We welcome today, Betty Auchard, author of Home for the Friendless: Finding Hope, Love, and Family.
The eldest of three in an unconventional family making their way through The Great Depression, Betty narrates this humorous and poignant recollection. Although poor in possessions, Betty’s family leads a life so rich in turmoil that it rivals today’s sitcoms.
Betty’s young parents tie and untie the marital knot three times amidst a string of separations. When relatives become too weary to keep the children, Betty and her siblings are dropped off at The Home for the Friendless where they enjoy three meals a day, indoor plumbing, a grassy playground, and plenty of holiday parties.
When the family reunites two years later, the roller coaster resumes as they move many times across two states, proving that love overcomes all and that normal isn’t always better.
History Hysteria by Betty Auchard
While living in an Iowa children’s shelter in 1938 called The Home for the Friendless, we kids huddled around the radio every week to listen to one of our favorite programs, the CBS Mercury Theater. The best seats were on the rug right next to the big Zenith console. On October 31, Halloween night, the War of the Worlds was broadcast to the nation. It was a super realistic show about aliens invading earth. Orson Welles, the writer/actor/director, wanted it to sound so real that people would be impressed. But it was too real. Most of the kids at The Home went crazy with fear, but not me. I was so used to chaos that “aliens invading our planet” was no big deal.
The next day, my third grade class couldn’t settle down because all they could talk about was that show. And the teacher let the big sissies go on and on instead of doing our school work. I wish I had been scared, because I felt left out.
Our teacher knew how to turn anything into a lesson. She must’ve been the smartest person at Polk School because she always had books and pictures to prove that she wasn’t making up stuff. That day was a perfect example. She interrupted the jabbering so she could read a short article from the Cedar Rapids Gazette. The Gazette reported that college students in Brevard, North Carolina panicked during the show and tied up the phone lines while calling parents to come and get them because the world was ending. What dummies! If it was ending at school it was sure going to end at home too.
While she had our attention, the teacher introduced the words panic and hysteria and explained what they meant. Then she asked the students to give examples. The examples were so weird and funny. One boy said that his dad, who worked at the police station, got a call from a woman asking what time the world was going to end and should she close her windows. One of the girls said that her mother wanted the family to pack their suitcases and get out of town before the world ended. Since class time was almost over, our teacher swung right into a last minute geography lesson. “Boys and girls, let’s see who can locate North Carolina on the map.”
Now I was scared.
I panicked at the sound of the map unrolling, terrified that she might say, “Elizabeth, point to North Carolina.” I was not good at geography. My family moved so often that I never knew where we were. I hadn’t made friends with any maps and sat still as a rock trying not to be noticed. If I didn’t budge I knew that some smart kid would punch a hand in the air and show off for the rest of us. Thank goodness that Phillip, Mr. Map himself, saved my neck. Philip was very grown up and nothing scared him, neither maps nor aliens. I was ready to marry him.
Some kids are not fearful of the big things in life. And if kids can’t see something, it tends to not be real for them. But small things can paralyze kids.
I was never prepared for the confrontation of the pull-down map at school, knowing that I might be asked to locate something. Not knowing the whereabouts of North Carolina was a lot scarier to me than the end of the world.
At 75, Betty Auchard, authored the IPPY Award winning memoir, Dancing in my Nightgown: The Rhythms of Widowhood, endorsed by celebrity widows Jayne Meadows and Rosemarie Stack. In November, 2010 she released her childhood memoir, The Home for the Friendless. Betty’s stories and essays have been published in the San Jose Mercury News, Today’s Senior, The Senior Voice, and the Chocolate for a Woman’s Soul series. Blog with the author at www.bettyauchard.com and join her fans on Facebook.
THE HOME FOR THE FRIENDLESS TOUR SCHEDULE
2/1 - 2/15 Curled Up with a Good Book www.curledup.com/win.htm triple hardcover giveaway
2/2 Flourish Over 50 http://www.flourishover50.com/ guest post on self-love, giveaway
2/2 Flourish Over 50 Radio Show www.blogtalkradio.com/susan-tolles live interview
2/3 Readerwoman Redux Blog http://www.readerwoman.wordpress.com/ itinerary, cover, headshot
1/28 - 2/3 Readerwoman Redux Blog http://www.readerwoman.wordpress.com/ hardcover giveaway
2/3 The Book Connection http://www.thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/ giveaway, essay, cover, headshot, itinerary
2/6 One Woman's Day Blog http://www.onewomansday.wordpress.com/ guest post, headshot
2/7 - 2/20 Library Thing www.librarything.com/topic/73341 chat interview with giveaway
2/8 Gatekeepers Post http://www.gatekeeperspost.com/ press release and chat promo
2/10 After Fifty Living http://www.afterfiftyliving.com/ article, candids, headshot, excerpt
2/11 Authors & Appetizers http://www.authorsandappetizers.com/ recipe, excerpt, video, guest blog, headshot, cover
2/16 Associated Content http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/25660/christine_zibas.html?show=publishedcontent#publishedcontent review
2/16 GoodReads www.goodreads.com/user/show/1274744 review
2/16 Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Home-Friendless-Finding-Hope-Family/product-reviews/1935043269/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1
2/16 Gather http://booklovers.gather.com/ review and forum
2/21 You Tube http://www.youtube.com/ trailer
2/21 Yahoo http://video.yahoo.com/ trailer
2/21 Metacafe http://www.metacafe.com/ trailer
2/21 Google http://video.google.com/ trailer
2/21 Revver http://revver.com/ trailer
2/21 Vimeo www.vimeo.com/videos trailer
2/21 Break http://my.break.com/ trailer
2/21 Daily Motion www.dailymotion.com/video trailer
2/21 Blip http://www.blip.tv/ trailer
2/21 Readers Entertainment http://www.readersentertainment.blogspot.com/ trailer
2/28 Eastern Iowa Life Blog http://www.easterniowalife.com/ guest blog post
Now that you're really excited about this book--I know I am--how about a giveaway. You can win a free copy of Betty Auchard's The Home of the Friendless!
Here are the rules and details for this giveaway:
1) You must be a follower of The Book Connection to win.
2) Leave a comment telling me how you follow with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. You cannot win if I don't have your email address.
3) One additional entry if you friend me on Facebook. Leave a comment with your profile link to show you're friending me.
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5) Two additional entries if you like Betty Auchard on Facebook. Leave a comment with your profile link to show you're friending her.
6) You must be 18 years of age or older and reside in the U.S. or Canada to be eligible to win.
Deadline for entries is 11:59 PM Eastern on Sunday, February 13, 2011. Winner will be selected out of all entrants who followed the rules governing this contest. Winner will have 72 hours after being contacted to email me their mailing address. If I have not heard from the winner within that time frame, I will select a new winner. The Book Connection is not responsible for lost or damaged goods.