Quiet Audacity

I recently added my personal journals to the family archives.   The words in those journals follow me on adventures through various jobs, some in hostile territory.  Does anybody else remember what it was like having the audacity to claim we could manage in traditionally male work environments? I wrote about it.  But I also wrote about the joys (and lessons) that came with leaving the corporate world for a farm of my own.  So much more material to work with.

As I read my journal along with the writings of my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, I see that we all had the quiet audacity to take on challenges and build our own lives, not always according to traditional patterns.



Happy Holidays to my readers!  I wish to everyone a new year of peace and happiness.

A year has gone by without another book published.  That’s because I have been very involved with local politics.  Whatever your party,  it is important to pay attention to local municipal leadership.  What happens in your town really does make a difference.  I am on my local borough council, and I work with others in our county to get good people elected.  Someday maybe I’ll write about politics.

My next writing projects revolve around existing books – first, making a version of Women, Power, and AT&T for the general market rather than the academic world it was created for.  What happened to women in the corporate world in the 1970s is still relevant whether you are talking about job discrimination or sexual harassment.  Of course, in 1970 we didn’t even have the words “sexual harassment.”  I think the story will sell.

The other project is taking Dear Woman of My Dreams and creating a small cast play.

Much of my writing depends on notes, letters, and diaries from my family archives.  I’ve just re-read my own journals from the 1970s and 1980s when I was on my corporate career venture.  What a mind-bending experience!  Of course I recognize myself and what I wrote about, but some of the perceptions I had then aren’t exactly as I remember them now.  My diary files go back to my great grandmother and the 1890s.


Watch Herr talk

Thanks to Northern Lebanon Rotary and Rotarian Litz, there’s a youtube of my talk about Dear Woman of My Dreams:

I’ll be looking for other opportunities to share both “playing with archives” and my mother’s 1923 diary as published in Dear Woman of My Dreams!

Food from the Archives

Among the treasures in my family archive are lots of recipes!  Here are two from my great grandmother Rebecca’s notebook for you to try out over the holidays. She assumed you’d know what to do with the ingredients.

“Rocks” were a common cookie project for young folks in the 1890s, like fudge was for my teenage baking years in the 1950s.”Lottie” is Rebecca’s daughter, and the cake is good.


Playing with Archives

Lately I’ve been talking with people about how every family has stories but the documents that describe them may be scattered and even lost.  Anyone who has diaries and letters can pull them together and stitch a tapestry that others can enjoy viewing.  I’ve started with my mother’s 1923 diary.  Gradually I will introduce the family to the world.

Next will be a story about my grandmother Gertrude Hassler’s two years at Cumberland Valley State Normal School (now Shippensburg University) from 1898 to her graduation in 1900.  For input I have letters she wrote home, letters her family wrote to her, and letters from her friends.  Often the letters sent home were addressed to “Dear Ones Home,” which may become the title of the next DEAR book!

Here’s her graduation picture: