Excerpt: Introduction

My mother, Berthella May (Whitmyer) Stevens, was a remarkable woman, filled with life and ahead of her time. While some women of her era were stifled, she found ways to express herself.

Among her many talents, Mom was a prolific writer. While she wrote out of sheer joy, she dreamed of sharing her words in a published book. Sadly, she died in 2011 without attaining that goal. Her story is so endearing, and her poetry and prose so enchanting, I felt compelled to curate her works with my own remembrances into this book.

Unaware we would one day author a book together, Mom bequeathed to me her personal papers, yellowed with age. These pages were the best gift. Through them, she swept back into my life. I felt her presence in those dry papers she once held in her hands as she scribbled, erased, and revised. As I read her writing, I heard her voice telling me the stories and saw the expressions on her face. Through her tender words, her heart spoke to mine. Each day, as I sat reflecting and writing, she sat beside me, talking, laughing, and crying; I did the same. It’s been the most amazing journey to live so closely with someone who has never been so far away.

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