Maizie’s Reunion. Ninety-three years old and faint of heart (literally–dying of heart congestion), Maizie gets a boyfriend, and that changes everything. After decades of isolating regret and resentment, she determines to reconcile with relatives before she moves on to the next world. Still curmudgeonly by nature, she gets in touch with her three granddaughters, Trixie, Trina and Tranquility. She was close to them once, but events that were not exactly anyone’s fault spread estrangement through the family like cancer. A story rich with flashbacks, it also moves steadily toward the day of reunion Maizie has set. Through the invitation process, she’s gotten re-acquainted with the T girls and gotten to know her four great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren through phone calls, emails, texts, and photos. When they arrive at her house for the celebration, the anticipated drama is outdone when they find Maizie dead in the kitchen. Facts from the obit: 93-year-old woman dies at home. No husband or children are listed as predeceased or survivors, only three granddaughters whose names start with T, their children and grandchildren, and a brother.
Football Fantasy. Affable Buddy Freeling’s hard secret is deep, dark depression in the off-season of football. This particular winter, he is wrestling with those blues, topped off by a recent diagnosis of terminal cancer, when scammer Rita Freeling comes to town claiming him as her biological father. She insists she is the product of Buddy’s only love affair with a cheerleader when he was a high school football hero. Despite the furious protests of his siblings, Buddy allows the colorful and charming Rita to worm her way into his life. When the scam is made fully known, Buddy is relieved because he’s fallen in love with her. She becomes his nurse and lover. Facts: This man died after a long and courageous battle with cancer. An “independent, free-spirited, generous and kind-hearted soul who loved family, pets and football… he lived simply and true to himself with a quick wit and tender smile.” Survived by two sisters and a brother. Happiest in the fall with football to watch.
Haunted Heart, Haunted House. Horror ahead. Homicide, theft, the politics of racist history, and love tested will thrill the reader as ghosts, police detectives, candidates for public office and a feisty, funny Southern matriarch, Ninny Carruthers, stop at nothing to solve a murder mystery. The dramedy begins with a stolen locket and ends with wild flames felling the historic home of a famed Confederate officer who penned a proslavery treatise that had great impact in its time. Ninny’s wit and wisdom keep her a step ahead of the other characters, though her fervent dedication to solving the crime puts her marriage to the long-suffering V. S. T. Carruthers III at risk. Facts: The deceased was nicknamed Ninny by a grandchild. She bought and sold estate jewelry, supported organizations related to the Confederate States of America, helped rescue an historic home of a proslavery Confederate officer, enjoyed a 59-year marriage, and was voted Wittiest by high school classmates.
Do you ever read obituaries of people you don’t know? My sister Robin did, and i think she used the facts sometimes to construct short stories. She liked it when the cause of death was stated and also made it clear on several occasions that she wasn’t happy about dying, was not going “quietly into that good night.” So when sister Betsy took on the task of composing Robin’s obit–and did a great job–she wrote, “Robin Fossum Weber, 59, reluctantly died on Oct. 22, 2012, from pancreatic cancer.” Another obituary i read with those above moved me with the courage of the family of a 27-year old woman. They recounted her amazing love for all people, fondness of children, generosity, zest for life, and then said, “Addiction took her life too soon.” They wanted the beauty and meaning of her life to give hope to others. Telling her story in a novel would be quite a book–but she’s already told it, lived it. And, judging by her obituary, she affected many lives for the better in her short stay on this earth.
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