Saturday, April 14, 2012

See these antique dresses from my family

After searching for about twenty years, I finally located my grandmother's wedding dress and my aunt's graduation dress, both hand-sewn and embroidered.  I had come to believe that the box they were in must have blown off the truck when we were moving to our new house in February 1993.  They were finally discovered in the bottom of an old trunk in the garage.

 Slip worn under graduation dress

 Detail on bodice of slip

 Lacy hymn on bottom tier of slip

 Top of wedding dress

 Ruffed border and hem of wedding dress

 Full view of top and skirt of wedding dress

 Top with detail of sleeves on wedding dress

One of two side panels on skirt of graduation dress 

Bodice and sleeves of graduation dress

 Skirt of graduation dress with sign panels
 Full view of graduation dress

 Hand embroidered sleeve of graduation dress

Detail of embroidery on bodice of graduation dress

The wedding dress belonged to my maternal grandmother Josephine Pauline Bickert who married Herbert Sanborn Chiles on 5 July 1903. It's almost one hundred and eight years old.  They were married in a horse-drawn buggy in a driving rainstorm in the town of Lehigh, Blount County, Alabama.  This was Herbert's second marriage, fourteen months after his first wife Blanche McCord died on 10 Apr 1902 as the result of choking when vomiting in pregnancy while home alone.  Blanche and Josephine were close friends.

The graduation dress belonged to my maiden aunt, Bessie Katie Eugenia Chiles, born 22 Apr 1904. She was named for her aunt, Katherine Amelia Bickert ("Aunt Kate") and Eugenia Martinier (Sanborn) Chiles, her grandmother. Bessie never married, and taught algebra and Spanish at Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Florida for many years.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Charlie's Girl Press Release


4/10/2012 –- Peoria, AZ –- Husband and wife writers Mary-Helen and Daniel Foxx announce the release of their new book, Charlie’s Girl, now available online for pre-publication orders at and other online booksellers, and in bookstores on May 8th. 

Set in the 1960s in South Carolina where the authors first met and married, Dan describes the time as moving at a slower pace. “Charlie’s Girl is the story of fourteen-year-old Rosalind Matthews who had been a foster girl all her life until she is sent to live with her estranged grandmother, Grace Matthews, in a house filled with memories—and secrets.”

Mary-Helen writes, “As Rosalind searches for belonging and connections, she finds she must first earn her place in her father’s hometown and in her grandmother’s heart. When a family history assignment pairs Rosalind and her new friend, Emily, she learns that there’s more to find than just names and dates, as they uncover a mystery to which only Grace holds the key.”

Dan and Mary-Helen concluded by sharing what they hope readers will gain from their book.  “We’ve all struggled with coming of age: trying to fit in, the hurts and betrayal of our peers-- and family-- finding out who we are and what we stand for. Written for young adult and adult audiences, this story has a unique voice, taking place in a small Southern town at a time when classism and bigotry were prevalent, lingering prejudices that we hope readers will want to root out for themselves.” 

To read an excerpt visit the Foxxes blogs,, or   

About the Foxxes

Mary-Helen earned a BA in History from Limestone College and did graduate work in Library Science at Brigham Young University.  Certified in History and English, she recently retired after twenty years with the Peoria Unified School District where she began as Audio-Visual Specialist at Ironwood High School and then operated the Media Resource Center for the district. An avid genealogist, she has researched and authored five books on her family’s history in Georgia and was a contributing editor to the Georgia Genealogical Magazine. The mother of four sons and grandmother of twelve, she is now indulging her interest in writing.

Daniel is professor of history emeritus at Ottawa University in Phoenix and held history teaching appointments at East Carolina University and Glendale Community College.  He is the author of I Only Laugh When It Hurts (Pelican Pub. 2009) and coauthor of Nathan Bedford Forrest: In Search of the Enigma (Pelican Pub. 2007) that won the Arizona Book Award for biography and was a finalist in the National Benjamin Franklin Book Awards.

First Book Signings Announced!

We're happy to announce that our first book signings for our novel, Charlie's Girl will be :

  • June 6, 2012 (Wed) at Deseret Book Store, Henderson, NV
  • June 8, 2012 (Fri)    at Deseret Book Store, St. George, UT
Stay tuned and we'll post new dates as soon as they become available. 
Books may be pre-ordered on, Barnes &, and other online booksellers.  The release date is May 8th!