"Bethie's Place"

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Archive for the category “My Writings”

Turning The Page to 2016

For the last 22 months, try as I might, I have been stuck on the same page of my life, and for the last two months since we met, I had fallen into a depression especially with the holidays at hand, and not one gift thought of or purchased. Plus a monster of a cold, that lasted three weeks. Call it a continuous loop, a hamster’s wheel, a labyrinth with no escape route. But that all changed on December 21st, 2015. It was a Monday morning like any other Monday morning I’ve been subjected to for the last 17 of those 22 months. You see, Monday mornings were Wound Care Clinic mornings. Each Monday morning, the wound was photographed, examined by the doctor, bandaged, and another appointment made because “the wound wasn’t healed quite yet” ( a quote from the doctor I grew to hate, but sadly resigned myself to the fact that the wound would never heal).  But on the 21st, I got the good news that I had longed to hear since my health crisis began in February 2014. The doctor declared my wound healed and I was officially discharged from the clinic’s care.

I began my holiday shopping that evening (I do all my shopping online), and all purchases were delivered and wrapped by Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day was a beautiful day filled with joy, love, and laughter. Something I’ve missed since Christmas 2013.

New Year’s Eve and Day have come and gone, and it’s time to turn the page with a positive attitude. I look forward to renewing friendships with my blog followers and meeting new blog followers, writing uplifting words that will inspire and give you hope, and sharing my progress as my book, The Hensel House, moves along.

Wishing you all  a blessed Happy New Year, filled with love, laughter,  and hope for a brighter tomorrow.

“Bethie”

The Hensel House — Chapter One

Chapter One

          Standing in front of Grandma’s pride and joy, it was the spring of 1875, six months after receiving the letter from Mr. Martinez, and what he had described in his letter was true. The life blood that once traveled through The Hensel House had drained out onto the dusty road beneath my feet. Nothing resembled the tintypes Grandma had sent when she first arrived in California a decade earlier. Now it was up to me to restore and run the once treasured landmark. I silently vowed, as I stood outside the door, to do whatever I had to do to make her proud. Exhausted and overwhelmed from my journey, I felt my knees begin to buckle. As I reached out for the door to steady me, I was surprised when the door easily pushed open. When my eyes finally adjusted to the darkness inside, the shadows of what I saw made me shiver. I reached out in front of me, searching for something to grab onto.

“Mrs. Hensel?”

To be continued….Stay tuned!

The Hensel House — Prologue: Part 3

When I finished reading the letter I swallowed hard, and wiped the tears from my eyes with a lace handkerchief. I laid the letter on the table in front of me. My daughter looked at me with tears in her eyes, too, taking my hand in hers.

“Etta, do you remember Grandma?”

She nodded, squeezing my hand to comfort me. “Yes. I remember her. You tried unsuccessfully to convince her not go to California.  You attempted to impress upon her how dangerous it would be to not only travel across country alone, and especially with the Civil War still going on, but she refused to listen.”

“Yes, she had a stubborn streak,” I said, with a slight smile.

I looked down at the letter again rereading it to myself trying to make sense of what I’ve learned since I walked home. In three weeks’ time both my beloved husband and grandmother were gone.

My son seemed unconcerned by the things he’d heard, which is understandable considering he was only 4 years old when Grandma moved to California and more than likely had very few, if any, memories of her.

“Have you decided what you’re going to do, Mom?” he asked.

I didn’t answer right away, but I’m sure the look on my face told Etta that I’d already given some thought to what my decision would be as a result of my long walk home from the cemetery.

Harry Jr. quickly noticed the intense glances between Etta and I. “You can’t leave us here by ourselves!  I’ve got school and my friends, and Etta can’t take care of us because she’s too busy taking care of the baby!”

“Harry, calm down. First things first. I need to reply to Mr. Martinez’s letter. Then I’ll make some phone calls to your great-aunts and uncles. I’ll tell them about Grandma, and see which one of them would be willing and able to take care of you, and help Etta with the baby while I’m away.”

My words now had my son’s undivided attention.

“You’re not taking us with you? If you leave now, you’ll miss Thanksgiving and Christmas!”

“Harry, I wouldn’t think of leaving with the holidays so close. The boardinghouse will still be standing when I get there, and I have many things to do before I can even think about leaving. Rest assured, it will be a long while before that day comes. However when that day comes, I still won’t be able to take you with me. Mr. Martinez made it very clear about the current condition of the boardinghouse, so I’m not even sure where I’ll be staying. But as soon as I’m settled, I’ll send for you.”

The Hensel House — Prologue: Part 2

Recognizing the location of the postmark as I walked outside, I had a bad feeling that this letter was not bringing happy news, so I opened and read it as I walked home.  I greeted my daughter with a kiss on the cheek as I came through the front door, showing her the envelope. She looked at where the letter came from, and a concerned look crossed her face, as she studied it more closely, and then handed it back to me. I gathered my children together in the parlor and then read the letter to them:

 

Dear Mrs. Hensel,

                    My name is Mr. Guillermo Martinez, and I write to you today with the sad news that your grandmother died several days ago, peacefully in her sleep. Representing your grandmother’s estate, I don’t know if your grandmother ever discussed with you her desire for you to inherit ownership of Hensel House upon her death. Over the course of your grandmother’s declining health, the boardinghouse fell into disrepair and it became uninhabitable to its residents. The townspeople offered their help by taking in the residents who had no other family or friends to live with. Grateful I’m certain by the townspeople’s generosity and support, but not being able to run the boardinghouse she loved so much for the last decade, truly broke her heart and I would hazard a guess, hastened her death.

                    My law partner has informed me that you are recently widowed, with two minor children and a grandchild. So I understand fully that it will more than likely take some time for you to decide if, or when you’ll fulfill your grandmother’s wish, and, whether or not you decide to bring your family with you to California.

                    If I can help you in any way as you make these decisions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your grandmother entrusted me to first and foremost oversee that you and your family are taken care of, and her cherished boardinghouse be passed along to you now or in the future, and to future generations to come. Please accept my condolences and the condolences of the townspeople of Ciudad de Lorenzo. Mrs. Hensel, your grandmother was a pillar of and well-respected member of our community and she will be greatly missed.

Sincerely,

Guillermo Martinez, Attorney-At Law

The Hensel House — Prologue

PROLOGUE:

 

My name is Mary Frances Hensel and I was born in 1838, in the town of Meadville, Pennsylvania, located in Crawford County. I’ve lived in Meadville all my life.  My beloved husband of eighteen years, Harry, died   on October 14th as a result of an industrial accident while working at the railroad roundhouse in Ashtabula, Ohio, some thirty miles away. Harry and I have two children. Our daughter Etta is 18 years old with an infant daughter and our son Harry Jr. is 14 years old. If you asked my children how they would describe me, they would be quick to tell you that I’m a fearless trailblazer. And they would be exactly right. This is my story.

On the way home from visiting my husband’s grave today, I stopped at the post office to mail a stack of thank you notes for the many messages of condolence and the meals that were prepared for us since the funeral. On my way out of the post office, the clerk called out to me.

“Mrs. Hensel, I’m glad you came in today. A special delivery letter came for you.”

I returned to the counter. “Special delivery, you say? Thank you so much.”

Interested in reading more?  Please leave me a comment…… Thank you! 😀  

“Bethie”

The Hensel House — A Brief Synopsis

Mary Frances Hensel is the granddaughter of Mary Frances Prinkey. When Grandma Mary dies she bequeaths the rundown boardinghouse to her beloved namesake, her young widowed granddaughter. Young Mary, in order to fulfill her grandma’s last wish, must decide whether or not to leave the security of her Pennsylvania home and travel to the newly founded state of California where she knows no one.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Mary Frances Hensel was my maternal great-great grandmother. She and her husband had eight daughters. Her eldest daughter, my maternal great-grandmother, and the main character of The Hensel House,  did own and run a boardinghouse in the 1940s and was the catalyst, the jumping off point if you will, for this novel. Our story begins 70 years earlier, a decade after the end of the Civil War.

Playing Around With Book Cover Design

Hello friends and readers! Decided to “tease” and give you a taste of what the cover of my completed novel is about and what the potential book cover will look like. I’m partial to one, but I want to know which of these you might pick up first in a bookstore or in an online bookstore.  More tomorrow night! Stay tuned! Tell your friends via Facebook, Twitter, whatever means you have to help me get more readers and fans.

Textured Background Book Cover-page-0

THE HENSEL HOUSE -- BOOK COVER-page0001

As I began my book writing journey last night……

The thought occurred to me that maybe you, my loyal followers and readers, would like to read my book as I go through the process. If so, would you answer the poll below?

I look forward to hearing from you regarding the poll and your joining me along the journey. I also welcome constructive criticism and any ideas to improve the storyline as I go along.

I remain your faithful blogger and friend! 😀

“Bethie”

“Here’s ‘Something Nice’ “

Having spent nearly the last eighteen months in and out of hospital, and the better part of that time bedridden, I needed to quickly create a “new normal” for myself to get through what has been a long, oftentimes discouraging, and lonely recovery. Part of my “new normal” activities has been watching dvds via my Netflix subscription. Some I’ve watched over the months have been duds, and some have been gems that will stick with me for a long time.

Case in point was a movie I watched yesterday that had been done by HBO called, “The Normal Heart”. It tells the story of the beginning of AIDS, and of a group of gay men in New York who work together to try to get funding for this disease as they watch their partners die without help from the city or federal government. Watching this movie got me thinking about a classmate of mine from 7th-12th grade. To keep his identity private, I’ll refer to him as “Chuckles”, my nickname for him, because of his infectious laughter. “Chuckles” and I were in choir from 7th-12th grade, and I think we laughed every day for those six years. During our last choir class before graduation, our director gave us time to sign each other’s yearbooks.  I tossed my yearbook across the room to him, and said, “Hey, write something nice, will ya?” He returned my yearbook to me, and I didn’t give it another thought, knowing that whatever he’d written  would be found in the article about him featured in the yearbook, predicting that he would be a star on Broadway. That was 1979. Fast forward a couple of years when we met up again at the local junior college. He invited me to join him for coffee one morning, (I drank cocoa), and we had a long chat about a secret he had kept for many years and wanted to share it with me. My dear “Chuckles” revealed that he was gay, which I had pretty much already concluded, and I listened while he poured out his heart to me.  On December 9, 1993, “Chuckles” breathed his last breath, succumbing to AIDS. You’re wondering what he wrote, aren’t you?

He wrote, “Dear Beth, ‘Here’s Something Nice.” Love, Chuckles…..

Why did I choose to share this slice of my life with you tonight? I don’t know except to say that this movie touched me deeply, and I highly recommend it. Between that time when we sat down for coffee and the moment I learned of his death, we had lost contact.  Watching this movie  brought home for me how he must have suffered in the end and it gave me an opportunity to mourn the loss of my friend (which had never really done), and his writing what he did in my yearbook, was his way of shielding me of what was to come for him a decade later.

So dear “Chuckles”, I know every night in heaven has been “another opening, another show” and I can’t wait for a front row seat.

And the novel continues…..Friday Feature–“Let’s Talk Books”

Dear Friends,

First and foremost, my apologies for not posting to my blog in the last five weeks. My health continues to improve daily and my next, and hopefully last appointment, with the specialist is on July 20th.

Now for the good stuff…. the progress on my novel….

The title has changed from “Bethie’s Place” to “The Hensel House”. It’s still set in the Old West (circa Civil War era) and the story revolves around a dilapidated boarding house that has been bequeathed to the main character from her grandmother.

Now dear friends, I need your help. I’m torn between these two versions as the opening of my novel. Please let me know which one grabs you to want to read more.

Version 1: The boarding house had fallen into disrepair, and looked nothing like the tintypes her grandmother had sent her many years ago. The life blood that once traveled through The Hensel House had drained out onto the dusty road beneath her feet.

Version 2: Grandma was gone. It was as if the boarding house had died along with her.

Love and blessings to you all!

“Bethie”

 

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