Have a Marlis Day!

Archive for April 2012

I was thrilled when Trisha Pfau invited me to visit her fifth-grade class at Tenth Street Elementary School in Jasper, Indiana.  Mrs. Pfau had read The Secret of Bailey’s Chase to her students and they wanted to meet the author. I loaded my bookbag with bookmarks for all the children, trivia and discussion questions, candy for prizes, and a free book for the teacher. I set the GPS on my car and off I went.

It was Friday the 13th of April, but no bad luck happened on that day. The children were attentive and courteous. They were eager to discuss the book, asked good questions, and all ended up with candy. We talked about reading and writing in general, settings, plots, literary terms, and characters. Together we created a character named Bob and gave him some interesting characteristics. We put the students into groups and did a point-of-view writing exercise, with each team writing a segment of a story and reading it aloud. These Jasper writers were very creative.

One thoughtful girl (second from left in second row) had written a small book for me. I treasure it. Mrs. Pfau is now reading the sequel, Back to Bailey’s Chase to her class. I hope they enjoy it and will email me their comments.

Mrs. Pfau has already invited me back next year to do it again with her new class, so until then I wish her and her students well, and thank them for inviting me to their lovely school in Jasper.

God bless those teachers who make time to read to their classes!

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I was born in the middle of World War II. One of my earliest memories was my mother teaching me to add “and God Bless Uncle Bill” to my regular bedtime prayer. I didn’t know my dad’s younger brother but understood he was in a dangerous place and needed our prayers. I remember the excitement when he came home, the hugging and crying, the opening of a duffle bag filled with gifts for all of us. It was 1945 and I was three.

Even though he was fighting on the front lines in Germany, Uncle Bill remembered me when my third birthday drew near. He picked up a piece of a broken windshield from a German plane, carved it into a perfect heart, drilled a hole for a chain, and scratched my name on one side, his name and the date on the back. He found some red ink to fill in the letters, and mailed it home. Mom put it on a chain and it became my most prized possession. I wore it to school on special occasions and always on my birthday, March 24. When I made my recent birthday trip to Disney World I wore it proudly and remembered my uncle, Lance Black, who we called Uncle Bill. ( I think my brother Johnny had trouble with L’s and had earlier called him Uncle Yantz, so the adults decided we’d just call him by his boyhood nickname.)

And we called him “Uncle Bill” until he died of a heart attack at 70. He had a quick smile and loved to laugh. A good husband, father, and grandfather, he was also a very gifted man who could build anything. A whiz at electronics and motors, there was nothing he couldn’t  take apart and fix and invented tools to aid him in his work. He was a sweet man and we miss him.


Hi! I'm Marlis.

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