Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Betty MacDonald beloved by great writer

Betty MacDonald in the living room at Vashon on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.

Betty MacDonald fan club fans,

we received this mail from our Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Gwen Grant, beloved author and Betty MacDonald fan. 

I agree we have the most interesting and fascinating Betty MacDonald fan club honor members.

Betty MacDonald fan club fans from all over the world  enjoy reading Gwen Grant's wonderful books.


Dear Betty MacDonald fan club fans,

i've just taken down from my bookshelves the four books of Betty's that I have and they've been read so much, the covers of THE EGG AND I and ONIONS IN THE STEW are a a bit battered! I was interested in the dates they were published and thought others might be interested, as well.

THE EGG AND I - 1955 - llth impression

and 'WHO, ME?' 1960 - a compilation of Betty's work and this has a small photograph of Betty on the cover of the book itself and inside there is a photograph of Betty and two of her grandchildren.

Three of them are Book Club books and they look nothing from the outside - give no idea of the brilliant world within. Opening one of Betty's books is like finding treasure. The 1949 and 1951 books I bought at a Jumble Sale when I was about 17 and had read THE EGG AND I. I felt so fortunate to find them and carried them home as tenderly as if they were eggs! I think they were printed on wartime paper because the paper isn't spectacular. I imagine, though, that there are much older books than these around and just as much loved as mine.

Another fan of Betty's asked recently how old I was when I first read Betty's books - I think I was about 16. I read THE EGG AND I first because from the moment I read that first paragraph, I was hooked. I loved reading about people's lives and that opening paragraph is so instantly appealing.
My own books were much influenced by Betty, especially KNOCK AND WAIT, which is the story of my year at an Open Air School, which was a bit like a Sanatorium but wasn't.

PRIVATE-KEEP OUT is the first in my trilogy dealing with my childhood. There are fictional elements to this book but the basis is true.
My family, for instance, at that time was my three brothers but I had a sister who died. All the same, I thought of her as still being my family, so I put her in my book as Lucy. I have another sister younger than me - so the heroine had two sisters, but, I have to say, all the nice parts of Rose are my youngest sister's - all the other bits are me! The town I lived in is there, the street I lived in, the feelings I had, many of the things that happened.

KNOCK AND WAIT - When I first wrote this book, it wasn't at all funny, and I wasn't happy with it. It sounded too sad and too dark, so, remembering THE PLAGUE AND I and Betty and Kimi's response to their situation, I rewrote KNOCK AND WAIT and this time I was happy with it. It was funny and yet it showed the truth of my year in that hsopital school. Betty walks a tightrope with THE PLAGUE AND I because to write about something so life changing as a serious illness and yet keep it light but without minimising the impact it has on your life or belittling the experience, because, of course, there are others who suffer as well, is tremendously difficult. Betty had that unique ability and I think that ability came from the generosity of her nature.

ONE WAY ONLY - there are fictional elements in this book but still mixed with many elements of truth.

I have written other children's books about subjects that have been important to me and these will eventually appear on my website which is still being built. I wish I could say I was building it but it's my husband, Ian, (a Scot) who is actually doing the work. When my is finished, all my books will be on it and more of my poems.

I have written four picture books - LITTLE BLUE CAR, which is about a new little car learning how he works - just like all small children. This was a story I used to tell my grandchildren. Their father had a little blue car so I just brought the car to life - helped by the children's fondness for it.

JONPANDA - about a Panda. I have that Panda still. I had him when I was a little girl and now he's so old and battered, he lives in tissue paper in a paper bag in the cupboard. JONPANDA comes to life for his friend, Mamie, who has rescued him from a wretched life at the fairground and they share a challenging experience together.

MATTHEW AND HIS MAGIC KITE - a story of a little boy's adventure on a kite that turns out to be magic. He goes to the North Pole on the kite because I always loved the idea of the North Pole, and has an adventure with a bear. Now this bear was one that used to be in Dundee, Scotland, museum and we lived there for a year. I used to take my sons to look at it but my imagination was captured by this bear and I looked at it as much as the boys. I once stepped over the rail that said 'KEEP OUT' and touched its fur and it was hard and spiky. Poor bear.

RACE DAY- this is a story about all kinds of vehicles competing in a race - but it's also about Littel Red Bubble car being kind to animals and to the other vehicles in the race. I guess I just wanted to highlight how so very often kindess and competitiveness go hand in hand.

At the moment, I'm working on a book called THE LAST COAL BARGE. I live in a village that used to have a coal mine at its heart. That's gone now but in its place there is a marina. However, there is a history in the old pit area and Danny meets part of it when he meets the mysterious Jarred Turner, his pony, Boxer and his pet blackbird, Casey. It tells of the fate of the last coal barge lying in the deep water of the pit.

PRIVATE-KEEP OUT can be ordered from Amazon but the other books have to be sought out. 

I hope many of you will read my stories and enjoy them.


Gwen Grant

Vita Magica

Betty MacDonald fan club

Betty MacDonald forum  

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel 

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

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Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund 

Angela Merkel leaves Julia Klöckner rebuffed – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Little time? End of the text there’s a summary.

It is an old rule in politics business. If it is not going well in a state election campaign, then this is like to the so-called national trend, which one could escape difficult. Then only one thing: The campaigners have to face up to its own top personnel, and if it is the Chancellor. Just as it is now running in the CDU in Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Württemberg and Saxony-Anhalt: For weeks see Julia Klöckner, Guido Wolf and Reiner Haseloff their poll numbers at risk, on Monday morning now diagnosed the “Bild” newspaper even triple “poll-shock” for the Christian Democrats. When it comes to the pollsters of Insa, must Wolfs CDU in Baden-Württemberg are afraid of being replaced by the Greens as the strongest party, Klöckner is Rheinland-Pfalz only two percentage points ahead of the SPD, and Saxony-Anhalt CDU Prime Minister Haseloff could break away the black-red majority itself, because the AFD is now ahead of the SPD.
all so believe the campaigner, may only have to deal with the refugee policy of Angela Merkel. So the clearance must be found: apart from the Chancellor to home better to arrive at the electorate
This strategy has only one catch:.. So far, state politicians have failed in most cases with such experiments
and this time
Klöckner and Wolf have called in a joint statement, among other daily refugee quotas – that is, what Austria had decided. Under the protest of the German Government, mind you. The distance to Merkel is so in the world.
“Party Internal considerations”
The Chancellor is cross shots from his own party and from the sister CSU in the refugee policy indeed become accustomed. But this already has a different quality: Two campaigner that make them speak preventive ever responsible for a potentially weak election result. These Klöckner is her deputy at the federal level. Since
Merkel even rubbing the coalition partner’s eyes. Leaves the duo on Monday once rebuffed. Your government spokesman qualified the proposals on Monday as “factional considerations” on, “which are in fact discussing in the party”. . The government was seeking, european progress with all 28 member countries, and have it out at the EU summit “significant support”
Union parliamentary leader Volker Kauder, Klöckner and Wolf makes the ARD: He “advise all” to continue the set by Merkel course, this was successful.
It’ll be important to strengthen Merkel for talks in the European Union and with Turkey the back, and “we those who do not behave properly, like the Austrians, also say that it do not go.” In a conference call of the CDU Board on Monday morning Merkel does not go directly to the Klöckner-Wolf-plan, but makes it clear that it maintains its course. Also Klöckner and Wolf took the floor, but according to participants take their paper, the sharpness. The move is meant to complement Merkel’s policy; you need answers for the case that the EU-Turkey summit on 7 March – one week before the state elections – not come out. So you talk a conflict small, but so is reduced up again that distance to the prime minister, you surely wanted to show the public.
half-hearted attempt to break
A CDU Board, which is on the part of Merkel says that one is pushed together again closely. In plain English: Klöckner and Wolf are captured. It was considered useless, says the CDU politician, always making new proposals, rather than waiting for the effect of the current measures. Questionable only whether this effect can be felt before the state elections. The nervousness of the campaigner is great.
Klöckner and Wolf nevertheless likely to have done no favors with their half-hearted attempt to escape. Whoever until Merkel criticized, but then can not deliver, which is considered assertive weak. At the same time the party seems at odds. No conditions. Merkel has already successfully applied the tactics of Abblitzenlassens, it was with a state election. Back then pulled the top candidate against Merkel’s will with the commuter allowance in the election campaign, the Chancellor turned stubborn. The candidate worked at her from, but nothing helped
The man’s name. Günther Beckstein. His defeat at the Bavarian state election in 2008 had to do not only with the lost power struggle with Merkel. . But also

In summary: Chancellor Angela Merkel rejects demanded by the CDU election fighters Julia Klöckner and Guido Wolf course corrections in refugee policy from. The top candidate of Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg shy initially open confrontation. The crumbling poll numbers let the nervousness three weeks before the parliamentary elections in the CDU, however, increase.