Handwritten Memories

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Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” ― L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

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If you had given me a stack of 10,000 letters without any signatures, I could immediately tell you who this note was from with one blink of an eye. I’d know the handwriting from anywhere – it’s from my friend Chris. We’ve been best friends since 1st grade. We probably passed at least 400 notes back and forth to each other on little scraps of paper, in classrooms, throughout our years in elementary, middle school and high school together. I know her handwriting as intimately as I know my twin sisters’.

Last weekend, Chris, Jan and I had a wonderful reunion. She and her husband came to my book signing in Towson, Maryland. Ever since I left for college we have been geographically separated by 500 miles or more. Our visits have been sporadic and infrequent. My only excuse for not seeing her more is a very poor one. The busyness of life often got in our way. Does that ever happen to you, too?

When Chris saw me at the book event, we hugged each other so tightly! She handed me a card and said “read this later.” It was a three page letter of her memories of our fun times we spent together from age 7 to 18.

Chris’ memories are a gift to me because she remembered some things that I had forgotten. There is also some insight into what happened to my twin and I when we were dealing with separation anxiety issues due to my pioneering heart surgery.

When I read this note from Chris to my mother she immediately began reminiscing. Mom said “whether you know it or not, Sue, your sister was more of a “basket case” then you were and you were the one going through the hard stuff. With Jan, I had I much more to deal with.” My memories of that time in my life are included in my memoir so my mothers comments were not surprising.

DSCN2778Above:  Chris, Sue & Jan – friends since lst grade. Here we are now. In my memoir we are pictured as much younger women.

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Above: Joined with Linda, another childhood  friend. I think Linda was dreaming about our elementary school daze!

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This blog brought to you by the award-winning author of “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected,” Sue Batton Leonard.

See you on Monday!

A Caring, Comedic Character

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Through humor you can soften some of the worst blows that life can deliver. And once you find the laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it. ~ Bill Cosby

“The treasure is in the voice,” the author says of her EVVY award-winning audio book version of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

Some readers argue that “the real gold is in Fanny’s character.”  Either way, the Batton family benefited from the love and friendship of a woman who kept things in the right perspective. Fanny was a real winner!

Last weekend at a book signing in Towson, Maryland, award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard’s home town, something wonderful happened – a group of Fanny fans gathered round! Some knew Fanny in real life and others met her through reading the award-winning memoir.

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Fanny’s Fan Club

If you want to learn more about the “phenom Fanny,” Ukazoo has Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfillling Things in the Unexpected in stock! http://www.ukazoo.com. It is also available through other major on-line book sellers in audio book, paperback and e-book.

Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected has become a finalist in another book competition, in two categories – young adult and non-fiction. To read more about the 2014 Harvest Book Competition, please visit this link. http://bit.ly/ZWqMxV and to see the list of other finalists and the titles of their books, please visit this list. http://bit.ly/1vbWwfb.

 

Windows into Our Heritage

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Don’t stumble upon your heritage. It’s there, just waiting to be discovered and explored. ~ Robbie Robertson

What a treasure the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC is. In my estimation, the building itself tells a story just as important as the paintings contained within. The Greek revival architecture is gorgeous. Walt Whitman once said “it is the noblest of Washington buildings.”  The gallery took thirty-two years to build and was one of the first public buildings in D.C. to be constructed. Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural ball was held in it in 1865.

Come along with me on a short tour. Picture taking is allowed in many parts of the building, so I captured some images with my camera for my blog readers who live too far from Washington, DC to visit this and other great American landmarks.

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Magnificent isn’t it? The three pictures above are the Kogod Courtyard -a light-filled enclosed public space within the National Portrait Gallery.

In the very near future, Experience America, an exhibit which is part of the permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery, will be featured on All Things Fulfilling. A trip to our nation’s Capital is always exciting because there are so many discoveries to be made. Entering into all the museums and playing tourist in Washington, DC is like opening box after box filled with our country’s heritage. Every time I visit I discover more to explore next time.

Tomorrow, more pictures from my book signing in Towson, Maryland. This blog brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, please visit this link http://bitly.com/1rA6fdV.

Memoirs: Annals of History

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“Memoirs are the backstairs of history.” ~ George Meredith

Last weekend I had lunch with my sister and her husband at the National Gallery of Art Pavilion Café. It was a gorgeous day – sunny and warm. We sat on the patio so we could take in the sculpture garden which surrounded the greenhouse-like structure that held the café.

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From where we sat, the National Archives Museum was also visible. http://www.archives.gov/museum/

Below is a photo of it in the distance.

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Below: One of the bigger-than-life sculptures on the grounds of the Café took me back to my childhood. How long has it been since you have seen one of these? Do you know what it is?

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All sorts of nostalgic thoughts of vintage school supplies were set off by seeing this unexpected sculpture. If you are a baby boomer, you will also remember having to buy these items at the start of the school year:

lepages glue

 

white school paste

pencil box

vintage fountain pen

 

vintage pencil sharpener

Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. We will be visiting the National Portrait Gallery tomorrow. That’s all for now from our nation’s  beautiful Capitol City -Washington, D.C.  Note the work they are doing on the Capitol dome to insure that it will be standing for many more generations!

IMG_20141005_120141_861My award-winning memoir is not in the National Archive Gallery but it is registered with the Library of Congress 2014933053.

This blog brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her memoir Gift of  a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected please visit this link http://amzn.to/1vQ6Lob.

 

Indie Bookstore Feature: Ukazoo Books

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Sometimes it is hard to fathom that I went from someone who had only written a few college term papers decades ago to writing a memoir that won two EVVY book awards all within four years time. Talk about a gift of a lifetime and finding fulfilling things in the unexpected! Astonishing myself has been reward enough!

There have also been some new developments since last Friday. I found out that my memoir is finalist in two categories (non-fiction and young adult) in the 2014 Harvest Book Competition.http://bit.ly/1vbWwfb.

How about dem apples?

I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw this image. Perhaps it explains in all.

all the power

 As writers, believing in ourselves and slaying the dragons is our biggest challenge!

Today, I would like to thank Ukazoo Books and everyone who came to my book signing in Towson, Maryland over the weekend. I couldn’t have been more pleased at the turnout. GIFT OF A LIFETIME:FINDING FULFILLING THINGS IN THE UNEXPECTED IS NOW AVAILABLE AT UKAZOO BOOKS IN TOWSON, MARYLAND. phone#410-832-2665. OR IF YOU ARE IN THE AREA, STOP BY THE STORE @ 730 DULANEY VALLEY ROAD.  Website:   http://www.ukazoo.com. 

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To Edward, the store owner – it was a pleasure to meet you several days before the event. I enjoyed our exchange of conversation about the industry of independent publishing. And your staff is wonderful -Ben, Tim and all the others at Ukazoo were so helpful.

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Meems and Peeps

My Dad & Mom arriving for the book signing. They are my source of inspiration -

88 and 85 yrs old, respectively, and going strong! What a gift to have them around this long.

Thanks, Ukazoo Books, http://www.ukazoo.com for hosting my book talk and book signing! I enjoyed browsing your store. Loved the books of regional history. I can’t wait to delve into the book I bought called Towson: Now and Then by Melissa Schenhlein. There are so many places featured in it that I remember from my childhood that are now only found in the archives.

In a few days from now I will have more pictures from this fun weekend, all brought about because of independently publishing Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Expected.  For more information on award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard, browse this website.

See you tomorrow!

 

Fondness for Frederick

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“You have to know the past to understand the present.” Dr. Carl Sagan
I’ve taken the opportunity to blog about the town of Frederick, Maryland on quite a number of occasions. I have great affection for many Fredericks that have been in my life. You will understand why if you read my memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.
My affection for the town of Frederick comes for what has been salvaged out of what was once a run-down, ramshackle place during my childhood. Now, it is a place to be proud of! Art, architecture, history, tourism are all the things it has going for it!
To read other articles on All Things Fulfilling about the revitalization of Frederick, Maryland, visit these links.

Today on All Things Fulfilling, enjoy just a few more pictures from the Harvest Fair that I went to last weekend in Frederick.

Hope to see you tomorrow, Saturday October 11th at Ukazoo Books in Towson, Maryland where I will be doing a book signing from 1pm to 4pm. A short author talk will begin at 2pm.

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 Two photos below are from: Smokestack Studio  – great place.  Loved it. http://www.smokestackstudios.com/

 

 

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Do return to All Things Fulfilling on Monday! More sites and scenes from Washington, DC  will be featured!

This blog brought to you by the EVVY award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard on an East Coast book tour! For information on her memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, please visit this link.http://amzn.to/1y21igm.

Capitalizing on Historical Aspects

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History is the interpretation of the significance that the past has for us. ~Johan Huizinga

“More cities and towns ought to do this!” I stated to my sister as we walked the streets of Frederick, Maryland on Friday evening during their Harvest Fair.

“Do what?” she asked.
“Capitalize on the assets they already have – you know, put new energy into historic cities and towns rather building new. Our country’s heritage is something our citizens should to be proud of. I think this town has the right idea.” I said. “I’ve seen some interesting historical aspects that presented in a history book, I wouldn’t dream of reading about. But being immersed in it as a tourist I am drawn into it. Even that Museum of Civil War Medicine, is neat. Seeing the artifacts is better than trying to read about it.” http://www.civilwarmed.org/.

“I agree but what else do you like so much about the town?” my sister inquired.
“The architectural details of these historic buildings, the vintage clothing shops, the retro furniture in these antique shops…..the town seems to be emphasizing all that. And obviously people are interested. I mean, look at all the people. Years ago, you could have never have convinced me to stop here.”
Over the past three or so years, I have visited this town willingly and each visit only gets better. People from the greater Baltimore/Washington D.C. area seem to be flocking to this town. The streets, shops and restaurants were busy! Each time I’ve stopped, the town’s identity seems to be more clearly established as a historical landmark, thanks to grants for Main Street historic revitalization efforts. Frederick Maryland has been “deemed a masterpiece in Maryland” by the New York Times.

If you are a Civil War buff, traveling to Gettysburg or Antietam battlegrounds, make a point to stop here. And don’t miss the canal area of the city. There are special things to be found especially during the spring, summer and fall.

Enjoy these pictures from the streets of Frederick, Maryland. Tomorrow I will share a few more images!

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Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. I look forward to sharing a few more things that I found of interest.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. The award winning book is available in audio, paperback and e-book through this link. http://amzn.to/1y21igm