Barbara is offering one copy of her book VERY LOVINGLY YOURS, ELSIE to one randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, March 7th, between 5-6 PM EST. For convenience, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!
The Gift My Grandmother Gave Me by Barbara Waite
I first picked up Elsie’s well-worn black leather diary in 1987, not realizing it would reveal a young Elsie that I had never imagined. The diary told of her first love, of heartache and sorrow, and of fascinating adventure from 1913-1916. Never had I pictured my grandmother as being freehearted, young and in love. Among her many published short stories and articles I also discovered an unfinished, handwritten manuscript that did not appear to be the work of someone who was almost 97 years old. It was author and educator Elsie Reed Hayes Roberts’ final project, unfortunately never completed. Never before had she written anything that stirred me like this unfinished story of love and adventure in the early state of Arizona. Obviously, these three years in her early twenties had been an unforgettable time for her.
Her diary could not give me all the answers to the questions it created, but hidden in library archives were surprising discoveries. Piece by piece, through letters, newspaper articles, and her diary, her story deepened. Elsie frequently described her Arizona years as “glorious.”
She was college educated and loved literature and culture. In Arizona she taught barefoot, burro-riding children, and she referred to some of them as being “common and needing baths.” As she learned to love this wild countryside and the children, her attitude changed dramatically. She discovered an admiration for the character of these back-woods farmers, ranchers and their children. Elsie fell in love with Arizona. And a couple of young men fell in love with Elsie. My research uncovered a tender, yet tragic, love story. In 1988 I located and interviewed 8 of her former students that were then elderly treasures. Elsie had taught them for 9 months in a one-room school in Arizona 75 years before. Yet they had vivid memories that were a match to the ones Elsie had written about in her letters and diary.
My biggest surprise was when I approached a National Monument bookstore in Arizona about selling The gentleman questioned if the book was fiction. I answered that it was taken directly from her letters and diary and that I had added historical information and explanations. His response was, “Your book is interpretive History!” Taken by surprise I said, “Yes, it is.” Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments have sold over 500 copies. I never dreamed “Interpretive History” had so much potential. What an adventure writing this book has been. My favorite of the 265 Amazon reviews came from a woman of 103 that read on a Kindle and “Skyped” her review!
I chose to independently publish the book. I hesitate to use the term “self-publish” since I hired editors, designers, and proofreaders. I wanted to have the publication coincide with Arizona’s Centennial for February, 2012. It came out on Amazon in November of 2011. I was nervous that I might not recover the $3,000.00 investment we had made in the creation of the book. I was thrilled that was recovered in less than a year. I have been able to place the book in 24 retail outlets in Arizona. I have even had the opportunity to do a book signing at a Costco in Arizona. Print sales are now over 2,000 and E-book sales over 5,000. I think one of the advantages to independently publishing is the freedom to take advantage of using free Kindle days on Amazon. I actually used free days 8 times. Amazon’s KDP program was also a good return financially for me.
I would not have been able to write “Elsie” without the letters she had saved. Her letters from her mother were a connection that I treasure. I never knew my great-grandmother, May Carrie Hayes. Through her letters I have had a glimpse into her relationship with Elsie and a picture of her character.
Bible study to multi-cultural group of ladies in
Antigua, West Indies. Barbara is third from
Elsie’s letters were her only way to communicate with her family in California. I can imagine the anticipation for her family as they waited for those precious letters from their daughter in a new state that was still thought of as the “Wild West.” I wonder what we will leave behind as a record of the significant events of our lives. I encourage friends to leave behind a permanent record of what their lives were like for their grandchildren to someday treasure. Thanks Elsie and May Carrie Hayes for saving those letters from 100 years ago. They are a priceless inheritance. I am blessed.
Elsie’s Mountain Years - Coming Soon
I have had numerous requests for a sequel that would tell of Elsie’s years after she married. I am working on that project. For years Elsie lived on a mountain and she and her husband operated an apple ranch and opened a rustic resort there. I find it interesting how self-sufficient they were. They lived off the land for the most part. Elsie had a recipe for squirrel and quail pie that I find humorous; her note at the bottom reminds “be sure the squirrel is not too old.” My mother spent the first 5 years of her life living on the apple ranch. I have vintage photos of my mom riding in an apple crate cart. The words on the side of the crate say, “Keep in a cool dry place.” That would be a difficult task to accomplish with a baby. The old, gnarled apple trees that Elsie’s father planted in 1904 still produce fabulous apples. There is something rewarding in writing about things that have not changed and revealing those that have changed entirely. History, when viewed through the eyes of someone who lived it, can be rich and enlightening.
Barbara's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Author Barbara Waite shares how she made her family history come to literary life on Everyone’s Story. (Tweet This)
Everyone has a story: Barbara Waite, author & missionary, encourages sharing family history. (Tweet This)
Like combo of history & family? Barbara Waite shares memoir. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)
Barbara Anne Waite is a California gal that moved to the small Caribbean island of Antigua 40 years ago where she and her husband served as missionaries for 38 years. In 1967 Barbara graduated from nursing school, married Curt and the adventures began. Always an avid reader Barbara has published her first book and is working on her second. She home schooled all 4 children and is thrilled that two have been involved in international education. Her oldest son has a doctorate in education and her daughter teaches in Malaysia. Barbara & Curt are blessed with 5 grandchildren. Barbara inherited Elsie’s love of story telling and her favorite thing to do is teach ladies truths from God’s word. The Waites recently retired in California. She enjoys speaking at book clubs, community groups and bookstores. On GoodReads – Listopia “Elsie- Arizona Teacher 1913-1916” is #1 in The Old West In First Person and is #3 in the The American Frontier list.
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