||Cloud Lake Publishing
Briarhopper: A History is the true story of a shy, beautiful girl's journey from the hollers of Kentucky across the country during the depths of the Great Depression, and her awkward, triumphant assimilation into California life, complete with indoor plumbing.
your Signed copy today!
Barnes & Noble.com
Wine Country Writer.com
Tales Out of School
When it was time for me to enter first grade in Esserville that fall, (a three-room affair with separate outhouses for boys and girls at the rear), money was scarce.
Mom made me a new dress, but Dad had to scrape to find enough money to buy books, which at that time were not provided by the schools.
Mom took me to Norton to buy a shiny new blue reader and a spelling book. Together they cost the vast sum of two dollars.
Something else the schools did not provide was janitorial service. The tallest boys washed the blackboards, which were black in those days, and cleaned the erasers. The girls carried water, cleaned the chimneys of the kerosene lamps, and helped mop the floors once a week.
One day I set my books down after school to help with the cleaning, as it was my turn. When I had finished I raced out the door and skipped home with friends, forgetting my books in the process. That night when it came time to do my homework, I couldn’t find them.
I was frantic, and fully expected to have to go through the rest of the school year without my precious books.
I knew what that was like. I had seen children poorer than me who had to use old books whose pages were missing or torn. Some had no books at all, and they had great difficulty learning without them.
That night I had a dream.
I saw my books in the desk behind mine at school, and the bright blue one was right on the top!
My heart pounded as I walk to school the next morning.
I opened the lid of the desk behind mine, and there were my books, where I had absently placed them the day before, and just as I had seen them in the dream!
I was saved from a life of ignorance.
While we were in Chavies, my Great-grandfather Duff (Betsy’s father) became ill and died shortly thereafter. Grandpa and Grandma Duff had a house in town, but they had another home about a mile away from there; a large two-story building with porches all around each story. This home their son, Joe, appropriated for himself and his family even before the funeral.
Now Grandpa Duff had been given an Army pension that he lived on, and he had some nice things. When we went to his funeral, we saw that Joe already had the furniture out of the house, having decided that he would help himself to that too, and left nothing for Grandma Betsy. Needless to say, he was not well thought of by the rest of the family from that day on.
To show our disapproval of the uncle’s behavior, Elmer and I decided on a unique form of revenge. We blew our noses and rubbed the results, (mixed with a little ripe chicken manure) on one of the bedsteads he was about to remove from Grandpa’s house.
After that, we felt a whole lot better.
Briarhopper a History, December 7, 2006
Chris Lear (Paso Robles, CA)
Briarhopper is a touching and well told family history. I especially liked what the author wrote in her postscript, "A life does not have to be celebrity-laden or even particularly newsworthy to be important to others. It only has to be lived."
This was a charming glimpse of a real life, lived well.
Necia Liles, Healdsburg Tribune
Briarhopper: a History, December 14, 2006
Briarhopper is a good rainy evening’s read, lovingly written by Healdsburg’s own Mary Lynn Archibald about her mother, Dalna Archibald, who narrates the story…By the time we get old enough to relate our stories to our children, and they are old enough to be interested, we have put a lot of pain and loathing, tears and deceits out of our minds, done a lot of forgiving, and have chosen to remember only the good parts of the times and people who made up our lives. That is as it should be; it keeps us from a bitter old age. Dalna’s story trips lightly with love and humor over decades of struggle, in spite of stinging poverty and a frightening war…Mary Lynn has nobly recorded Dalna’s love of life and devotion to decency, and clearly honors the memory of the lively woman she calls “Mother.”
e-mail from WritingforMoney.com:
On Jan 7, 2007, at 2:23 AM, John Clausen wrote:
Thanks for sending me Briarhopper. That was a very nice thing to do for your mother. I had a dog very much like old Frank. We called him Reverend Walker and put that name on his tag...so if somebody caught him in their chicken coop they might think he was owned by a preacher and decide not to execute him for his crimes, which I can tell you were legion…Thanks for stirring up my pleasant old farm memories…
Writing for Money
Want to review or comment on this
Click here to login!
Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!