Sunday, May 27, 2012

Theme from CHARLIE'S GIRL by Matthew Foxx

          I'm learning as I go, and today I tried my hand at making an iMovie to post on YouTube.  My intent was to feature the entire theme by our son Matthew Foxx that had been edited down for our book trailer edited by our grandson, Skyler Foxx.

          I was given permission by Matt to use his music, but I forgot to ask about a photo. So if this disappears shortly, that will be the reason!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sneak Preview of Our Book Trailer

Click on the link below to view the book trailer for CHARLIE'S GIRL, edited by our grandson, Skyler Foxx (Class of 2012) with music by our son Matthew Foxx.  It will soon be linked to our website at  Let us know what you think of it.

We Write What We Know

          I'm always a little timid when I agree to statements disavowing any live person being a part of our plot. Or is it "living or dead"? I have to confess that one of the minor characters in our novel Charlie's Girl was patterned after a distant relative we met in the 1960s when doing genealogical research.

          We had corresponded with this man and his wife for a couple of years, and were going to be passing through their area on a vacation, so we were expected to stop by for a visit.  After getting directions and a map, we traipsed up and down highways and byways for hours trying to locate the small town where they lived.  It wasn't on the map because the town had burned years before.  We finally asked a pedestrian if he knew this family, and he gave us directions that went like this:  go to the next cattle crossing, take a left at the big oak tree, and go about a mile or so to the blinking light, over the railroad tracks, etc. We eventually found the family home place on our own.

          The old gentleman in the overalls who greeted us seemed so familiar!  It wasn't until we spent the afternoon going through old photographs that we recognized him as the young boy in a 2 x 2 picture we had seen before. It had been given to my grandmother by her new, much younger brother-in-law when she married my grandfather. The eyes were still the same, despite the many years that had passed.

          When our heroine "Rosalind" visits her grandfather's adoptive family in North Carolina, she gains valuable insight into his childhood as well as names and dates to enter on her pedigree chart. Perhaps we'll be forgiven this small lapse in letting art imitate life.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Deseret Book Summer 2012 Catalog is Here!

Check out page 5 to find our novel, CHARLIE'S GIRL and save 10% on the purchase price.  Look for Lagoon Discount Coupons on every title in their catalog.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My Mother's Brother

          Herbert Solon Chiles, called Solon, was born in Village Springs, Blount County, Alabama on 13 September 1907, third child of Herbert Sanborn Chiles and his wife Josephine Pauline Bickert.  His father was born Solon Brown Wandell, but was adopted as Herbert Sanborn Chiles at age ten. He gave  his only son both his names.

This photo was taken in Village Springs, Alabama in fall 1907.  From L to R:
William R. Chiles, Josephine Pauline (Bickert) Chiles, Julia Louise Chiles, Herbert Sanborn Chiles (aka Solon Brown Wandell), Herbert "Solon" Chiles, and Bessie Katie Eugenia Chiles.

The next picture we have of Solon is my favorite. It was in a small silver frame when it came into my possession:

          A portrait was made of the four oldest Chiles children:

Bessie Katie Eugenia Chiles (top), Julia Louise Chiles, left, Leonora Josephine "Babe" Chiles (Aunt Bebe) (center)  and Herbert Solon Chiles (right).


My mother, Helen Marietta Chiles was born 11 October 1911 after the family had moved to Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida.

Some of these pictures are from photocopies of the originals in the possession of Mrs. Sylvia Danner.

The five Chiles children, Solon reaching for baby Helen

          Some mementos of Solon include postcards his father wrote to him when away with the railroad, and his final report card.

          In 1915 a couple of the Chiles girls came home from school with the dreaded diptheria.  They recovered, but after Solon received a dose of medication from the home nurse, he took a turn for the worse and died on 15 January 1915.  He was buried that same day in a newly purchased family plot at Woodlawn Cemetery. Josephine always believed that the nurse had given him too much of the serum.

          Every day after Solon's death, my grandmother Josephine P. Chiles would walk with my mother Helen to the cemetery to visit his grave.  

          When I was growing up, this urn held Solon's large collection of antique glass marbles, and stood near the piano in the living room of the family home at 406 East Francis Avenue in Tampa.  We children were never to touch it or its contents.  

          My sister Sylvia (Mrs. B.C. Danner) inherited them and I took these two pictures in her home in Norman, Oklahoma.  The vase has since been broken, and the marbles are in another container.

             Mother lived to the age of ninety-four, and passed away in her home in Cocoa Beach, Florida on 11 February 2006.  

          She had expressed her wish to be buried with her parents in Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery in Tampa, but there was only enough space for a cremation urn, so she chose this option.  

Mother was buried at the foot of Solon's small grave.

          In her last days, Helen was heard to ask, "Who is that cute little boy over there?  He's smiling at me."  I choose to believe it was my mother's brother Solon, come to walk her home.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

For All New Mothers on Mother's Day

A Stitch in Time

          The stitchery kit, stretched upon its frame, stands neglected in the corner where my idle hands placed it weeks ago.  I could not concentrate, I said.  I'll finish it later.
          As the days passed I walked the floor anxiously, awaiting a change, a feeling, any sign of readiness.  I passed the picture many times and almost worked on it, but it required such steady hands, such patience; and so it sat there unfinished, with many-colored yarn strewn about on the carpet.
          It was a harvest scene, a front porch with steps, a window and door.  A pumpkin stood sentinel over a basket of corn and apples spilled onto the sidewalk.  Perhaps the lady of the house was canning when something interrupted her.
          A tiny, cranking, relentless noise grows stronger.  I stagger to the semi-darkened nursery.  A dark little head bobs about on uncertain shoulders.  I pick him up and marvel at how wide awake he is, all warm and cuddly, at such an early hour of the morning.  Through bleary eyes I make the change from wet to dry despite the squirming, kicking little legs, and feet with toes spread wide.
          Cradling him in my arms, I sink heavily into the old rocker with well-worn cushions misshapenly padding the hardness.  A few more seconds of anxious seeking and he nurses tensely, his arms held straight down to his sides, his whole body straining to this drive to eat.
          As tummy fills he relaxes and waves his little arm above his head in a ritual, curling and uncurling his fingers with a natural grace no choreographer could dream.  His blue, long-lashed eyes study my face, his gaze steady.  Fullness spreads and warms and he relaxes, his eyes faltering.  I raise him to my shoulder and pat his back to bubble him.  Success!  but still, the little head held erect, he searches the stillness of the room, his expressive eyes filled with uncertainty, his tiny hands grasping my sleeve.
          With my slow, plodding rocking and unsteady hum, he gradually sinks to sleep on my shoulder.  I look about the room and see it there in the corner, that unfinished picture of an empty porch, the basket still untended on the sidewalk.  Now, in my imagination's eye, I can see beyond the door and understand.
          The signal came; the rush; the exquisite agony finally over, leaving a blur like that of emerging from a darkened tunnel.  Then came the spreading joy, the growing bond, the sense of need to serve, to care for, dwarfing all other needs to do, to accomplish, to excel.  The lady of the house has abandoned her work to retire to the peace and tranquility of the nursery for a brief, heaven-filled interlude of holding and feeding, of closeness and warmth.  The corn and the apples will still be there.  The stitchery will still wait.  For busy hands will shape and mold a larger picture than this.  The door holds its secret inside, but so, the door of the future for this child.  I rock, basking in the peace, grasping at the moment and holding it fast, hoping to make it stand still like that scene caught in the picture, all  peaceful, secure and unhurried.