she gave the word the boy flung the door open, and Aunt Margaret threw the hot water in the intruder’s face. They also set the dog on him. The last they saw of him he was hightailing it down the road with the dog in hot pursuit.

Scary? I’d have been scared if it happened to me. It used to give us chills the way my grandmother told it.

She had a story about how an escaped convict stole Uncle Wills overalls off the clothesline, and there was a great story about a mad dog that terrorized them one summer afternoon before Uncle Will came from the field and shot it.

We have stories of things that happened in our lifetime too, but to me they seldom pack the punch of my grandmother’s stories. What about you? Do you have a master storyteller who passes on family stories to the children?

Posted in Miscellaneous | 9 Comments

Nothing Stops True Love

This week we’re talking about family stories. I love listening to stories about my family. Ever since I was little if someone was telling stories I was there, hanging on to every word. There are so many stories that have been passed down.
In fact, I told one to the genetic counselor that my son and I had to see last week. She was asking about our medical history before she ordered tests to be done (in the hopes of finally discovering what is going on with Quin). I mentioned Celiac Disease and she asked if anyone else in the family had it.
“Oh yes, my great-grandma had it as well.”
Doctor, “That’s unusual that they diagnosed that back then.”
I continued on, “She was so severely ill and in the hospital that they thought she was dying. They sent for her son who was in the Navy. My great-grandma used to tell us that he RAN all the way home from Chicago to be at her side. Eventually they discovered that it was Celiac Disease. She never did know that he had hitchhiked home to be with her.”

Everyone knows how Grandpa Schroeder (dad’s dad) lied about his age so he could join the Navy to fight in WWII. He was only seventeen, you can tell in his Navy photo that he was so very young. None of us know what happened while he was at war as he NEVER spoke of it.

A story that has become a favorite is how my parents met. One day my mom was out for a drive in the country with her family when she saw a handsome cowboy riding a dancing horse down the side of the road. My mom knew then that she was going to marry that boy someday. She ended up sitting behind him in the school auditorium not long after. Her family and friends did not approve of him because he was a country kid. My mom was even sent to visit her brother in an attempt to separate her and my dad. Her parents didn’t want her to marry a farmer. The two of them were madly in love. They married when he was 18 and she was 17 (a little over a month before her 18th birthday). Even though they were married my mom was told she could not take him to her senior prom because he had graduated the year before. So mom skipped the prom. They’ve been happily married ever since, they just celebrated their 50th anniversary a few weeks ago and they still act like two lovestruck teenagers. I’ve always loved hearing their story. Now my kids love hearing it as well. What makes it even more beautiful is seeing how much in love they are to this day.

Posted in Miscellaneous | 6 Comments

Story Time

Grandpa telling tales to his two youngest grandkids.

Our Tuesday Fox asked, “Do you have a favorite story about your family that has been passed down, or one that you hope will get passed down?”

My father’s family has only been in America since 1915, and most of my relatives don’t speak English, so the stories I heard were from my mom or my dad’s mother, who lived with us. I never met my paternal grandfather, because he passed away before I was born. On my mom’s side, my grandparents were part of my life for less than a year, and then we moved from Camp Zama in Yokohama, to Grand Rapids, Michigan. And since we were raised speaking English, no family stories were passed on to us from that side of the family, other than what Mom told us.

I spent lots of time with my dad’s mom until she went to live as a live-in nanny for another family, and she told us a few little scenarios about her life in a rural area on the northernmost island of Japan, but I don’t remember much, except for the time she walked into a cow because she was busy reading a book while walking home from school (I guess it was a REALLY GOOD book). I was around eight years old when she left our house.

My parents weren’t much for family stories, either – at least, not the kind most American kids hear from their elders. Mom told us a few frightening tales about running home from school with her sisters while bombs fell from the sky. She told me about her neighbor’s mother being shot down when she looked outside to see if it was safe for her children to go out. My dad, who grew up in America, told us about how his parents struggled during the Great Depression, and when things finally got better, the war began. President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, and Dad and his older brother were subject to distrust and outright hatred. Thankfully, they were not relocated to the internment camps in the west. I was told this was because they were considered a mild threat – they were the only Japanese family in the area, and neither Grandma nor Grandpa had returned to Japan since the 1920s. But one day, federal officers came to their home, loaded everyone up and took them downtown to be fingerprinted. Dad told me that each day, as he walked to and from school, a big black car would follow him. Once, he mentioned that he’d been worried, not for himself, but for his father, who was in a wheelchair with rheumatoid arthritis, and his mother, who worked several jobs to support the family. While these family tales aren’t especially pleasant, they need to be passed down so that my grandkids understand the horrors of war and the hurtfulness of cultural mistrust.

Not all my parents’ stories were sad. When I was in junior high, I asked Mom how she and Dad met and fell in love. She told me she worked in the Postal Exchange office in Yokohama, where my dad had been assigned after being wounded in the Korean War. Their courtship was similar to the children’s book How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman. Dad knew how to use chopsticks, but he didn’t know the names of many dishes, and he couldn’t speak much of the language, despite his parents being Japanese. Mom had never eaten a steak (most Asian food is cut into bite-size pieces before cooking) so Dad had to cut it for her. When they decided to get married, some of mom’s uncles had Dad’s family, especially his father, investigated. After all, why would any respectable Japanese man choose to move his family to America? My grandmother in America, upon hearing about it, wrote a letter in her most formal Japanese, explaining that one of Dad’s ancestors had been connected to a shogun. I don’t know WHO the shogun was, or HOW this ancestor was connected – he or she could have been a servant in the household – but that connection was enough to convince Mom’s family that Dad was from a reputable family. 

Someday, when I’m rich and famous, I’d like to learn more about this ancestor who had ties with Japanese royalty. I think it would make a really cool story to tell my grandkids.

Posted in Children's books, experiences, Family, history, memories, Patricia Kiyono | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Corona Word Girl

I am a word-nerd, but  I had not given much thought to the change in the language because of  Coronavirus. I guess I have been too involved with how it affected the rest of my life and the world, but I read two interesting facts the other day:

One is that no other occurrence in history has changed or added to language around the world as much as Coronavirus, except World War II

and

the second surprising fact is that the German language has added nearly twelve-hundred new words since the onset of Corona.

1,200 new words to one language!

If you aren’t familiar with the German language, they often compound to make new words, in fact, they love doing it. I took just a couple of months of German and I remember one time a couple of  the other adult students had the teacher stringing words until she had to say, “Enough of this!”  If I recall correctly, there ended up being one huge compounded word that meant ‘an older female teacher with dark hair who could not walk who teaches the German language to people who speak English’.

You know, they say never to try to play Scrabble with a German.

They hook words up like trains.

I haven’t given much thought to the English words we were now using, but I had to stop and pay attention when I read that the Merriam-Webster dictionary was adding many words, or redefinitions of words, per Coronavirus or its impact.

I also had to take a look at some of the new words from other languages.

The French now have these words going into their dictionaries:

“La coronapiste”: cycling paths newly-made to cut back on the use of public transportation, (and therefore close contact), to stop the spread of the virus.

“La quatorzaine”: a fourteen-day quarantine

  “La rea”. a shortened version of réanimation or intensive care in a hospital. 

[“REANIMATION”???  Shades of H.P. Lovecraft! If I get seriously ill, I may get on a plane to France.]

“Zoom” is no longer just a sound, motion or an electronic communication venue, in the U.S. and the world; it will be in the next dictionaries as a verb, as in: “The history department will Zoom at 2PM onThursday”.

All the Zooming being done because of Corona has also led to the words “Zoombombing”, (breaking in uninvited to a Zoom meeting), to be “Zumped”, (dumped at a Zoom meeting). Plus, the Germans have a word meaning “Over-Zoomed”, (too many Zoom meetings).

Speaking of Zooming and the like, the Japanese created a word that seems to have taken off around the world: “On-Nomi”, to drink together online. This may mean in America as having a “Quarantini”,usually an alcoholic drink made with honey and lemon or other fruit juice, and served with Vitamin C , supposedly to help boost your immune system, (yeah, sure), while your friends have much the same online.  In Germany, it may mean sharing an “Abstandsbier” (distance beer), with absent friends.

Around the world there are now “Ghost events”, (German: Geisterveranstalung), which have nothing to do with the supernatural, are televised/streamed events such as concerts and sports where there is no one in the audience or no spectators in the stands,  so as not to become “Superspreader events”.

(However, I suppose you could Zoom along with your friends during such events and On-Nomi.)

Many people who had to spend time at home have done “Quaranbaking”, since they had the time, but they may then have put on what the Germans call “Coronaspeck”. This is a new word taken from their word for weight gained during a period of grief from comfort food and inactivity, which is “Kummerspeck”, literally translated as “grief bacon”. (Have you put on “corona bacon”?)

Many of us have done a lot of shopping online, some out of boredom or things that they found that they need or want around the house since they are finally home to notice , or for when they finally get to implement their ‘covexit’, (plans for getting out of quarantine and back to work, school, and reasonably normal society).  Sales have boomed in many areas, causing a “Spendemic”.

(Staying locked-in is also expected to result in a baby boom, with those children expected to be called “Coronials” in 18-20 years.)

Since the Germans use “Hamster” as we use “Squirrel” (as in to ‘squirrel things away’), they also had “Klopapierhamsters”, (Klopapier=toilet paper). I dare to guess there are many words that they added end in ‘hamster’ now.

A friend in Italy used the word “Covidiot” and when I asked him the Italian word they use, he said, “I think Covidiot is universal”. A covidiot is generally a person who has no idea what they are doing or why, such as going out during a lockdown, removing their mask or wearing masks off the nose. The Germans have specific words for the under-nose wearers: “Maskertrottel”. (Never mind what I call them.) However, we have a lot of people wearing “Chin-bras” around here. I bet that word makes it into the dictionary as well.

The Germans are serious about masks. They have “Alltagsmaske” (“everyday masks”) and “Mundschutzmodes” (mouth-protection-fashion=“fashion masks”). They can improvise mouth and nose protection when needed and end up with “Behelfsmundnasenschatz”. They have funny names like “Schnutenpulli” (“snout sweater”) and “Geischtskondom”, ( “Geischt” means “face” and ,well you get it).

Kleine Kinder, (little children) are taught a “Dracula cough and sneeze”, pulling up their sleeves to cover their mouths and noses:

(I couldn’t find the exact German word for it).

Apparently they don’t quite keep the six-feet/two-meter distance regulations and found themselves with an “Anderthalmetergesellschaft” (“one-and-a-half meter society”.)

You can no longer give them what was once a friendly peck on the cheek, for now it is a “Todeskϋsschen”, a ‘kiss of death’.

My Italian friend sent me videos of those in lockdown singing on their balconies and apparently, it was common in Germany as well, as they now have “Balkonsӓnger” in their vocabulary.

 Many have had what the Germans call “Coronamϋde” (Covid exhaustion), but the rest of us are also tired. The Germans feared  a government  “Coronadiktatur”,(no translation necessary), but the government there started using the word “Maulkorb” (“muzzle”) in  a positive light to refer to  using sensible precautions, presuming to jump on negative connotations of the governmental requirements of using masks.

Some people still feared “Impfzwang” (forced vaccinations), while others have “Impfreid”,
(“vaccination envy”).

Human nature is universal.

Hopefully, the world will not much longer live with all that we had to in the last year or so, and we will be closer to our old selves. We may even be able to go with something better than our “Corona Frisur”, (“Corona Hairstyle”)

I know that this post is heavy on German, but golly, over a thousand new words for them?

I hope that you find all of this as interesting as I do. I am, as I said, a “Wort Mädchen”, (“Word Girl”.)

Have you found any interesting new words coined during the pandemic?

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Posted in Miscellaneous | 8 Comments