Have a Marlis Day!

Archive for March 2011

I spent last week at the Indiana and Illinois Reading Conferences, attended by over four thousand teachers, librarians, and administrators. Many of them carried my books back to their schools, promising to read them to their classes. To my surprise, Ben Franklin strolled by my booth, greeting conferees and offering his services, which included a school visit and story about his colorful life. When he picked up one of my books, I told him he was in it! Not much surprises Ol’ Ben, but he happily posed for a picture.

In the final chapter of Back to Bailey’s Chase, Sparky and Grey step through their sidewalk sketches of a medieval castle and into a magical world called “The Edge of Forever.” Acting as their guide, a young court jester takes them on a tour of an area referred to as “The Nick of Time.” In this place, the girls saw the spirits of many famous Americans including Abraham Lincoln. (They were amazed by his height and his black stove-top hat.)

Page 214-215 – “So,” Grey asked slowly, “‘The Nick of Time’ is like a holding place for those spirits who come to visit for a short time?”

“And they come when we read or study about them?” Sparky added.

The young guard smiled and nodded, making the tiny bells on his hat jingle. “Now you’re getting it. If you look more closely, you will recognize  more of the people here.” He pointed to the man flying the kite. “Don’t you recognize that man?”

The girls focused on the man with the long hair and round tummy, wearing wire-rimmed glasses and old-fashioned clothes. He stepped sideways, holding onto the string, adjusting it when the kite wavered. He watched the floating kite carefully.

“Is that Benjamin Franklin?” Grey asked, in awe.

 The guide smiled. “It most certainly is. He has a thing about kites, you know. He’s here because someone is putting in a lot of time studying his experiments right now. I believe it’s a college student doing a research paper.”

Ben moved on when he realized I wasn’t a teacher and couldn’t book him for a school visit. He didn’t even buy a book!

I hope you’ll read the book and find out “the rest of the story.”  (It’s only $2.99 on Kindle or Nook.)

Thanks for stopping by,


It was early on a Saturday morning and I cowered under my blankets. My parents had never lied to me; they told me the dentist was a nice man and wouldn’t hurt me, but he did. Now, they wanted me to go back. I cried, pleaded, and begged, but I was only eight years old. This trip was as horrid as the first one. Dr. Sadist drilled my teeth without novacaine. I still remember how much it hurt. Later when my father needed a filling, he found out what a monster this guy was. He came home furious at the *#*#*#*!! We changed dentists. The next one was kind and used novacaine. But I still harbor a deep inner fear of dental work.

Not long ago I visited a relative at a nursing home. Leaving, I noticed my old dentist’s name on a door. I stopped. Could it be? The last name was the same, but I wasn’t familiar with the first name; the sadist was called “Red” due to his hair. I guessed it could have been Lowell. I decided to pop in and say “Hello.” Maybe, I told myself, he’d remember me and we’d have a nice little chat. Maybe since he was an old man now, he had mellowed and would be kind to me. It would erase the old memory and help me get over the dental-fear I had carried for decades. Always the optimist, I knocked. No answer. I pushed the door slightly open and whispered his name. No answer. Then I spotted an old man in bed, wrapped in a sheet up to his neck. Wisps of hair covered his almost bald head. No teeth. I smiled and slowly approached the bed. “Hello,” I said in my friendliest voice. “Are you Dr. Lowell Tolson?” No response. He watched me curiously. I went closer. “I think you were my dentist when I was a little girl.” Suddenly, he opened his mouth as wide as possible and let out a blood-curdling scream, “AA AAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!”  I nearly jumped out of my shoes! He had done it again – nearly scared the wits out of me. I turned and ran out the door hoping I wouldn’t run into a nurse. I didn’t stop running until I reached my car. I locked the door and leaned my head on the steering wheel. My heart raced. Part of me wanted to go back in and smack him on top of his wispy old head. But I didn’t. I guess some people are just nasty for life.

Hi! I'm Marlis.

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