Friday, September 29, 2017

Voices from the Past Cemetery Walk at All Saints Parish in St. Peters

If you are interested in local history or like an evening where you can walk among the tombstones and listen to actors portraying long-ago deceased characters, you are in for a treat!

Once again, All Saints Parish in St. Peters will feature an evening of "Voices from the Past Cemetery Walk at All Saints." (If you click on the link you can see the cemetery in the background.)

This is the third time in six years the parish has offered the popular event.

And this is the third time I have written a script about a character buried in the cemetery.

The members of the parish Heritage Committee selected and researched the characters, then the Parish Administrator turned over their research to me to write the scripts. Writing a script stretched my skills, but it was a valuable learning experience.

My first script was about George Gatty, Revolutionary War hero and founder of St. Peters. He was an Italian immigrant who made his way to America, distinguished himself during the Revolutionary War, and was rewarded with a land grant that brought him out to the western frontier--all the way to Missouri!

Two years ago, I wrote the script for Aloys Schneider, sixth husband of Emma Heppermann, the notorious Potato Soup Black Widow.

Emma had the bad habit of poisoning her husbands and anyone else who got in her way. Unfortunately, Aloys got between Emma and a life insurance policy, and Aloys lost. His family and neighbors got suspicious after his death. They had no proof Emma did him in, but after Emma's next victim, Mr. Heppermann and his daughter (who survived), the Law stepped in. Emma was eventually tried and convicted of double murder.

The photo on the left shows the actor who portrayed the late Mr. Schneider referring to his script.

From reports, the actor's portrayal of Mr.Schneider was one of the most popular, and most talked about, characters of the walk.

This year, I wrote the script for Eva Kirchner, a German immigrant and farmer's wife. Eva was a resilient and determined woman who lived a hardscrabble life. She survived during the Great Depression by taking in boarders, and during Prohibition, she survived by ignoring the law. I gave her the name, "Bootlegger Granny."

This year the cemetery walk will be Saturday Oct 7 and Sunday Oct 8.Tickets for adults are $10, and children 12 and under $5. A reception will be held in the Parish Center after the walk, where visitors can enjoy light refreshments.

Unfortunately, because of the uneven ground of the cemetery, strollers and wheelchairs aren't permitted. And, because I'm still using a walker to get around, I won't be able to attend this year.

My sister Kathleen will be going and she has promised to report back to me on how it went.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

MWG Trivia Night: A Tisket, A Tasket, Coffee and Critique Donated Eight Baskets

In case you haven't heard, the Missouri Writers Guild is having a trivia night on Saturday, October 7th, at the First Congregational Church of St. Louis in Clayton, MO.

The details are on the flyer on the left. The writers in Coffee and Critique, the critique group I belong to, were informed of this by Marcia Gaye, our chapter's MWG rep.

Marcia mentioned the MWG was hoping to get each chapter to contribute a basket for the event's silent auction. Our small group of ten regularly attending writers was asked to donate items or cash to fill a basket.

With our writers group name of Coffee and Critique, we voted to go with a coffee and writing-related theme.

The response was outstanding. Our members donated enough items to fill not one or two or even three, but EIGHT baskets--almost one basket for each person in our group.

When I thanked Marcia for spearheading the MWG Trivia Night basket project, she responded with her usual humility, "It was a team effort."

She added that we had 100 percent participation. Marcia estimated the value of the eight baskets around $400!

Our generous contributors included: Sarah Angleton, Marcia Gaye, Jane Hamilton, Alice Muschany, Doug Osgood, Doyle Suit, Les Thompson, Donna Volkenannt, Pat Wahler, and Jack Zerr. A handful of our more talented members stayed after our meeting to assemble and decorate the baskets.

Les took photos of the baskets shown below. And I've been told Sarah did a marvelous job tying bows.

Donated items include a variety of coffees and teas, coffee mugs, two hand-made mug rugs, coffee-related items, tea cups and saucers, wine glasses, a bottle of imported German red wine, dark and milk chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate), scented candles, candle holders, several books written by our members, a copy of the Coffee and Critique anthology autographed by several contributors, journals, pens, office and writing-related items, baskets, ribbons, the Coffee and Critique brochure, and, DRUM ROLL, PLEASE:

TWO CERTIFICATES FOR DETAILED CRITIQUES (up to ten double-spaced pages) from our entire group.

Although I can't attend trivia night, I'll be there in spirit--and our critique group will be there in more than spirit--we will be represented by eight beautiful baskets.

If you attend MWG Trivia Night, please let me know how it went, and I hope you're high bidder on one of our baskets!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Did You Know It's US Constitution Week?

to the US Constitution
While visiting the Spencer Road Branch of my county's library yesterday, I was greeted by two friendly women dressed in colonial period costumes. Of course, that got my attention.

The women stood in front of a decorative display with a copy of the US Constitution available for visitors to sign. They told me they were members of the Daughters of the American Revolution and informed me that September 17-23 is US Constitution Week. I didn't know that!

They told me they were relatives of veterans who fought in the Revolutionary War.

I mentioned that several years ago I wrote a script about George Gatty, one of the veterans of the American Revolution, for the All Saints Cemetery walk.

The women told me they are attempting to locate gravesites of veterans of the Revolutionary War, so I told them where George is buried.

After I signed my name on their copy of the Constitution, they handed me a small copy of it, along with an American flag, and a bookmark with the Preamble to the US Constitution on it. There's a not-very-clear photo of the bookmark above.

I remember being required to memorize the Preamble and recite it in front of the class many years ago.

If you can't read the copy, here's what it says:

"WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Do you remember being required to memorize the Preamble and recite it? One thing I do remember is that I was nervous, even though I practiced it several times, and I didn't understand some of the words I recited, like domestic tranquility and posterity.

Do you still remember the Preamble by heart?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Green River Writers Contests - Lots of Categories (Mostly Poetry) with Small Entry Fees

Time to get busy and enter a contest or two!

Earlier this month I received a brochure from Green River Writers, Inc., located in Louisville, KY. I'm not sure how I first heard about this group, but a few years ago I submitted to one of their contests.

And I won the Jim O'Dell Memorial Poetry contest, which is for limericks, standard form (5 lines) wild and absurd.

I've never claimed to be a poet, but for some reason I'm drawn to this form of writing. Marcia G., the poetess in our group, says it's because of my Irish heritage. Maybe so.

I've decided to give it a go again. I wasn't able to attend critique group today, and our group doesn't critique poetry (with rare exceptions). So, I e-mailed three limericks (two I recently came up with and one I had already written) to our members and asked them to vote on their favorite if they had time. Did I mention how generous our members are?

The response was unanimous. Everyone selected #3, a poem I wrote a few years ago that won a small prize in a humorous poetry contest with a theme about summertime, sponsored by a Missouri poetry group.

I also dug out a short story I've polished and am revising a nonfiction piece I plan to submit--if I can finish in time.

Green Rivers Writers has a total of 15 contest categories, mostly poetry, but also short fiction, first chapters of novels, creative nonfiction, and scads of poetry categories--from country music legends, small town observations, the thing under the bed, and others.

Entry fees range from $3 to $5 for nonmembers.

If you want to find out more about Green River Writers and their contests, here's a link to the categories and guidelines.

Act fast; the deadline is September 30.

Good luck if you enter!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Enjoy the Moment

Although I haven't posted in a while, I have been keeping busy.

I received the wonderful news that the chemo treatments did their job. I'm cancer free!! Surgery went well. My surgeon is the best! I'll start radiation in a few weeks. I'm dealing with some nerve damage to my fingers and feet and toes as a side effect of the chemo, but I'm told it will fade eventually.

So, I'm finding joy in the everyday moments I've been given.

Several family members joined us at our farm in Central Missouri to view the eclipse.

My sister Bridget (at left) brought sandwiches and other goodies.

Niece Ashley brought salad. Alexandra brought the beer for those who drink.

We provided bottled water and soft drinks. Everyone had a great time and nobody went hungry.

Just sharing this special event with family members made me appreciate how blessed I am to have a large and loving family.

Even Harley got in on the eclipse action. Here's a photo of Walt helping Harley put on his safety glasses.

I was able to get free eclipse glasses from our local library. Just another reason I love our library!

Walt and I also enjoyed spending Labor Day at the farm.

He drove me around in the side-by-side, which Harley refuses to get into, so he ran behind us all the way.

I stopped to give Harley a break from running fast on a hot day and to snap some shots of the wildflowers growing on our property.

How beautiful they are and proof of God's glory!

Harley got hot and worn out and decided to take a mud bath. Walt hosed him down later, so he was clean for the ride home.

Driving down the road as we left, Walt spotted a coyote. Lots of critters roam our property.

One of the many gifts I've received after my breast cancer diagnosis is the gift of wisdom. I've learned not to take anything for granted and enjoy every moment I am given.

Mysteries of the Ozarks, Volume V - Interviews with Lonnie Whitaker and Dr. Barri Bumgarner

Here is the second installment of interviews with contributors who have stories in Mysteries of the Ozarks, Volume V , from Ozark Writers, I...