If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Happy Father's Day

My father's graduation picture in 1930

Many people have formed who I am. One of those most important in my life was my father. Last month he would have been 104 years old. It’s been twenty-seven years since he died, and I still miss him as I’m sure my siblings do, too.

My father, John Hovanic, was born in the coal mining town of Crabtree, Pennsylvania, the third child in a family of eleven children. There would have been thirteen, but twins died a few days after their birth. Grandpa Hovanic was foreman of the mining stable. They lived in a patch house owned by the mining company and shopped at the company store. My grandfather was once reprimanded by the mining superintendent because my grandmother was not buying enough in the company store. She grew a large vegetable garden and took a bus into a neighboring town to shop in a grocery store with far better prices than that offered by the company store. I don’t remember if it stopped her trips or not. I know at a later date, my grandfather threw down his keys and quit his job during the Depression because the mining superintendent wanted him to work the ponies that pulled the coal carts longer hours and cut back on their feed. I have a feeling it was also because he didn’t want any of his sons to end up working in the mine, too.

Because Dad was a good student, after his graduation from high school, two bachelor uncles and their unmarried sister from Ohio paid for a year of college. Dad had lived with them for several years during his high school years so he could attend a larger and better school. Since it was the Depression, Dad quit college after the first year to help his family rather than continue, but he never stopped learning. He was one of most widely read, intelligent and knowledgeable people I’ve ever met. All of his children got their love of books and reading from him and my mother.
If he had trouble sleeping at night, sometimes he’d get up and read from one of the volumes from a set of encyclopedias we had.

After Grandpa Hovanic quit the mining job, they came to Ohio where Grandma’s brothers and sister lent them money to buy a small farm (The same ones who gave Dad a year of college). Even though it was still the Depression, Grandpa, my Dad and two of his brothers got jobs in a factory. Dad worked his way up in the company and stayed there until he retired. Although he hadn’t been a union man for years, he still believed staunchly in unions.

A few years after moving to Ohio, my dad met a shy young woman and fell in love with her. Her father, a farmer who’d inherited enough money that he didn’t have to farm too much, objected He opposed the marriage because my father was a foreigner. (Dad’s father had come over from Slovakia as an eight year old boy.) And just as bad as that, my father was a Catholic, a Democrat, a union man and carried a lunch pail to work. In spite of Grandpa Jones’ objections, John and Elnora eloped and soon started a family. I was their first child followed by a brother, three sisters and much later another brother.  Dad was a devoted husband who helped out around the house often cooking meals and taking good care of Mom when she had health issues. He never missed going to Mass on Sundays and made sure we all went, too.

My father always treated Grandpa Jones with respect and helped him around the farm when needed, and Grandpa soon returned that respect. He gave my mom and dad a lot next to the farm at the same time he gave one to his oldest son and daughter-in-law across from us on the other side of the farm.  My father built a house for us on that lot.
My mother, father , brother Jerry and me.

Dad was an excellent father. He was firm, loving and had a good sense of humor. He read to us and sang songs to us. He loved to sing. He took over the care of us when mom was tired or not well. He thought nothing of changing diapers or bathing little ones. He taught and showed us by example what was important; honesty and respect for others. Years and years before the Civil Rights Movement, my dad preached equality, believing all people were equal. He was so honest that to this day, I still feel guilty about the marble I put in my pocket and took home from a cousin’s house.

I could fill pages and pages with what a great husband, father, and person he was, but I’m going to give one example. My Grandma Jones was probably one of the world’s worse cooks. At a large extended family reunion, she took boiled chicken. Picture grayish, uncoated, unseasoned,
boiled chicken on a platter next to dish after dish of mouth-watering golden-brown fried chicken brought by others. My father didn’t care much for chicken in any form after years and years of his father raising chickens, and the meat most often cooked. But he took a helping of Grandma Jones’ chicken and ate it. I think he was the only one who did. That’s the kind of man he was - unfailingly kind and caring.

Dad was a listener, too. When we’d go on vacations or camping trips, he’d disappear for a while and then came back with wonderful stories about people he’d met; people who opened up to his genuine interest and told them their story. Stories like the one he’d heard from an old man sitting on a dock of a river in West Virginia. The old man had worked hard to send his first child to college, and after that each child helped the next one until all his nine children had a college education.
This is from one of many camping trips, the little one was my son.
For years and years when I’d meet someone who knew my father, their faces would light up with smiles as they would tell me what a special man he was and something they’d always remember about him. In fact, I got my first job after graduating during a down time in the economy because of him. After several months of pounding the streets looking, a woman interviewed me who had once danced with him at an office party where her husband was a vice-president. She had such fond memories of meeting him that she hired his shy and awkward daughter. He had a way about him – not flirtatious, just a nice guy with a nice smile who liked people.

It’s been over twenty-seven years since Dad died, and my siblings and I still miss him. He was the scaffolding on which each of us built our lives. 

What do you remember about your father?


Kait said...

What a lovely story. You must miss your dad so much.

Ann G said...

What lovely memories Gloria.

Your story about the chicken reminded me of the time I made my dad a cup of coffee for father's day, and took it up to him in bed.

It was the first time I'd made coffee, but I knew how to do it. I took the coffee jar and measured a heaped spoonful, added sugar, and then boiling water and milk, and stirred it all up.

He drank every drop.

Years later I found out that the coffee jar had contained gravy browning. It must have tasted terrible!

Margaret Turkevich said...

What wonderful stories about your dad!

My father gave me a few life lessons:

Don't back the person you're arguing with into a corner with no way to get out. Always leave an exit opportunity.

And as we shoveled holes to plant rose bushes, "Your mother gardens. I just do her yard work."

Warren Bull said...

Since his death, many people have sent my mother letters telling how my father helped them and taught them. Recently the company he worked for celebrated ninety years since its founding. My father was one of the people honored for his contributions to its success.

KM Rockwood said...

How wonderful to have such good memories, Gloria. I'm sure you echo your father's integrity and kindness in everything you do.

Carla Damron said...

I come from coal mining people, too! In Kentucky. I'm so glad your dad got the opportunities he did.

Gloria Alden said...

Thank you, Kait. I do, but fortunately I have siblings who remember him and we share our memories sometimes.

Ann, that is so funny. What a great dad you had.

Margaret, it sounds like you had a special father, too.

Warren, that is totally incredible. No wonder you are a success at what you do.

Thank you, KM. I try to be like him.

Carla, I have some books on the coal mining towns. It was not an easy life for coal miners or their family.