Monday, December 23, 2013

Hometown Monday - W & Z are for Wes, William, Winston, and Zach


Hometown Monday
W & Z are for Wes, William, Winston, and Zach




We are continuing this series of posts of excerpts from the novels, novellas, and short stories of "The Homeplace Saga" family story-telling, with a new twist. We have adopted a format from the: "Blogging From A to Z Challenge." Each week we will share the last two published excepts, in this series of posts, related to two of the persons whose name begins with these letters. 


This series of posts is to provide an insight into the story lines that may not be clear from other promotional pieces about "The Homeplace Saga." These will also be coordinated with the content of the developmental Wiki, "Beyond the Books" - to expand the information available there, as well. [Links in the text, below, provide more information on that person or entity]

Today we look at names beginning with the letters W & Z.

For W & Z, we have (with two excerpts, below):

Wes Thomas - deceased friend in the community

William McDonald - deceased - Grandfather of Mildred (McDonald) Bevins - who made the will...

Winston T. Threshold, III - 'Winnie' - current husband of Beverly in Fall 1996

Zach Inman - son of Travis and Laura




This excerpt is from "The Homeplace Revisited" is from Chapter 28, Thursday, September 19, 1996:

Amy answered the phone at the Country Inn. After a moment, she buzzed Karen in her office, and said, “Karen, it is your sister, Beverly.”

Karen picked up the phone and said, “Beverly. Hello.”

“Shocked to hear your sister’s voice, I can tell.” Beverly spoke very professionally and with little emotion.

“Yes, I suppose I am. It has been a while since we last heard from you. What’s going on?” Karen tried to speak with as much kindness as possible, but it was hardly possible.

“Well, I’m going to be in your area next week, and wanted to see when I could stop by to see you for a few minutes?” Beverly replied, her tone mellowing, just a touch, Karen noted. “Mid-morning on Wednesday would be best, for me, if you’re available.”

“Let me check for sure,” Karen said, thinking that the next trustee’s meeting was on Tuesday. After a moment, and having checked her calendar, she replied, “10ish on Wednesday, the 25th, would be fine. I’ll look forward to seeing you. Any special occasion that brings you to Oak Springs?”

“Well, yes, two things, actually. Perhaps you heard, our construction company is building the new motel there on the west end of town, by the college.”

Karen replied, slowly, “I knew the Bayer Group was building a motel, I had not heard that your company was building it.”

“Well, they are,” Beverly continued. “Also, my husband has a quarterly board meeting out at the Big Thunder Lodge on Wednesday and Thursday. He is a major investor in that place, and was asked to sit on the Board. As long as he is coming up, he wants to stop by and visit the motel construction site; he can kill two birds with one visit. He has a project manager in charge, of course, but checking in, in person, now and then, seems to be his style.”

Karen was staring at the phone, “Very interesting.” A pause. “You’ll be staying at Big Thunder Lodge, then? How long will you be in the area, then?”

“We’ll drive up on Tuesday, return home on Saturday. I’ll want to spend some time with the kids while I’m there, too, of course, and the rest of the family if there’s time and opportunity.” Beverly continued, hardly stopping to take a breath, “We’ll be registered under “Winston T. Threshold, III,” of course, if you need to call. Winnie always likes to flaunt his full name, for some reason, but he is really not that pretentious. He’s a nice guy, a big teddy bear, actually. I guess this will be his first visit to the area; I hadn’t thought about that.”

“I’ll arrange to get the family together one of those days so he can meet all of us, and we can meet him. Check with him and see when you can fit that into your schedule, and I’ll work it out on this end, OK? The reception room is available each of those days.” Karen was making notes as she talked.

“Yes, I’ll do that. We should do that. Thank you, Karen. I’ll let you know, later today or tomorrow, if I can. Yes, I’ll do that.” She had hung up the phone.   

Karen finished her notes, and continued to stare at the paper, just a moment. Her mind was saying, ‘Beverly never thought for a moment that we should meet her husband, after these several years… or that he should want to meet us. She’ll never change, will she…’




This excerpt is from "The Homeplace Revisited" is from Chapter 19, Sunday, September 1, 1996:

After church, Christopher spent the afternoon with Nicole’s family at their Labor Day weekend gathering. Nicole’s Dad, Jack, had the burgers on the grill on the patio when they arrived, planning to eat about 2. Though there appeared to be rain clouds to the north, the sky in Oak Springs was only partly cloudy for their holiday weekend gatherings. Nicole’s Mom, Mona, was working in the kitchen making a tossed salad and had everything else set out ready to serve when the burgers were ready. 
Nicole’s sister Laura’s husband, Travis Inman, was part of the U.S. Army contingent of the U.N. peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina. His presence, however, was very strong in this home with multiple photos of him, in uniform and with his family, throughout the house. In talking about Travis, they all expressed hope that his unit would return stateside before the year-end holidays, if they did not get extended.

Six-month old Kayla, who Travis had not yet seen in person, kept Laura fully occupied. Twenty-eight month old Zach, on the other hand, had been looking forward to Nicole’s arrival enthusiastically. They had hardly arrived and Zach wanted her to go with him to his room to show her something or other. Not wanting to interfere with Zach’s excitement on seeing Nicole, Christopher decided he should go out on the Patio and check out the burgers with Jack and some man-talk.

Jack was currently serving his year as President of the Oak Springs Chamber of Commerce board, so the two men saw each other fairly regularly, at least at the monthly meetings, if not more often. Jack mentioned he had heard that Matt had arrived in town and they began discussing the impending Internet service in the community. Jack was a supporter and hoped everything would stay on schedule. Christopher shared his recent conversation with Matt that indicated a positive outcome.
The activities of the afternoon proceeded normally without incident.

Christopher and Nicole left about 5 to go spend some time with his parents. His sister, Melanie and her family had come down from St. Louis to see Carter, for the day, and they would be leaving in the early evening. Nicole had not yet had a chance to see Melanie, her long-ago high school classmate, since she had been back in Oak Springs.

Everyone enjoyed being a part of the classmates’ reunion and sharing their experiences over the past several years as they had sandwiches for supper. Christopher took it all in, picking up a few tidbits that he had missed previously hearing the stories in different settings, as well. Before long, Melanie, Richard and Kim needed to head back to the city. Melanie mentioned that they would be coming down regularly so, “See you all later on.” 




"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill  ;-)



Friday, December 20, 2013

The Founding of the Homeplace - Summer 1848, Progress Report, Part 2 of 4



The Founding of the Homeplace
Summer 1848, Progress Report
Part 2 of 4


"The Founding of the Homeplace" stories will continue here on every other Friday during August and September. This is a serial presentation of the story, beginning in 1833, when four families decided to settle the land, the valley, that would become the setting of the first two books in the The Homeplace Saga: "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited" and subsequent series stories, set in 1987 and 1996, to date. The underlying premise of this series is the desire of the family matriarch to retain the family farm in the southern Missouri Ozarks in whole and in the family. 



Characters in this series become actively involved in the study of their family history and snippets of that research appear, from time to time through the series (one example). This serial presentation begins to share that ‘research’ in Story Form, and, some of the Stories represent 'writings of the family' that were ‘discovered’ in the process of that research. Each Story is an essay or report of the activities of the initial four families and their descendants that settled the Homeplace – the farm and the surrounding valley.


Summer 1848, Progress Report

In this episode, we share "Part 2 of 4"


           Throughout the 1840s, following getting the mill up and running smoothly, Robert, Susannah and David Baldridge had expanded their cattle business in the pastureland on the ridge on the north half of their property. Dense forest of oak, hickory and pine covered the western and northern borders of that land. The road from the north ran along the east side of the property just west of Oak Creek which flowed from the Big Spring several miles north of the county line and near the Baldridge property line down to the falls. When Victor Campbell had brought his small beef cattle herd into the west valley, it had enhanced cattle breeding opportunities for everyone, as had the arrival of one or two cattle each with other new residents of the valley. Robert, Susannah, and David had effectively become cattle brokers, stockmen, from their position at the mill where they saw most everyone a few times a year.  During this same period, they had added some modest grain storage capacity where they stored, sold and exchanged excess grain with their customers in the valley and beyond.

Last summer (1847), Owen Olson and Jake Patton entered into a set of agreements where by Owen 1) became the primary blacksmith at the Patton Shop, 2) purchased outright the land the Olsons had been working on shares with the Pattons, and 3) purchased the additional forty acres directly north of their original land. Liam Olson, now 14 years old, began an apprenticeship as a blacksmith under his father with additional guidance from Jake Patton.  Owen’s wife, Anna, and their daughter, Allison, now 11, in addition to helping on the farm and garden, also continued to work closely with Kate Patton and Victoria Truesdale at the General Store and the Patton Hotel to do the work that needed to be done, whether clerking, housekeeping or other activities.
Earlier, in 1843, organized as Ashley County, the area directly to the west of Oak Creek Township in 1845 was officially organized as Texas County, named after the Republic of Texas. In 1846, the town of Houston was organized near the Big Piney River somewhat south of where the lumber camps had been. 
           

[...to be continued... on Jan 3, 2014, with Part 3 of Summer 1848 Progress Report]

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hometown Monday - T & V are for Tom, Travis, Tyler, and Virginia


Hometown Monday
T & V are for Tom, Travis, Tyler, and Virginia




We are continuing this series of posts of excerpts from the novels, novellas, and short stories of "The Homeplace Saga" family story-telling, with a new twist. We have adopted a format from the: "Blogging From A to Z Challenge." Each week we will share a published except related to a person whose name begins with that letter. 

This series of posts is to provide an insight into the story lines that may not be clear from other promotional pieces about "The Homeplace Saga." These will also be coordinated with the content of the developmental Wiki, "Beyond the Books" - to expand the information available there, as well. [Links in the text, below, provide more information on that person or entity]

Today we look at names beginning with the letters T & V.

For T & V, we have (with two excerpts, below):

Tom - ISP technician team leader

Travis Inman - husband of Laura, Nicole's sister

Tyler Winslow - son of Matt & Susie

Virginia Hollingsworth - outside trustee


Our excerpts today are from the novel, "Christmas at the Homeplace," recently released, now available at Amazon.com… for Christmas purchases:


This excerpt is from "Christmas at the Homeplace" is from Chapter 24, Sunday, December 22, 1996:

Jack and Mona, Laura, Zach and Kayla waited as patiently as they could for the plane carrying Travis to arrive. It was on time, but they had come more than a half hour early, having traveled so far, in case something delayed them. Of course, with good planning, there were no delays. Laura and Mona had a couple of bags full of things for each child to engage in to keep them busy. Jack was responsible for keeping the “Welcome Home” balloons from flying away and regularly checking the Arrivals electronic board.

When the passengers began to disembark from the plane, the tension became almost unbearable. Surely he would show up soon.

Then, they saw his uniform appear and Laura, Zach and Kayla all ran to meet him as he ran to meet them. Jack and Mona were not far behind. Laura had worked carefully with pictures of Travis so that Kayla was not disappointing in meeting her daddy for the first time. She hugged him as hard as he hugged her.

Zach just hung on his leg. That was his thing. 

Laura was so relieved to actually have her husband ‘home’ again that she was nearly speechless. She just watched as the children re-united with their father. That was really satisfying for now.

There was plenty of time to talk, now that Travis was home. And, there was a nearly two-hour drive to get there, all in the Suburban, together.



This excerpt is from "Christmas at the Homeplace" is from Chapter 1, Tuesday, October 12, 1996:

There was a knock on the door of the apartment leading into the Inn. It was Amy Hollingsworth, Karen’s Assistant Manager of the Inn, and Virginia’s granddaughter. “I thought I heard you in here, Karen,” Amy said, “I hope you don’t mind my knocking. I wanted to check with you on a reservation request, if I might.” This all came out before she saw her grandmother, sitting around the corner. “Oh, hi, Grandma. I didn’t see you.”

Karen said, “No problem, Amy, come in for a minute, if you can. We were just winding down from our all day Trust meeting.”

Amy entered and took a seat at the table next to her grandmother, giving her shoulder a squeeze in the process. “Thanks. I can relax a couple of minutes.”

Karen clarified for Amy the issue of her concern and Amy mentioned two other items for Karen to be aware of and they discussed those, briefly. Karen said that they had been talking about Christmas plans. 

Then, Amy spoke, looking at each Karen and Virginia, in turn, “Since you are each here, right now, together, there is something we should talk about. Mike has been told he will know before Christmas where his next assignment will be. He has asked to go back to Texas. We expect to get married before we leave, so I guess this is first notice.”

Amy and Mike Gardiner had been a couple for several months. Mike was the Project Engineer on a road construction project northeast of Oak Springs for a multi-state highway construction company based in Texas. He had come up from Texas last spring for this job. Amy had graduated from high school in Texas while her military father was stationed at Fort Hood. She had stayed and graduated from Baylor University even though her parents had been transferred to Germany. Following college, she came to live with her Grandmother for a while, and was pleased to be available when Karen began her search for an Assistant Manager here at the Inn.

“Well,” Karen said, “That is a bit of a shock, but not terribly surprising, I suppose. And, it appears congratulations are also in order.” Virginia sat listening, a grim smile on her face.

“Thank you, Karen.” Amy replied, “Mike and I have talked about it for a while, but timing has been the issue. The call from his boss, yesterday, has sort of set things in motion, it seems.” Looking at Virginia, Amy continued, “Grandma, we want to get married here, with you, before we move. Mom and Dad won’t be able to be here, for sure, so I want you to be ‘my family’ for our very simple ceremony.”

“That would be very nice, Amy,” Virginia said as she squeezed Amy’s hand on her shoulder. “Whatever you want is fine with me, of course.”

Amy then went on to say that she and Mike had actually talked to Rev. Clarice McCauley, minister at the United Methodist Church, about a possible private marriage ceremony. However, after seeing the nice small ceremony Christopher Ogden and Nicole Evans had at the church on a Monday evening, last week, they were now thinking of possibly doing that, themselves.



"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill  ;-)



Monday, December 9, 2013

Hometown Monday - S is for Scott, Sheila, Susan and more


Hometown Monday - S is for Scott, Sheila, Susan and more


We are continuing this series of posts of excerpts from the novels, novellas, and short stories of "The Homeplace Saga" family story-telling, with a new twist. We have adopted a format from the: "Blogging From A to Z Challenge." Each week we will share a published except related to a person whose name begins with that letter. 

This series of posts is to provide an insight into the story lines that may not be clear from other promotional pieces about "The Homeplace Saga." These will also be coordinated with the content of the developmental Wiki, "Beyond the Books" - to expand the information available there, as well. [Links in the text, below, provide more information on that person or entity]

Today we look at names beginning with the letter S.

For S, we have (with two excerpts, below):

Sandra Cooper - Social Worker - in Oregon - introduced in "Christmas at the Homeplace"

Scott Gates - son of Paul and Beverly Gates

Sean - caterer for Karen

Sheila Gates - daughter of Paul and his first wife

Steve Ingalls - director of training at the college

Susan 'Susie' (Norris) WInslow - Mrs. Matt Winslow


This excerpt is from "The Homeplace Revisited" is from Chapter 21, Tuesday, September, 1996:

In the afternoon, after classes at the college, Scott and Bart had an opportunity to discuss the farming related job description statements. Scott appreciated the opportunity of become involved and offered some useful suggestions to the statements Bart had drafted. It again reminded Bart of the many elements that were actually involved in the process, some that others would not think of if they were not directly involved in the operation. 

Scott took the opportunity to talk to Bart some more about longer-term considerations… beyond his graduation next spring from the two year Farming Operations program. He also mentioned his girl friend, Rachel, and that they were asking some of these questions, as well. Bart asked Scott about his level of interest in continuing his education beyond next year. 

Scott said he had already discussed this with his dad, Paul, and they had agreed it would be all right not to go off to further schooling if he could become more involved with actual farming operations here. He would continue to be interested in short courses and workshops to continue to keep up with new developments, but he had little interest, ‘no interest, really’ in further classroom work.

As they continued their conversation, Bart suggested that this was actually a good time to be talking about this, because some changes were likely coming along in the operations of the Bevins Trust farmlands that would provide more opportunity for Scott if he was really committed to that. They agreed to continue these discussions as the fall and winter season progressed. 


This excerpt is from "Christmas at the Homeplace" is from Chapter 10, Wednesday, November 13, 1996:

Harry Flanders at the bank, acting this time as a Bevins Trust trustee, had invited Matt and Susie Winslow to meet with him and trustee Lyle Cunningham as well as retired trustee George Chambers in the bank conference room at 1:30 in the afternoon to talk about the reorganization activities the trustees were working on. 

George took the lead in talking about the work that he, Harry and Lyle had been charged with regarding the ‘central administrative office’ concept that had been presented at the earlier trustee meetings. He summarized what they had done, to date, including conversations with both Matt and Susie, individually, over recent weeks.

“We are at a point where a more detailed, specific proposal needs to be developed. Each element needs to be explored in more depth, questions asked, answers obtained and incorporated into the proposal,” George stated. Harry and Lyle commented their concurrence and each added their own thoughts.
George then said, to Susie, directly, “We’d like to ask you, Susie, to consider a contract with us to develop this proposal in detail. We are suggesting about a ‘half-time effort’ extending over probably two or three months, as we go through the end-of-the-year processes. We want you to look at our accounting, tax work, personnel and recruiting, payroll, all human resources activities, risk management and whatever else needs to included to be comprehensive, whether we now buy these services or do them internally. This includes all these activities across all of the things The Bevins Trust is now doing and is contemplating. This would include what we are coming to call ‘The McDonald Conservancy’ concept and setting up a ‘Bevins Corporation’ of the agriculture and related for-profit businesses we conduct. It also includes the Stables, The Mill and our agreement with Matt’s ISP business, of course.”
He continued, “From what we have learned, your background actually has prepared you very well to do this, possibly better than anyone else we could ask. We are fortunate to have you available, at this time. There is one more thing to consider, which is a bit unusual, as well. We are thinking of an Executive Director to head up this new unit, under The Bevins Trust and the Board of Trustees. We assume that by the time you finish the proposal, that you would be better qualified than anyone to fill that position. So, it will be acceptable, and nearly expected, that the proposal read that way. If you feel that is inappropriate, it will be up to you to tell us that.”

George stopped for a moment, as he often did. “What do you think of this idea? Will you do it?”

She was careful to respond carefully and not too quickly. “It would be hard to turn down. I am flattered and humbled that you would make me this offer. It is far more than I had hoped for, but I do feel, as you said, that my prior work has actually well prepared me for most of the assignment. You must have talked to some of my former bosses, to even know that.” Susie smiled, and stopped to catch her breath.

“Yes, we did.” Harry said. “You were highly recommended as a matter of fact. Hearing what we did made us very proud to have you in our community, and in this family, for that matter.”

George then offered, “Shall we get into some details and get to work?”

“Yes,” Susie replied, “Let’s get to work on it.”



"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill  ;-)



Friday, December 6, 2013

The Founding of the Homeplace - Summer 1848, Progress Report, Part 1 of 4


The Founding of the Homeplace
Summer 1848, Progress Report
Part 1 of 4


"The Founding of the Homeplace" stories will continue here on every other Friday during August and September. This is a serial presentation of the story, beginning in 1833, when four families decided to settle the land, the valley, that would become the setting of the first two books in the The Homeplace Saga: "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited" and subsequent series stories, set in 1987 and 1996, to date. The underlying premise of this series is the desire of the family matriarch to retain the family farm in the southern Missouri Ozarks in whole and in the family. 



Characters in this series become actively involved in the study of their family history and snippets of that research appear, from time to time through the series (one example). This serial presentation begins to share that ‘research’ in Story Form, and, some of the Stories represent 'writings of the family' that were ‘discovered’ in the process of that research. Each Story is an essay or report of the activities of the initial four families and their descendants that settled the Homeplace – the farm and the surrounding valley.


Summer 1848, Progress Report

In this episode, we share "Part 1 of 4"


           Fifteen years in the valley and the original families suffer their first adult death – Laura, wife of Henry McDonald, and mother of Harry and Daniel, passed away in May. She was just 47 years old and just didn’t wake up one morning. She left Henry with a nearly 10-year-old son, Daniel, to look after.  Laura was buried on a knoll just south of the Cardinal Corner on McDonald land. That acre was subsequently surveyed and officially donated by the McDonalds to the Township for an official cemetery.

Meanwhile, also in the McDonald household, Harry and Sarah McDonald had added two sons, Thomas, now 3 and Patrick, now one, to go along with daughter, Caroline, to be 5 years old in August. Henry and Harry continued their regular weekly freight runs along with their farming operations. Henry McDonald had added the 320 acres to the north, across the river that included the front of the ridge along with the eastern side of the pool on Oak Creek near the Baldridge property. In addition to the farmland along the creek, they obtained ownership and access to the timber on the ridge as well as the caves there and the resources within.  Harry and Sarah (Baldridge) McDonald had further added the northern half of this same section that was largely pastureland and represented an eastward extension of the Baldridge pasture. This represented Sarah’s continued involvement with the Baldridge family cattle business.


Just to the west of the McDonalds, Hugh and Victoria Truesdale had also been able to purchase the additional 160 acres to the west of their place, as planned. Their children, Jane, 11, and Lewis, 6, were becoming more involved in the farming activities and the animals used there.  Hugh continued to be involved in the mule breeding operation and developing improved agricultural techniques. He took the lead in the valley sharing information with current and new farmers arriving to grow the community as much as possible.
           

[...to be continued... on Dec 20, 2013, with Part 2 of Summer 1848 Progress Report]

Monday, December 2, 2013

Hometown Monday - R is for Rachel, Rhoda, Richard and Ronny Cox


Hometown Monday
R is for Rachel, Rhoda, Richard and Ronny Cox



We are continuing this series of posts of excerpts from the novels, novellas, and short stories of "The Homeplace Saga" family story-telling, with a new twist. We have adopted a format from the: "Blogging From A to Z Challenge." Each week we will share a published except related to a person whose name begins with that letter. 

This series of posts is to provide an insight into the story lines that may not be clear from other promotional pieces about "The Homeplace Saga." These will also be coordinated with the content of the developmental Wiki, "Beyond the Books" - to expand the information available there, as well. [Links in the text, below, provide more information on that person or entity]

Today we look at names beginning with the letter R.

For R, we have (with two excerpts, below):

Rachel Nixon - Scott's girl friend; writer for Oak Springs Enterprise in 1996

Rhoda Offutt - retired teacher in 1987 - in MBTHP - she appears again, in a larger role, in "Christmas at the Homeplace"

Richard Stone - husband of Melanie Ogden

Ronny Cox - with Dept of Natural Resources

Our excerpts today are from the novel, "Christmas at the Homeplace," recently released, now available at Amazon.com… for Christmas purchases:


This excerpt is from "Christmas at the Homeplace" is from Chapter 6, Saturday, November 2, 1996:

Brian Kirk and Jennifer Bevins were sharing another afternoon at the Oak Springs Public Library. This week, they had volunteered to work with Judy Watson, the Librarian, on some local history collections materials that had been received but not yet properly documented and stored for use by the public.
“It is hard not to read every piece of paper we come across,” Jennifer said to Judy, as Judy laid two stacks of paper on the table in front of them.



“I totally agree, Jennifer. That is partially why I’ve not done more with them, myself. I’d want to stop and read each one from beginning to end.” Judy paused and took a deep breath, then continued. “I really wish more folks would come and spend some time doing what you have volunteered to do here today. If they did, before you know it, we’d have a much more complete, and useful, local history section here at the library.”

“Have you asked folks to help out, Judy?” Brian wanted to be supportive.

“I’m sure not often enough… and probably not the right people, I must admit, Brian. We just have so many needs around the library.” As she spoke, Judy noticed her friend, Rhoda Offutt, sit down at another table, nearby. “Do you two know Rhoda Offutt? She is a retired school teacher who is also very interested in researching her family history.”

Jennifer replied, “No, but I do recognize her from seeing her around town.”

“Do you mind if I invite her over and introduce you?”

“No, that would be wonderful.” Jennifer watched as Judy approached Rhoda, and they both returned to the table where Brian and Jennifer were sitting. Brian rose to shake Rhoda’s hand as they were introduced. Jennifer did likewise.

The four new friends quickly found they had a number of common interests and concerns centered on doing family and local history research, and began to talk about others they knew with common interests. Rhoda mentioned that she had regularly worked some with Harry Flanders, at the bank, and his wife, Sarah, since they did have some ancestors in common. Rhoda shared that they each descended from the Campbell family in the west valley. Victor Campbell’s family had settled there in 1836, just a few years after the McDonald’s and the first settlers arrive in the east and central valley. This news led to more discussion of common and different information each of them found most interesting.
Brian was the first to raise the question of whether Oak Springs had ever had a local historical or genealogical society. Judy and Rhoda each shared what they knew about efforts to form such a group back in earlier times such as the town’s centennial. They seemed to agree that the idea never caught on with enough people for a lasting organization to take hold. That led, of course, to the question, “what about now?”

Springing from the interests they each were expressing, and noticing the spread of ages and interests among themselves, they began to talk about others, young, middle aged, and older who might now become interested if their interests were shared and they took a leading role. Judy said she would certainly support their efforts, as librarian, but could not take too active a role, personally. They then talked a bit about how each person that might get involved with such a project would have to realize part of their efforts would need to go to the ‘common good’ while part of their efforts would continue to be on their individual interests. 

They soon realized they were writing down notes of organizational priorities and other persons in the community to invite to join them. They also agreed they would want to involve the newspaper, the Oak Springs Enterprise in some way. Judy was quick to say she would be happen to connect them with her long-time friend, Penny Nixon, now Associate Editor of the paper. She was sure Penny would be happy to help out in such a community project.

Dividing up responsibilities, Rhoda agreed to make a list of others she knew, from her past work, that might like to be part of their initial planning. Brian agreed to apply his legal background to some research on similar organizations and what others were doing around the region and the country. Judy agreed to contact Penny and get her with Jennifer to talk about generating some publicity – about whatever it was they were agreeing to initiate. They decided to meet at the library in a week, to invite others who might be interested, and see where these ideas might take them.

Jennifer and Brian then tried to get back to sorting and labeling the stack of paper before them, but after about an hour they gave up. They realized all they were really getting done was talking about the new local history and genealogical society they were going to form. Their volunteer task would wait for another day.


This excerpt is from "Christmas at the Homeplace" is from Chapter 18, Saturday, December 4, 1996:

Peter and Paul had invited Ronny Cox, with the Rolla regional office of the state Department of Natural Resources to meet with them at Paul’s office at the Mill specifically to talk about the work being proposed by Big Thunder but also to consult with them on the McDonald Conservancy reviews they were doing as well. Ronny Cox had worked closely with Peter and the Bevins Trust earlier in the year on the endangered bat project in the caves west of State Highway 37 that was initiated by the highway construction work. 

The conservation easement issues involved at the time had actually led to the studies that were now becoming the McDonald Conservancy concept. They wanted to be sure Ronny was up to date on all they were doing with that, and perhaps, pick his brain a bit.

When he arrived and they got started talking, Ronny said that the work Big Thunder and the Forest Service had agreed to so far had been filed with his office, so he had reviewed that before he came down. Paul had a few specific questions and Ronny was able to address them. Ronny said his office was generally in support of the planned activities.

They talked a bit about some similar projects over on the bigger Current River and on the Jacks Fork River and their tributaries to get some ideas of issues that might arise as this project developed. Paul was very interested to learn even more and Peter was interested as well from the environmental impact perspective as well as the implications for the Bevins Trust and McDonald Conservancy land and nearby lands.

Ronny was very anxious to hear more about the plans for the McDonald Conservancy. He felt as though some of suggestions for considerations earlier might have affected this development and he was told they most certainly did. For the next couple of hours the three men talked and listened, questioned and answered with respect to current plans and Ronny’s experience and knowledge with related activities around the region, the state, and even the nation.

By the time they realized they needed to end their discussion, both Peter and Paul had developed several pages of notes and references to be checked. They thanked Ronny very much. In turn, he asked that they keep him in their planning loop so that he could assist them in any way possible.



"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill  ;-)



Monday, November 25, 2013

Hometown Monday - P is for Paul, Penny and Peter


Hometown Monday - P is for Paul, Penny and Peter



We are continuing this series of posts of excerpts from the novels, novellas, and short stories of "The Homeplace Saga" family story-telling, with a new twist. We have adopted a format from the: "Blogging From A to Z Challenge." Each week we will share a published except related to a person whose name begins with that letter. 

This series of posts is to provide an insight into the story lines that may not be clear from other promotional pieces about "The Homeplace Saga." These will also be coordinated with the content of the developmental Wiki, "Beyond the Books" - to expand the information available there, as well. [Links in the text, below, provide more information on that person or entity]

Today we look at names beginning with the letter P.

For P, we have (with two excerpts, below):

Paul Gates - first husband of Beverly Bevins

Penny Nixon - Part-time reporter for the Oak Springs Enterprise in 1987

Peter Bevins - Youngest of the 4 Bevins siblings


Our excerpts today are from the novel, "Christmas at the Homeplace," recently released, now available at Amazon.com… for Christmas purchases:


This excerpt is from "Christmas at the Homeplace" is from Chapter 12, Tuesday, November 19, 1996:

Paul went up to the Big Thunder Lodge Tuesday afternoon to meet with Julie Barnes and others involved in the changes they discussed earlier. He had had discussions with Karen, Christopher, Lyle, Harry and Bart and they had developed a list of questions for which he hoped to get answers before the trustee’s meeting the following week. Timing was the primary concern. They also wanted Paul to get further details on the commitment sought from the Bevins Trust.



Since this was Paul’s first visit to Big Thunder, Julie gave him the grand tour. He was very impressed with this lodge set back off the road in the woods. It was much larger than he had expected even though he had heard about it. They also walked out on the east balcony where they could look at the lake that had been created by the earthen dam that they were now proposing to remove. 

From the position on the third floor balcony where they were viewing the lake, Paul could look to the north and see, at the edge of the woods, where the stream of Oak Creek was entering the lake. It really wasn’t a very deep lake, and he wondered to himself why they had chosen to dam up the stream at all. To Julie, he said he was anxious to see the plan for flow of the stream following draining the dam. She said that was a good place to start and they went to a meeting room in the administrative area where several planning charts were on display. One of the planners was also there to interpret the charts and drawings for Paul.

Julie showed Paul the architectural drawing of how the stream would look following the planned changes. The drawing ran from the north end of the property in the woods to the south end of the property where the stream reentered the woods heading south through the National Forest toward the Mill a few miles away. The charts along side the drawing also showed how the dam fill would be redistributed to create a float stream with several curves on the property. They were planning to install an entry point near the north end and pickup and re-entry point near the southern border of the property.

The planner said the intent was to give guests the opportunity for a short float, by canoe or kayak, on the property (north to south). For more adventurous floaters, the entry would be at the south edge of the property to float south to the Mill, if all went as planned. This would include the pickup point north of the Mill as well as some improvements along the creek in between in cooperation with the National Forest Service. A proposed plan to do this had preliminary approval of the Forest Service, subject to a number of conditions, including the approval of the Bevins Trust of the work needed along the creek on their property. 

After some further discussion, Julie and the planner each agreed to attend the trustee’s meeting with Paul the following Tuesday to bring these charts and make a brief presentation.


This excerpt is from "Christmas at the Homeplace" is from Chapter 17, Saturday, November 30, 1996:

Peter and Bart had agreed to meet this afternoon for a couple of hours at Bart’s office at his house to go over their maps of the individual pieces of land currently held by the Bevins Trust. Bart had already marked the lands that were currently involved in agricultural activities. That was the easy part. Most of the wooded areas were fairly easy to identify, as well. They each would, sooner or later, go into the McDonald Conservancy. The areas with pasture land and transitional areas were a bit more difficult. 

Future use plans as well as possible improvement projects in these areas would help determine their distribution. Those were marked for further consideration, a bit later, along with a tentative priority for each.

The big ridge where the caves were located was also fairly easy to identify and assign to Conservancy land. The land surrounding Oak Creek would generally be assigned to the Conservancy, but the issue they generally faced was how far from the water’s edge to include, moving up and down the creek, on each side. A closely related area was points of possible erosion and where the channel of the stream might change over time. They marked each of these with their questions for further consideration.

They both enjoyed this review process and were a bit surprised how many questions they raised. It was quite a bit more complicated than they had realized it would be. They agreed it was good they were getting an early start so that questions could be addressed.



"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill  ;-)



Monday, November 18, 2013

Hometown Monday - Three "N"s but No "O"s


Hometown Monday - Three "N"s but No "O"s



We are continuing this series of posts of excerpts from the novels, novellas, and short stories of "The Homeplace Saga" family story-telling, with a new twist. We have adopted a format from the: "Blogging From A to Z Challenge." Each week we will share a published except related to a person whose name begins with that letter. 


This series of posts is to provide an insight into the story lines that may not be clear from other promotional pieces about "The Homeplace Saga." These will also be coordinated with the content of the developmental Wiki, "Beyond the Books" - to expand the information available there, as well. [Links in the text, below, provide more information on that person or entity]

Today we look at names beginning with the letter N.

For N, we have (with two excerpts, Nicole in both, below):

Neil Harms - intergenerational consultant

Nicole Evans - grand-daughter of Doc Evans in 1996 - worked at Big Thunder Lodge - married Christopher Ogden in Oct 1996



Norma (Hartman) Kirk - deceased - wife of Don, mother of Brian

[Click on image to go to Amazon.com]

Our excerpts today are from the novel, "Christmas at the Homeplace," recently released, now available at Amazon.com… for Christmas purchases:

This excerpt is from "Christmas at the Homeplace" is from Chapter 14, Sunday, November 24, 1996:

Nicole returned home from her 2-10 p.m. shift on Sunday night just as Christopher was finished watching the evening news on television. Christopher noticed immediately that she had a big smile on her face and was nearly bursting to share her good news.
“Just one more week of this strange shift I have been on. Starting Wednesday, December 4, I will be on a normal 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule. How do you like that?”
Christopher gave her a big, long hug, and asked: “How did this happen? You hadn’t mentioned it at all.”
“No, I really didn’t know. I think you know they have been going through some reorganization, and even personnel changes, up at Big Thunder.” Nicole looked to Christopher for confirmation.
“Yes, Paul has mentioned that recently, from his talks with Julie Barnes.”
“Well, unknown to me, they had been looking at my background, having worked in all aspects of hospitality between here and my time in Springfield since college, but still young. They asked me if I would work on a new team with a techie person and an administrative person to develop a new Internet presence and strategy for the Lodge. I liked the idea, and I love the opportunity to be on a normal work week and normal work shift.” Nicole was still almost breathless, just talking about the change and the opportunity.
“Well, needless to say, I’m very happy about it, as well,” Christopher said. “Do you have any idea how long this project team will continue?”
“I really didn’t ask. It sounded like an initial task that might take several months. That was good enough for me. And, it is the kind of special assignment that would normally lead to a pretty good placement on the other end, if the task is completed successfully.”
“Yes,” Christopher agreed. “I can certainly see that possibility. I should be a really interesting project.”
They continued to talk about the new possibilities.  



This excerpt is from "Christmas at the Homeplace" is from Chapter 24, Sunday, December 22, 1996:

As Bart and Diane left the United Methodist Church service on Sunday, they came across Christopher and Nicole with Linda Ogden. After a few minutes of conversation, Diane said to Linda, “We didn’t know what you were doing for Christmas day or Christmas Eve, but we’d really like to have you join us at our place if you don’t have specific other plans.”
Linda smiled, and replied, “Thank you, Diane. You are very kind. We were just talking about that, actually. Melanie, Richard and Kim are staying home for Christmas this year but will be coming down for New Year’s Day.” Looking to Christopher and Nicole, she continued, “It might be nice to spend Christmas day with all of you.” 
“Yes, Mom, I think that would be a good thing to do. Jennifer, Brian and Don will be there, too. We had a good time at the Thanksgiving dinner, it would be nice to be together again out at Bart and Diane’s place for Christmas.”
“We’ll plan on it then, Diane. Thank you each for asking me.” Linda smiled at Bart and Diane, then at Christopher and Nicole. “Its pretty cold out here today. We should get in the car.”
“Good idea, Mom.” Christopher offered, and they moved in that direction. 
Bart and Diane watched them get into the Lincoln, with Christopher driving and his mother in the back seat, Nicole beside him. Bart said, “She is holding up pretty good, but she looks a good ten years older the last couple of months.”
Diane nodded, “I can see that as well. It is really important for her to keep getting out and getting on with her life; as hard as that must be at a time like this.”
“I’m really pleased that she accepted our invitation. I was afraid she would decline and just stay home,” Bart added.
“Yes,” Diane agreed, “This was a big step in the right direction for her. She is still young. After all, she is the same age as we are. She needs to be doing things to quietly remind her of that.” 
They left the conversation at that, with each of them carrying out their own set of memories that those words had invoked in them.



"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill  ;-)



Friday, November 15, 2013

The Founding of the Homeplace - Summer 1843, Progress Report, Part 4 of 4


The Founding of the Homeplace
Summer 1843, Progress Report
Part 4 of 4


"The Founding of the Homeplace" stories will continue here on every other Friday during August and September. This is a serial presentation of the story, beginning in 1833, when four families decided to settle the land, the valley, that would become the setting of the first two books in the The Homeplace Saga: "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited" and subsequent series stories, set in 1987 and 1996, to date. The underlying premise of this series is the desire of the family matriarch to retain the family farm in the southern Missouri Ozarks in whole and in the family. 



Characters in this series become actively involved in the study of their family history and snippets of that research appear, from time to time through the series (one example). This serial presentation begins to share that ‘research’ in Story Form, and, some of the Stories represent 'writings of the family' that were ‘discovered’ in the process of that research. Each Story is an essay or report of the activities of the initial four families and their descendants that settled the Homeplace – the farm and the surrounding valley.


Summer 1843, Progress Report

In this episode, we share "Part 4 of 4"



           Jake Patton applied for a Post Office shortly after the Oak Creek Township was organized. In October of 1842, a post office was approved, with the name “Oak Springs” – Oak Creek was already taken. The new post office would be located at the Patton General Store, with Jake Patton as Postmaster, and Kate Patton as Assistant. It actually began operation in March of 1843.  Henry McDonald earned the first mail contract from the Big Piney lumber camps to Oak Springs on a weekly schedule, which he would carry out along with his regular freight runs.  By the summer of 1843, Jake Patton, seeing the success of Donagan’s Tavern, also began construction of a two-story hotel immediately to the north of the Tavern. The north-south path between the Blacksmith Shop and the General Store was taking the form of a street, as he had hoped, and the hotel was built on the east side of the street making three buildings in a row, facing across the street to his Blacksmith Shop, and cabin, set back from the ‘street.’
In other social news of the community, Harry McDonald and Sarah Baldridge had married in June the previous year and were expecting their first child come August, to become the sixth McDonald in the household. As the wedding was being planned, the McDonald family had made the decision to add on to their house rather than build a new one.  Harry McDonald’s younger brother, Daniel, was now an active 5 year-old.
Hugh and Victoria Truesdale were parents a second time, a year ago, a son, Lewis, to join sister, Jane, now 6.            
In the spring of 1843, Frances and Elizabeth Holt, a young newly wed couple down from the north, purchased 160 acres and settled into their new house just west of Center Creek and on the north side of the East-West road. About a month after the Holt’s arrival, Jacob and Patsy Pryor bought the 160 acre farm just east of the Holt’s and built their house on the east side of Center Creek.

            Following the formation of Oak Creek Township and the election of the three trustees, in 1842, upon their recommendation, the County Commissioners appointed George King as Justice of the Peace. He was responsible to the Circuit Court Judge who came to hear any cases that might arise early in the first month of each calendar quarter. The county paid for use of the community building on a daily basis to be used as the courtroom.  There was little activity in those first couple of years.


[...to be continued... on Dec 6, 2013, with Part 1 of Summer 1848 Progress Report]

Thursday, November 14, 2013

"Christmas at the Homeplace" - Book Blog Tour Upcoming


"Christmas at the Homeplace"
Book Blog Tour Upcoming

http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Homeplace-William-Leverne-Smith/dp/1493510401/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384372871&sr=1-1&keywords=christmas+at+the+homeplace
[Click image to go directly to Amazon.com]

See what people are saying about this new Christmas book, based on our family history research and life experiences. It is historical fiction in "The Homeplace Saga" series, but you very well may recognized some folks from your own family and the world around you as you get involved with these family activities.


Here is the tentative schedule for the upcoming tour, running from November 15-25:

Thursday, Nov 14 - Tour Schedule at The Homeplace Saga blog

Friday, Nov 15 - Tour Schedule at Dr. Bill's Book Bazaar blog

Monday, Nov 18 - Interview with Jessica at Literaryetc.com 

Tuesday, Nov 19  - Guest Post with Lisa DuVal at I Feel So Unnecessary

Wednesday, Nov 20 - Review with Lisa DuVal at I Feel So Unnecessary

Thursday, Nov 21 - Guest Post with Kayla Emerson at Green Mountain Couple

Friday, Nov 22 - Review with Julie Goucher at Anglers Rest

Saturday, Nov 23 - Review with Mindy Wall at Books, Books, and More Books

Sunday, Nov 24 - Guest Post with Brandee Price at Bookworm Brandee

Monday, Nov 25 - Tour Wrap-Up at Dr. Bill's Book Bazaar blog

Hope you join us on the tour, each day!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hometown Monday - M is for ...


Hometown Monday - M is for ...




We are continuing this series of posts of excerpts from the novels, novellas, and short stories of "The Homeplace Saga" family story-telling, with a new twist. We have adopted a format from the: "Blogging From A to Z Challenge." Each week we will share a published except related to a person whose name begins with that letter. 


This series of posts is to provide an insight into the story lines that may not be clear from other promotional pieces about "The Homeplace Saga." These will also be coordinated with the content of the developmental Wiki, "Beyond the Books" - to expand the information available there, as well. [Links in the text, below, provide more information on that person or entity]

Today we look at names beginning with the letter M.



For M, we have (with two excerpts, below):


Mark James - husband of Erin Winslow

Matt Winslow - oldest son of Jason and Karen (Bevins) Winslow

Melanie (Ogden) Stone - sister of Christopher Ogden

Mildred (McDonald) Bevins - deceased - left the video will in "Back to the Homeplace"

Mike Gardiner - road construction engineer

Mona (Cunningham) Evans - mother of Laura and Nicole; daughter of Lyle; wife of Jack


Our excerpts today are from the novel, "Christmas at the Homeplace," recently released, now available at Amazon.com… for Christmas purchases:


This excerpt is from "Christmas at the Homeplace" is from Chapter 3,  Thursday, October 24, 1996:

Matt Winslow returned to his Bevins & Winslow Internet Service Provider (ISP) office near City Hall after lunch to find a note asking him to return a telephone call from a familiar name with an Arizona number. Raynor Crimmons was a long time family friend who was now a professor at Central Arizona University. Raynor had been a financial planner with Matt’s father, Jason, first in Springfield, MO, and then again, a few years later, in Tucson, Arizona. 



The two families had been very close and spent much leisure time together, over the years. Raynor still made annual visits to Missouri, in late May or early June, to a few clients he continued to service in the area, and always stopped by to see the Winslow family in Oak Springs on those trips. He had actually been visiting that summer in 1993 when Jason died in the car accident returning from Columbia, and had been a great comfort to Matt’s mother, Karen. Raynor had been in Oaks Springs in late May, earlier this year.

Raynor answered immediately when Matt returned the call. After exchanging pleasantries, Raynor got to the reason for the call. He told Matt that his teaching load at the University was now all graduate business courses, but beginning this fall, they were also all on-line courses, and would continue that way under new school policies. That meant, he continued, that he could live anywhere he chose, so long as he had an adequate, high-speed Internet connection readily available. He wanted to confirm with Matt the current and future status of high-speed Internet service in Oak Springs. He was seriously considering moving back to the Missouri Ozarks if he could be assured of reliable Internet service.
Matt, of course, was pleased to be able to talk with Raynor about progress they were making in providing high-speed Internet service to City Hall and the rest of the down-town portion of Oak Springs this fall. In fact, it was a bit ahead of schedule. He added that they would be extending service into the residential portion of Oak Springs in the spring.

Hearing this, Raynor asked if Matt knew of any office or apartment space available now, or in the next month or so, in that part of the downtown already being provided with high-speed Internet service.
Matt was surprised to hear the excitement in Raynor’s voice at his positive response. His news for Raynor was that there was both an apartment on the level above and an office at the end of the hall in the very building where Matt was sitting – both were vacant and available for immediate occupancy.
Raynor asked if Matt thought “they” would hold both spaces for him to look at in a week, when he could come look at them and make a decision. To Raynor’s surprise, Matt said that he was the “they” and he would be happy to hold it. His company had purchased the entire building, and was subleasing certain areas not currently needed, pending future expansion. He would look forward to Raynor’s visit in a week. As they closed their discussion, Raynor mentioned to Matt that the reason he was thinking of moving back to Missouri was to be closer to his daughter, Randi, who lived in the Washington, D.C., area, and that the only other family he had left still lived in Iowa. Matt knew that Raynor’s wife, Rachel, had been killed in a Tucson, Arizona, auto accident, like Jason, several years earlier. He had not remarried and lived alone.

As soon as he hung up from talking to Raynor, he called his mother. “I just found out that Raynor Crimmons is coming for a short visit from Arizona toward the end of next week, Mom. I thought you would want to know.” They chatted a bit with Matt essentially sharing their whole conversation with Karen.

Karen concluded the call by saying: “It will be nice to see him again. He is always pleasant company.”



This excerpt is from "Christmas at the Homeplace" is from Chapter 5,  Friday, November 1, 1996:

As Mona Evans walked out to their mailbox, like she did nearly every day, she thought about what might be in the box. Her daughter, Laura, wife of Travis Inman, and their two children had lived with them all this calendar year while Travis was overseas in the service. It had been an interesting experience that would soon be coming to an end. She wondered how things would actually change.

Mona, and her husband, Jack Evans were active in Oak Springs community life. Mona had cut back on some of her activities this year to spend more time with her grandchildren. Jack was the local State Farm Insurance Agent, current President of the Chamber of Commerce, and the son of Doc Evans, long-time Oak Springs veterinarian. Mona was a daughter of Lyle Cunningham, operator of the local auction house and sales barn. Lyle was a Trustee of the Bevins Trust, as well. 

Nevertheless, it had been a busy year. Jack and Mona’s other grown daughter, Nicole, had moved back to town, and just married Christopher Ogden, the young attorney. 

Mona knew that Travis’ parents, Grover and Hedda Inman, who owned and operated Oak Springs Realty, were anxious to have him home, as well. Would the news be in today’s mail?

Mona pulled three envelopes out of the mailbox and her heart skipped a beat as she realized that one of them was from overseas. She went back inside, immediately, to find Laura without even looking at the other two, which she recognized as routine bills. Laura was in the laundry room, sorting kids clothes for a load of wash. Laura opened the letter from her husband, Travis, with high anticipation and some trepidation. She read it to her self a first time through. When she got to the part about his return, she read it out loud for Mona to hear, as well.

“He says here, ‘Our unit has received word that we will ship out on schedule so as to be back in Missouri for us to be home by Christmas, unless some unforeseen incident occurs to prevent our return.’ He goes on to mention that other support units, like his, have begun moving out, so it appears likely his will do likewise. Oh, Mom, it will be so nice to have him back home.”

“We all look forward to his return. We’ll keep planning for a Christmas return, but be happy whenever it is. That is for sure. It will be wonderful for the little ones to have a father again.”

“And,” Laura said quietly, “We can get a place of our own and let you and Dad have your house back.”

“You don’t need to be even thinking about that issue. We love having you here. Once he gets back, you can begin to think about what comes later.”



"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill  ;-)



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Find "The Homeplace Saga" stories in several venues


Find "The Homeplace Saga" stories in several venues


[Down the Road image courtesy of Don Wills; Greene Co IA Trail]

Most you know I close my articles published in the In-Depth Genealogist digi-mag with the Tag Line "See you down the road..." Dr. Bill... [that I borrowed from an Emporia, KS, neighbor, the western novelist, Don Coldsmith, from one of his columns], and, I'm continually looking for images like this that convey that thought. Thanks to each of you who have provided me with one I could use - and those who may do so, now that you know I'm looking for them!

Use of this concept has also reminded me to "travel down several roads" in sharing "The Homeplace Saga" series of historical fiction family saga stories that this blog represents. I have added some venues, so this is an attempt to update the newer places to read these stories, if you've missed other references to them... and care at all about the different stories that are available.

The latest is HubPages.com. The link will take you to my series of essays that relate to "The Homeplace Saga" stories in a little different vein or a different light. These area 1250 word essays, with three photo images, that provide background, new insights, a different slant on the stories of Oak Springs, the Oak Creek Township and valley, and the various characters, especially the early years. These are shorter than short stories, they are longer than blog posts. I hope you enjoy them. There are just five, as I write this. I assume I'll add more. Comments are always welcome, of course.

I continue to create "lenses" at Squidoo.com that related to my stories. The latest is "Will they be home for 'Christmas at the Homeplace'" - a product recommendation lens for the recently released novel, on Amazon. Again, each of these writings provides a somewhat different "take" on the product or story being presented. [Note: I make a point of this, because these writing venues now have computer programs that automatically compare what is being written with what is already posted on the Internet - if you try to write the same thing over again, it is rejected, and you must start over. Therefore, I must come up with something new and fresh each time. How about that?]

Of course, you know about the four novels, the published short stories, and the wiki (see right side bar). Many of you have been reading the short stories, in serial form, every other Friday. These will be published next spring in the collection of short stories, along with new ones. Tentative title: American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876). Watch for it! ;-)

Comments welcomed! ;-)


"May each of us have a Homeplace, if only in our hearts!"

Bill  ;-)