Please Welcome today's guest geezer gal, Phyl Manning
Yes, I’m a writer with four books plus another contracted under my belt—and largely because of one humongous bag of potato chips!
It must have been 1936 when the Omaha World Herald announced a Children’s Poetry Contest. At five years old, I qualified. The newspaper even prescribed the title: "If I Could Fly." Whee-ee!
So yes, I rhymed up a poem of three verses: "If I could fly, I’d go up high/And catch hold of a cloud as it went by" and so forth. And my undistinguished literature won first place! So Kitty Clover Potato Chips (of Omaha) rewarded me with a crisp new dollar bill AND the aforementioned bag of potato chips—a delicacy not experienced previously in those years of economic depression. The World Herald contributed a modicum of fame in printed words read aloud to me by proud parents.
Suddenly and permanently, I knew how to answer grownups who were always asking what I wanted to be when I grew up: a writer! Define "grown up."
At age 22, leaving university with an undergraduate degree in English Writing and Speech, Dr. Walter Van Tilburg Clark (Oxbow Incident, et.al.) read my small writing collection and told me, "You write very well indeed. Unfortunately, you have nothing to say."
True. By age 24, I was essentially widowed with two small children to support. In writing? You jest! So I continued teaching school, but applied successfully for overseas venues in places (by choice) with strange-sounding names that sat softly on my tongue and contained potential for adventure: new ways of thinking and (my beloved) wildlife. My children were raised in the West Pacific before returning to the U.S. to finish high school and go to university. By then, I was loving doctoral studies in anthropology on the traditional culture of the Inupiat (look ‘em up!) and then later and happily working in schools overseas.
Finally retired, I decided that I might by now be sufficiently "grown up" and actually have a few things to say. Now at (as Abraham Lincoln would say) "four score" years of age, I have dozens of articles and stories published and some books on the shelves . . . and it all started with a dollar bill and a really BIG bag of potato chips!