Thursday, February 3, 2011

Guest Blogger: History Hysteria by Betty Auchard (Book Giveaway)

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 and join her fans on Facebook.


2/1 - 2/15 Curled Up with a Good Book  triple hardcover giveaway

2/2 Flourish Over 50  guest post on self-love, giveaway

2/2 Flourish Over 50 Radio Show live interview

2/3 Readerwoman Redux Blog itinerary, cover, headshot

1/28 - 2/3 Readerwoman Redux Blog hardcover giveaway

2/3 The Book Connection giveaway, essay, cover, headshot, itinerary

2/6 One Woman's Day Blog guest post, headshot

2/7 - 2/20 Library Thing chat interview with giveaway

2/8 Gatekeepers Post press release and chat promo

2/10 After Fifty Living article, candids, headshot, excerpt

2/11 Authors & Appetizers recipe, excerpt, video, guest blog, headshot, cover

2/16 Associated Content  review

2/16 GoodReads review

2/16 Amazon

2/16 Gather review and forum

2/21 You Tube trailer

2/21 Yahoo trailer

2/21 Metacafe trailer

2/21 Google trailer

2/21 Revver trailer

2/21 Vimeo trailer

2/21 Break trailer

2/21 Daily Motion trailer

2/21 Blip trailer

2/21 Readers Entertainment trailer

2/28 Eastern Iowa Life Blog 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.

4) One additional entry if you follow me on Twitter. Leave a comment with your profile link to show you're now a follower.

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.


Admin said...

Sounds like a wonderful book!

Cheryl said...

Doesn't it? I wish I had time to review it, but well, those 100 books in my TBR pile aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

Sandra K321 said...

I follow you with google friend connect. I love stories like this that give you a view of what it was like to live in a different time.

PoCoKat said...

I follow on GFC

littleone At shaw DOT ca

Farrah said...

I need to get a copy of this book. Sounds like a page turner.

Carol N Wong said...

I have been wanting to read this so long. I entered a contest for it and didn't win. My father had a similar experience in the Great Depression. is parents divorced and he was sent to live with his aunt because his mother could afford to feed all the chidren. All of his brothers (three) were familied out and his sister was the only oe to live with his mother. I would really love to read this book because of his similar situtation.


Carol N Wong said...

I follow your blog on Facebook.


Carol N Wong said...

I 'liked" Betty Auchard back when I entered the other contest.


Betty said...

Hello, everyone. I've been trying for over an hour to sign up for this blog so I can chat. Let's see if it works this time.

Betty Auchard

Betty said...

Hi everyone again...I've been trying for over an hour to find out how to join this chat. Let's see if it works this time. I'm about to give up hope...

Betty Auchard

April said...

Oh! I am going to have to get my hands on a copy of this book! I live only a short distance from Cedar Rapids and am always delighted to see Iowa in print, lol!

Tiffany said...

I have seen this book around and it keeps calling my name. I would love to win a copy. Thank you so much for the chance :)

I follow on GFC (Tiffany Drew)

jaidahsmommy AT comcast DOT net

Tiffany said...

I friended you on Facebook :)!/profile.php?id=1212566230

jaidahsmommy AT comcast DOT net

Tiffany said...

I follow on Twitter :)!/enterthedrew

jaidahsmommy AT comcast DOT net

Tiffany said...

I "like" Betty Auchard on Facebook :)!/profile.php?id=1212566230

jaidahsmommy AT comcast DOT net

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Hey, Cheryl! I was asked to post this on behalf of Betty, so it's up at West of Mars Win a Book. No need to enter me.

Kelly Massman said...

Looks interesting! Thanks1
i'm following through gfc

Meredith said...

GFC follower.

I loved the story about the end of the world! I'd love to read more!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Cathy W said...

I follow on GFC (Cathy Wallace)
cjwallace43 at gmail dot com

Cathy W said...

FB friends request sent (Cathy Wallace)
cjwallace43 at gmail dot com

Cathy W said...

Follow on twitter @cjwallace43
cjwallace43 at gmail dot com

Cathy W said...

Liked Betty Auchard on Facebook back when I entered the other contest.(Cathy Wallace)!/profile.php?id=100000204187513

cjwallace43 at gmail dot com

Cathy W said...

Liked Betty Auchard on Facebook back when I entered the other contest.(Cathy Wallace)!/profile.php?id=100000204187513

cjwallace43 at gmail dot com

Maureen said...

This book sounds so interesting, I remember my Mom telling about this broadcast. Please include me!


Maureen said...

Sent a friend request on FB...Maureen Shea Timerman


Maureen said...

I follow you on Twitter...Timmy1966


Maureen said...

I am now a friend on FB of Betty Auchard.!/profile.php?id=1124305054

I Follow you on GFC and live in the US

Betty said...

Hello everyone. I'm sorry that I didn't keep up with these comments. Dummy me did not realize they would keep going and going whether I was here or not. I recognize many of your names and photos from Facebook, so feel free to drop by there again to see all that's going on. One amazing thing is that some of my long lost cousins who were also at the Home for the Friendless have heard about the book, so we're catching up where we left off 0ver 60 years ago. Incredible, isn't it. I would love to hear from all of you again. Go to my Fan Page at Betty Auchard, AUTHOR, and make yourself known to me.

Hugs to all.