May 17, 2013
Hope you are keeping fine. Am sorry for not writing you before leaving to Johannesburg to help my cousin that she was diagnosed with blood and the X'Ray scan showed an "incidental finding" of tumors in her liver and appear to be Surgery Operation. The news of her illness arrived to me as emergency that she needs family support to keep her life going. I got robbed on my way, My Credit card, cash and other valuables things I have with me got stolen, And the hospital management is demanding for a deposit of 2500 euros before they can carry out the surgery operation to save his life. Please I will be happy if you can assist me with a soft loan of $2000 to make the necessary arrangement for her surgery operation cost on time. before she died here, I promise to pay you back when i return home. I did not take along my phone and it is currently switched off because of the time frame I had to be here...
Please am counting on you and kindly get back to me on time. so that I can email you the details information where the money will be sending to. as soon as possible
* * *
This is the text of an email scam sent out under Linda's name to her personal email address book. No, Linda does not have a cousin (male or female? hard to tell) in Johannesburg who was "diagnosed with blood" and no, Linda did not get robbed on her way to South Africa.
Linda's computer is now in the shop being de-bugged and she'll soon have a new personal email address. How annoying!
(The business email, however, will remain firstname.lastname@example.org
On the plus side, Linda began to hear from friends--
So glad to hear that you got to go to Johannesburg! Hackers should never try to fake an email from a writer, should they?
I also knew the email wasn't from Linda because it was poorly written. Ha!
--- Jane Wolfe, prairiespirits.blogspot.com
Linda has lost her writing skills.
Unless you have suddenly taken up English as a Second Language as a quirky hobby, I'm quite sure you didn't write the message . . .
--- Teresa Jordan, www.teresajordan.com
The writer struggled to sound as if English was her first language, but failed miserably. C and I cracked up at the irony of the scammer posing as a writer!
--- K. M. O.
If it did come from you, then you are in so much distress your brain is addled.
--- F. B. from Missouri
You also seemed to have lost your ability to write well in English. That's what happens when you travel overseas! Hah!
--- Laural, www.thewildburro.com
Ah, of course it wasn't from Linda. She would never whimper like that.
Linda was pleased that the reason most people recognized the email was a scam was not because she has no cousin in Johannesburg, but because of the lack of writing quality. Thanks to all the folks who reported this scam and apologies for any inconvenience. Keep your antivirus system updated and scan your system frequently!
Notice posted by Linda's assistant, Tam
# # #
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May 8, 2013
This is the saddle made by Charley Streeter of Buffalo Gap.
It was made for me when I was 12 years old. This photo was taken in the late 1980s.
. . .
This blog was originally posted on January 12, 2013.
It is re-posted now with the addition of the thank-you letters at the end.
Recently I gave away my saddles: my father’s old Duhamel saddle, the saddle made for me when I was twelve by a saddlemaker in Buffalo Gap, and George’s, also an antique. They went to a family in the neighborhood, with two sons and a couple of nieces who may eventually grow into one or more of the saddles. The two boys have been wanting saddles of their own but the cost simply wasn’t possible. And the nieces, coincidentally, are descendants of a man who used to repair all our riding boots in his saddle shop.
When I showed the high school boy my father’s old-fashioned saddle, his eyes opened wide and he smiled so hard he must have strained a muscle. Suddenly I could see my father on his Tennessee Walking horse Zarro. And I seemed to see him smile at this long-legged kid, as tall at 17 at my father was as an adult.
Then the younger boy took my saddle in his arms-- the weight nearly felled him-- and with a determined frown hoisted it over his shoulder to carry it outside. He put it down on the ground while his mother opened their car-- but he put it down with the sheepskin lining against the ground. Quietly, the older boy corrected him: when you put a saddle down, you tip it over, so the horn rests on the ground, to keep from breaking or straining the tree inside and to keep the sheepskin lining clean.
After they left, I cried, thinking over long memories of riding with my father and George, but I smiled too, to know those saddles will be ridden and cared for by another family for more generations than I will live.
Later I realized that giving my saddles away is an admission that I am unlikely to ride a horse again. Of course I didn’t ride all the time we lived in Cheyenne but I always had my saddle oiled and ready.
I'd suffer plenty of muscle pain if I rode again but the worst part would be that I’d be riding a horse I didn’t train. Many of the times I’ve done that, I’ve regretted it: no one trained horses the way I learned to do from my gentle father. Horses are intelligent and sensitive and too many of the ones I’ve ridden that were owned by someone else had been treated so that they were untrustworthy. I’ve been kicked in the upper arm, thrown, rolled on.
No, I’m not likely to ride a horse someone else has trained and that means I’ve given up something that was of deep importance to me. The freedom of riding a horse here on the ranch has been unparalleled in my life; the sheer joy of moving in such harmony with a horse’s muscles and mind is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.
I have made this choice many times in the past few years and giving away the saddles was making it again, more permanently. I’m nearly seventy years old but I’m not in bad shape. I could buy a young horse, train it, spend time riding. Or I could buy an older, well-trained horse and enjoy rides all over the pastures I still own. But I have responsibilities to my partner, to my dogs, to my garden and most of all to my writing. The time I devoted to riding would need to be taken from something else and I choose not to shortchange those other elements of my life. Most importantly, I’ve chosen to sit in this office chair and write about the life I lived, hoping to help inspire protection of the prairies and the ranching life so that other youngsters may know the life of freedom I knew on horseback.
When the family asked if they couldn’t pay something for the saddles, the teacher in me arose. In return for the gift, I asked only that the two boys write me their thanks. I reasoned that besides providing them with good practice in writing in general and in expressing gratitude in particular, the exercise would serve as an illustration that generosity is an important part of enjoying a satisfying life.
To prove my confidence was not misplaced, here are the letters I received.
From the high school student:
Linda, I want you to know how awesome it is to have a usable piece of history. Every time I use the saddle, I think about your Dad and the kind of hardworking but interesting person he must have been. Thank you for sharing your history with me!
From the grade school student:
Linda, I like character. The saddle I ride has that. Plus it has a neat story. A South Dakota author grew up having adventures in my saddle. Pretty neat.
From their mother and father:
Linda, Your husband's saddle has been used by __________ (two nieces who are neighbors). We do cherish the fact that you saw our children and extended family as keepers of your story in any form. We also love that you see them as responsible and caring enough to preserve some very fun saddles that would have stories to tell if they could talk.
# # #
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April 30, 2013
The Sisters Grimm interior.
From horse stalls to cozy bookstore.
. . .
From the outside, you might mistake it for just another big red Nebraska barn on the outskirts of a small town.
But The Sisters Grimm Bookstore and Coffee Shop, inside a barn that once sheltered Tennessee Walking horses, is unlike any barn-- or indeed any bookstore or coffee shop-- I’ve ever visited. I wish it had been here when I was living just 50 miles away in Cheyenne, Wyoming and desperate for a hideaway like this.
Inspired by her senior college thesis on the fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm, Jamie Carpenter chose the store’s name when she convinced her sister Jessica to join her in the business-- but there’s nothing grim
Order an espresso coffee, tea, or choose from other drinks freshly made in the compact kitchen. Select a pastry made by the owner’s mother and other neighborhood cooks and settle onto the comfy couch. Depending on the day, you might be able to visit with owner Jamie, join a meeting of a community group in progress or just pick up a book and read.
On Saturday, April 27, I was privileged to do a public reading and conduct a writing workshop in one of Sisters Grimm’s cozy nooks. Everyone nibbled on home baked treats while they listened to me read from Dirt Songs
, 50 of my poems published with 50 of those from Nebraska’s Twyla Hansen. Later, several of the audience members were happy to read what they had written during our mini-workshop.
With the help of her parents, Tim and Deb Nolting, and her sister Jess with husband Juan Rocha, Jamie mucked out the stalls and scrubbed the walls with bleach. Tim and Juan built bookshelves by the dozen and created a handy kitchen and modern bathroom with a rustic atmosphere. Tim and Juan are now converting the barn’s upper floor into a spacious and light-filled apartment, using recycled materials for floor, ceilings and other built-ins. A massive stack of books awaits distribution to the proper shelves downstairs.
The store specializes in used books and each stall holds a specialty: mysteries (I left with a dozen), westerns, religious, children’s and regional (Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, South Dakota, Kansas and Montana), as well as history, art, textbooks and general nonfiction. New books include titles from Storey Publishing (www.storey.com
) on gardening, crafts and farm and ranch life, as well as selections from local and regional authors.
Besides the books, the store is filled with antiques, photographs, paintings and greeting cards and many of these delights are for sale. I bought some delicious goat gouda made by Victory Hill Farm (www.VHFarm.com
). The store also stocks sharp cheese from Coturnix Creamery, which uses milk from the Irish Cream Sheep Dairy in Bushnell (www.IrishCreamSheepDairy.com
). I meant to buy scented soaps likewise made locally of goat milk by Double L. Country Store (www.doublelcountrystore.com
). Quilts and ancient farm machinery are part of the decor.
Everywhere are personal touches that make the place feel like a particularly welcoming home: the new burlap bags covering the couch. The gigantic cups in which coffee is served. Photographs of local sights. Greeting cards lying on shelves where the browser sees their individuality rather than a rack of sameness. Around the top of the kitchen wall appears the same printed alphabet from which I studied printing in the Hermosa grade school. Pick up a book, rock, read, sip, while the afternoon away.
Sound like a reader’s idea of heaven? There’s more: the food: besides the espresso and other drinks, Jamie serves pastries baked by her and her sister, their mother Deb and a neighbor. And she’s available to cater lunches for groups reserving the barn for special events.
If you’re driving I-80 across the nation’s midsection, plan a stop at the southwest corner of Nebraska; Bushnell is just 12 miles west of Kimball. Dive off the convenient interstate exit, drive three miles north to Bushnell, cross the railroad tracks and drive three or four blocks to the first stop sign, where you’ll see a Sisters Grimm billboard. Turn left and you’ll see the barn and its spacious parking lot.
# # #
For more information:
The Sisters Grimm
1598 RD 34 N
(Corner of Maple & D Streets)
Bushnell NE 69128
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March 26, 2013
. . .
I Do Not Apologize for the Length of This Letter: The Mari Sandoz Letters on Native American Rights, 1940-1965.
Introduced and edited by Kimberli A. Lee
book review by Linda M. Hasselstrom
Mari Sandoz, who wrote extensively about the lives of both whites and Indians on the Plains, grew up during pioneer days in the Sandhills of Nebraska with parents who did not consider writing to be real work. Her father, who as Old Jules
was the subject of one of her best-known books, called writers and artists “the maggots of society.”
I wonder if Mari ever thought about that metaphor. Maggots, as that famous plainsman Hugh Glass learned in the work of Fred Manfred, can be healers. After a grizzly bear slashed the old trapper’s back, it was the maggots who scoured away the dead flesh and allowed the injured mountain man to live.
And Mari Sandoz dedicated her writing to the life of the plainsmen and plainswomen she knew as a child in the west. Her best-known books, besides the memoir about her father Jules Sandoz, were Crazy Horse
and Cheyenne Autumn
, about the Indians she knew as a child and as an historian of the Northern Plains.
Sandoz was obsessive about accuracy, a trait which served her well as a writer. But in addition, her demand for truth in the way people write about her Indian neighbors led her to spend considerable time ferociously fighting battles on their behalf with other historians, with legislators, with government officials, and the public. She considered writing about Indians (the term they prefer to Native Americans) to be a privilege and an honor, not an entitlement.
This book may demonstrate why Sandoz’s work did not get as much attention as her subject matter deserved. She remains one of the most unique writers in American literature and one of the least known and appreciated. Writers must, above all, write. As soon as she finished one book, she was behind schedule on another, working hard all her life to finish a cycle of books aimed at showing Plains residents, both white and Indian, to the rest of the world. A selection of her titles shows her massive scope: The Beaver Men: Spearheads of Empire; The Buffalo Hunters: The Story of the Hide Men; The Cattlemen: From the Rio Grande to the Far Marias; These Were the Sioux
; and the posthumous The Battle of the Little Bighorn
, banned from the federal monument for years because of the truths it told.
Sandoz’s writing schedule was extremely productive. She considered herself an historian; while she could write lyrically, she never had the leisure to polish her prose to a high gloss. She explained once that she could write either books or letters, but not both. And yet she wrote hundreds of letters (typing them, remember, one by one on a non-electric typewriter, not printing them swiftly on a computer or emailing them) clarifying history, attempting to correct negative stereotypes, and criticizing federal Indian policy. She was ferocious in her knowledge and defense of Indian ways and in attacking the worst destructiveness of her period: the termination program and the relocation program.
During much of her writing life, many white leaders, including Westerners, were working to persuade the federal government to terminate its treaty obligations to tribes, many of whom were then swindled out of their land with its rich natural resources. The relocation program promised Indians new and productive lives in cities but mostly tossed them into poverty without education or preparation. The book’s title, in fact, comes from a phrase she used first in a letter to President Truman and later to the heads of subcommittees on Indian affairs in both houses of Congress.
Besides all this, she wrote to Indian leaders and students, encouraging them in efforts to obtain help during a particularly difficult period in their history. Many of her letters, to readers, to other historians and writers, to critics, contain mini-history lessons several pages long, complete with references to research materials she’d dug out of musty government files.
She also took time to appear on television and radio, always consulting with tribal authorities before being interviewed about Indian culture. She resisted degrading stereotypes everywhere she saw them, noting that they not only demeaned the Indians in the eyes of whites but harmed the self-respect of the Indians themselves. She was, she insisted, giving her efforts back to the Indians in gratitude for the knowledge they had given her. “I owe a great personal debt, philosophically, to the Plains Indians,” she said. (P. 163) She kept the faith; some of the research materials entrusted to her by the old chiefs were destroyed upon her death, to preserve ancient secrets.
And always she made clear that she was speaking only with the respect and assent of the Indian people she consulted. In many instances, she became the only voice on their behalf that could be heard-- because the era’s whites believed the ugly stereotypes they had created.
Born in 1896, Sandoz worked her way through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and traveled throughout the West for research on her books, though she lived much of her life in New York. She was an important voice for Indians in the civil rights era of the 1960s and worked hard to help Indian writers and artists develop their own voices.
Her voice is still relevant; we are still not free of the stereotypes evident in Chapter Three which surfaced so clearly in the horrid Hollywood movie about Crazy Horse. Efforts to exploit Indians and their remaining resources are still frequent. They still need, as Sandoz said in 1959, “land, education, credit and hope.” (P. 66.) And the exploiters are still making money from ruination in White Clay, NE. (p. 72.)
I was a little frustrated that the book could not provide both sides of the correspondence, for example President Truman’s response to Sandoz. However, usually the letters are self-explanatory and the editor provides a helpful overview at the beginning of each chapter. Editor Lee astutely forced me to admit that Sandoz does a little stereotyping of her own, romanticizing a bit in her attempt to demonstrate the rightful place of Plains Indians in American society and their importance to modern Plains history and culture.
Through her books as well as her letters as shown in this volume and others, Sandoz is still working to heal the damage done to Plains residents, white and Indian alike, by greed, exploitation, poverty, alcohol, evils of civilization. Maggot of society, indeed.
# # #
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February 22, 2013
Inspiration found at the Creek Place, 2010.
. . .
The original draft of this letter was written to a long-time friend, a great teacher. Like many teachers I’ve known, she is frustrated because, though she loves teaching, she also wants to write. I hope my comments help other hard workers as they seemed to help her.
Good morning, Friend,
I got to thinking during the past couple of days about your frustration with the complications of teaching. You’re frustrated by the forms that must be filled out, the meetings to be attended, the administrators-- some of whom have never taught-- to please. And yet you love your students and the challenge of teaching; you cannot imagine short-changing them by teaching the same thing every year.
And you look at me and the fourteen books I have in print, the work I’m doing on the next book or two and think, “She’s so productive!”
Thinking, I looked up and realized I hadn’t yet removed the 2012 calender from above my computer (and you say I’m organized!) and the quote on it.
The butterfly counts not
months but moments,
and has time enough.
— Rabindranath Tagore —
From the outside, perhaps I look organized. From in here, much of my life seems to have been an agonizing stumble from one mistake to another. Occasionally I seemed to wake up and act intelligently or have a little good luck, making the right choice in between making a lot of wrong ones. I won’t go into detail; you’ve read enough of my work to see admissions of idiocy or omissions where you might assume it occurred.
When people, perhaps especially women, look at ourselves, we often see only the flaws and errors, and fail to appreciate what we have or what we’ve accomplished. I’ve had good friends, especially during the last couple of decades, who helped me see myself with a little more understanding. And as you know, writing in my journal and studying what I’ve written in my journal for years has also helped. It’s sometimes discouraging, though, to see that I’ve had the same life-changing revelation more than once: in 1965, say, again in 1978, perhaps in the late 1980s. But perhaps we need to keep learning the same lessons over and over until we really understand them.
The butterfly . . .
So let’s look at your life: you have been a diligent and creative teacher. You are sometimes impatient with administrative detail because some of these requirements seem to steal time from your real work: teaching. Your students remember you for years; when they see you after graduation they sometimes rush up to you with thanks. Or they forget to thank you but you can see the changes you have made in their lives by their attitude, their grades, the way they step out into the world.
At the end of the day, you are exhausted because you have poured so much energy into your work. You curl your lip at writing advice columns that suggest you establish a home office; you’ve had one for years and the desk is usually piled with papers to be graded. You hustle to clean house, make meals, tend to your spouse, children, pets. Sometimes you get up early to write. You may carry your journal everywhere with you and make notes.
But you want to spend entire days writing, as you imagine I must do, with nothing to think of but the next word, the next sentence.
counts not months . . .
Let’s see, where was I? I had to stop to let the dogs out, then start lunch, which reminded me I needed to put the compost bucket by the back door so I could empty it next time I go out, then let the dogs in, then turn down the heat under the spaghetti because it was boiling over, then take a load out of the dryer, fold it, and put another load in the washer.
Besides teaching, you managed to survive a difficult first marriage that might have ripped you apart or sent you into depression or alcoholism. My grandmother said that when her first husband was killed, she wanted to die but she had to live for the children. She kept on living and working and raising those kids and married again.
Her second marriage was a good one but yours wasn’t. Still, you raised your children very well; you stuck by them when they made stupid mistakes and you now have incredible grandchildren in whose lives you are closely twined in the best of ways.
Remember I’ve never had children, though I still have some ties with three out of my four stepchildren. I’ve never taken-- made-- the time to know my grandchildren or my (gulp) great-grandchild. But I know about bad marriages and divorce and widowhood.
But all the time you kept teaching, kept writing in your journals, kept writing poems. And you, like me, found a man who will support you psychologically, lovingly, in anything you choose to do. Will work his fingers to the bone to support you financially. Knows stuff the rest of us haven’t even begun to figure out and besides all this has a great sense of humor. That man will never let you down.
but moments . . .
So look at where you are now: you have had a satisfying career but you are tired of filling out the forms, arranging your life around class schedules. You currently choose to teach but you are able to arrange to do so on your own terms. You are getting respect, at last, for what you know. You can begin to let this part of your life wind down if you choose to, knowing you have accomplished a great deal. The important thing is that, as you approach what much of the world calls “retirement age,” you can choose your next adventure.
Meanwhile, as you said, you have this gigantic body of rough drafts bubbling in the pot on the back of the stove. You can smell ’em, hear the bubbles, stir once in awhile. Even if you don’t turn the heat up, the pot will continue to boil and bubble and once in awhile raise the lid and make it jingle. Sometimes you’ve snatched up a bowl, filled it and won an award for your creation.
and has time enough.
Relax. You know that a good soup has to simmer a long time, tantalizing you with its aroma.
Look at yourself: you are a woman who knows how to get what she wants. When you need a break, you’re smart enough to take one. You can enjoy strolling in the sunshine, visiting with friends, petting the dogs. When you see a pair of earrings you love, you buy them; you don’t spend too much, just enough to remind yourself you can.
Trust this woman. She’ll know when she must write. She might analyze how her time is spent and decide that she should drop this or stop doing that in order to spend that time writing.
She might decide to get up earlier on Sunday and leave the cell phone off and write. She might decide to organize all her writing so that she knows what she has and what she wants to work on next.
She might decide that the book club has deteriorated into political squabbling and stop attending meetings. Perhaps she’ll refuse the next invitation to join an organization that really really does a great deal of good for something or someone.
She might decide that every time she starts to think of how frustrating a particular situation is, she will grab the rough draft of a poem from the place she’s handily stacked or tucked them and put her mind entirely into that. She might write a poem the size of a postcard every day. She has time.
The point is, she is a mature, seasoned woman and writer. She doesn’t need to apologize for what she has done or feel inferior to anyone. She will evaluate her life and decide where to make changes to allow her the time to do the kind of writing she wants to do. She’s getting on with her life and her writing and she’s just fine, thank you. She has time enough.
Another Struggling Writer
# # #
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February 9, 2013
Linda's ranch after an un-named storm in 1999. Storm Orko in 2013 gave us only some wind and a dust of snow.
. . .
We hear that Storm Orko is headed our way even as Nemo is pounding the east coast.
Nemo. Orko. What awful names.
And Nemo means “no name, nobody.”
How unpoetic. Why doesn’t the weather service hire poets to name storms?
Instead of Nemo we might have Nathaniel, Nate for short; Noel, Narcissus, Nero, Nestor, Newell, Nicholas.
Instead of Orko we might have Ocean, Odelle, Oleander, or Oprah. Surely we could do better than Orko.
And we might have competitions for storm names among poets, or have the National Storm Namer poet the way we have a National Poet Laureate. The National Storm Namer might even travel from state to state, naming local storms as a service and reading his or her poems to adoring crowds.
I suppose some self-centered sort would get into the position and abuse it-- name storms after him- or herself or use the naming as a way to poke fun at political figures.
Which could lead to some major metaphor-making: Storm Michelle Banged into the East Coast on Monday. Storm Kim had a wardrobe malfunction and dropped three inches of rain on . . . Or Storm Hillary is Raising He--
Well, maybe this is why the weather service hasn’t tapped poets for this job.
* * *
P.S. I’ve just learned from a friend that the National Weather Service is not naming the storms-- the Weather Channel is, in an attempt to make people pay closer attention. I suppose I could apply for the job.
Or I could say, in the words of Gilda Radnor, one of the finest comediennes ever, "Never Mind!"
# # #
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January 27, 2013
The park in Spearfish, South Dakota
. . .
When Tam and I were in Spearfish for Gaydell Collier's memorial services, I showed her some of the places that were special to me and to George when we lived there. We drove by his "little green house"-- which has now been remodeled into a much larger and more modern home-- and along the creek and pond below it, now cleared to make a lovely park.
Here's a poem I've been working on for several years about an experience I had the last time I did a workshop in Spearfish.
In This Town You’re Still Alive
You liked to walk down
from our little green house
to this mountain creek,
followed in parade
by Loki the white poodle,
the black cats Janet and Jacob.
You’d lean against a tree
in sunlight, watching as the cats
pawed sparkling water.
Someone poisoned the dog;
the cats vanished.
We moved away.
Years passed. Today I walked
by that water at sunrise.
Two ducks slid into an eddy,
paddled in place. I found the tree’s
stump, its heart a dark hollow
filled with snow crystals.
Leaning there, I watched
the water sparkle
Just now as I waited
for a green light
you drove an old blue pickup
through the intersection
just ahead of me.
A red headband held back
your gray hair. The earring
you always wore flashed light.
Two black Labs leaned against
each other in the back.
Maybe the part of me
that died with you
is here as well: just enough
to keep you company in this town
where we were young and loving.
I wash your shirts, write poetry;
you carve wood, build a chair.
Each evening we drink beer
on the porch of a small house,
while the stream passes.
* * *
Poem copyright 2013, Linda M. Hasselstrom
# # #
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January 18, 2013
Gaydell Collier, 2004.
This photo was taken at the publication party for Crazy Woman Creek held at the Mari Sandoz Center, Chadron, Nebraska. Gaydell and Maxie greeted contributors to the anthology as they arrived and checked in. Maxie is now living with a close friend of Gaydell's.
. . .
GAYDELL COLLIER was born on Long Island, New York and when she was co-editing the three Western women anthologies, lived in Sundance, Wyoming, with her husband Roy, who preceded her in death. She co-authored several books on horsemanship and horse care with Eleanor F. Prince, including Basic Horsemanship: English and Western. Her work has appeared in periodicals and anthologies, including The Christian Science Monitor and Flint-Edged Refrains. She was the consultant on "Horses and Horsemanship" for Encyclopedia Britannica in 2000. Her interests included ranching, reading, dogs, horses, grand opera and eating.
That’s the official biography we sent out for Crazy Woman Creek
but it does not begin to describe the multi-faced woman Gaydell was.
Here is a bit more about her literary life: Gaydell was the Crook County Library Director for fourteen years, and a member of Bear Lodge Writers, Sundance, Wyoming. She was awarded the Wyoming Governor’s Arts Award for Literature in 2004.
Gaydell’s published books--
Just Beyond Harmony
(2011) High Plains Press. ISBN: 978-0931271984.
A memoir of dreams and family adjustment, challenge, community, and the power of landscape.
Crazy Woman Creek: Women Rewrite the American West
(2004) Houghton Mifflin. ISBN: 0618249338.
Co-editors Nancy Curtis and Linda M Hasselstrom.
Woven on the Wind: Women Write about Friendship in the Sagebrush West
(2001) Houghton Mifflin. ISBN: 0395977088.
Co-editors Nancy Curtis and Linda M Hasselstrom.
Leaning into the Wind: Women Write from the Heart of the West
(1997) Houghton Mifflin. ISBN: 0395837383.
Co-editors Nancy Curtis and Linda M Hasselstrom.
Basic Horsemanship: English and Western
(1993) Doubleday. ISBN: 0385422644.
Co-author Eleanor F Prince.
Basic Horse Care
(1986) Doubleday. ISBN: 038517229X.
Co-author Eleanor F Prince.
Basic Training for Horses: English and Western
(1979) Doubleday. ISBN: 0385032447.
Co-author Eleanor F Prince.
Gaydell also had poems, essays, reviews, and articles published in magazines including Owen Wister Review, The Christian Science Monitor, Smithsonian, Farm & Ranch Living
, and others; and in the anthologies Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West
(Ghost Road Press, 2007); Wyoming Fence Lines: an Anthology of Prose and Poetry
(Wyoming Humanities Council and Wyoming Arts Council, 2007); In the Shadow of the Bear Lodge
(Many Kites Press, 2006); Western Horse Tales
(Republic of Texas Press, 1994); and Wyoming Writers poetry chapbooks.
A few email comments about Gaydell’s death show how deeply she will be missed. Her good humor enhanced every situation and her intelligence and memory helped so many writers. For years she attended Bear Lodge Writers meetings in Sundance, WY, where many writers benefitted from her suggestions for their writing and found her an example for both the writing life and the rest of life.
Oh, how we will miss our sweet Gaydell. I remember she was one of the first people outside my family I ever shared my writing with. She never ceased to be encouraging and full of love (and laughter).
I was deeply saddened to hear the news about Gaydell. I will miss her steady presence, and cherish the memories I have of her.
Someone overheard her on the telephone the day before she died, speaking with her son, say, "I’m ready for my next big adventure." Gaydell began that next part of her journey on January 18, 2013.
Every day was a new chance for enjoyment for Gaydell and I hope that she’s enjoying this one. For now, in memory of her, I urge you to enjoy every single opportunity you have for adventure.
# # #
To sign the guest book and learn about funeral services, see Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapel website
For more information about Gaydell:
Please see the Wind Anthology Page
on this website.
Wyoming Authors wiki website
website for the Bear Lodge Writers
Watch Gaydell tell the story of “Custah” on YouTube
– from her book Just Beyond Harmony
, published by High Plains Press, 2011.
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December 12, 2012
Linda and RoseMary in 2008 at Homestead House.
. . .
RoseMary Goodson, born 1917, died December 11, 2012 at the home of her daughter, Emily Buckhannon.
Here’s a note about what RoseMary meant to me, taken from my story about her in the September/October 2001 issue of South Dakota Magazine
I first met RoseMary sometime in the 1970s when she often set up her easel on a street in Deadwood. Dressed in paint-spattered clothes, with her dog, paints, canvas, and a bag containing a sweater, a lunch, water, she’d spend the day downtown. She said later she was “teaching herself how to paint.” Concentrating on her work, she was unaware of the picture she presented. She gleefully tells about reaching for her water one day and discovering that passersby, thinking she was a homeless bag lady, had left a dollar and fifty cents, an apple, and a banana.
I clearly remember my first sight of that small blonde woman sitting on the street corner with her dog and her paints. I was in my thirties, recently divorced or about to be and had no idea where my life was going. I was so hesitant I probably walked by her two or three times, peering at a painting I didn’t think was very good.
But she was an older woman enjoying herself and she didn’t look worried about her future, so I stopped to talk.
Where did she live? I asked. Right now she was staying with daughter and her husband, in the “mother-in-law tent” pitched behind their house.
I was awestruck at her charm, her obvious joy in living, her unconcern with the future. Rose Mary was happier sitting on a street corner dabbing at her canvas than I’d ever been, and she has been my idol ever since. Her letters, filled with drawings and hilarious stories of her escapades -- skinny-dipping and getting lost in the desert while traveling with her children -- have followed me everywhere, making me laugh during some of my blackest hours.
During the past few years, she often painted original watercolors on the corners of the envelopes containing her letters. I found tiny frames for these and grouped them at the retreat, Homestead House. Her paintings hang throughout the house, including a copy of a Van Gogh she painted especially for the retreat house: a woman reading. During the past few years, she took photographs of her paintings, sliced them up and laminated them, added ribbons and send me hundreds of bookmarks. When I sold my books after an event, I offered one of RoseMary’s bookmarks with each purchased book.
RoseMary visited me several times at the ranch. While I was living alone in the small apartment built onto the side of my parents’ house after my divorce, she once came in the middle of winter. Lots of folks visited me in winter. They enjoyed sitting in front of the fireplace toasting their toes and talking about the romance of ranching.
RoseMary was the only visitor who ever brought in wood.
She knew, from her own days with a wood-burning stove, that fire takes fuel and toasting your toes isn’t the way to keep the fire burning. I told her that day that if she ever needed anything from me at all, she had only to call.
While she visited, she painted a picture of my gray horse, Oliver, standing at the feed rack, visible out the south window of the apartment. A few years ago, RoseMary visited again with her daughter and son-in-law Emily and Dennis. Emily had been trying to document the more than 350 paintings RoseMary had done since those early days in Deadwood and she’d never seen that one. RoseMary later made notecards of the painting and sent me a batch.
Once, on a cold dark night after George and I had built our house on top of the hill, a neighbor called to tell us that our cattle were out on the highway. We tore out of the house in such a rush we left all the lights blazing. Hours later, having finally gotten all the wandering cattle into a pasture in the dark, we drove back up the hill.
The lights were out. A strange car stood beside the garage.
Wary George drew the pistol he was never without, and we reconnoitered. The car had Arizona license plates but I couldn’t think who I might know in Arizona who would visit me in the middle of winter. Quietly we crept up the stairs and turned on the dining room light.
In the middle of the table stood a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniels and a note from RoseMary. She couldn’t figure out why all the lights were on when no one was home, but she’d had a long drive so she went to bed.
About the time we finished the note, she came blinking out of the spare room.
“Well,” she said sensibly, “I figured you were around somewhere, so I waited awhile and then I went to bed. But there was no sense in leaving all those lights on and wasting electricity.”
We finished the Jack Daniels while we visited.
While she was here that time, she painted a watercolor of the ranch buildings from the top of the hill. She didn’t have a large enough piece of paper so she used two pieces -- and I was finally able to find a frame long enough to put the whole painting together.
I’ve often thought of RoseMary as I saw her first: sitting on a street corner in Deadwood, doing what she wanted and ignoring the people swirling around her. Her friendship has been a constant in my life for forty years. Her laughter and good humor buoyed me up during some of the blackest periods of my life and her joy in living inspired me to try to enjoy every moment as much as she did.
And while I do so, I will miss her.
# # #
The entire South Dakota Magazine article about RoseMary Goodson
written by Linda in 2001 was posted here in the summer of 2011 in two parts, followed up with a third blog updating readers about RoseMary ten years after the magazine article. To find these archived blogs, click on "Artist: RoseMary Goodson" in the index of blog topics in the left-hand column of this webpage.
RoseMary's family will host a celebration of her life in January. They suggest:
In lieu of flowers, please honor RoseMary by doing as she did every day of her life. Take a moment to write a letter(s) or note(s) or card(s) to someone you cherish. Then send your note(s) via the United States Postal Service. Make an annotation on your missive: "Sent in honor of RoseMary Goodson." Your mail will be the ultimate tribute to RoseMary's lifelong commitment to writing letters.
Here is the link to the Baue Funeral Home obituary for RoseMary
, written by her daughter and granddaughter.
You may also visit RoseMary's website www.rosemarygoodson.com
to see some of her paintings.
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December 11, 2012
The South Dakota Literary Map published by the SD Council of Teachers of English. See the website listed in this blog for information about what appears on each side of the map and how you can purchase a copy.
. . .
Want to know more about South Dakota?
Then look for work by the following authors who have something to say about our history and culture. And keep checking this list; I’ll add to it as I discover or remember more authors. In each case, check for a website and look for titles of the author’s works.
Limitations of the list:
-- contemporary and historical (i.e., dead) authors.
-- whose work I have read and liked
-- who write about South Dakota culture and beliefs rather than technical matters
-- including poets, nonfiction writers and some writers of fiction if it’s South Dakota-based
You can also find a list of authors on the South Dakota Literary Map published by the S.D. Council of Teachers of English in 1998 at Dakota Wesleyan University's website www.dwu.edu/sdlitmap
David Allan Evans
Linda M. Hasselstrom
Bernie Hunhoff, (South Dakota Magazine)
Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve
Sally Roesch Wagner
Claude A. Barr
Kate Bingham Boyles
Mary Worthy Breneman
Dallas Chief Eagle
Charles Badger Clark
Ellen Goodale Eastman
John Fire (Lame Deer)
Lois Phillips Hudson
Edith Eudora Kohl
Luther Standing Bear
Laura Ingalls Wilder
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