Saturday, February 26, 2011

The War on Women

Recently (Feb. 25) the New York Times published an editorial: about Republican intent to cut government programs for women and children - including insurance coverage for abortion, contraception, and nutrition for women and children.

One wonders how our legislators think they can balance the budget by creating situations where there will be ever more people dependent on the government. I am not sure any man who goes to work in a suit every day can even fathom the sort of life low income females have to endure. The sad part is that women have been conditioned for centuries to step back when it comes to their reproductive health.

What would happen if each female in Congress voted to help her female constituents? Would that come under the heading of 'charity begins at home?' Might. Probably wouldn't be cost-efficient, though.

Male and Female have always had different roles.

It seems to me that from the beginning of time men have been looking for a scrap and just to make sure the enemy stayed down, they raped the enemy's women so the next generation would be theirs to control.

Women had to bear the winner's children and protect the babies - no matter who the father was. The ladies had one asset, however - they could take care of each other but there was many a wise woman killed for her secrets - remedies for the elimination of an unwanted baby (or product of rape) and help in childbirth. With the wise women gone, the men invented the title of 'doctor' and proceeded to complicate the issues - often to his profit.

My novels deal with women's issues because I feel any little bit that raises consciousness is good for the species. If I could, I would love to see my work on supermarket book racks where poor women go to shop because they are intended to plant the seeds of autonomy - they are stories about women who succeed - despite whatever males have done to them; and I know they are true stories - lived by women every day -even here in America.

This is not to say all men are bad. Lord knows I love the good ones and there are many. I would just like to see the others develop a conscience concerning the role of women in our society and the way they are treated. I want to see the children nurtured, protected and educated so that they do not have to depend on government programs to survive. It can't be done in a couple of years, but I do believe that part of our human journey is to grow and right the wrongs that have plagued our species for years.

Charity should begin at home and women and children deserve to be protected.

Think about it and keep on the sunny side, Terry

Friday, February 25, 2011

Vienna Pride - A glimpse of Dorchester's Heritage

I was reading Ann Foley's book about Elliott Island and found the seafood and food packing industry fascinating. When I finished the Chesapeake Heritage series with Chesapeake Visions, it occurred to me that there was still plenty of history left to weave into my tales. So I started Vienna Pride.

Children worked in the canneries here on the Eastern Shore in a era when social consciousness had not yet reached the point when children were schooled before they had to go to work. As I looked at the industry, I found instances where children as young as five or six were employed full time doing tasks like shucking oysters! It is hard to imagine.

The handsome cover of Vienna Pride done by publisher Arline Chase incorporates an image of young Delaware cannery girls from the Library of Congress collection.

My research is not perfect, but life as a cannery worker in one of the dozens of canneries in the area could not have been pleasant, even though I have talked with women who worked in fish houses who remember their crab-picking days with something like pleasure. If nothing else, they treasured the companionship that took the curse off hard work for little pay.

I will admit I created a boss who was not so pleasant - but boss is a four-letter word after all. It wouldn't be much of a story with a lovable boss - but the cannery manager was also an employee who worked for the man who owned the cannery - he was just the person who laid down the bottom line. Cannery workers labored in hard conditions and those who crossed the Chesapeake for summer work lived in shacks with straw for bedding and a shocking lack of sanitation that would never be tolerated today.

Even the farmers suffered because the cannery owners purchased produce for as little as possible in order to achieve maximum profits for their products. By the Depression, farmers struck for better produce prices. It has not always been a pretty or easy history, but today the canneries are gone and the Eastern Shore of Maryland is looking for ways to sustain its population as young people migrate to other places looking for work. Our children no longer work in canneries - the canneries are gone. They no longer have to quit school to help feed their families - social programs monitor child abuse and labor laws and work toward feeding every child.

Today's society would be shocked at what was taken for granted in 1918 when our soldiers were returning from the war in Europe and the Spanish Influenza scoured the Eastern Shore. Life was different and people expected to work hard for the wages they earned.

It was a different time - one not always mentioned in the history of the area. It struck me as a chapter that helped shed some light on the experience of the hardy folks who lived on the Eastern Shore at the turn of the last century. I think the name says it all: Vienna Pride

Vienna Pride is available at and will be posted soon at the Kindle site. I hope you like it and that you stay on the sunny side! Terry L. White

Friday, February 4, 2011

Stories Meant to be Written

Some stories should be written, like the time I fell for the little Italian guy and took a station wagon full of leather goods from Gloversville to Myrtle Beach where you had to get a permit to make a left turn – see what I mean? My life was like some demented sitcom.

I will say one thing, though. It took me to places I never dared look at before – which, according to Arline Chase and Stephen King were necessary to do the big thing, that being a best-selling American author.

To that end, I have written somewhere about a score books: novels, a mystery, a how-to, a series, a knock-off, and more than a few mixed genre books. Is there a genre called Historical Women’s Stories?

There should be.

I wrote a lot of them – because they were stories that had to be written and they didn't leave me alone until I did write them.

We learn all sorts of stories in grade school where George Washington has an amazing resemblance to God and men really did walk on the moon during your father’s lifetime.

These stories were put in books and then more properly called history. If you notice, women are not part of the equation. Who ever heard of Herstory?

I have, because I write history from a woman’s perspective. Men went westering and conquering mountains, but women were the glue that held the family together. Living on the Delmarva Peninsula has suggested a number of stories ask us to look at its history through the eyes of a woman.

If a woman is tending to a child with the croup and has to hold the child over a bowl full of boiling water -- for which she also chopped the wood and carried the pail from the well – that’s a story that wants to be written. Folks have it easy these days. I haven’t carried wood nor water for years, but I knew those chores well enough to help others see what such a life might have been like without running water and electricity.

As such, I have set my Chesapeake Heritage Series the task of showing what the history we know was like for our formothers. Each book casts a light upon a certain period of cultural development on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Mary Charles arrives as an indentured servant. Hannah’s mixed blood has her drummed from the colony. Jane endures the fires of a marriage goes wrong, and Jewel tells us about a world without sight.

A new novel set in the same made-up area called Somerset (but not necessarily within that county) jumps time to the end of World War One and the story of cannery girls puts them in terrifying jeopardy.

Are these the real stories of the women who came before? Not really. The men stuff is important, but a good woman is behind every man… Remember? But hardly anybody wrote that down. That said, I have to honestly want to say they are fiction.

In the end these are the stories that wanted to be written. I hope someday they will also want to be stories you want to read.

Thanks for stopping by,

Love, Terry

PS: Keep on the sunny side!