Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Betty MacDonald and the Kettles

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

Dear Betty MacDonald Fan Club,

I enjoyed Wolfgang Hampel's books, interviews and stories so much.

I have never had any neighbors like the Kettles: thank God.

I found ONIONS IN THE STEW completely by accident when I was in junior high school (about 1960). I saw the book in the autobiography section, and thought it was a cookbook that had been misfiled. I removed it from the shelf to inspect it and, while glancing through it, became so interested in the book's contents that I checked it out immediately. 

As soon as I finished  ONIONS IN THE STEW, I found Betty's other books and read them as well. 

I was so disappointed that she wrote so few books. . .

I think ANYBODY CAN DO ANYTHING is probably my favorite.

What I liked most about Betty's books is her honest assessments of her life experiences and the humor she shows through adversity.

I can' t wait to read more.



Betty MacDonald loved in Germany

Axel Schappei The Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber June 16, 1983

Go into any ordinary German bookstore and ask for former Islander, Betty MacDonald's paperbacks and you'll be handed - at least - three books: Die Insel und ich ( Onions in the Stew ), Das Ei und ich ( The egg and I ) Betty kann alles (Anybody can do anything).

Scholars in the Pegasus German courses on the Island may notice that the German titles of Betty MacDonald's famous autobiographical novels have been translated appropriatley.
Betty would like them. Betty MacDonald, who lived on Vashon Island, is tremendously popular in Germany. She once was one of the most well known and widely read novelists in the United States. But would you guess that more than two million paperbacks and hard-cover books of Betty MacDonald have been published and sold in Germany during the last 30 years? 

Her bestseller The Egg and I reached about half a million in July 1981. From March 1964 until October 1980, 107000 copies of Anybody can do anything were sold in 12 editions. Onions in the Stew - her novel about living on the Rock - sold 103000 copies from May 1964 until September 1980, also in 12 editions. "She is incredibly successful, really, not only her novels. Her books for children like Nancy and Plum or the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle-Stories still belong to the most successful childrens' books after all those years," says Wolfgang Hampel, who is so convinced about Betty MacDonald. 

He simply loves Betty MacDonald and her books: "She's so homorous, her stories about everyday-life's and awkward situations are just incomparable. It's like a good friend taking you be the hand and leading through her life." 

That's why Wolfgang Hampel and four other German Betty Fans plan to launch an extensive exhibition about Betty MacDonald, her life and her work.

Originally they wanted to open the exhibit on February 7, 1983, 25th anniversary of Betty MacDonald's death. But the five friends didn't manage to get enough exhibits together. "We're still looking for pictures, photographs, letters - in short all sorts of personal mementoes about Betty. Our exhibition has been planned for the last few years and we have written zillions of letters and bought hundreds of books, here in Germany, Europe and from the States," explains Wolfgang Hampel.They tried to get further information about their preferred author from American publishing companies. "Some didn't answer and others know less than we did already! It was like finding the different pieces of a jigsaw-puzzle without knowing what it will look like in the end." 

Why all this activity?"We think that Betty MacDonald is such a fascinating person that many people here should know more about her . Apart from our endeavors to our exhibition together we've also been in contact with publishers to convince them that a new edition of Nancy and Plum would find its readers still today.

Betty MacDonald's readers come from all ages and social groups," says Wolfgang Hampel. Of course he and his friends know that Vashon is the Onions in the Stew Island and they also know that Vashon is part of the Pacific Northwest and - more specifically - of Puget Sound. So imagine their amusement when some publishing firms told them that Vashon is somewhere up to Alaska. 

Actually, Wolfgang Hampel knows quiete a lot about the Rock, though he's never been here. All his information comes from Betty MacDonald's Onions in the Stew. So he's got the idea of the terrific view of Mount Rainier, and he also knows about her coyness.

Wolfgang Hampel has a pretty good impression about the house where Betty lived with her folks. "What we dearly need for our exhibition are pictures of the Island, books all sort of visuals to show people here in what a beautiful scenery Betty lived. So people can understand that she simply had to write books like that in such a fascinating rural enviroment.

Wolfgang would be grateful for any help he could get from the Island. "Really, the most substantial help came from Vashon so far. We got some great personal impressions about Betty from Islanders who knew her."Wolfgang is amazed about the friendliness and amount of help and encouragement that reached him from the Rock. Still it's a long way until the exhibition is ready. 

Anyone with anything they'd like to send for the planned exhibition can write to Wolfgang Hampel. 

Don't miss this very special book, please.

Vita Magica
Betty MacDonald fan club

Betty MacDonald forum  

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) - The Egg and I 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( German )

Vashon Island - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - Monica Sone - Wikipedia ( English )

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

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

Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel 

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

Betty MacDonald fan club items 

Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club - The Stove and I  

Betty MacDonald fan club groups 

Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund 

Rita Knobel Ulrich - Islam in Germany - a very interesting ZDF  ( 2nd German Television ) documentary with English subtitles

The situation in Germany and Sweden with many refugees is 

rather difficult. 

Politics | Wed Mar 16, 2016 10:37am EDT

Trump predicts riots if denied Republican presidential nomination

The New York billionaire scored big wins in primaries in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina on Tuesday which brought him closer to the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination.
But he lost the crucial state of Ohio and left the door open for those in the party trying to stop Trump from becoming the Republican nominee for the Nov. 8 election.
Trump might fall short of the majority required, enabling the party establishment to put forward another name at the July convention in Cleveland to formally pick its candidate.
In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Trump said if he got a large number of delegates yet was denied the nomination: "I don't think you can say that we don't get it automatically. I think you'd have riots. I think you'd have riots. I'm representing many, many millions of people."

Party leaders are appalled at the real estate developer and reality TV personality's incendiary rhetoric and believe his policy positions are out of step with core Republican sentiment, such as his vow to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, temporarily ban Muslims from the United States and build a wall along the border with Mexico.
Trump told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show on Wednesday that he mostly consults himself on foreign policy issues. "I'm speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain," he said. "I know what I'm doing ... my primary consultant is myself, and I have a good instinct for this stuff."
He also told Fox News he would not attend the next televised Republican presidential debate, scheduled for March 21. "I think we've had enough debates," Trump said.
The Republican establishment's bid to stop him may have come too late as a field of candidates that once included Trump and 16 high-profile party figures has dwindled to only three with Trump, 69, in command ahead of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, 45, and Ohio Governor John Kasich, 63, who won the Ohio Republican primary on Tuesday.

While the Republican race remained in turmoil, Hillary Clinton won victories in Florida, Illinois, Ohio and North Carolina on Tuesday that cast doubt on U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders' ability to overtake her for the Democratic Party's nomination.
Trump's landslide victory in Florida knocked rival Marco Rubio, a U.S. Senator from that state and a foreign policy hawk, out of the White House race.
Trump's closest challenger is Cruz, a Texan and favorite of the conservative Tea Party, who is second to Trump in delegates but has struggled in states where conservative evangelical voters, among Cruz's biggest supporters, are not dominant.
Kasich is the last establishment Republican candidate standing. Asked whether he would work with Cruz to block Trump's path to nomination, he told NBC's "Today" show:   
"I'm out there running to be president. I'm not out to stop Donald Trump or stop anybody else. By winning yesterday in Ohio, I've dealt him a very, very big blow to being able to have the number of delegates."
Early on Wednesday, MSNBC projected Trump and Clinton would win Missouri in very tight races. With 100 percent of the votes counted, Clinton led Sanders by about 1,500 votes and Trump led Cruz by about 1,600 votes.
It would not be the first time Trump skipped a debate if he follows through on his plan. He also sat out the Fox News/Google debate on Jan. 28, after complaining of unfair treatment in a previous Fox debate.
(Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey in Washington,; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Bill Rigby)
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks about the results of the Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois and Missouri primary elections during a news conference held at his Mar-A-Lago Club, in Palm Beach, Florida, March 15, 2016.
Reuters/Joe Skipper