While it continues
to be very cold and snowy here in Minnesota (with more to come in these next two months), I've been sitting inside our warm
and cozy home thinking about an historic event that is about to happen. April 14, 2015 marks the 80th anniversary of
Black Sunday--a day in history that changed the lives of so many.
I was one of thousands of children growing
up during the Great Depression in the 1930s Dust Bowl. My father was a tenant farmer--and we lived in a 3-room shanty.
Over a period of ten years, we suffered through many dust storms, the drought, and the difficult economic times. We
were desperately poor--but we had a strong family ethic and bond that pulled us through those challenging times!
so important about Black Sunday? Well, to begin with: This dust storm was a monster. Many perished in the storm--and
many died later of dust-related pneumonia. The skies turned black, children and adults lost their way in the dusty blackness,
and never made it home to safety. Even those who were fortunate to find safe harbor had to endure relentless dust that
swirled into drafty homes that had no insulation and more often than not, cracks around windows and doors that could not be
sealed even with rags stuffed into the open spaces. For hours the merciless dust blew into our homes. We covered
our faces with wet clothes in the hopes of protecting our lungs from the elements.
|from the National Weather Service Forecast Office, Norman, OK
Today, my warm and cozy home protects me
from the brutal winds of a Minnesota winter--such a contrast to my home growing up in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl. My hope
is that we all pause to remember for a brief moment the tragedy of Black Sunday this coming April 14, in honor of those who
valiantly fought and survived those very difficult times.
I want to thank you for coming to my website. And don't forget to order and read my book THE DIRTY DAYS
(the story of my life growing up in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl), if you haven't already done so. You won't regret
it! See you again in April!
All the best,
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with cable-access TV BECT, Channel 19, aired in early May. My segment starts at about 18:47 minutes into the video clip that is attached below. Thank you to Judy
Skeie-Voss for a wonderful filming session. I couldn't have asked for a more gracious, kind, and encouraging host.
Just click on the link below
I was delighted to see my guest blog published on historyandwomen.com in February!
I grew up admiring Shirley Temple. To those of us in the Dust Bowl during
the Great Depression, she exemplified everything strong, charming, determined, talented, and optimistic. Later in life,
she went on to become a successful woman in politics and in service to her country--a role model for many of the strong women
of both political parties today! Please click on the link below to see my Shirley Temple blog posted on this historical
Click this link to see my Shirley Temple Guest Blog.
book THE DIRTY DAYS was recently reviewed on historyandwomen.com by Mirella Patzer, historical
fiction book reviewer and author.
an excerpt of what she had to say:
"What made this
novel so poignant is that the author based it upon her own first-hand experiences....Norma Welty gives voice to an era of
American history so that our children and grandchildren can understand all that helped shape our history. It is a stark reminder that despite this fast-paced, technological era that we currently live in,
our elders faced what seemed like insurmountable strife to provide for their family and future generations."
Click this link to read the full review of my book on historyandwomen.com
Night to Remember
know, I know! I'm running over a month late in posting about my visit to the University of Wisconsin post-graduate writing
class on April 29. But you don't want to know the reason why (Okay, I forgot my camera in River Falls and it took me awhile
to go back to retrieve it—and I wanted to post only after I had some pictures).
But back to my
writing class visit. The class meets evenings once a week for two hours and forty-five minutes, and that is a long time to
hold the attention of students, even of post-graduate students who are twenty-something in age. No worries, however.
I was very privileged to team with Dr. Geoffrey Scheurman, the University's Chair of the Department of Teacher Education.
His excellent presentation followed mine, and I was so absorbed in his teaching technique and Dust Bowl visuals that I forgot
to take his picture. I deeply regret that missed opportunity. But I’m very grateful we could share that enjoyable, spectacular
Barnes & Noble Signing at the Galleria
on April 25
It was a beautiful evening for the first time in months--weather-wise.
My deepest thanks to Barnes & Noble Galleria for sponsoring this event!
Two Book Club Groups on April 18
My visit to a Hudson book club in April turned out to be a very unique experience.
It began with not-unique sleet and snow driving conditions that caused most of the members and me to be late. Subsequently,
we were told that our reserved private dining room had been inadvertently double booked and the other group was already in
the room. But this book club group had read my book and their pulsating perseverance spurred them to accept a narrow hallway-size
room in the back of the restaurant.
So we sat in the windowless hallway facing each other along the two walls so close
our knees almost touched. My reward was a wonderful meeting/discussion. What a gracious group of women, and wow, they were
set for discussing The Dirty Days and to learn much more about life in those times! Meanwhile, the bad weather conditions
had escalated outside. But my almost two-hour energetic discussion with these very bright women was worth my hazardous twenty-mile
drive back to St Paul.
On Tuesday, February 26,
I had the privilege of speaking
about the Dust Bowl to two high-school classes in Stillwater, MN--a delightful, attentive, eager-to-learn group of young adults.
I so enjoyed my time with them. I'd like to thank their teacher Peter Schield for inviting me.
A visitor (teacher's father-in-law sitting on the wide windowsill)
and some of the students enjoying my humor.
Stepping closer to hear a student's good question.
Book Club Presentations!
In November, I was invited to attend a combined book-club event with two adult groups in
River Falls, WI, which I thoroughly enjoyed! Then on December 4, I had the priviledge of interacting with another book club
in Maplewood, MN, which was stimulating and enjoyable. I very much enjoy the Q&A format of a book club presentation
and am happy to speak/dialogue with all readers. If you have a book club and you are interested in having me attend
one of your meetings, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was pleased and surprised to receive a call from a
River Falls, WI middle school teacher of 20+ amazing and sophisticated 6th Graders who had read my book. On Wedneday, December
12, I participated in a Q&A/discussion of my book with these precocious, highly interested young boys and girls. Many
of their questions demonstrated a curiosity about the foods, activites, and events of the 1930s. What was my favorite
food? The most fun thing I did in the 1930s? What was it like to be their age that many years ago? I was
charmed by their enthusiasm!
A special thank you to Ms. Velure,
the teacher, for her interst in me and my book and for her warm and gracious welcome!
January 17 Lake Elmo Library Event, Lake Elmo, MN
20 Book Signing at Chapter2Books in Hudson, WI
4 Book Signing at The Orchard Restaurant, Baldwin, WI
October 5 Book Signing at Hastings
Books in Altus, OK
October 4 Book Signing at Barnes & Noble in Norman,
September 22 Book Signing at Barnes & Noble, Har Mar Mall, Roseville