My birthday is later this month
and I will be 89 years old. Since I first published my book THE DIRTY DAYS two years ago, many have asked me if I would
go back and change anything about my life if I could. My answer is usually well, yes--but then again, maybe not. So
many of the events that changed my life forever were never under my control. I was born the oldest child of a tenant
farmer during one of the most difficult times in our country's history. A great depression, the dust bowl, and then
WWII. All of these events had a profound effect on who I was and would become.
As a result of our hard times, I learned
the importance of friends and family (on whom we often relied), the necessity for resilience and tenacity (giving up was not
an option), the need for charity and faith (someday things were going to get better--they just had to). My daddy and
mother taught me integrity, the value of hard work, frugality, and pull-togetherness.
Do I wish my little baby sister had not
died, causing my daddy to weep behind the house so no one would see him; or my mother seemingly lost and inconsolable over
a tragic death that could have been prevented had we had the money to seek the best medical attention possible? Do I
wish I could have had store-bought dresses to wear and bakery-bread sandwiches to eat? Do I wish I could have had enough to
eat--so often I went to bed hungry, yet never told my folks. Yes, yes, yes, and yes!
What I did have was
a close-knit family that worked together, played together, grieved together, and stayed together. There's no question
I grew up with more hardship than I'm fond of remembering, but I also grew up in a house filled with love, courage, and hope.
Would I ever want to change that--of course not!
Just some observations from a woman who has lived 89 years--and I'm looking forward to stacking up my 9th decade!
Thanks for coming to my
website--and we'll talk again in August. And have a wonderful summer!
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 email@example.com.
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