Click HERE to listen.
In a scene from THE WINTER LOON Gisela says to Ruth:
“Sticking together, you mean like what’s happening in Europe? No one over here seems to care, but my father lives in Paris and writes that despite street violence in Germany against the SA Storm Troopers, newspapers sympathetic to Nazi influence continue to wage a propaganda campaign blaming Jews for Germany’s economic and social problems. It’s unbelievable how the general public there often turns a blind eye to the SA thugs trying to intimidate customers from entering Jewish shops.”
“It’s so complicated,” Ruth answers.
“And in this country so many folks who can’t find work, living in hobo villages. Why? Where are all the good Christians who claim to be their brother’s keeper? It doesn’t matter what problems we’re talking about. People are too afraid of consequences of losing what they have. Jesus said, ‘Turn the other cheek,’ not ‘Look the other way.'”
The scene is set in Minneapolis in 1932.
In January 1933 Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. He watched in triumph from the Chancellory balcony while thousands of torch bearing Nazis celebrated his victory. Nineteen months later he achieved absolute power.
A mix of KKK members, Nazi sympathizers and White Nationalists carried torches through the University of Virginia campus last week, menacing people of all races, creed, and religion.
Candidate Trump held the Pride flag upside down, pledging his support for the LGBTQ community and a few months later as president called for a ban of transgender people serving in the military.
We can’t afford to turn a blind eye to what is happening right now in America. We can’t be bystanders. We must stand up against hate and bigotry.
In every community, there is work to be done.
In every nation, there are wounds to heal.
In every heart, there is the power to do it.
Marianne Williamson –
In 1970 Pride was a political movement to voice demands for LGBT equal rights and protections. As Pride is now celebrated worldwide, itis important toremember that June was chosen to commemorate the Stonewall riots which occurred the end of June 1969 in Manhattan. The month of June is a time to celebrate and honor people from the LGBTQ+ community. It is a time to reflect and continue to fight against discrimination that still occurs and threatens the hard-earned right to marry, to live and work where one choses and shop without the risk of prejudice.
It is pure serendipity that my book The Winter Loon debuts during Pride Month. I missed several self-imposed deadlines for publication and finally in mid-June this year my book is on Amazon available for purchase.
THE WINTER LOON is inspired by my mother, who died when I was nine and who had divulged very little information about her life, refusing even to answer any questions about my biological father. Estranged from her family, she moved across the country from the Midwest to California, ending up in a remote area of the Mojave Desert far from the nearest town. From my earliest memories, the two of us lived as a family with her woman companion until shortly before her death. Some of the things she left behind were a few photos, a newspaper clipping of her as a rodeo competitor, and her master’s degree certificate from the 1930s.
When I started writing, my purpose of embarking on a healing journey gradually transformed into this novel about a young woman who struggles to define herself in a world where she does not seem to fit. As I envisioned how my mother’s life might have been if she was able to live her authentic truth, I realized how much, and how little, has changed for the LGBTQ+ community. It is my hope that this story about the healing power of love will positively influence anyone who reads it.
Yes. I survived my first A to Z Challenge. It has been a great adventure posting and visiting other bloggers taking the Challenge. I’ve learned a lot and made new friends. I had a great time researching and writing my theme, Women in the 1930s.
If you want to find other A to Z Challenges, go to:
and check out a theme that interests you.
I’m hopelessly behind in posting and responding to comments. Back soon with new posts and Reflections on the Challenge.
Wake me up for that.
Thanks your stopping by.
When I chose Zippity Do Dah for my Z post, I thought it was just a song to sing when you are happy. But in reading about the origins and lyrics of the song, I learned it is surrounded by controversy. So much for singing Zippity Do Dah and doing the dance of joy because we have all reached the end of the A to Z Challenge. Some facts I didn’t know:
~ The song is from a Disney movie called Song of the South about Br’er Rabbit and Uncle Remus.
~ The movie was released in 1946 and criticized by the NAACP: “the production helps to perpetuate a dangerously glorified picture of slavery . . . [the film] unfortunately gives the impression of an idyllic master-slave relationship which is a distortion of the facts.”
~ The stars of the movie and others disagreed. Actress Hattie McDaniel who played the character Tempy in Song of the South and sang Sooner or Later said: “If I had for one moment considered any part of the picture degrading or harmful to my people I would not have appeared therein.”
~Hattie McDaniel is better remembered as the first black actress to win an Oscar in 1939 for her role of Mammy in Gone With the Wind. Her roles portraying hard-working black women were often criticized as stereotypes, and she was criticized for not being politically active. She is loosely quoted as saying, “I can play a maid in the movies for $700 a week or work as a maid downtown for $7 a week.”
~ Hattie McDaniel lost her battle with breast cancer in Los Angeles, California, on October 26, 1952. Since her death, McDaniel has been posthumously awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Additionally, in 1975, she was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. A well-received biography on her life was published in 2005—Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood, by Jill Watts.
~ You can watch her Oscar acceptance speech and read 5 more facts about her here:
~ James Baskett who sang Zippity Do Dah in the film, Song of the South, agreed with Hattie McDaniel, saying, “I believe that certain groups are doing my race more harm in seeking to create dissension than can ever possibly come out of the Song of the South.”
I end with James Baskett in a You Tube video singing Zippity Do Dah:
Have a beautiful day and thanks for stopping by the A to Z Challenge. You can see other bloggers participating in the Challenge:
Xenial ~ of, relating to, or constituting hospitality or relations between host and guest and especially among the ancient Greeks between persons of different cities. ~ Miriam-Webster Dictionary
During the A to Z Challenge, each of us participating has opened the door and invited both strangers and friends into our world.
The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary describes Xenial as pertaining to the friendly relation between host and guest, relating to hospitality.
One of the most respectful forms of hospitality during the 1930s was welcoming guests and sharing a meal. Women cooked and served food even in the poorest of households. It was a sign of good manners to offer food and drink, no matter how poor the household.
Women were often the breadwinners in families. They sewed clothes, tended gardens, and were responsible to stay within the food budget. Hospitality could be expensive. Enjoying one another’s company at potlucks, where each woman brought a dish to share was one way to extend the generosity of hospitality to friends and family.
Women were creative with the less expensive sources of protein: rice, beans, and cheese. Spam and bologna substituted for beef, pork and lamb. Chickens could be raised in the yard and became a staple Sunday sit-down meal for the after-church crowd.
No matter what a woman’s economic circumstances, she did her best to put food on the table and share a meal:
Thanks for stopping by.
Barrier ~ obstacle, obstruction, stumbling block, impediment.
Before it was called The Winter Loon my novel was titled Barriers. All I could envision for the main characters, Ruth and Gisela, two young women who fall deeply in love, were barriers of all kinds. Ruth and Gisela lived in the Midwest and met each other in 1932.
In New York in the 1920s, queer culture flourished, but by the early thirties, a Broadway play with a lesbian theme opened and closed to biased reviews. The producer, director and players were hauled off to court and charged with obscenity. Bars and clubs closed down. It was the same in Chicago and elsewhere in U.S. cities.
The Depression era squashed the gay nightlife and excesses of the twenties. The avant-garde crowd became the target for those wanting to punish and blame. What had been tolerated became immoral and illegal by the mid 1930s. The 1934 Motion Picture Production Code banned all reference and depictions of gay or lesbian lifestyle from the movies.
Ruth and Gisela’s story isn’t about coming out of the closet. In the thirties there was no closet to come out of. It’s a story about the healing power of love. It’s a story about Ruth breaking down barriers—her own and those of society. It’s a story about a naive young woman searching for a life lived in authentic truth despite the obstacles.
For a short time a couple of years ago I had a friend in her late 90s. She passed away last year. I met her because she was featured on the front page of our local newspaper with fist raised and the caption, “Gay and proud.” The story was about the Gay Pride celebration for that year. It’s a small town. I looked up her phone number and called her, hoping to get first-hand information for my book.
It turned out we both loved jazz and going out to dinner and had many fun nights. She was open about her long-time relationship with the woman she loved and still mourned her recent death. I thought I would learn more about the barriers the two of them faced, the kind you can’t find in history books. I found out more about love than about obstacles. The two of them met in New York City. They ended up living a quiet life in upstate New York, running a B&B before traveling out West.
Perhaps The Winter Loon will remind a generation now fighting to keep marriage equality about how difficult it was before gay advocacy groups formed after the 1969 Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village. Before Stonewall, there was almost nowhere to turn for information unless a person was lucky enough to meet a kindred spirit.
I’ve added a link to a PBS.org film about the Stonewall Riots which is riveting and enlightening about the struggle people faced leading up to the riots:
You might have to copy and paste to view the film.
Thanks for stopping by.
Drumroll please. . . I accept the 2016 A to Z Blog Challenge. It’s my kick in the pants to get this blog off to a high-spirited start. A post every day in April, except Sunday. That’s twenty-six posts, one for every letter in the alphabet. That’s the challenge. Read more about it and the over one thousand bloggers taking part in the fun:
There’s a blog for every taste and still ten days to sign up.
My theme is Women in the 1930s. My characters in THE WINTER LOON live in the turmoil of the Thirties. I’ll be writing about issues affecting women in that era. Women who stepped outside the norm. Cowgirls. Women at university and women working during the Great Depression. Women defying the social expectation that they marry, become housewives and mothers. THE WINTER LOON is about the healing power of love and the barriers two women in love face in their everyday life. My theme will embrace all these issues.
You’re gonna do what?