Virginia Frantz grew up during the Great Depression only a few miles from where Max’s family lived from the early fifties on. Beaver County, OK was hit hard by the depression as was much of the country, but Virginia remembers it vividly and has written about it from time to time. Recently Ken Burns interviewed and filmed Virginia for the upcoming PBS show about the Dust Bowl. Now in her late eighties, she decided it was time to spring into action and publish one of her tales. And what a delight it is. Aimed at grade school children, it’s a story of one spring in the late 1930s when one family stood together, waiting for better days. As a matter of fact, her book is called Keepin’ It Together.
My acquaintance with Virginia, though, is not through my husband’s family, but because I went to college with one of her daughters and knew of her. When I began writing, Virginia went to the same writing group, and we’ve been friends ever since – encouraging one another and emailing once in a while. I was thrilled to learn of Virginia’s new accomplishment, and when her local writing group invited me to come to Guymon and talk about my debut book, Chasing Lilacs, I jumped at the chance.
We met at Main Street Guymon and started discussing my book, but the first thing we knew, we were talking about people we’d known and things that had happened back in the day. Time flew by as it does when you’re with friends, and before we knew it, it was time to get out the refreshments and greet those who’d come to the book signing. There was much laughter, lots of chatter, and even a tear or two when the loveliest lady came up to me and introduced herself. Delight. Yes, that was her first name, and some wise mother must have known what a delight she was going to turn out to be. Or perhaps she grew into her name. At any rate, Delight told me that she always sat in the same pew on Sunday morning as my mother, who’s now deceased. I never knew that, and it was like a soft reminder that we’re all connected in ways we don’t even know.
It was the best day. Thanks, Virginia and Pam (who, oh my gosh, is also a writer and went to that first writing group AND knew Max when he was growing up – it’s a small world!) and Melyn for inviting me. Thanks to Rachel Sides for her support at the Guymon library and all who made it a special day. And special hugs to my sister Marsha, my dad, and Max for coming out to support me.
How about you? Are you ever surprised by connections you didn’t know about before?