The Betty MacDonald Network™
A literary society and fan magazine

Welcome to our open, community supported fan site for American author and humorist Betty Bard MacDonald.

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Original SPOL Comment Series

February 2002 through July 2004

Maria Knight Oct 20, 2002 R

(Editor's note: A portion of the transcript was lost due to a system failure in 2002. If at some future date we recover the data we will post it.)

Siannon Birch Feb 22, 2003 Seattle retired
   I have wondered all my reading life whatever happened to everybody, so thank you very much for this information. I feel like they were family I read of them so much and with such delight (id:814)
Jacquie Mar 21, 2003 Canada teacher assistant
   30 years ago, I read "best friends" by mary was the best book I've ever read. I'm sure I read it 50 times and wish I could find a copy now to share with my 8 & 10 year old daughters!! This article was wonderful and it was nice to get to know the author and her family in such depth. (id:921)
Linde Apr 06, 2003
   thank you so much for this wonderful article. There is a Betty MacDonald Fan Club and Society and they published the most interesting biographical stories and tapes. (id:997)
John Hughes Apr 11, 2003 Norwich, UK Graphic Designer
   Thanks for filling-in some blank spaces. I'm putting together an account of my mother's life. She died exactly a year ago, and although she had no connection with Betty MacDonald she was of the same generation and felt an affinity. Betty MacDonald's stories where at the top of our familily's reading list thanks to mom, and I'm only now realising why she considered these books to be not only very funny, but beautifully written. I'll be passing them on to mine which is what my mother would have expected. (id:1019)
carol Apr 22, 2003 annandale, virginia housewife/mother
   I read a Readers Digest version of Onions In The Stew when I was 12 (I'm 48) & never forgot it. I've now read all but Nancy & Plum; I love Betty & feel like I know her family - this article was such a treat! Now I'm itching to read "Best Friends" by Mary...Betty MacDonald is such a gem!! (id:1057)
carol Apr 22, 2003 annandale, virginia housewife/mother
   I read a Readers Digest version of Onions In The Stew when I was 12 (I'm 48) & never forgot it. I've now read all but Nancy & Plum; I love Betty & feel like I know her family - this article was such a treat! Now I'm itching to read "Best Friends" by Mary...Betty MacDonald is such a gem!! (id:1058)
kay May 23, 2003 gold country, northern ca garage sale-er
   Does anyone know what happened to Betty's daughters, Joan and Anne? How did they turn out and are they still living? Any leads welcome. Thanks! (id:1202)
Kathy Jun 30, 2003 London, UK journalist
   I'm a huge Betty MacDonald Fan. Thank you so much for this very interesting article. Did you read the bios THE KETTLES' MILLION DOLLAR EGG & THE EGG AND BETTY - the first two parts of Betty's bio? Very interesting stories published by Betty MacDonald Society. For more info I' d die to visit Seattle and Vashon Island. (id:1338)
Martine Jul 02, 2003 Paris, France author
   Great article! Thanks a lot for this! I'm delighted to receive more info on my beloved writer. Are there any people in Seattle or in the region who knew Betty MacDonald and her family? I would be happy to meet them. Write a mail to: please. I adore the stories and tapes of Betty's life published by Betty MacDonald Society. Betty is a brilliant writer and I wished I could write as well. She was unique! (id:1347)
MIkki Jul 14, 2003 Port Orchard, WA artist
   My Mom introduced me to "The Egg and I" many years ago. I fell in love with Betty's writing then. I've read most of her books and lived on Vashon Island and have been to Chimacum. I live a ferry ride from vashon now. So, glad to have found this site. And, to be able to share the enjoyment of Betty's stories. There is nothing like them. Bless her heart. (id:1381)
gisela gala Aug 29, 2003 port angeles,wa mother
   i received her book,nancy and plum as a young i live in her great nortwest-a far stretch from germany. i have actually met some people here who are related to her and the Kettle family. i am quite awed to be where they have been and get goosebumps of joy to now be at least close to their past.i love them both. thankyou (id:1545)
Martine Sep 23, 2003 Paris, France author
   hi dear gisela gala, i just read you know betty's family and the kettles. i'd die to know more. could you send me a mail to please. betty was a gifted writer. i adore her books and the very interesting biographies and tapes. she had a wonderful laugh. (id:1622)
Gisela Sep 25, 2003 Hamburg/GERMANY teacher
   Hi Gisela from Port Angeles, I'm Gisela from Hamburg. Did you meet the real Kettles and the Bards? Es w?re nett von Ihnen zu h?ren! Betty's Fan Club is great and so are the items! (id:1629)
vera smith Dec 04, 2003 houston, texas computer tech
   Great site with plenty of information. I have been a fan for a long time, thought I was the only one. I have the four books, bought them from the library because I liked them so much. I think Betty could have a lot of new fans if her books could be sold in major book stores again. She wrote with such joy and ou could just really get into her life. I found the the The Plague and I interesting in the treatment of tuberculosis back then. The Egg and I was so funny, the Kettle family so down the earth. I enjoyed her stories of the Grandmother, such a character, and her childhood. I read the books every year and they are so enjoyable each and everytime. I see some of the books are out in paperback this is good. Maybe a new generation of readers will discover Betty and her family. Remember the funny old store Betty and her sister discovered one night with people's clothes that seemed to have been just lived in. Also that creepy coworker Marilee? I just found the four books so enjoyable and I keep them on my bookcase in a place of honor along with a few other of my favorite books. (id:1918)
Lorinda Dec 19, 2003 Seattle
   To Kay from Gold Country, Northern CA....Betty's daughters Joan and Anne are both getting up in years. Joan has Alzheimers and lives in an assisted living center in a suburb of Seattle. The other daughter Anne has been an artist for many years and lives in Northern California, although I'm not sure where. Joan's daughter Heidi attends the same church I do. The family values their privacy and I don't think either of the daughters uses the Internet. Thank you for this website with the photos and information. It is fascinating to look up the places in Betty's stories. I had found some of these photos (and others) on various searches in the King County archives and I've visited many of the places including the Egg & I Road and the former Firland Sanitorium (now a private college). The only place I haven't been to is the site of Fred Hildebrandt's Shoe Repair. I was interested to hear about Mary Bard's books and where to find them. I just noticed that the Vashon Island General Store will be offering a new reprint of "The Doctor Wears Three Faces" in January (their website is Thank you. (id:1971)
Peter Dec 26, 2003 Bern, Switzerland Teacher
   Very interesting detail information. I'm looking for radio and tv appearances of Betty MacDonald. Thanks for your advice! (id:1987)
Emilie Garcia Dec 28, 2003 Port Orchard, WA Retired
   I recently read an article in the local newspaper about Betty MacDonald Farm on Vashon Island. As a child I had heard about The Egg and I, but never saw the movie. I did see movies about Ma and Pa Kettle. I wonder what the Kettles thought about what she wrote about them. I wonder what the Native Americans think of what she wrtoe about them. As a Native myself, I feel hurt about how she viewed her Indian neighbors, but despair and alcoholism is a sad fact of life for some of us. We had no alcohol for thousands of years until...... I moved with my husband from California when we retired in 1997 to the Kitsap Peninsula, and only recently discovered that the author of The Egg and I was writing about this area that I have come to love. I can relate very well to her tales of fighting the native vegetation and marauding critters, and am glad I live in an era where I can enjoy the beauty of this wilderness, but with all the modern conveniences. I am anxious to read all of her books. She was a great descriptive and insightful writer. (id:1991)
Peter Dec 28, 2003 Bern, Switzerland Teacher
   To Emilie Garcia from Port Orchard, You should read the MacDonald Society stories Regarding the Native Americans I can understand your feelings very well but you should know the reason why she described them this way. I was kind of horrified to learn reality. Did anyone ever see Betty MacDonald on televison? Any advice? (id:1994)
Deborah Long Feb 29, 2004 Encinitas Calif Caregiver
   As a caregiver I was saddened to learn that Joan has Alzheimer's. Is Kimi living? Any of Mary's children or Cleve's? Is the public market still there? (id:2297)
Susanne Mar 03, 2004 Vienna, Austria retired
   To Deborah from California: Kimi was Betty MacDonald's best friend and she is living. I've read some Betty MacDonald Society items and Kimi wrote the most wonderful stories. Her comments are excellent. It's true the way Betty described her in THE PlAGUE. She is such an intelligent, warmhearted and charming lady with a very good sense for humor. (id:2309)
Deborah Mar 05, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Susanne, Thank you for your response. I wonder if anyone has met,in person, any of Betty's family? What happened to the first husband, Bob Heskett? (id:2321)
Deborah Mar 05, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Susanne, I apologize for my preceeding typos - I was typing in a rush as always! I am very curious about the death of Betty MacDonald's first husband. Do you or anyone else have that information? I wonder if any of Betty's family sees our messages? Has anyone met any family members? (id:2323)
Susanne Mar 08, 2004 Vienna, Austria retired
   Deborah, There is a story published by Betty MacDonald Society entitled The tragic end of Betty's first husband. It's a rather sad and depressing story but very well researched with all the details. There are audio interviews with Betty and her sister Alison. Both are very funny. I can highly recommend them. I listened to them a million times. My husband gets crazy but they are wonderful. Real treasures. I love the net. It's so wonderful to be so close with all the Betty Fans. (id:2331)
Jane Mar 16, 2004 Canada
   I suggest going to the "A Common Reader" website. You will be able to read an interesting 1998 interview with Anne Canham and Joan MacDonald Keil. Search for Betty's book THE EGG & I, and once there you will find (and be able to click on)"An interview with Betty MacDonald's daughters" on the top right side of the screen. I also recommend Monica Sone's book, NISEI DAUGHTER. I purchased it after reading somewhere that Monica Sone was the "Kimi" Betty wrote about in THE PLAQUE & I. She writes about her time as a patient at "North Pines" sanitarium and of her fascinating friend "Chris." (id:2356)
Deborah Mar 17, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Jane, thanks so much for your tip about the Common Reader website !! Why is the death of Betty's first husband such a secret? I wish someone would be kind enough to tell me. (id:2365)
Jane Mar 17, 2004 Canada
   You're welcome, Deborah. With regard to the secret of Bob's death: Perhaps to wet our appetites? The people who know the story of Bob would have purchased Betty's bio from the Betty MacDonald Society and probably don't feel that they are at liberty to share the information. I have always hoped to support the Society, myself, but the costs have been a factor. Hence, for now I do my own research. (id:2367)
Deborah Mar 18, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Jane, I enjoyed your response. Have you looked at the website " HistoryLink Database Output, A Magic Lantern Tour..." There is a great website ! And pictures !! (id:2375)
Deborah Mar 21, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
    Jane, my mistake - the website with several photos is called History Link Galleries. It is listed just below the Database Output. Or have you already seen it? (id:2387)
Jane Mar 22, 2004 Canada
   Thanks Deborah. I was familiar with the article ("Betty MacDonald and Mary Bard: A Guide to their King County Homes.") It's a wonderful find, isn't it? A great big thank-you to Paula Becker and Pricilla Long! After reading it once again, I see that this must be where I first heard about Monica Sone and her book. (id:2390)
Deborah Mar 26, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Jane, Have you tried the website "HistoryLink Database Output" ? Then go Biographies, then scroll down to MacDonald. A great website, best pictures !! (id:2416)
Sylvia Apr 15, 2004 Oregon none if I can help it
   Does anyone know how to access Betty MacDonald's radio drama scripts and/or audio archives of those broadcasts? I think they were mentioned in Anybody Can Do Anything, though it may have been in Mary Bard's book. Thanks for any information you may have. (id:2501)
Susanne Apr 18, 2004 Vienna, Austria retired
   Hi Sylvia, Betty MacDonald Society offers several tapes with Betty and her family. The tapes are really very interesting and funny. (id:2509)
Lorinda Jul 08, 2004 Seattle
   To Deborah in California, Yes, the "Market" that Betty describes in her books is still very much in business here in Seattle. It's called the Pike Place Market. It's a well-known tourist spot in the city. I work downtown and walk there often. I love it. Fortunately, the city leaders made the effort to save it from demolition some 20 years ago and today it is thriving. It is a wonderful place to find every type of foodstuff - everything from fresh flowers and seafood to gorgeous produce and gourmet items. There are jewelry, craft, and clothing vendors and several restaurants with panoramic views of Puget Sound and its islands. You'll also find antique vendors, an herbal apothecary and palm reader, bakeries, newsagents, honey, etc. You name it and it will probably be there. In fact, I may even go for a walk there today on my lunch hour! (id:2751)
Sue Jul 09, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Deborah, my understanding is that Bob Heskett was murdered in Oakland, California, while trying to protect a woman from an abusive husband/boyfriend. I've also read that he suffered from terrible night terrors as a result of his war experiences, and that this made life with him very difficult for Betty. I don't believe he had any contact with Betty, Anne,or Joan after the divorce. I don't think what happened to him is a secret, but the family probably doesn't want to dwell on it. Several postings in this forum (generally the European ones) are from individuals who have done some research into Betty's history and have it available for sale. That's why they haven't answered your question and have directed you to the Betty MacDonald Fan Club website. And, although their postings in this respect are a little misleading, they do have Betty MacDonald information for sale and you might be interested in contacting them. Just be aware that they sometimes post on MacDonald forums as being strictly fans when they do have a monetary interest. In the meantime, read all of Betty's books. She was a fine writer and her early death was a loss not only to her family and friends, but to the book world as well. (id:2754)
Sarah Jul 10, 2004 California
   I wonder if anyone has met,in person, any of Betty's family? (id:2755)
Susanne Jul 10, 2004 Vienna, Austria retired
   I'm only an usual Betty Fan and don't have a monetary interest although I'm from Europe. I believe Betty was an unique writer. Therefore I was so glad to find out more about our beloved writer and was delighted to read the very interesting and detailed Fan Club Stuff. I was so amazed and surprised after finding out that there is a lot of very interesting and important stuff you won't find in Betty's books. Having the opportunity to hear Betty's wonderful voice and laugh makes me happy indeed. To me it's another dimension to know the way she spoke and acted. I only wished I could see her on television. Is there anything like this? One of my favorites is Betty's sister Alison. Boy how much I would have loved to meet Betty and the whole Bard family in person. That's the way many of her fans think I guess. I'm an elder lady now ( 67 ) but my sisters, children, many grandchildren ( I have 5 daughters ) love Betty as much as I do. I know several fans especially in the Czech Republic where Betty is a houshold name in these days. Betty will live on and on in her witty and wise classics and will continue to delight further generations all over the world. She was a big sharer said her sister Alison an (id:2756)
Susanne Jul 10, 2004 Vienna, Austria retired
   I'm only an usual Betty Fan and don't have a monetary interest although I'm from Europe. I believe Betty was an unique writer. Therefore I was so glad to find out more about our beloved writer and was delighted to read the very interesting and detailed Fan Club Stuff. I was so amazed and surprised after finding out that there is a lot of very interesting and important stuff you won't find in Betty's books. Having the opportunity to hear Betty's wonderful voice and laugh makes me happy indeed. To me it's another dimension to know the way she spoke and acted. I only wished I could see her on television. Is there anything like this? One of my favorites is Betty's sister Alison. Boy how much I would have loved to meet Betty and the whole Bard family in person. That's the way many of her fans think I guess. I'm an elder lady now ( 67 ) but my sisters, children, many grandchildren ( I have 5 daughters ) love Betty as much as I do. I know several fans especially in the Czech Republic where Betty is a houshold name in these days. Betty will live on and on in her witty and wise classics and will continue to delight further generations all over the world. She was a big sharer said her sister Alison and Betty still is. With her work Betty makes the world a bit better because she brings golden laughter and wisdom to her readers. However it's no stuff for saddos! I hope that many so called adults and children have the opportunity to read her magical books and learn more about her background. To me reading her books and knowing more about her background is one of the most fascinating experiences in my life. No exaggeration! Lorinda, for those you live so far away perhaps you could tell us more about the country Betty lived and Betty's daughters and relatives. One of my dreams is visiting your beautiful State of Washington but I'm very afraid of flying. Therefore I'm not shure this ever will come true. Thank you! (id:2757)
Lorinda Jul 19, 2004 Seattle
   Susanne, I would be happy to give you a little description of the area near the egg farm. My own family (grandmother, mother, aunts and uncles) lived in the area about the same time that Betty and Bob did. I visited there last spring and for years listened to my relatives tell stories about ìwhen we lived at the Blackmanís Lake placeî. The Egg & I Road is not really near any large town. It's on the left "arm" of Washington State, in Jefferson County, not far from the Olympic National Forest. It's really almost the foothills of the Olympics. The nearest villages are Port Ludlow and Chimacum, and both are very small. It is a beautiful area with rolling hills, tall evergreen trees, clean blue water, quiet coves and beaches rich with clams, geoduck, shrimp, and other fish. Itís a beautiful place to visit but there is very little employment nearby, so itís sparsely populated by retirees, few farmers, and locals who commute to Port Townsend, Port Angeles, or maybe Everett or Seattle. It is not the easiest place to get to from Seattle - it takes both a ferryboat ride and a car drive, unless you want to drive north over Deception Pass or south via the Kitsap Peninsula. The "Egg & I" Road (it's for real) is very quiet and upon entering it from Beaver Valley Road, you cross a wide valley where contented cows graze. The road climbs a hill and near the top is a large thick forest of evergreen trees. If you stop the car and get out, the smell of pine is intense and the woods are filled with birdsong. It's very quiet and peaceful. Nearby are some of the Kettle descendents' farms. The houses are a mixture of old-fashioned farmhouses and prefab mobile homes. It would be an inspiring place to be a writer if you liked spending lots of time alone. But it would be too lonely and quiet for a lot of people. The Olympic Mountains are quite close and they cause their own weather systems. That is why Betty spoke of the terrible nearness of the mountains. Wintertime storms can come up suddenly and blanket the area in clouds and fog for days at a time. When the weather is good, the place is absolutely stunning. Mule deer come up and eat out of your hands at Olympic National Park. The Egg & I Road is quite long and the spot where Bettyís farm used to be is not marked, so we had to guess. Some houses are still standing that were undoubtedly there when Betty lived there. About midway through the The Egg & I Road, you cross another highway and Chimacum Creek. The houses are set far apart and some are at the end of long, hidden driveways. Most are on acreage and have some animals. These are people who value their privacy. We followed one side road that went straight up the side of a hill. One area at the top of a hill is recovering from a forest fire that looked like it had happened within the last 5 years. Some of those hills look like they would be easy targets for lightening strikes. The volunteer fire chief lived conveniently at the bottom of the hill. I think the area is beautiful but could be extremely isolated and chilly (damp) during the winters. There really isnít much to do up there when the weather is bad. No city life, movie theaters, or even supermarkets close by. Summertime is the best time to visit. (id:2782)
Susanne Jul 25, 2004 Vienna, Austria retired
   Lorinda, are you a professional writer? How we ( my family and I ) enjoyed your description of Egg and I Road! Really lovely! Congratulations! Do you know the house Betty lived with her mother and sisters in the University District? I could read it's still there. Betty's wonderful sister Alison tells a lot about this. It must have been a magical place for the Bards and their many friends during the Depression. Do you know the tape where Alison tells the stories about Sydney and their many guests? Again - my compliments for your outstanding writing - (id:2797)
Peter Jul 27, 2004 Bern, Switzerland Teacher
   Lorinda, Thanks a lot for your very well written report of Egg and I Road. After reading THE KETTLES' MILLION DOLLAR EGG I have a question: Are there people like the Kettle Family in your state? Still today? (id:2801)


August 2004

Lorinda Jul 29, 2004 Seattle
   Thanks for the compliments - I'm a banker during the day but my college degree is journalism and I have written a few things, mostly for my own enjoyment. To answer Susanne: I have seen the house in the University District where Betty and her family lived during the Depression - along with several other houses they lived in. That little house is now nearly hidden behind trees. The street is on has been widened and is quite busy; in fact, there is a bus stop right in front of the house. The front porch is still there but it's hard to see much because the trees have grown so large. To answer Peter, yes, there are still "modern day" Kettles in Washington. But there are a lot of other people, too. All sorts, in fact. (id:2807)
Sara Aug 06, 2004 Prague/Czech Republic
   Hi, i¥m 18 years old student from Czech Republic. I red my first Betty's book in 13. Betty's books are really great, i red it million times. I'm very interested in Betty's life, family, daughters etc. This is good site with good informations. Thanks :) (id:2819)
Peter Aug 07, 2004 Bern, Switzerland Teacher
   Hi Sara, Welcome here. So nice to meet you. Is Betty very popular in your country and did you ever hear from Betty's Fan Club? Another Betty fan told me that they had several czech members. How came that you are a Betty Fan? (id:2822)
Sara Aug 09, 2004 Prague/Czech Republic
   When i was 13 my mother gave me Anybody can do anything and then the others books. In our country is a lot of women readin' Betty. She is really very popular, but just a few of them searchin' on sites like this to know more informations... If there are some mens readin' Betty, don't know, i know just two - my father and my geography teacher. Girls in my age don't read Betty so much, so the Betty fans are mainly women in age 30 - 70. I just heard about Betty's Fan Club, just a few things, so i don't know a lot of about it... (id:2823)
Yolonda Aug 09, 2004 Chimacum, WA Medical Assistant
   I just finished The Egg and I. What a wonderful book! I heard about it through my husband who's family has run a Dairy Farm that borders The Egg and I road since 1871. After I finished the book I had him show me where all the old farms were. We drove by the old "Kettle" Farm and a large White Farmhouse is still occupied there. We also drove by Bettys farm although you cannot see it from the road. I must admit I am fascinated with the book and her life. I just moved to Chimacum 2 weeks ago with my husband, and although I have electricity and running water, I feel I have a few things in common with Betty. Life out here is definatley something to get used to. Its a town where everyone knows pretty much everything about everyone!! I think our house is about 3 miles from the farm of Betty & Bobs. My husbands grandfather remembers the cougar that Bob shot, he hauled down to their farm by truck to "show it off" I found it amusing when asking my husbands family about the book that they said whatever you do don't mention the book to your neighbors. The "Kettle" ancestors are still in the area and apparently after over half a century they are still pretty sore about how their family was depicted.I can't wait to ask my in-laws more!!! (id:2825)
Susanne Aug 10, 2004 Vienna, Austria retired
   Lorinda, I've read your story so many times. You did a great job! Did you visit the coffee store Betty mentions in Anybody can do anything? Sara, Thank you so much for the info. If you are interested in learning more about the background especially I suggest you to read the Betty Fan Club stories. Very interesting. And I adore the tapes with Betty and darling sister Alison. Yolanda, it's fascinating that you live so close by Betty and the Kettles. I'm so interested in receiving more info after reading the Fan Club story The Kettles' Million Dollar Egg. Did you read this story? (id:2829)
Peter Aug 11, 2004 Bern, Switzerland Teacher
   To Sara: I'd like to write a newspaper report about Betty's fans especially from your country. What's the reason why Betty is so popular? Do you have any idea how I might get in contact with some fans from your country. To Yolanda: I'm so curious to learn more about Chimacum. How many inhabitants and how many farms are there? Has it changed a lot since Betty lived there? Do you have the feeling that some families hate Betty because she described them in THE EGG. Did you ever hear which family the Hicks were and the crazy lady ( I can't remember her name right now ) with the drunken indian husband and her five idiotic children. TO Lorinda: Do you know Chimacum and the other places where Betty lived? (id:2834)
Deborah Aug 11, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Dear Lorinda and S. Thompson, I haven't been to this site in awhile and so I haven't seen your messages/responses until now. Thank you both so much for the information ! S. Thompson, I'm curious - what woman, and what was the circumstance in which Bob would have been trying to prevent domestic violence? (id:2836)
Sue Aug 13, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Deborah, I don't know the exact circumstances, or who the woman was. I know he died on July 22, 1951. He was stabbed to death by a man named Blake. He's buried in Golden Gate National Cemetary, plot M 937. His niece has posted obituary requests on line and has given that much info. She is looking for more information, a newspaper clipping, etc. I was glad to read Lorinda's postings, as I didn't know what had become of Anne and Joan. I'm sorry to hear that Joan is not well. When I was teaching elementary school, I read Nancy and Plum to every class I had over a 22 year period, and it was always a hit. One class wrote to Joan to tell her how much they enjoyed the book. Joan's husband was kind enough to respond to them and thank them. I think he has since passed away. I kept the letter and have it tucked away in my old copy of Nancy and Plum. It's a link to Betty and I treasure it. (id:2838)
Deborah Aug 13, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Dear S. Thompson, Thanks for the information. What a terrible story ! I should have said that I read all of Betty's books and Mary Bard's as well, in the 1970's. I also owned them all, but lost them during a move. I loved "Onions" best. Any way of contacting Kimi of the "Plague" book? Her name is Monica Somes, I think, and she is still living according to what I have read. (id:2840)
Jane Aug 13, 2004 Canada
   Hi Deborah! I'm also back and have enjoyed all of the new postings. Monica Sone was born in 1919, and she would be close to 85 years old by now. According to my copy of NISEI DAUGHTER (Twelfth printing, 2002), Monica Sone lived in Canton, Ohio, where she was a clinical psychologist. (id:2841)
Kim Aug 15, 2004 Sacramento California
   Hello, all. I'm just back from a few days on the Olympic Peninsula where I drove Egg and I Road and tried to envision where Betty lived. Wish I had discovered this site first! So much information and SO NICE to think that people still seek out and read Betty's books--and, especially to think that she's world-known. I visited her farm on Vashon Island last summer. The barn and acres have been converted to a bed and breakfast--it's really beautiful, peaceful and charming. My regret was that we couldn't visit her house. You can glimpse it (adjoining property) but it's a privately owned home. (id:2842)
Deborah Aug 16, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Hi Jane, Nice to see you again. :) I wonder still why Bob would have been involved in a physical dispute? I'm wondering if he was a boyfriend or a concerned neighbor, or what? Probably old newpaper articles would provide more details. I wish Bob's niece, metioned here by S. Thompson, would also post. Also, Mr. Thompson, how great to have a letter from Joan's husband ! What fun ! (id:2845)
Deborah Aug 16, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Jane, I forgot to thank you for the info on Kimi ! Thanks ! Just read my own post and darn it, there's a typo ! I meant to say "mentioned" here. I'm mixed up on the time frame. Would Kimi/Monica have been in the war camp before or after the "plague"? (id:2846)
Martine Aug 17, 2004 Paris - France author
   Kim, Betty's house was a magical place. One of my relatives was Betty's agent here and had lots of stories to tell and I saw several pictures. By the way Betty's Fan Club offers a story entitled Bob's tragic end. You can find all the info even letters where Betty described her feelings toward Bob. Good stuff! (id:2847)
Jane Aug 17, 2004 Canada
   Deborah, Monica Sone was a patient at the sanitarium before living in a relocation camp. Later, she married Geary Sone and became a mother to four children: Philip Geary, Susan Mari, Peter Seiji, and John Kenzo. I recommend her book, NISEI DAUGHTER, which is both humorous and touching. It was eye-opening to learn what it was like to be a Japanese-American growing up on Seattle's waterfront in the 1920s & 30s, then being subjected to relocation during WWII. However, I really keyed in on the comments she made about her friend "Chris" who was obviously Betty MacDonald. Also on the cover of my paperback there is a photo of Monica and her younger sister taken in 1932! (id:2848)
Deborah Aug 17, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Jane, thanks for the info. Do you remember that you told me about the interviews with Anne and Joan found in the Common Reader website? The Common Reader is still there but the interviews are not, or am I not in the right one? I remember that I did go to it before, and saw the interviews. I wanted to go back and make a file of them. Any suggestions? (id:2853)
Jane Aug 18, 2004 Canada
   Deborah, I just checked, and it is still there. This is what I did: I went to, then I searched for Betty MacDonald under "search go." I clicked on THE EGG & I. Then on the top righthand side, second from the top, clicked on "An interview with Betty MacDonald's daughters." This will take you to the 1998 interview with Anne Canham and Joan MacDonald Keil. (id:2854)
Deborah Aug 18, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Jane, thank you ! I went right to it and have made a file. The way I found the interview before was by going to one of the Common Reader sites, it worked then but not now, maybe someone there has revised their website. At any rate, thanks ! I e-mailed the staff at Common Reader to ask who did the interview and if it is possible to get a letter or an e-mail to Anne or Joan. (id:2855)
Cheryll Aug 19, 2004 Maryland artist
   What a joy to discover all of you! I had never heard of Betty MacDonal until two weeks ago when I bought 'The Egg and I' at a flea market for no reason other than I liked the author's picture on the cover! I have never bought a book for such a superficial reason in my life but the photo which seemed to beckon me--such a smile! I read the book with increasing wonder at it's excellence, which I know you are all aware of. And then I could not stop wondering about Betty MacDonald and I positively ached to know more. As some have pointed out, the 'Fan Club' web site is not very user-friendly; I guessed that money was the motive behind the elusiveness of the site, and I was suspicious of the integrity, but now that some of you have confirmed the Fan Club's basic decency, I will break down and stick my toes in a bit deeper. I wish to thank all of you for sharing your love for Betty MacDonald, and your knowledge of her life! I immediately developed a bond with Ms. MacDonald, and I now feel a warm and delightful connection to all of you--indeed, you all seem to be part of an incredible family, the extended MacDonald family. I am deeply grateful to touch base with you, each and every one! Now I must dash, I am searching out a copy of 'Anyone Can Do Anything', which I must find before I will have peace of mind. . . I know you understand. . . til later, best regards always! (id:2857)
Susanne Aug 19, 2004 Vienna, Austria retired
   Cheryll, I hope you are successful in ordering Betty's book. If this is not the case let me know please. You should read all of Betty's books. You'll love them as much as we do! (id:2859)
Susanne Aug 20, 2004 Vienna, Austria retired
   Cheryll, I forgot to tell you a funny story. My poor hubby is not happy I ordered the tapes with Betty and Alison because I'm addicted and can listen to them a million times. I enjoy their very funny memories told with wonderful voices and laughs so many times that he's getting mad because of this. My children are so happy as I am because they are huge Betty admirers but poor old hubby isn't. That's life. I can't tell you how much I would love to see Sydney's house in the University District. It must have been a heaven during the Depression and Alison is such a great story teller. She should have been a writer too. What a family with so many talents. I wonder if Alison is still with us. Does anybody know this? (id:2860)
Kim Aug 20, 2004 Sacramento California
   Hi again. Thanks for the comments on Betty's house. I forgot to add that when we visited her farm, the owner of the B'n'B had a wonderful collection of clippings, photos, letters Betty had written, etc. It was wonderful to sit for a couple of hours and just pour through stuff! I really like a letter she sent to a woman who had written her in response to reading Egg & I. The woman lived on an egg ranch in the midwest, I think, and was sharing her thoughts and woes on the life. Betty's response was warm, funny and very personal--much as you might have expected. She named Port Townsend as the "town" she always refered to in the book and shared anecdotes about the ranch. It was a delight to read and confirmed that she was genuinely personable and funny--just like her books. Can you imagine writing her and getting a personal response? And, such a long, friendly one? (id:2861)
Lorinda Aug 20, 2004 Seattle
   It's so interesting to read the discussions. I am so amazed that so many Europeans are very interested in Betty's books. What is it about her stories and/or style that you like best? Is it her way of finding humor in adversity? Betty is known by librarians and a few people interested in history around here, but I think she is definitely more popular in Europe. Tell me what it is that draws you to her books. I am a suburban person who works in the city, although I grew up in the country in Oregon. I visited Chimicum just last summer and we had lunch at the little Chimicum Cafe. The area is beautiful, but I would not choose to move there because small-town life would be too confining for me. When you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, you need the diversions a city can offer, such as an airport to get away to someplace sunny! (id:2863)
Sally Aug 20, 2004 Greensboro, NC law office administrator
   I was sorry to learn that Betty died so young. According to what I've read, she and Don had moved to Carmel, California but after she developed cancer she returned to Seattle so that Mary's husband could oversee her treatment. Does anyone have other details? Why did they decide to leave Vashon for Carmel? What type of cancer was it, and how long did she live after the diagnosis? (id:2864)
Deborah Aug 20, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Cheryll, we're all glad to have you ! Come on in ! :) I hope you'll read Onions in the Stew, it's my favorite ! I practically have it memorized ! You seem very astute to me, I had some doubts about the fan club/society too, and the woman who runs the B & B told me that their information is not accurate and that she would not recommend paying for their info. Keep collecting Betty !! (id:2865)
Deborah Aug 20, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   I'm curious about Betty's recorded voice being on the fan club/society's tapes. In the Common Reader interview that Jane so kindly led me to, Betty's daughter says that the only recording of Betty's voice is when Betty accepted an award in 1947. Is this the recording the society offers for sale? (id:2866)
Sue Aug 21, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Some of you may be interested in the article I found about Betty's support for maintaining cemeteries for WWII American soldiers who were buried in Holland. She donated the proceeds of the Dutch sale of The Egg and I for this purpose. You can Google it by typing Opijnen + Betty MacDonald into the search bar. I think this gesture may be one reason she is popular in The Netherlands. As far as the Betty MacDonald Fan Club goes, I'm with Deborah and Cheryll. I see the same few names on this site as I've seen on others, and I suspect there's one person posing as several "fans" in order to promote the sale of the Club's materials. This person usually posts using two or three different names, but the grammar, syntax, and content of the various messages are a tip-off that it's one individual. As far as the recordings go, they may have the single Betty recording, but I think Betty's sister Allison may have done a recorded interview later in her life, because you'll note the constant references to that one. And Deborah, I'm Mrs. Thompson, not Mr. Thompson, but I know you couldn't tell that from the little bit of info I gave you, so it's o.k.! And I love Onions in the Stew as well----I can never decide which of Betty's books I like the best, although Onions and Anybody Can Do Anything are real favorites. When I was a little girl, the librarians made me quit taking Nancy and Plum out of the children's library for a month so somebody else would have a chance to read it, so to calm me down, my mom let me go with her to the adult section to check out The Egg and I, and that started me on all of Betty's books for adults. Jane, I have tried for ages to get a copy of Monica Sone's book. I found a hardback copy several years ago, with a foreward by Betty MacDonald, but it was far too expensive. I just found a used paperback copy this week in a bookstore in Portland. I'm so looking forward to getting into this book! Also, and I admit I'm bragging here, a year ago I found a copy of The Egg and I with a handwritten full-page dedication by Betty to the friend she'd been staying with, and on the next page, another handwritten, full-page dedication to the same friend by Mary Bard Jensen, Betty's sister. Apparently they spent several days with this lady and thanked her in this way. If my house ever catches fire and I have time to save something, my Betty books are going out the door first! My husband says he recognizes this fact and will attempt to save himself. If people who see this website will continue to share information that they may come across, we'll all get our questions answered, so thanks to those who have contributed. (id:2867)
Deborah Aug 21, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Dear Mrs. Thompson, I'm so sorry! Another one of my infamous typos! I am really enjoying your latest post! I too thought that something seemed "suspicious" about some of the posts here. That some of the posts seem to have the same "feel". They read very much like the e-mail I used to receive form the society/fan club. I suspected then that although "two" women were writing, that they were possibly only one. I blocked the mail, and they/she merely used another address to get through. This does not sound like a fan to me, but a salesperson. In my opinion, it qualified as spam more than anything else. You do realize you'll have us all drooling with envy over the two books you mention! I don't think you're bragging at all. You're sharing the joy of discovery with us! What a wonderful find! (id:2868)
Deborah Aug 21, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Sally, I always wondered if Don and Betty left Vashon for Carmel because perhaps it was getting increasingly difficult to maintain privacy, as so many fans were coming to Vashon. Or maybe for a change in the weather? Either way, Betty and the family would have been too kind to say so. Mrs. Thompson, what wonderful finds, would you be willing to type out what Betty and Mary wrote in the dedication pages? Or would that be too much to ask of you? (id:2870)
Susanne Aug 21, 2004 Vienna, Austria retired
   When I purchased the Betty MacDonald Collection a copy of Seattle P.I article was included. This paper reports about the fan club activities and interviews with Betty's family and friends. A very interesting article with photos. Perhaps somebody here is familiar about this. I'll have a look for it - can't find it right now. Yes you are right - too much things stored as my hubby is complaing all the time. Poor man! As I already told you I'm only a Fan and I have no monetary interest. I'm what I am - old Betty admirer Susanne from Vienna til the rest of my life. It's so nice to meet all of you. Hope you can forgive my mistakes in your language. It's interesting what the owner of B & B farm said about the fan club material. I don't agree at all. I tremendously enjoy the stories and Betty's and Alison's audio interviews. Not to forget Kimi's very shap comments. Her contributions are so important and funny especially in the story Betty's most wonderful man. I wonder if I am the only one here who has read the stories and listened the tapes? I can't imagine. It'll be interesting to hear some opinions from fans who are really familiar with them. I don't want to make this lady down. I don't know her but a Chech Fan told me she heard that Betty's family and friends especially Betty's friend Blanche whom she personally met are not crazy about this lady. Not at all! Lorinda, you asked the reason why so many european readers love Betty's stories. I only can speak for myself but my daughters and friends say the same: Betty was a word painter. Reading her stories you can smell the sea, the nature, the garden - everything. You have the feeling she shares everything with you even her illness. I can read her books again and again and it's such an amazing feeling to find something new in every rereading. I only have this feeling with Betty and I was reading many books. Another very important aspect: Betty never gave up. It's so important to be an optimist but also a realist. Betty was. Lorinda how can I thank you for sharing your info. How do you Americans say: You made my day. I would say: You made my life. My daughter Doris told me I should offer you to order the Betty and Alison Tape for you because my whole family likes your info. We printed it out for our family and many friends. It's true - you are famous now. We had the feeling we visited your beautiful State of Washington and very charming egg and i road. My daughters says we all should do this next year but i'm so afraid of flying. Are you interested? We'd be very happy to order them as a gift from all of us. Love from Vienna Susanne (id:2871)
Peter Aug 21, 2004 Bern, Switzerland Teacher
   To S. Thompson: S. sounds so mysterious! I have a kind advice - no offence: Instead of comparing our syntax ( perhaps it's similiar because we are Europeans ) you should look for the books at the right place. I had no hard time to find them. It was very easy. I'm a 30 year old swiss guy who plans a vacation in the Northwest next summer. What about a meeting? Susanne: Don't be afraid of using an airplane. Nothing will happen. We should meet each other next summer. excuse me i misplaced the p.i. copy but it's true what you wrote. Alison is even funnier than her famous sister. The Betty Fam owner has obviously no idea what she is talking about. Funny: I heard the same rumours that she wasn't the most loved person. Lorinda: It's simple. Betty is the funniest writer ever. Her best book is not The egg. It's only the best story. Betty's masterpiece is The plague. Writing such a warmhearted, witty, very funny book about such circumstances no other writer could do this - only Betty. Somebody wrote Betty was a stone age Erma. I don't think so. Your thoughts? (id:2872)
Deborah Aug 21, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   I feel that, if anything, Mrs. S. Thompson has told us all more about herself than the rest of us. She is to be applauded, in my opinion. I have read all of the posts more carefully, and I see that the Piggle Wiggle Fan e-mail address posted by a "Martine" is the second address sending me constant offers after I blocked the primary address! (id:2873)
Jane Aug 21, 2004 Canada
   Dear S. Thompson, I'm so glad that you found a copy of NISEI DAUGHTER and hope that you will enjoy the book. I always have a long "wish list" of books I'd like to buy, so understand how important timing and affordable pricing can be. (id:2874)
Martine Aug 21, 2004 Paris writer
   Deborah, If you are not interested in receiving mails you only have to say this and you won't receive any. By the way I didn't write you and I won't ever do this. I promise. Tell them not to write you and they won't. The Piggle-Fanclub address is a contact address for Fans and you can send a mail to them mentioning a fan's name and they'll forward it. Therefore I mentioned this address in one of my postings. I feel you belong to these people who want everything for free You can find these people around the world. As I already told one of my relatives was Betty's agent. I was so interested in receiving more info. That's why I purchased a lot of things even letters and other documents from collectors around the world and had to pay a lot of money. (id:2875)
Deborah Aug 21, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   I checked my list of blocked senders before I made my post. I have indeed received numerous unwanted mailings from the fan club AND from the Piggle Wiggle address even after asking to be removed from the mailing lists. This is a forum, not a war. Your insults are unfounded as well as asinine. (id:2876)
Sally Aug 22, 2004 Greensboro, NC law office administrator
   I wonder if Kimi/Monica Sone's book is available at libraries? I would like to read it, if only for the part where she had TB and met Betty. I understand that there is a book called "Much Laughter, A Few Tears" by Blanche Caffiere, who I believe went to high school with Betty, that offers us some more glimpses into her life, and I will be looking for that one as well as Mary's three. If I have any luck and read anything especially interesting and wonderful I will share it with the group! I agree with all of you who have mentioned the special connection they feel to Betty. (id:2878)
Sue Aug 22, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Hi All, Just a note to say that I am on vacation, but when I return I'll post the inscriptions Betty and her sister Mary wrote in the copy of The Egg and I. Also, there's a good article on a website called Just type Betty MacDonald into the "Search Within Suite101" search bar once you get to the website. Be sure to read all the discussion comments, starting with the first one, because Bob Heskett's niece posted a comment, and there are also some references to some of the issues we've discussed in this forum, regarding suspicious postings. Deborah, thanks for your restraint. I think we should all just ignore the nasty folks and continue to share info on Betty. Anybody wanting to make a buck off sharing info won't have anything interesting to say anyway. Sally, Blanche Caffiere's book is available from a store on Vashon Island. I think it's called the Vashon Country Store, but I'm not positive. A friend bought me a copy there. You can Google it and contact them. I did buy a paperback copy of Nancy and Plum from them once and they were completely trustworthy and shipped quickly. I've also heard really nice things about the lady who runs the Betty MacDonald B&B out of Betty's old property on Vashon. Everybody I've spoken to who has been there has commented on how gracious she is and how willing she is to share pictures, photos, etc. I'd like to take a trip there one day. (id:2880)
Deborah Aug 22, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Bravo, Mrs. Thompson! Have a safe and happy vacation and we look forward to your sharing the inscriptions with us! And many thanks for providing the forum with another website! (id:2881)
Sally Aug 22, 2004 Greensboro, NC law office administrator
   I just went to the website Mrs. Thompson told us about and read some of the comments --- particularly the thread started by Bob's niece. In my opinion, Betty was careful in "The Egg and I" not to write anything that would be overly defamatory to Bob. For example, she points out from the beginning that she had been raised to embrace whatever her husband chose to do with his life. Although Bob was an insurance salesman when they met, when he shared his dream of the chicken ranch, she gave him her support. However, you can certainly read between the lines as the marriage deteriorated --- such as the time he kissed her and she was as surprised as if an old boss had rewarded her that way for a good typing job, and the time she mentioned that by then she knew she and Bob were miles apart as far as some things were concerned. She was only 18 when they married and he was much older. It took a lot of courage back then for a woman with two small children and no money of her own to walk out on a marriage. It sounds as though she tried to make it work as long as she could, and I imagine he thought he had tried too. Does anyone know how she and Don met? (id:2882)
Jane Aug 22, 2004 Canada
   Sally, If the public library in your city does not have the books you are interested in, you can request an interlibrary loan. This is how I was able to find Mary Bard's books. I purchased MUCH LAUGHTER, A FEW TEARS by Blanche Caffiere, used, some years ago through In the book, Blanche Caffiere mentions an article that Betty wrote for the July 1949 issue of the READER'S DIGEST called "The Most Unforgettable Character I've Met." This was the story of a rather eccentric boyfriend Betty dated after she returned home from the sanitarium. I wonder whether anyone has read that article? At any rate, Blanche Caffiere devotes a short chapter to "Mike - A Swell Guy." (id:2883)
Deborah Aug 22, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Jane, you beat me to it! I was going to suggest that Sally try an inter-library loan as well ! Two great minds thinking alike ... Good to see you here again ! Isn't the site Mrs.Thompson shared with us great? How's your research coming along? (id:2884)
Sue Aug 22, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   I guess I'd better say here and now that S. stands for Sue, because being called Mrs. Thompson all the time makes me feel like I still have chalk dust in my hair and a red pen stuck behind my ear. Jane, thanks for the reminder about the Reader's Digest article. I'm going to try and track that one down. (id:2885)
Deborah Aug 22, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   LOL, Sue ! That red pen did bring back some very unpleasant memories... (id:2886)
Peter Aug 23, 2004 Bern, Switzerland Teacher
   To Fans who have some special information: I'm interested in Betty MacDonald's tv appearances because I'm working on a documentary for schools. My goal is to introduce Betty's outstanding work to our pupils and students. For this we will visit the Betty MacDonald Foundation in the Netherlands. If anybody can support me in finding this I will share the collection of my own incl. Betty's beautiful Xmas Cards which she mentioned in her books, the real story of mysterious Dorita Hess from Anybody can do anything. I would order all the Fan Club items for you including the interviews with Betty and her sister Alison. Not to forget a very interesting interview with sister Mary. (id:2889)
Patti Aug 23, 2004 USA avid reader
   I've been a Betty MacDonald fan for a really long time. I was delighted to discover this site because I haven't had much luck finding freely available information on the 'net about Ms. MacDonald and her books. I thought it might be nice to have a central location for Betty's fans to share thoughts and facts about her life and works so I've started a message board with that in mind. I hope you all will visit and participate there. The board is brand new and I'm still putting the finishing touches in place. You'll need to register with EZboard to post, but that's free and simple. No advertising will be allowed there and accounts will be limited to one per person. I hope the board will be a fun place for the free exchange of thoughts and information. Please come help me get the new board off to a good start! You can find the Betty MacDonald Fan Farm board at this address: . See you there! :-) (id:2890)
Lorinda Aug 24, 2004 Seattle
   I like the cultural exchange that comes with being interested in Betty MacDonald and her books. So to Susanne: it's very kind of you to offer to buy me the Betty tape, but my thanks is the very fact that I was able to share a little more about the area where Betty lived. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. That is thanks enough. From time to time, I go dig something out of the library or take photos of things for the MacDonald Society -- their thank you to me is sharing a lot of their information. So I've actually got a copy of Betty's tape. She has a lovely voice and just listening to her makes me know I would've loved to meet her. Her granddaughter who I know a little from church is a high school art teacher and possesses a gentle, nurturing personality much like I think her grandmother would have had. Her photo, by the way, is in the back of some editions of "Nancy and Plum". Betty's daughter and her husband were members at the church for years, and he passed away rather suddenly a few years ago. Many people have very positive memories of him. Betty's daughter Joan lives in an assisted living center in the area (she has Alzheimers). I believe a new historical museum is being planned for Vashon Island and many of Joan's papers, letters, and photos may end up there. Joan's daughter told me earlier that they cleaned out her mother's attic and put that stuff in storage when Joan went to the assisted living facility. It would be so exciting to have these things available for people to see. (id:2898)
Jane Aug 25, 2004 Canada
   Hi back, Deborah! At present, I seem to be finding much of interest right at this site. Lorinda, it is always lovely to read your contributions. Thank you for sharing about Joan and her family. How sad that Joan's disease progressed so quickly - at least it feels like it did when I refer back to her 1998 interview with A Common Reader and notice how bright she still seemed. How fitting it would be for her papers and photos to be displayed in a Washington museum. Let's hope that this comes to be! (id:2900)
Susanne Aug 28, 2004 Vienna, Austria retired
   Lorinda, You can understand me why I love the tape with Betty and Alison so much. What a lovely surprise that Betty's Society has such a great friend in Seattle. My family can't thank you enough for sharing all this with us. You are such a very kind and lovely person. We are so sad to hear that Joan suffers from Alzheimers. Lorinda, did you see Joan? My family knows very well what this dignose means to a family. My father had Alzheimer for years and it was so tragic and sad that he had no memory at all. Did I tell you that I wrote to Betty's publisher in the nineties and they forwarded my letter to Joan. Her husband wrote such a very, very kind letter. I was looking for a copy of Betty's Nancy and Plum and he was so nice to send me a copy as a gift with a dedication from Joan and him. He wrote that Joan has the same talent as writer as Betty and she is in the process of writing sequels of Nancy and Plum. Do you know did this ever happened? Joan's husband was such a very friendly and giving personality and he wrote that his wife and he had been married nearly 50 years and they had a great life and were still in love. They obviously had a great marriage and he wrote that Betty was the most wonderful lady in the whole world - always funny and generous and loved her family so much. He was so proud of his children and mentioned Joan's daughter who is a art teacher. He included some photos and to all of us this very special copy of Nancy and Plum and these photos of Joan, him and the family mean so much to us. It's very sad he passed away because it's very hard to lose a partner after a marriage of over fifty years. Poor Joan but it's good to know she has her children and grandchildren around. Lorinda if you see Joan or her daughter the next time please send her our greetings from all of us and that we won't ever forget their generous gift. We all are delighted until today! We only wished we could do something for you. Thank you again for sharing this with us. You make us so happy! (id:2907)
Sue Aug 31, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Hi All. I promised I'd tell you about the inscription on the copy of The Egg and I which Betty and Mary both signed. Betty's inscription is as follows: "For Kay, Who is cute and sweet and didn't complain when Mary and I held her down and told her the story of our lives for hours and hours and hours. Love, Betty MacDonald." Mary's inscription reads: "To Kay, who wanted to hear the story of MY life, too. At least, she acted like it! Love, Mary." Aren't those great inscriptions? On another note, we drove to Port Townsend on our vacation and drove through the Chimacum Valley. My husband spotted The Egg and I Road, and we drove part of the way up it. I wanted to explore it more thoroughly, but we had an appointment and couldn't take all the time we needed. Still, using Betty's descriptions as well as Lorinda's and Yolonda's, we found what I think was the Bishop farm. Yolonda, we may have driven right past your house! I thought about you while we were driving around up there. Next time we go back, we'll spend more time and see the whole road. From the main highway The Egg and I Road winds gently up into the trees and I thought about all the trips Betty and Bob made down that road when it wasn't paved and was hemmed in by the woods and mountains, and how many times she must have stayed by herself on the farm while Bob drove into Port Townsend for supplies. It was a longer trip then and their old truck wasn't the most comfortable form of transportation, I'm sure, but I'll bet she grabbed any opportunity to get off that farm and down into the life of "Town". As we drove through Port Townsend I wondered which of those beautiful old buildings housed the candy shop where she bought the sticky caramels, and the lending library with the pitiful book selection. Most of the buildings date from the late 1800's, and have been very well maintained, as have the old Victorian houses. The whole Chimacum Valley looked idyllic, although I'm sure Yolonda and Lorinda can attest to the fact that, like anyplace else, it's got its good and bad points. At any rate, it was a great little jaunt and one we'll repeat soon. (id:2911)

September through October 2004

Sue Sep 01, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   As promised, I posted a message giving the inscriptions Betty and Mary wrote in my copy of The Egg and I, but somehow it ended up stuck in the middle of the 2003 postings instead of in chronological order at the end, so if you all want to read those inscriptions, you'll have to scroll most of the way back up the page and look for the Aug. 31, 2004 date. The joys of technology................... (id:2913)
Deborah Sep 04, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Sue, that's so sweet of you to share the inscriptions ! It sounds like you had a great trip and thanks for sharing that as well. :) (id:2918)
Kim Sep 14, 2004 Virginia mom
   Thank you so much for sharing the info on Betty. I feel like she's an old friend. We "met" about 14 years ago when my family was taking a trip to the Pacific Northwest and I picked up "The Egg and I" on a book table of local authors. I was captivated and read all her others. I hope to get to know you all more as time allows. In the meantime, thanks for the "warning" about the Betty MacDonald Fan Club. I had suspected as much when I was bombarded with emails requesting me to purchase tapes, etc. upon my inquiries. Kim in VA (id:2940)
gitte Sep 20, 2004 denmark mother
   Hi all, recently saw a television about betty. i learned that betty had many japanese fans. i was very surprised to hear this. great to meet you all. i love the betty & alison fan club audios as much as lorinda, peter and susanne. cause i'm a mummy of 4 kids i asked them not to send any offers for a while and they did. really appreciate their work so much. lorinda if i can save some money in the future i'd visit betty's land. wished i could write as well as you can. you have the pure gift for writing. (id:2948)
gitte Sep 20, 2004 Denmark mother
   i'm stupid. forgot to tell you i know a relative of mary's husband. he came from denmark. love her books too. (id:2949)
Allie Sep 20, 2004 Washington state teacher
   Sad news: According to the Vashon Beachcomber newspaper:

Keil, MacDonald, Joan Wednesday, 28 Jul 2004 Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Vashon-Maury Island, WA, Joan passed away: JOAN MACDONALD KEIL July 14, 1929 - July 18, 2004 Joan Macdonald Keil was born on July 14, 1929 in Port Townsend, Washington and passed away July 18, 2004 at the age of 75, in Bellevue, WA at the Gardens at Town Square. Joan graduated from Garfield High School and worked at Littlers in Seattle. Joan married Girard (Jerry) Keil on Jan. 21, 1949 in Seattle. Joan was the daughter of Betty MacDonald, who wrote The Egg and I, Onions in the Stew and the Miss Piggle Wiggle stories. Joan and Jerry lived in Enatai and Medina with their four children, Heidi, Rebecca, Timothy, and Toby. Joan sang in variety shows to help raise money for Overlake Hospital. Joan was very creative; she loved to paint, garden, cook and create drive flower arrangements. Joanís sense of humor always made people laugh. Joan is survived by her daughter, Heidi Keil Richards and husband Kim Richards, and their daughters, Heather and Devin; son, Tim Keil and his wife Mary Jo, and their daughters Kallyn, Jerrica, Angie, and son Michael; and her son, Toby Keil and his wife Sally, and children Rachel and Griffin. Memorial services will be Saturday, July 31 at 11 a.m. at First Congregational Church in Bellevue. I met Joan at a booksigning about 16 years ago. She was a lovely woman. Allie (id:2951)

Kim Sep 20, 2004 Virginia mom
   Allie, Thanks for sharing the obit on Joan. I haven't gone back to reread the earlier posts. Was Joan the one suffering from Alzheimer's? I hope her passing was gentle. Thanks, Kim ><> (id:2953)
Susanne Sep 20, 2004 Vienna, Austria retired
   I had to cry when I was reading of Joan's passing. It's too sad. She was really very creative and a great artist. Her husband has send us some copies of her artwork. Masterpieces. I framed them and everybody who visits us asks me who this outstanding artist is. Joan had Betty's talent to make people laugh and she did a lot of good things. I have a photo of Joan and Jerry in their garden. it looks like a wonderful park with all the beautiful flowers. Jerry told us Joan could write the same way Betty did. I hope her writings will be published to delight us. And she was so beautiful. I guess when her husband died it broke her heart. (id:2954)
Sally Sep 21, 2004 Greensboro, NC law office administrator
   I noticed that Joan's obituary mentioned she had a fourth child, Rebecca. She must have preceded Joan in death. I am sorry to hear of this... It would be wonderful to see the photo of Joan and her husband in their garden. (id:2955)
Sue Sep 21, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Allie, thanks so much for posting Joan's obit. I wasn't aware that she'd passed away. In Onions in the Stew, Betty wrote about the photographer and writer from Life magazine who visited her family on Vashon Island, and did a feature story on them. I have a copy of that magazine, and Joan looks so young, healthy, and pretty. I'll always think of her that way. My heart goes out to her family. (id:2957)
Susanne Sep 22, 2004 Vienna, Austria retired
   It's so sad and my daughters and I feel very depressed. Rebecca was a very talented artist. It was so tragic when she died in the nineties. It was such a loss. Jerry wrote this in his letter. Sally, I'd like to share the photos with all fans. So beautiful photos with Joan and Jerry and the whole family. Joan was a great writer, artist and a master gardener. I'll ask my family how to share it. Perhaps they can create a website to share the photos. You all should see them. (id:2959)
gitte Sep 22, 2004 denmark mother
   it's so sad. what a loss! thanks for sharing this. i'll tell it mary's relatives. i'd like to see joans's photos. thank you susanne! (id:2960)
john sankey Sep 22, 2004 manchester uk. retired accountant
   reading this article has brought back all the memories of all these books and how I loved them.Travelling to work on the bus in winter in rain and gloom,on the upper deck,cloaked in cigarette smoke,like a cosy unhealthy bar, I read "anybody can do anything "with extreme pleasure.remember the bit where the woman got on the bus wearing a fur collar like a "wet collie.? My surprise was enormous when I reached Seattle and the library had none of her books.Lovely woman,God bless her.!and God bless Seattle................ (id:2964)
Cathy Sep 24, 2004 Crown Point, Indiana Sales manager
   I found your web sight while doing some research on the book "Best Friends" By Betty Bard. I have just listed one on Ebay for sale. I have heard this is a very rare book. It is the first edition from 1955. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank You! (id:2976)
Sue Sep 25, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Cathy, Betty MacDonald's sister Mary Bard Jensen wrote the Best Friends series. Betty wrote books for children as well, but the Best Friends series was Mary's work. The two I'm familiar with are Best Friends and Best Friends in Summer, but there may have been a third one as well. They are fairly hard to come by unless you happen across them at garage sales or library sales. You'll probably do pretty well on the one you've listed on eBay. Good luck! (id:2978)
Cathy Sep 25, 2004 Crown Point, Indiana Sales Manager
   Hello Sue, I listed our book last night and already have a few people bidding on it. I also saw Best Friends In Summer on another used bookstores web sight and they want over $200.00, and it was not a first edition. Thank you so much for the information! (id:2979)
Suzanne Stapleton Sep 25, 2004 Michigan Mother
   I was so very saddened to read of Joan's passing. I've been a fan of Betty's for many years. I loved Blanche's book and wish that someone would publish Betty's biography. I'm so glad there is a place that those of us who love her books can talk! (id:2980)
Deborah Sep 27, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   I loved the book, Best Friends, so much that in the 1970's I xeroxed the entire book from a library copy ! I first wrote the publisher requesting permission to copy. I'm sure they thought I was crazy ! (id:2984)
Jane Sep 29, 2004 Canada
   Deborah, could you describe the book? (id:2990)
Deborah Sep 29, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Sure, Jane, the book was about two girls whose parents marry in the end of the story. A little French girl moves next door to one child, the new neighbor's long vacant house is refurbished, the girls become best friends. I remember mostly bits and pieces of the book now, I xeroxed it in its entirety more than 30 years ago ! I seem to recall that a swimming pool was reopened, and something about the girls drying their freshly washed hair in the sunshine. I don't remember the characters' names, was one of them Suzi? (id:2991)
Sue Sep 30, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Deborah, you remember well! The American girl was Suzie and the little French girl who moved into the house next door was CoCo. Best Friends is one of those books I loved as a little girl, because the ending was not only happy, it was over-the-top happy. Even then I knew it was not in the realm of possibility that ALL those fantastic things would really happen to two little girls, but it was generous of Mary Bard to write it that way, anyway. I've read all of Mary's books for adults as well, but I think that, of the two sisters, Betty had far more skill as a writer. Mary's talents lay more in the realm of civic leadership. I found a first edition copy of Best Friends at a garage sale and paid fifty cents for it, then went to the car and did the joy-joy dance for a couple of minutes. It's fun to have, and I wouldn't sell it, but I am going to check eBay and see how Cathy did with hers. I'm also trying to find out what happened to Betty's brother Cleve. I've run across some hints that he had a sad end to his life. If I get any more info, I'll post it here. (id:2996)
Deborah Oct 01, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   LOL,Sue,I can just see your dance of joy! I agree that Betty was the better writer, although I did like Mary's books as well. I too have been curious about Cleve. I'd appreciate whatever information you may uncover being posted here. (id:2999)
Sue Oct 02, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   I found that Cleve's burial site is in the Vashon Island Cemetery. The burial records state that his birthdate was Nov. 29,1908, and his date of death was Nov. 21, 1980. However, Betty was born in 1908 and Cleve (Sydney Cleveland Bard) was the third child, so I think the 1908 birthdate for him must be an error. I wonder why he was buried on Vashon, if he lived there before Betty and Don moved away, and if he continued to live there for twenty-two years after her death, or just what the situation was. That's all I've discovered so far, but will post more if I come across anything interesting. (id:3004)
Sally Oct 02, 2004 Greensboro, NC law office administrator
   I seem to remember that in "Onions in the Stew" Betty wrote that when the family came to visit them on Vashon, they liked it so much that Alison bought a house within easy commuting distance if you happened to be a goat, and Cleve bought a house within easy commuting distance if you happened to be a goat with a car (or maybe it was the other way around). Cleve was only a year younger than Betty --- do you suppose 1908 was right, but she was born in January or February and he came along in November? (their poor mom) (id:3005)
Deborah Oct 02, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Sue, thanks for your info. I'm curious too ! Sally, that's impressive that you remembered about Alison and Cleve moving to Vashon. And in the days before reliable birth control, who WASN'T a "stairstep" child? Sue, do you agree that Sally's point has merit? This is all so great of you both, I wish I had something to add too ! :) (id:3006)
Jane Oct 02, 2004 Canada
   Hello all! I just stopped back to thank Deborah and Sue for their response to my question about the book BEST FRIENDS. Sue (I'm still getting used to you not being "S. Thompson" here anymore), thanks as well for sharing about your interesting drive through Port Townsend and the Chimacum Valley - I'd like to do that someday. I'm probably not alone in sharing your joy over the treasures you have collected and somehow feel that YOU were "meant" to find them! Your postings are always appreciated, and even as S. Thompson, I never once envisioned "chalk dust in your hair" or the red pen behind your ear! (id:3007)
Sue Oct 02, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Deborah, Sally, and Jane---Great to see your postings! Sally, you're so right about Alison and Cleve buying property on Vashon, and I had totally forgotten that. I shouldn't have, either, because that "goat with a car" line still makes me laugh. Betty was born on March 26, 1908, so I guess it's just possible that Cleve could have been born in late November of the same year, if he wasn't a full-term baby, but if that's the case, those Bards sure worked fast! I know Betty was born in Boulder, Colorado and Cleve after the family moved to Placerville, Idaho, but I'm not clear on the time frame. If somebody from Vashon sees this, they might be able to visit the cemetery and check out the dates on the headstone, if there is one. And Jane, thanks for your note---that red pen had to go. It clashed with my earrings! (id:3009)
Kathy Oct 03, 2004 Orlando Oldest Living Ph.D. Student
   As a kid in 1960 I picked up Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle in the book section of Cox's furniture store in Ft. Worth, Texas, and have been hooked ever since. Betty shaped my sense of humor (for which I'm eternally grateful) and view of the world. I hand out Eggs right and left (I find I really like people who like Betty - they tend to be delightful persons) and have converted all three of my daughters to Betty-fandom. One of them's reading Nancy & Plum to her daughter. A few years ago I had the idea of setting up the first Betty-Fest in Seattle, with Monica Sone speaking, tours to Betty's homes and farms, lunch in the Market, etc. etc. I went so far as to talk to potential host hotels, but it was just a bit much to manage from across the country. Still, wouldn't it be fun? Good to read all the terrific information here! (id:3012)
Kathy Oct 03, 2004 Orlando Oldest Living Ph.D. Student
   Forgot what I originally meant to share (!): I found a copy of "Much Laughter, A Few Tears" inscribed by the author Blanche Caffiere: "To Dede: hope you enjoy reading about you all." And at the back, on Alison's epilogue, is an inscription by Allison: "From your PRETTY sister." Somehow in the course of netsurfing I hooked up with Dede's granddaughter, and ended up sending her the book so it could be back in the family -- she said her dad, Dede's son, was very happy to have it. She said she'd send me some information about and writing by Sydney, Betty's mother, but hasn't gotten around to it. And re: Mary's "Best Friends" series: there are three: Best Friends, Best Friends at School, and Best Friends in Summer. I've read them all via interlibrary loan and managed to acquire the last - they go for $200 + because they are so rare (I paid $20 for mine. They are entertaining but Mary was not the author Betty was. Of her books I recommend "The Doctor Wears Three Faces" and "Forty-Odd" which both have some hilarious moments, but again, not Betty's magic. (id:3013)
Kathy Oct 03, 2004 Orlando Oldest Living Ph.D. Student
   And finally, then I'll shut up -- you can find Much Laughter and Nisei Daughter and all of Betty's and Mary's books online at I'm sure there are other places as well. This is a cool website about "The Pines" - Firlands Sanitorium, with pictures of the wards and rooms as Betty would have seen them, and the children running around in shoes, shorts and hats as fellow patient Evalee described them. I believe a missionary group now owns the the land and buildings. That's another site I'd have to visit if I made a Betty - pilgrimage . . . (id:3014)
Kathy Oct 03, 2004 Orlando Oldest Living Ph.D. Student
   And finally, then I'll shut up -- you can find Much Laughter and Nisei Daughter and all of Betty's and Mary's books online at I'm sure there are other places as well. This is a cool website about "The Pines" - Firlands Sanitorium, with pictures of the wards and rooms as Betty would have seen them, and the children running around in shoes, shorts and hats as fellow patient Evalee described them. I believe a missionary group now owns the the land and buildings. That's another site I'd have to visit if I made a Betty - pilgrimage . . . (id:3015)
Sally Oct 03, 2004 Greensboro, NC law office administrator
   I'm back on the Betty and Cleve age discrepancy thread again... If Betty was born on March 26, 1908 (as we know she was) and Cleve was supposedly born on November 29, 1908, then my guess is there was a typo in his obituary and that it was actually 1909. Surely they wouldn't have been born only been eight months apart. (id:3016)
Sally Oct 03, 2004 Greensboro, NC law office administrator
   In response to Deborah saying she was impressed that I remembered about Cleve and Alison buying houses on Vashon... It's surprising what you DO retain when you enjoy books so much. There are phrases of Betty's that I've subconsciously committed to memory. Two favorites come to mind --- from "The Egg and I," where Betty describes Bob going to the Kettles' farm to confront them about their bull tearing down the fences and reporting that the force of his entrance was somewhat diminished when he came face to face with Mrs. Kettle who was comfortably seated in the doorless outhouse reading the Sears, Roebuck catalog and instead of retreating in embarrassment she remained where she was but took an active part in the ensuing conversation... Also, "Onions in the Stew" when they were attempting to ignore Tudor fighting another dog, and Betty said it was like trying to play a hand of bridge while an old aunt choked to death on a fishbone in the same room. Funny stuff!! (id:3017)
Deborah Oct 03, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Kathy, what a great idea - a Bettyfest ! You all have such great postings, Sue, Sally, Jane, and now Kathy ! I wish I had something to offer too, but I at least have great info from all of you. I too once in awhile remember a line from a "Betty Book" and still laugh. I loved the peach picking fiasco from Onions. And the "goat with a car" from Sally brought a laugh here at the keyboard, because I'd forgotten that. You are all making me get into a "Betty mood", especially with a cozy winter coming (such as it is here) and I know I'll be re-reading Betty this year ! (id:3018)
Kathy Oct 04, 2004 Orlando Oldest Living Ph.D. Student
   I thought I was weird because I reread Betty's books on a regular basis, but they are so rich, and so funny -- like a wonderful feast you can go back to over and over. I agree with Sally and Deborah about the memorable parts and lines. I rarely laugh out loud when reading even renowned "humor" writers but certain passages in Betty's books still have the power to make me laugh until my stomach hurts, such as the entire "dating" chapter in Anybody Can Do Anything" ("I thought he was the funniest-looking thing I'd ever seen but I didn't feel like laughing".) I love Betty's ability to see the funny side of almost any situation, and her ability to laugh at herself. Those are two tremendous gifts that make life so much more interesting -- and bearable. I've found myself in times of adversity urging myself to "take it like a Bard," which inevitably helps! (id:3020)
Allie Oct 05, 2004 Washington state teacher
   Does anyone exactly where on Vashon Alison and/or Cleve lived? (id:3027)
Maria Oct 05, 2004 Austria Teacher
   Kathy & all of you: I'm one of Susanne's daughters. I'm reading Betty's books with my girls and boys in school. We can't stop laughing. I never found an author like this. Did you? There is no writer like Betty. I'd like to read Mary's books for children in english but can't afford them. Why are they so rare? Did Mary dedicate her books for children? I love Betty's and Alison's voices and laughes and so does our whole family. Did anybody ever hear Mary and Dede? Dede was a very good singer. There might be some recordings. Kathy, did Dede's relative mention anything like this? (id:3029)
Maria Oct 05, 2004 Austria Teacher
   Kathy: I wanted to ask you: What does OLPS mean? But I found it and I had to laugh. Congratulations! I bet you'll reach it! (id:3030)
Kathy Oct 08, 2004 Orlando Oldest Living Ph.D. Student
   Maria, Dede's granddaughter only told me that Dede died in 1994 and many of her possessions were lost in the closing of the estate. She said she had some articles about Sydney (whose real name was Elsie) and a letter Sydney had written to Harvard in which she mentioned her radio serial. I wonder if some radio station archives might not have copies of those scripts. There's so much stuff out there that I would love to see collected and archived at the University of Washington, where Betty attended. I spoke some time ago to a person in the archives department, who said that she was speaking to family members about Betty's papers, but she could not tell me more than that. Wouldn't it be wonderful if her unpublished writing and letters could be safeguarded there? And Maria, do you have interlibrary loan in Austria? That's how I was able to read Mary's three children's books. I was told the search is global. If you don't, I'll happily loan you my copy of Best Friends in Summer. If you'd like that, I'll post my email address and we can make arrangements. (id:3036)
Kathy Oct 08, 2004 Orlando Oldest Living Ph.D. Student
   Maria, Dede's granddaughter only told me that Dede died in 1994 and many of her possessions were lost in the closing of the estate. She said she had some articles about Sydney (whose real name was Elsie) and a letter Sydney had written to Harvard in which she mentioned her radio serial. I wonder if some radio station archives might not have copies of those scripts. There's so much stuff out there that I would love to see collected and archived at the University of Washington, where Betty attended. I spoke some time ago to a person in the archives department, who said that she was speaking to family members about Betty's papers, but she could not tell me more than that. Wouldn't it be wonderful if her unpublished writing and letters could be safeguarded there? And Maria, do you have interlibrary loan in Austria? That's how I was able to read Mary's three children's books. I was told the search is global. If you don't, I'll happily loan you my copy of Best Friends in Summer. If you'd like that, I'll post my email address and we can make arrangements. (id:3037)
Maria Oct 09, 2004 Austria Teacher
   Kathy, you are so sweet. Thank you so much for your good advice. I'll try interlibrary loan. I'll let you know. Did Mary dedicate the book 'Best friends in Summer' to members of the family? You are very happy to have a copy of these rare books. I love Betty's dedications in her books. Did Mary the same? It's so sad that many of Dede's possesions were lost. How much I'd like to hear Dede singing voice and Sydney's radio serial. This was such a great family. Every member had so many talents. (id:3039)
Jane Oct 09, 2004 Canada
   Maria, Mary Bard dedicated her book FORTY ODD, "For Mother, who thinks of age as a number and not a disease." She dedicated THE DOCTOR WEARS THREE FACES "To My Sister Betty 'who egged me on.'" (In the translation between English and German does it make any sense what "egging someone on" means and why, in this case, it is a witty play on words?) It has been a long time since I read JUST BE YOURSELF, but the person Mary dedicated that particular book to ("For Marion and all Brownies everywhere with my love") would not have been a family member. Perhaps someone can fill us in on the BEST FRIENDS dedication(s). (id:3041)
Deborah Oct 10, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   I wonder if any of Betty's family, such as Dede's son mentioned here, know of this forum? Wouldn't it be great if he/they would post occasionally? If we could be certain of their identity of course... (id:3044)
LesleyW Oct 11, 2004 Salisbury UK Civil Servant
   What a lovely site! So pleased I found it. My favourite Betty book has to be Onions in the Stew, I was lucky enough to find a first edition at a garage sale!! (id:3047)
Sue Oct 11, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Welcome, Lesley! Don't you just love a good garage sale? Once I found copies of The Egg and I and Onions in the Stew in a thrift shop in the cookbook section! The lady in charge said she thought they were cookbooks because of the titles, so she stuck them in that section and there they sat until I came along. Neither of them were first editions, but I was still happy to get them, especially at fifty cents apiece! I've seen copies of the UK edition of Onions in the Stew. I like the cover of that one better than that of the edition printed in the United States. It's cheerful and energetic. What's the British term for a place where secondhand books, clothing, and household items are sold? We call it a thrift shop here, but I just realized you might have a different term for it. (id:3048)
Maria Oct 12, 2004 Austria Teacher
   Jane, that's so kind you posted the dedications. The translater 'forgot' to translate the dedications in the german edition. Betty egged Mary on. How witty this is! We had a family gathering on Sunday and wondered why Betty nor Mary dedicated a book to their husbands. They dedicated their books to Sydney and their children. It would be nice if someone knows the dedications in the Best Friends Series. (id:3052)
Sue Oct 12, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   The dedication in Best Friends is: For Heidi, With Love, From Mother. I don't have copies of the other two books in the series, so maybe someone else will fill us in on those. I have noticed that in the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle stories Betty used the names of her nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. I bet they got a kick out of that. (id:3054)
Kathy Oct 15, 2004 Orlando Oldest Living Ph.D. Student
   The dedication in Best Friends In Summer reads: "To Karen and Kitten, two of my best friends, who became sisters." There's a story there, obviously, and I wonder if we will never know it . . . (id:3064)
Sally Oct 21, 2004 Greensboro, NC law office administrator
   I just re-read the end of "The Egg and I" and was wondering about something... Betty mentions in the last chapter that Bob found a chicken ranch closer to Seattle with more conveniences and it sounded as though they were going to move. Does anyone know whether that happened, and the SECOND ranch was where they were when she decided she "was lonely, hated chickens and seemed to have married the wrong man"? Or do you suppose it was fictionalized a bit so that the book would have a happier ending? (id:3077)
Sue Oct 21, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Sally, I've wondered also what happened to the second ranch near Seattle. Betty says at the end of The Egg and I that Bob told her about the new place just before Christmas, and in Anybody Can Do Anything, she writes that in March of 1931 she left Bob and moved back to Seattle. So in those intervening months, something happened to change her mind. In Anybody Can Do Anything, she makes it clear that when she left Bob, they were still living on their place in the Chimacum Valley, because she describes walking down the road to catch the bus, and then taking the ferry from Port Townsend, or Town, as she called it, to Seattle. So either the deal for the second ranch fell through, or maybe it was still in the works and she decided to leave Bob anyway. I always assumed it wasn't a fictionalized ending, and they really were thinking of buying a place closer to Seattle. She was still only 22 and had two toddlers to care for, and apparently she had a difficult time living with Bob, who suffered from what I think we'd now call post traumatic stress due to his experiences in World War I. She doesn't refer to that in The Egg and I, and doesn't address the reasons she left Bob in her other books. Which is frustrating for us, when we want to know about her life, but which is understandable, because it was a private thing. One of the things I've always wondered is why she and Don left Vashon, where they seemed to be really happy. She probably just got so popular, people tracked down their house and invaded their privacy. Maybe somebody else knows? (id:3079)
Deborah Oct 25, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   I'm wondering why Betty's daughters, in the Common Reader interview, refer to their father as Bob Heskett, rather than as Dad or as their father at all. There seems to be no mention of Bob's involvement in his daughter's lives in any of Betty's writings. (id:3086)
Deborah Oct 25, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   I meant "daughters' lives", drat these typos! Also, when I try to navigate the Suite 101 site, typing in "Betty MacDonald" just takes me to an article about Washington state. I've tried many times. I'd like to see the posts there as I've heard there are comments about Betty posted by Bob's niece. (id:3087)
Sue Oct 25, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Deborah, a quick way to find it is to use Google. Type + Betty MacDonald into the search bar, and the article pops right up. (id:3088)
Sally Oct 25, 2004 Greensboro, NC law office administrator
   In response to Deborah's post about Betty's daughters and Bob Heskett... I wonder if Don adopted the girls after he and Betty were married, as both of them went by MacDonald before their marriages. My impression of the situation was that when Betty took the girls and left Bob, that was that as far as their involvement with him. I would imagine that he had to sign some sort of release before "The Egg and I" was published since he was a central character, but it sounds as though they all went their separate ways. It would be interesting to hear if this is true or if the girls ever visited him later on. (id:3091)
Deborah Oct 26, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Sally, if Don adopted Betty's daughters, wouldn't there be court records of a legal adoption? Or would such documents be sealed? Sue, thanks but still no luck! Rats ! I really want to see those posts! Argh !... What am I doing wrong? (id:3092)
Sally Oct 27, 2004 Greensboro, NC law office administrator
   Deborah --- I would THINK that there would be court records if Don adopted Anne and Joan, although I'm not sure. In "Onions" Betty sometimes called Anne "Anne MacDonald" when she was yelling at her, and in the copy I've got of "Egg" there is an introduction by Anne and Joan and they both use MacDonald as their middle (maiden) name. Of course it's possible that this was never done legally. As to whether court documents like that would be sealed, I don't know whether that's true or whether they are a matter of public record. I work in a law office but that type of thing isn't our attorney's specialty ... However, I'll ask her if she knows! (id:3093)
Sue Oct 28, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Deborah, here's what I just did, and I found the article. Type into your address bar. When the suite101 page comes up, look over on the left-hand side, just a little bit down the page. There's a little search bar there that says, "Search" If you type Betty MacDonald into that bar and hit "go", the article comes up. It says The Egg and I Betty MacDonald by Jerri Brooker. Try that and see if you can get it. There are several pages of postings, starting with the most recent and going back a year or two. Good luck! (id:3097)
Sally Oct 28, 2004 Greensboro, NC law office administrator Here's the link to that article... See if that helps. (id:3099)
Deborah Oct 29, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Sue, thanks, but I still am not getting the posts, just the article. It's frustrating!! Sally, thanks too, but that web address just brings up a message that I'm trying to access a non-existent address. Argh ! You know that feeling about throwing a brick through the monitor? I'm there... (id:3102)
Sally Oct 29, 2004 Greensboro, NC law office administrator
   Deborah, hang onto your brick, help is on the way!! I have just gone to the website and am going to TRY to "cut and paste" the post by Bob's great niece and some of the responses onto this. If it doesn't work, I'll post again and paraphrase. Author: GreatNieceHesk Discussion: The Egg and I - Betty MacDonald Date: January 30, 2003 1:04 PM Subject: Great Niece of Betty's first husband. I am the great niece of Betty's first Husband Robert, he was the brother of my grandmother, who was mentioned in the "Egg and I". Along with other members of our family, we still have an original picture of Robert "Bob" and the cougar that he actually did shoot. Just to let people understand my great uncle was not a horrible person and if people are being led to believe this let me explain a little. Bob suffered from horrible case of shell shock from the war and would have night episodes. He was devastated when Betty left him and moved to California, where he was murdered trying to protect a neighbor lady from being abused by her husband. I still have the very small article from the paper after his death. Know this Betty was a brilliant woman but not perfect by anymeanss and could be quite cruel when she wanted. Heidi Author: kennell Discussion: The Egg and I - Betty MacDonald Date: September 2, 2003 10:46 AM Subject: Re: Re: Re: Great Niece of Betty's first husband. In response to message posted by linde2002: I have read her books, and a lot of interviews with friends of Betty's and Betty's sisters. I've also read interviews with Betty's oldest daughter Anne, and not once have I read anything saying Bob was really bad. All of them said that Betty couldn't handle the loneliness of the chicken ranch and did not get along at all with Bob's Indian friends.I wonder if the real truth will ever be known??? But thanks for the answer---I never knew that Betty, Anne & Joan were never supported!! I appreciate the information. Author: vickibiscay Discussion: The Egg and I - Betty MacDonald Date: September 6, 2003 2:37 PM Subject: Re: Great Niece of Betty's first husband. There are always two sides to any story. Thank you for speaking up for Bob. His life could have been another story... Vicki B. Author: kennell Discussion: The Egg and I - Betty MacDonald Date: September 8, 2003 9:24 AM Subject: Re: Re: Great Niece of Betty's first husband. In response to message posted by vickibiscay: You're welcome---I'd love to find out more about him--I still say that Betty & her family didn't hate him as much as people say!! (id:3103)
Sally Oct 29, 2004 Greensboro, NC law office administrator
   OK, I just checked to see how my post appeared, and the format changed drastically --- it's hard to see where one response ends and the others begin --- but hopefully you'll get the gist of it. (id:3104)
Deborah Oct 29, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Sally, that was super nice of you! Thank you! I'm intrigued at the references to Bob's having been a nicer person than readers think. I am of the same opinion, that Betty never said anything truly negative about him. I think what we do know of Bob speaks for itself-a troubled man, a veteran, a rescuer who was killed attempting to save a life. Nowadays we'd be calling him a hero. If only we could find more info on him. Or a picture, that would be great. Again, thank you for your help, that was so nice! :) (id:3105)
Sally Oct 29, 2004 Greensboro, NC law office administrator
   You're very welcome, Deborah. There were many more posts, and a number of people indicated that they did not have the impression that Bob was a bad person; they believed the marriage ended because Betty couldn't take the isolation of the chicken ranch. However, I can understand Bob's family being a little bit defensive of him. In his great-niece's post, when she refers to him as the brother of her grandmother who was mentioned in "The Egg and I," I imagine she is referring to the part where Betty describes a visit from Bob's sister and her husband. She seemed fond of both of them and really appreciated the brother-in-law's interest in her painting. (id:3107)

November 2004

Allie Nov 01, 2004 Washington state teacher
   When I talked with Joan MacDonald Keil in Issaquah at a booksigning probably 20 years ago, Joan told me that Bob had been killed in a knife-fight in a bar in Los Angeles. (id:3112)
Deborah Nov 02, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Allie, how intriguing! There must be old newspaper accounts of a bar fight ending in a murder. Now I'm wondering which version of the story of Bob's death is legitimate! Is it possible that Bob's family has embellished the facts to soften the story? Please, I hope no one thinks I'm being unkind! (id:3117)
Sue Nov 02, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   I think the story of Bob's death is missing some details, but I don't know that there are major discrepancies. His niece, Heidi, posted in her request for info that he was stabbed to death by a man named Blake, while trying to save a woman from an abusive spouse or boyfriend.So the knife part appears to be correct, although it's hard to say if Bob was also armed with a knife, or if he was unarmed. It may have happened in a bar. I haven't gone back to check, but I think I remember her posting that he died in Oakland, not Los Angeles. At any rate, according to her he's buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery, so that would lead me to believe he died in that area. But you're right, Deborah, there should be newspaper accounts of this in a newspaper, if somebody had the time and know-how to search San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles papers of the time. His great-niece gave the date as July 22, 1951.He would have been in his mid-to-late fifties by then, since he was in his mid-30's when he married Betty. Allie, when Joan talked to you about it, how did she seem? Did she speak of him with sadness, or was she more matter-of-fact? I know it's been a long time, but I thought you might have had some hint as to her feelings about him. (id:3118)
Deborah Nov 02, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Sue, I felt mean after I posted the above. Because I still have a feeling that Bob was, while no saint, a decent human being, traumatized by his war experiences. I'm just curious wondering if the murder took place during a heated argument in a bar while alcohol was present, or if the murder took place rescuing a neighbor. I see what you mean though, Sue, it could have been that the rescued woman was at the bar. I always assumed it was at her residence. By the way, as far as Bob's not having supported the girls financially, I know of divorces so bitter that the wives refused support. Or left the marriage leaving no mention of whereabouts. In the Heskett divorce though, we know that Betty left Bob a note, and he would have known that she'd go back to her family. I wish people who knew the facts as they happened would learn of this forum and post replies for us! (id:3120)
Deborah Nov 02, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   I've thought of something else. If the great-niece said that Bob was killed trying to save a woman from violence, but Joan said he was killed in a "KNIFE FIGHT" wouldn't that infer that it was an altercation between two men? This is what I meant when I said that it could be that Bob's family was protecting Bob's reputation and his memory by a softening of facts. Which is understandable and lovely, really. (id:3121)
Sue Nov 02, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Deborah, I don't think your questions are mean at all. You're just as curious as the rest of us! I notice that you live in California, so I wondered if you were in a metropolitan area where you might be able to visit a library that would have newspapers archived and available for research. I live in a fairly isolated area, so our small library would not have access to such records. When I read Bob's great-niece's posting, I envisioned him fighting with another man, trying to protect a woman from harm, and assumed it happened in a neighborhood, but if Allie says Joan said it happened in a bar, then I'm sure it did. She would have known. I think he was probably like a lot of other men of his era, expecting "the little woman" to keep the house spotless and get the meals on the table on time, no matter how difficult that was without electricity, running water, and other conveniences.That may be why he married an eighteen-year-old, so he could mold her into the type of woman he wanted. He must have been born around 1895 if he was 31 when they married about 1926. Betty said he wanted her to wear blue, her hair in a knot, and old-fashioned clothing all the time, so that fits in with the period in which he would have grown to be an adult. He was no doubt a decent fellow, but he was terribly handicapped by his war experiences.Perhaps that's why Betty discouraged contact with Anne and Joan after she left him. Maybe she didn't want them to witness such episodes? He was apparently not very sensitive to Betty's sense of isolation, and he probably assumed she'd get over her homesickness and settle in with people who were obviously foreign to her, and since his great-niece says he was devastated when Betty left him, it sounds as if he woke up too late to the fact that she was very unhappy. I don't agree with postings on this forum that say Betty wanted to tell the truth about how awful he was, but that her publishers wouldn't let her. First of all, I think she would have been more sensitive than that to the feelings of her children. To have their mother disparage their father in print would have tasteless at the very least, and I don't think Betty was a tasteless person. Secondly, even though she was very young when they married, had he been an ogre I think either she or her family would have realized this and the marriage wouldn't have taken place. She certainly had great family support and none of the Bards strike me as having been slow to voice an opinion! (id:3124)
Deborah Nov 02, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Loved your post, Sue! I'm in San Diego County, but whether my local library would have Los Angeles newspapers from 1951 on microfiche, I can ask and let you know. You make some very good points. Now I'm wondering if Betty was "aware" of the attempted rescue version of Bob's death. A bar fight would have been very bad publicity. I hope, after this comment, that we'll still be on speaking terms! :) (id:3125)
Sue Nov 03, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Oh, I'm not likely to stop talking to a Betty fan! I was just looking back over some of these posts and noticed Kathy's comment again, the one where she said the U. of W. woman said she was discussing with Betty's family members the possibility of a donation of some of Betty's letters and papers to the university. If that happens, we might know more. I would love to see if there are stories she started that weren't finished before her death. Also, I sent an email to the Seattle Press folks thanking them for providing this forum and asking if there were any other articles planned on Betty, and got a response saying that the SP stopped publishing in '03, but that the company maintaining this website has noticed the frequent postings here and would like to provide a new forum for the exchange of information. They will post a request for people to leave email addresses, which they say they'll keep private, so they can notify people when this happens. (id:3145)
Deborah Nov 03, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Thanks, Sue! No luck with the local library. How great about a forum! About Bob's murder and the mystery of it, I just can't help wondering who told/invented which version and who went along with which version, and why. Hang on, I just confused myself! LOL. The best bet is to somehow be able to delve into 1951 newspapers. Anyone near a large library and a helpful librarian? :) (id:3146)
Jane Nov 04, 2004 Canada
   I just referred back to Blanche Caffiere's book to see if there were any comments about Bob. In MUCH LAUGHTER, A FEW TEARS, she mentions that when Cleve brought Bob home, both Mary and Betty thought that Bob was a "beautiful man" (probably suggesting Bard approval as Sue suspected). She goes on to describe Bob's attractive appearance and remembers him to have been in his late twenties and "he appeared very smooth indeed to a girl of eighteen." Blanche Caffiere also offered Mary's version of what happened when Betty left Bob (different, I think, than Betty's version in ANYBODY CAN DO ANYTHING, but sometimes publishers have been known to change details a little from the exact biographical information the author intended.) Apparently, Mary made a special trip to Chimacum when she knew Bob would not be there and helped Betty and the girls pack up. They left in a hurry "leaving no word behind." Later, when Blanche and Betty ran into each other, Betty explained her reasons for the divorce she was in the process of. Betty mentioned that Bob "had no sense of humor, hung around with crummy friends, and dramatized himself too much." She also said that he had wrecked a new car the first day they owned it. Since the accident was his fault, they were unable to collect the insurance, so the money for it came from her grandmother. Deborah, it was interesting to learn which part of California you live in. My family and I just returned home from a trip to San Diego and Anaheim last week, and I thought of you! (id:3148)
Deborah Nov 04, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Jane, how neat that you were here! Had I known that we could have arranged lunch! Did you visit any of our attractions such as Sea World, Wild Animal Park, etc? Where in San Diego were you? I'm near the coast, in Northern San Diego County. I thought your post about the info provided by Blanche fascinating! There is definitely more to the stories of the divorce and Bob's death than we think. (id:3149)
Jane Nov 05, 2004 Canada
   Deborah, We did pack in as many attractions as possible but had to pass on others. We stayed in the Pacific Beach or Mission Beach area and found it to be quite central for visiting Sea World (kids' favourite), attending an NBA game, & visiting Legoland. Also for enjoying the luxury of barefeet in the sand and ocean waves. A subject perhaps not of general interest to our fellow fans!! After being awed by the huge flowers on every tree and the horticultural wonders everywhere(do you eventually take your gardens for granted? - we cherish ours!), I thought of your plan to re-read Betty's books during the coming "cozy winter." I wondered how you would know when winter had arrived (when even California rain at midnight felt warm to us), and what exactly would tip you off that it was time to dust off the books? (id:3152)
Deborah Nov 05, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Jane, I'm still cracking up! As far as cozy winter reading, we pretty much rely on the calendar and fake it... Actually winters can be cold and windy here. I'm glad you had a good time. I am an avid gardener and believe me I take none of the flora for granted! Legoland is only a mile from me! Argh!! You drove right past me on your way there! I'm in Encinitas, one freeway exit south of Legoland which is in Carlsbad, the neighboring community. A meeting would have been so nice. Maybe next time? (id:3153)
Sally Nov 06, 2004 Greensboro, NC law office administrator
   I really enjoyed Jane's post where she shared the information from Blanche Caffiere's book. Thanks, Jane! I'm definitely putting that book on my Christmas list, as it left me hungry for more! Am I right in assuming that the book is pretty much entirely about Blanche's friendship with the Bard family? There have been posts about Monica Sone's ("Kimi") book, which I would also like to read; however, it sounded as though that one doesn't contain as much about Betty... just some references to a woman called Chris who Ms. Sone met in the sanitorium. (id:3158)
Jane Nov 06, 2004 Canada
   I am typing this post without a chair - we're getting ready for company. Anyway, Sally, MUCH LAUGHTER, A FEW TEARS was a very interesting find and does provide much more information about Betty and the Bard family than Monica Sone's book (much as I did enjoy NISEI DAUGHTER for its own merit). When I bought the book, sometime within the last four years, it was out of print, so I found it used through somewhere like or (Your friends may have to start Christmas shopping right away - esp. if everyone at this site starts seeking it out as well!) Blanche Caffiere devotes some portions of the book to her own life; however, is was intended to be the memoirs of her friendship with Betty and the Bards. The following is a part of the description of the book from the back cover: "Blanche Caffiere takes us on a joyful ride through decades of friendship, from Roosevelt High School girlhood frolics to young motherhood and careers, from divorce and illness to the hardships of World War II. Whatever happiness and tribulation they experienced, Betty MacDonald and her family lived life to the fullest, and Blanche Caffiere has captured it all in Much Laughter, A Few Tears." Enjoy! (id:3159)
Glenda Nov 08, 2004 Brandon, SD teacher
   I just read Jerri Brooker's article on "The Egg and I" posted in Suite 101. She claims that Betty wrote it while living on the chicken ranch. Don't we read in "Anybody Can Do Anything" that Mary corraled her into writing it much later? Was it before or after she and Don moved to Vashon? Forgive my ignorance. I'm an old Betty fan who had, up to yesterday, read only "The Egg" and "The Plague", so had a great weekend finding and rading "Anybody" and "Onion". I love this discussion site! (id:3162)
Glenda Nov 08, 2004 Brandon, SD teacher
   I think that MacDonald could be rated with some of the best women-of-letters in the 20th century. Just because she wrote humor about family, kids books and limited her observations to out-of-the-way settings, her work has not been studied as seriously as it merits. She could be classed with some other great women writers such as Marjorie Kinnen Rawlings who also wrote humorously, but with great human insight and had, just like Betty, the ability to absolutely NAIL local color. MacDonald reminds me of other women who created memoirs of their lives that became invaluable little gems of history and priceless records of how particualr places felt, looked, smelled, sounded: Isak Dinesen, Beryl Markham, Rose Wilder Lane, Zora Neale Hurston. Each of these women wrote significant and/or popular lit, but are today ignored either by average readers, by academia or by both. I'm glad MacDonald has come alive again for modern readers. (id:3163)
Kathy Nov 08, 2004 Orlando Oldest Living Ph.D. Student
   Glenda, I agree that Betty's writing merits more critical attention than it received or receives; but the literary canon does change over time, and someone, I think, will come along and give her the recognition she deserves. Betty's writing does stand alone, but also think of the timing of the Egg (!), which was the perfect tonic for a war-weary America, selling over a million copies. Even as I write this I paused to do a little search and found an article about The Egg in the 2001 Journal of Women's History. Maybe it's starting to happen. I'm going to start working on my Ph.D. in the spring and would love to be able to work some study of Betty and her writing into my program; if not, maybe afterwards. I believe in her voice and agree with you that she gave us a number of gifts. Maybe it's the old Sherlock Holmes syndrome: anything that much fun to read can't be possibly be taken seriously as literature. (id:3164)
Kathy Nov 08, 2004 Orlando Oldest Living Ph.D. Student
   Glenda, I agree that Betty's writing merits more critical attention than it received or receives; but the literary canon does change over time, and someone, I think, will come along and give her the recognition she deserves. Betty's writing does stand alone, but also think of the timing of the Egg (!), which was the perfect tonic for a war-weary America, selling over a million copies. Even as I write this I paused to do a little search and found an article about The Egg in the 2001 Journal of Women's History. Maybe it's starting to happen. I'm going to start working on my Ph.D. in the spring and would love to be able to work some study of Betty and her writing into my program; if not, maybe afterwards. I believe in her voice and agree with you that she gave us a number of gifts. Maybe it's the old Sherlock Holmes syndrome: anything that much fun to read can't be possibly be taken seriously as literature. (id:3165)
glenda Nov 08, 2004 Brandon, SD teacher
   Yeah, the timing of her first book was serendipedous (spelling?) Betty is not the only woman writer of that time who had one big hit turned into a movie, and then whose work stayed only middling popular after that. Rawlins hit with the "The Yearling", Pearl Buck with the "Good Earth", Jessymn West with "The Gentle Persuasion", and Rumor Godden with "Black Narcissus". I think some of the luck was that the big movie studio industry was insatiable for stories and found these big novels perfect to adapt. What is interesting is that these women writers shared many of the same things in their lives. Their lives each had a combination of these characteritics in common -- marital difficulty, life in another country and/or some kind of pioneering venture, a strenuous outdoor or country life, time spent living with eccentric characters, an earlier life in a cultured/educated background, a second, happy marriage, a close relationship to their local communities, and the ability to create vivid verisimilitude in their writing. The two best things they all have in common is 1) the way they portray women's lives with lots of wry commentary and 2)their wonderful recipes for glorious food!! Each of them recorded how their lives as wives and or mothers shaped their daily rhythms and themes. They make housekeeping and cooking interesting! (id:3166)
Kathy Nov 08, 2004 Orlando Oldest Living Ph.D. Student
   You're right -- that's the stuff our very lives are made of and yet for the longest time, it was not considered serious enough to write about. The theme of the family as a haven against the outside world is very big in Betty's writing -- I see it as the reason she left the egg ranch, not finding in the home she tried to make with Bob what she knew could be possible -- and reminds me of the fairly recent book The Shelter of Each Other by wonderful Mary Pipher (of Reviving Ophelia fame). Another theme is the importance of humor in helping us survive what the world can throw at us. I look at the college courses on resiliency that seem to be the new thing, and think, This could be called Bard 101. Sharing the good and the bad, laughing, family meals that are occasions no matter what's on the menu. Chili and football games on the radio Saturday afternoons. A sense of identity that doesn't depend on having a particular address, and happiness that is not dependent on what you have or don't have. Good stuff. Sorry about the double postings. I'm only hitting "Post" once but for some reason it hiccups. (id:3169)
Kathy Nov 08, 2004 Orlando Oldest Living Ph.D. Student
   You're right -- that's the stuff our very lives are made of and yet for the longest time, it was not considered serious enough to write about. The theme of the family as a haven against the outside world is very big in Betty's writing -- I see it as the reason she left the egg ranch, not finding in the home she tried to make with Bob what she knew could be possible -- and reminds me of the fairly recent book The Shelter of Each Other by wonderful Mary Pipher (of Reviving Ophelia fame). Another theme is the importance of humor in helping us survive what the world can throw at us. I look at the college courses on resiliency that seem to be the new thing, and think, This could be called Bard 101. Sharing the good and the bad, laughing, family meals that are occasions no matter what's on the menu. Chili and football games on the radio Saturday afternoons. A sense of identity that doesn't depend on having a particular address, and happiness that is not dependent on what you have or don't have. Good stuff. Sorry about the double postings. I'm only hitting "Post" once but for some reason it hiccups. (id:3170)
Deborah Nov 08, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Agreed! I'm adding Jean Kerr to the list! (id:3171)
Deborah Nov 08, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   And Peg Bracken! (id:3172)
Deborah Nov 08, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   How could I have forgotten Janet Gillespie?! (id:3174)
Sue Nov 08, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   And Rosemary Taylor, whose book Chicken Every Sunday is a "must read" if you liked The Egg and I. Also Shirley Jackson, who wrote Life Among the Savages, and Raising Demons, in addition to her short stories and novellas. All of these women write of family life with wry humor and a fine eye for the poignant as well as the absurd. Glenda, I've read Jerri Brooker's article on several times and never noticed that she does say Betty wrote The Egg and I while living in the Chimacum Valley. I just went back to check and it does, indeed, say that. But I think it's incorrect. I think Betty wrote all her books when she was living on Vashon. I don't know if she wrote anything while she was living in Carmel. There doesn't seem to have been much time between her moving there with Don and then being diagnosed with cancer, and having to move back to Seattle. I would like to find a copy of her obituary, as I've read that in it she was quoted as having said before her death that she'd been a good sport all her life, but didn't feel like being a good sport about cancer. (id:3175)
Jane Nov 08, 2004 Canada
   Sally, I just remembered where Sue said her copy of Blanche Caffiere's book came from. It is availabe at under books "by" Betty MacDonald. Site also says that Betty wrote ONIONS... while living on Vashon Island. Sue, you might want to pull out your copy and read Pages 136-138 of Chapter 22; Page 148 of Chapter 23; and the first page of the Epilogue. Debbie, maybe next time we will meet somewhere in Washington instead. Everyone else, if you are interested, try checking out the Vashon Country Store (Sue, you found them to be reputable, right?) for your own copy of the book. The store is also planning to offer a reprint of one of Mary's books, but it is taking forever to come out. (id:3176)
Jane Nov 09, 2004 Canada
   Oops! I am really going to have to be more careful about my postings. Deborah, I am so sorry - I don't know why I typed Debbie (I just noticed), instead of Deborah???????!!! (id:3178)
Deborah Nov 09, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Don't worry about it, Jane, I'm used to it! Hopefully BEST FRIENDS will reprint someday, I'd love to read that again. Nothing wrong with a little nostalgia! (id:3182)
Emily Nov 11, 2004 Seattle
   I have the interesting history of attending first grade through high school at Chimacum school district, growing up nearby. I graduated from U of W and now reside in Seattle where I live and work with my husband and two small children. As a child, I was always aware of Egg and I road and the associated book which wasn't discussed too much locally. I went to school with several Bishops (Kettles). It was only while sick in bed for a few days that I picked-up Egg & I at the urging of my mother (who wrote a book about the history of the area). I laughed out loud through much of it and read passages to my ever patient spouse. It, along with Anybody Can do Anything are among my favorite books. I guess I never really realized how different life there is until I moved away. A friend visiting from Sweden excitedly photographed the junked cars in a neighbor's yard, saying "we don't have this back home!" Local stories have it that Bob Heskett was a bootlegger and physically abused Betty. I also heard that her original version of Egg & I reflected this and was MUCH funnier (?). The Holy Grail for me would be to get copy of the original manuscript she presented to Lippincott, before the re-writes... (id:3189)
Maria Nov 12, 2004 Austria Teacher
   Emily, thank your for your great contribution. Is your mother a writer? I'd like to order the book she has written. After reading Betty's books and the very interesting Fan Club Stuff I'd like to know more about the history of the area. I agree with you: If we only could read the original version of The Egg. Do you like Mary's books? I'd like to hear her voice. Had Mary ever been interviewed on radio or television? We - my sisters and my mother - are listening to Betty and Alison very often and we can't get enough! (id:3190)
Maria Nov 12, 2004 Austria Teacher
   I wanted to add this: We are so proud that our great Elfriede Jelinek won the 2004 Nobel Price in Literature. A friend of mine told me that Ms. Jelinek is a great fan of Betty although they are very different in their writings. Did Betty won any prices for her work? She should. ELFRIEDE JELINEK 2004 Nobel Laureate in Literature for her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society's clich s and their subjugating power Background Born: October 20, 1946 Place of birth: M¸rzzuschlag, Styria, Austria Biographical highlights: 1960 - Begins organ lessons at Viennese Conservatory 1964 - Enters study fo Theater Sciences and Art History at the University of Vienna, discontinues after a few months 1967 - Literary debut with Lisas Schatten 1971 - Passed organist diploma examination at Vienna Conservatory 1974 - First radio play, wenn die sonne sinkt ist f¸r manche schon b¸roschluss (When the sun sinks it's time to close shop), declared most successful radio play of the year by "Die Presse" 1974 - Joins Austrian KPO (Communist Party) 1978 - City of Stadt Bad Gandersheim's Roswitha Memorial Medal 1979 - West German Interior Ministry Prize for Film Writing 1983 - West German Ministry of Education and Art Appreciation Prize 1986 - City of Cologne Heinrich B?ll Prize 1987 - Province of Styria Literature Prize 1989 - City of Vienna Literature Appreciation Prize 1991 - Leaves the KPO 1994 - City of Aachen Walter Hasenclever Prize 1994 - City of Bochum Peter Weiss Prize 1996 - Bremer Literature Prize 1998 - George B¸chner Prize 2002 - Berlin Theatre Prize 2003 - Else Lasker Sch¸ler Prize, Mainz 2004 - Lessing Critics' Prize 2004 - Stig Dagerman Prize 2004 - Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature Book Store The Piano Teacher Women as Lovers Lust Wonderful, Wonderful Times Other Books by Elfriede Jelinek Featured Internet Links Female Nobel Prize Laureates (id:3191)
Emily Nov 12, 2004 Seattle
   Thanks Maria. My mother wrote "Marrowstone, the Story of an Island." It details the first white settlers of Marrowstone and Indian Islands and was published by the Port Townsend Leader and is no longer in print. Its carried in some libraries. Betty MacDonald mentioned Marrowstone briefly in "Onions in the Stew." My mother did a lot of research with back issues of the Leader (local paper) county court house records and Historical Society information but says its somewhat limited. But I am going to ask her to see if she can find any information about location of the MacDonalds' family farm, as that appears to still be an unknown. A very few of the original citizens alive at the time of Betty's stay in Chimacum are still around, including George Huntingford, nephew of Annie McGuire, mentioned in Egg & I. (id:3193)
Maria Nov 13, 2004 Austria Teacher
   Emily, isn't Annie a strong character? I was rereading The Kettles' Million Dollar Egg and enjoyed her appearance. Do you like Mary's books? Had Mary ever been interviewed on radio or television? (id:3194)
John W. Long Nov 13, 2004 Port Townsend, Wash. Retired
   My daughter just recently acquired reprints of at least two of Betty MacDonald's writings, Anybody Can Do Anything and Onions In the Stew were read by me and enjoyed-I think not for the first. Enjoyed especially since one can associate with the area, having lived closer to Chimacum than Port Townsend for many years. My purpose for reading these postings was to find out what happened to Bob Heskett. My curiosity is somewhat satisfied from reading the banter. But realizing that the postings on this site are rather dominated by the opposite gender it is interesting to see how Heskett is portrayed. Retired Sue is sure the knifing of Heskett "happened in a bar". This is evidently retribution for trying to "mold her into the type of woman he wanted"-Betty that is. And, retired Sue beleives that the Bard's would be good at detecting an "ogre" taking advantage of a so sensative, very young Betty. Poor Bob. Finally Marrowstone Emily writes that the orginal version of the Egg & I perhaps was "much funnier"-it supposedly depicts Haskett as a physical abuser of Betty. Come on Girls, the stories by MacDonald are fictionalized good reading. That's all. When reading Anybody Can Do Anything,the sequence of her packing up and leaving Heskett seemed modernistic and femanistic-way ahead of her time. Betty MacDonald would be right in tune with todays "liberated" woman. (id:3195)
Deborah Nov 13, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   John, are you for real??? Not one of us would ever consider Bob's fatal injury as retribution! You have misread Sue and taken Emily's comment out of context. I was simply appalled by your hostile post! Have you (conveniently) overlooked the posts that are very supportive of Bob Heskett???!!! (id:3196)
Sue Nov 14, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   John, John, John. You need to read more carefully. Allie said she talked with Joan, Bob and Betty's daughter, and Joan said her father was killed in a knife fight in a bar. I simply said that if Joan said that's how it happened, then I was sure it did. She ought to have known. I also said I had always envisioned it happening in a neighborhood, with Bob trying to protect a woman from harm. Guess "Retired Sue" had better go back to work, and start teaching critical reading skills again. (id:3197)
Jane Nov 15, 2004 Washington State
   Bravo, John: Elizabeth and Robert had a better marriage than most of us have. My grandpa knew them very well. It was a true love. They adored each other. Robert was a very successful chicken farmer. He wasn't a bootlegger. Bob hated alcohol. Robert as a pysical abuser of Elizabeth? NEVER! She had to leave the farm because of her serious illness. Betty was always a very sickly person. She returned to her family but Elizabeth and Robert remained very close. Robert's and Elizabeth's family should sue retired Sue and Marrowstone Emily. I hate their tissue of lies. (id:3202)
Emily Nov 15, 2004 Seattle
   Interesting, looks like we hit a nerve here. I think in most cases of abuse the spouses claim "true love." That's why the abuse can continue for years. I frankly couldn't possibly care less what Jane or John think of me or Sue. I come from a family of lawyers; bring on your threatened suit and kiss my ass. (id:3204)
Emily Nov 15, 2004 Seattle
   Interesting, looks like we hit a nerve here. I think in most cases of abuse the spouses claim "true love." That's why the abuse can continue for years. I frankly couldn't possibly care less what Jane or John think of me or Sue. I come from a family of lawyers; bring on your threatened suit and kiss my ass. (id:3205)
Sue Nov 15, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   To Jane from Canada,Deborah, and Sally: Yes, I did get Blanche Caffiere's book from the Vashon Country Store, and I found them to be reputable. You can order it from them by calling 1-888-245-6136 or email at I think I paid about twelve dollars for it, plus postage. Along with her own personal memoirs, Blanche Caffiere writes of her school-age adventures with Betty and the Bard family, as well as several stories about when their paths crossed again as adults. There's a fun section in it about the woman named Lesley who appeared as a character in Onions in the Stew, and how Betty took Sydney's advice in dealing with her. The portions dealing with Betty's death from cancer are touching, and also illustrate Betty's reliance on humor even in the face of terminal cancer. Jane, thanks for reminding me about those pages. Deborah, you mention a writer named Janet Gillespie. I haven't heard of her before--do you have any titles? (id:3206)
Jane Nov 15, 2004 Canada
   Oh my! I just got a bit of a start to see a posting by a "Jane" who wasn't me. Thanks, Sue, for noticing that there is now a "Jane from Canada" and a Jane from Washington State. (id:3207)
Deborah Nov 15, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Sue, the titles by Janet Gillespie are "With a Merry Heart", "A Joyful Noise" and two other books I didn't really care for, "Bedlam in the Backseat" and "Peacock Manure and Marigolds". Jeeves has website of a town where Gillespie still lives, and a bookstore offering her books. I think you'd enjoy them. (id:3208)
Kathy Nov 15, 2004 Orlando Oldest Living Ph.D. Student
   Has this interesting site been posted here yet? Also, apropos of other writers in the same vein, Helene Hanff of 84 Charing Cross Road cult fame is wonderful. Her memoir "Underfoot in Show Business" is absolutely delightful. I called her on the phone the year before she died and had a wonderful conversation. I also called Hilary Knight (Mrs. Piggle Wiggle illustrator)and he was not at all enthusiastic about discussing Betty or the P-W books, so I changed the topic to "Eloise," evidently much more important to him. (id:3209)
Emily Nov 15, 2004 Seattle
   Hi Canada Jane, I realized the same and certainly didn't point my comments at you ;-). I wrote the remarks in the heat of the moment immediately after reading the offensive remarks of the strangely angry "Washington Jane" and PT John. From the myriad of comments I've heard from a number of sources, I stand by my earlier statements that local lore is that Bob was a bootlegger (the indians came to the house frequently to purchase it) and he crashed the car he and Betty were given as a wedding present (as stated in Betty MacDonald Society interviews of her family). Not clear why Washington Jane insists he didn't drink, as Betty herself stated they enjoyed a drink, in Egg. Also stated in Section V of Betty's divorce filing of July 17, 1931 is her complaint that Bob "struck and kicked plaintiff on a number of occasions and threatened to shoot plaintiff and children." If that's not a claim of abuse, I'm not sure what is. Nothing personal or derisive intended here, simply information I've come across. I agree with PT John that Betty probably enhanced the truth in some of her writing. If he more carefully read the previous comments (as Sue suggested, along with checking his spelling), he would see that I had a question mark indicating how could Betty's original version which included Bob's abuse be interpreted as funny. (id:3210)
Deborah Nov 15, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Kicked, struck, threatened to shoot children? I may have to withdraw my support for Heskett... Yes, I realize I'm walking right into the next onslaught of verbal bullets... But at least I have company in Sue, Emily and Canada Jane ! :) (id:3211)
Deborah Nov 15, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   I hope... (id:3212)
Sue Nov 15, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Wow, Emily, that's quite a revelation! Thanks for going to the effort of posting that portion of Betty's divorce petition. It's no doubt part of the public record, but coming from a family of lawyers and knowing how to research it has its advantages! Anyway, I admit I'm surprised. In Blanche Caffiere's book, Blanche says that Betty told her that once when she refused to go to a party with Bob, he poured kerosene on the porch, held a lit match above it, and threatened to drop it if she didn't agree to go along. I remember being startled when I read that, as I had never thought about Bob as being abusive. I had assumed he was simply too old for Betty, and not too understanding about her difficult adjustment to such a new environment. I may have been naive. And Emily, you're right when you mention the necessity for careful reading of these posts. When people continue to misunderstand in the face of clear explanations, either deliberately or through ignorance, it's best to just let it go and not give them too much attention. The more I learn here, the more I realize that the picture is far more complex than I thought. I've taken Betty's written version of events in The Egg and I at face value, but it seems that some elements were changed to put a more acceptable face on things. And Kathy, it's wonderful that you were able to speak with Helene Hanff before her death. I haven't read 84 Charing Cross Road, but have seen the movie, and enjoyed it. Now I'll read the book as well. I wonder why Hilary Knight was not so enthusiastic about discussing Betty or the P-W books? Maybe it was because the Eloise books are enjoying a revival since the movie came out. When one of my classes received the letter from Jerry Keil, Joan's husband, he said that the actress Linda Lavin had an option on the Mrs. P-W books for a television series or movie, but that's been some time ago. I believe Jean Stapleton made a video and starred as Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle at one point. It will be interesting to see what other info gets posted here, and thanks to those who continue to share in a positive way. I think sometimes about what a member of Betty's family might think if they happened on this website, as we're very curious about what's basically private family business, but it's curiosity rooted in respect for Betty MacDonald's wonderful gift for writing about her family and her life experiences. (id:3213)
Kathy Nov 16, 2004 Orlando Oldest Living Ph.D. Student
   I'm sure I wouldn't be thrilled to come upon a discussion board where my family's history was being speculated about, especially the "dirty laundry"; but as Sue says, Betty wrote about her life and we would not be human if we didn't wonder whether all was as stated. I do think it's important to retain some objectivity and try to avoid passing judgment on past events because whatever we read or hear, we weren't there and will never know the entire picture. When I spoke to Hilary Knight several years ago, he said that Kay Thompson didn't have long to live and her heirs were waiting in the wings with big merchandising plans for Eloise, which KT had always resisted. Sure enough, a year or so later, Eloise exploded into the marketplace. . . I wish I had asked him why he seemed so dismissive of the P-W books. I thought his illustrations captured perfectly the tone and humor of Betty's writing. Maybe there had been some dissatisfaction with business arrangements? More speculation! (id:3228)
Maria Nov 16, 2004 Austria Teacher
   Kathy, our family loves Helene Hanff's book. We never had the chance to see the movie here. What did Helene Hanff say? It was sad that she never met her pen pal in person. What a fascinating book! (id:3229)
Kathy Nov 17, 2004 Orlando Oldest Living Ph.D. Student
   Maria, the movie is wonderful and I think Anne Bancroft did a great job capturing Helene's personality. When I called Helene I introduced myself and said this was a fan call, and if it was unwelcome I apologized. She was very friendly and said she'd love to chat, just hold on while she got her eggs off the stove. (!) We talked for about half an hour; she still lived at the address of her "new" apartment in 84 Charing Cross; she was feeling well and enjoyed hearing from fans. She asked about me and my family and I told her I was jobhunting. "Academia! They don't pay anything; they expect you to live on coffee and books," she said in her wonderful New York accent. She seemed absolutely genuine and as funny and perceptive as she comes across in the letters of 84. I wish I could have met her. My mother brought me an Omnibus edition from England which has 84, The Duchess of Bloomsbury St., Underfoot in Show Business, Q's Legacy, and Apple of my Eye. "Underfoot" is one of my very favorite books. I laugh out loud everytime I think of the passage in which Maxine, Helene's glamorous actress friend, borrows one of Helene's outfits, and Helene finds out why. (id:3232)
Sue Nov 17, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Kathy, thanks for that story on Helene Hanff. I enjoyed it. Deborah, I forgot to thank you for the info on Janet Gillespie. I have a long library list this week, thanks to the two of you! (id:3240)
Maria Nov 19, 2004 Austria Teacher
   Kathy, thank you so much for telling us your wonderful experience with Helene Hanff. I only know 84 Charing Cross Road. As you say the other books are wonderful as well. I have to read Underfoot in Show Business. Could you please tell something more about Underfoot? I can't wait to read it. Any other favorite books? (id:3244)
Kathy Nov 19, 2004 Orlando Oldest Living Ph.D. Student
   "Underfoot in Show Business" tells how Helene as a young woman won a competition for aspiring playwrights and found herself in New York City with no money and no certain future. It is a hilarious and sometimes bittersweet account of her struggles to earn a living, educate herself (no money for college), and break into show business. You end up really loving Helene and feeling that she would have been a most delightful person to know. (id:3245)
Gail Nov 20, 2004 Pennsylvania librarian
   Has anyone read Hildegarde Dolson -not her mysteries -but humorous accounts of her life ? (id:3248)
Deborah Nov 20, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   Gail, I read "We Shook the Family Tree" in the late 1960's and absolutely loved it !! (id:3250)
Sue Nov 21, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   "We Shook The Family Tree" was one of my favorite books when I was a kid. I found a used hardback copy of it in an old bookstore in Detroit and it sits up on the shelf next to Betty's books, Rosemary Taylor's books, and a couple of books by Jane Trahey. Jane Trahey was the first woman to have her own advertising agency in New York City. She started the Blackgama mink ads---remember What Becomes A Legend Most? She wrote a book called "Life with Mother Superior." Disney turned that into a movie called "The Trouble With Angels." Also a childhood favorite! Another favorite is Jean Kerr, who wrote "Please Don't Eat The Daisies." (id:3251)
Kim Nov 21, 2004 Virginia mom
   Hi all, I've only posted once before but just wanted to say hi and thank you all for all the info on Betty as of late. I was just re-reading "Onions in the Stew" lately so checked back here and got updates. I wanted to respond to the last post on Jean Kerr's "Please Don't Eat the Daisies." Have any of you read Marie Killilea's books, "Karen" and "With Love From Karen". They are wonderful books but the connection is that they lived next door to the Kerrs (in the "With Love from Karen" book). Jean plays an interesting part in the story as do her twins. Just thought you'd like to know! Thanks again, Kim in VA (id:3253)
Sue Nov 22, 2004 Pacific Northwest retired
   Hi, Kim. Yes, I've read both the books about Karen Killilea. The two families lived (live?) in Larchmont, New York. For those who don't know, Karen was born with cerebral palsy, and her mother, Marie, wrote two exceptional books about the family's experiences dealing with this condition. Another book readers who visit this forum might like to read is "The Family Nobody Wanted", by Helen Doss. She and her husband adopted twelve mixed-race children and faced the inevitable social problems with love and humor. Also, in The Egg and I, Betty MacDonald wrote about reading a book by a woman who wrote that she lived in the woods with no modern conveniences and just loved, loved, loved it. Betty was pretty incensed. That book, I believe, is one called "We Took To the Woods", by Louise Dickinson Rich. It's probably out of print now, but I found my copy in a bookstore specializing in used books. It's not bad reading, but I liked it mostly because of the Betty connection. The copy I have was published in 1942, by Grosset and Dunlap, so if that was the book Betty speaks of, she couldn't have read it when she was living in the Chimacum Valley. Although, my copy does say that it's published by special arrangement with Lippincott, who were Betty's publishers, so maybe I have a later edition by Grosset and Dunlap. Years ago I read someplace that it's the book which made Betty so mad, and in reading it, it seems likely. Mrs. Rich was pretty darn cheerful, slogging with her water buckets through the snow to the spring and delivering her baby at home! Another author whose humor reminds me a lot of Betty's is Margaret Halsey, who wrote "With Malice Toward Some". I laughed out right out loud several times. She's got that same wry, dry, sardonic eye for people's foibles. (id:3254)
Elizabeth Nov 23, 2004 Cincinnati
   I found Betty's books in an English seaside library just prior to my emigration to the USA fourteen years ago. I was immediately hooked on them. Needless to say, in our cabin trunks Betty's books had pride of place. of the first things I did upon arrival in the USA was go to the local library to delve into the archives. I found a very small article from a California newspaper announcing t

December 2004 through January 2005

Kim Dec 01, 2004 Virginia mom
   I hope we can figure out where to go for the new forum. Thanks to the editors for setting this up! Kim (id:3387)
Deborah Dec 01, 2004 Southern California Caregiver
   And I hope it's as easy to navigate as this forum! Some are so messy and complicated I had to withdraw. In fact, to the owner of a health forum, I said "You could learn alot from Seattle Press Online". Please, editors, keep it simple ! Thanks ! (id:3388)
SPOL Editor Dec 03, 2004 Seattle, Austria Moderator
   We think you'll like it. Lots of cool stuff like picture links, easy linking to resources, a system that remembers you (at you option) so you can just type without retyping your name, location, etc. And it maintains discussion threads, so you can read and write about a particular topic without scrolling through everything. The most recent posts will be grouped newest first, with archives by topic and date. We're looking for a brave volunteer to be the moderator; more on that next post. (id:3391)
SPOL Editor Dec 03, 2004 Seattle, Austria Moderator
   PS: We're targeting a rollout around December 15. This comment list will remain active into next year. (id:3392)
Kim Dec 23, 2004 Virginia mom
   Any updates on the new website? Kim (id:3421)
SPOL Editor Dec 24, 2004 Seattle, Austria Moderator
   Real life keeps intervening. We're now targeting Jan 10-15. Thanks for your interest. RC (id:3422)
Kim Jan 01, 2005 Columbia City OR writer
   Haven't been back to this site in months--busy retiring and moving to Oregon (was Kim from Sacramento), but I'm so glad I visited again--there's so much more information. I'm pleased to hear there's to be a new website, as well and look forward to visiting for more news of Betty. I think, honestly, as private as the family seems, Betty herself would have gotten a kick out of all the interest--at least thought it funny! (id:3429)
Chris Jan 03, 2005 Hamburg / Germany Student
   Hallo everybody out there, greetings from Germany! I did't know that the life of Betty and her whole family ist still so interesting for so many people, so you all can imagine how eager I was to read all your statements. I spent the last two weeks at home with my mom and used the time to re-read all the books of Betty again. Unfortunately on german, but I promise I will try to get them all in english, although it is a bit difficult here in Germany. I'm also very interested in the books of Mary Bard, maybe someone can help me to get them? Could someone please give me the adresses of the websites often mentioned here? I would like to forage for all available information about the family, the friends and so on. For today, greetings and warm hugs for every admirer of Betty! Chris (id:3434)
Tamzin Jan 06, 2005 London ?
   I just found this forum, and have been a fan of the Betty Macdonald books ever since my mother introduced me to them. This has been a great source of information, answering a lot of my questions, and also providing some new ones. Something I can add on Cleve, is the following obit that I found for his wife: Bard, Mary Alice Sunday, 18 Jan 2004 Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Vashon-Maury Island, WA Mary Alice Bard, 82, of Vashon Island, Wa., passed away Sunday, Jan. 18, 2004 at Swedish Hospital in Seattle, Wa., after a courageous 2-year battle with lung cancer. Mary was born on Feb. 12, 1921 to Garfield and Mary Ann Miller in Boscobel, Wisconsin. After her high school graduation in 1939, the family moved west and settled on Vashon Island. In 1940 she married George Schoeppel and they had four children. They divorced in 1952 and she later married S.C. (Cleve) Bard and they had two sons. Mary was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. She enjoyed spending time with her family and friends. She was an excellent cook and baker. In earlier years she had a large vegetable garden and raised beautiful roses. She also loved to bowl and had many hobbies, among them making beautiful ceramics and was an avid painter, becoming a juried artist. In later years, Mary was a volunteer at the Vashon Island Senior Center, and was a regular at the Saturday night bingo game. She also enjoyed her trips to Reno with her friends and family. Mary was preceded in death by both of her husbands and all of her brothers and sisters. Mary is survived by her children: John and Juanita Schoeppel of Vashon; Pam and Jim Bartoy of Puyallup, Wa.; Bruce and Sharon Schoeppel of Vashon; Susie and Doug Henry of Vaughn, Wa.; James and Suzette Bard of North Bend, Wa.; Sam and Kate Bard of Vashon; and 16 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. Her legacy will live on through her children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. She will be greatly missed by all of us who knew and loved her. (id:3440)
Margaret Jan 07, 2005 Sydney, Australia Registered Nurse
   Greetings from Australia! I have been a fan of Betty Macdonald for many years and have spent many hours looking for information about her, so it is very exciting to find this forum. I have all her books and have compiled a collection of photos, newspaper clippings and articles. Looking forward to chatting with you all! (id:3443)
Doris Jan 08, 2005 Munich - Germany Secretary
   Hi everybody and Chris: It's so good to find you all. I love Betty's books since I'm a child. I was reading her books for children with my mother and later her books for adults. Chris I give you the web addresses you mentioned. (id:3444)
Chris Jan 09, 2005 Hamburg / Germany Student
   @Doris: Thank you very much, I will try the link immediately. @all the others: It is great to meet such a nice community. I'm looking forward to the promised forum. CU! (id:3446)
Stacey Harrell Jan 09, 2005 Gates, NC Teacher
   I read the Piggle-Wiggle books as a child. When I was in college I found Mrs. MacDonald had written books for adults, so I read those as well. I have sought for more information on the internet about Betty, but was unable to find it until now. Thank you so much for the HistoryLink website! I loved the pictures and article. It was wonderful to actually see what Betty and Mary looked like. (id:3447)
Chris Jan 10, 2005 Hamburg / Germany Student
   I would like to see a picture of Betty and Mary when they were at school and/or university. Did someone find such a photography? Greetings from Hamburg, where the sun is shining right now! (id:3449)
Doris Jan 10, 2005 Munich - Germany Secretary
   Chris: I found a University Yearbook with Betty and Mary. There are pics of Betty and Mary in it. I'd like to share it with you. (id:3450)
Margaret Jan 10, 2005 Sydney, Australia Registered Nurse
   Does anyone have any information on the whereabouts of Anne Macdonald and /or Mary's children Mari, Heidi, and Sally? (id:3451)
Chris Jan 11, 2005 Hamburg / Germany Student
   @Doris: If I could get a copy of the pictures - that would really be a hit! And for my mother, too. My email-address is: If you write me a mail to get your email-adress, too, than I can give you my post adress. I'm sooo looking forward to it!!! Greetings from cloudy but mild temperatured Hamburg! (id:3453)
Chris Jan 11, 2005 Hamburg / Germany Student
   Does someone have any information about Madge, which was mentioned in "The Plague and I"? She actually was not a regular sister of Mary and Betty, but seemed just to come for a visit and then stayed forever. Was this just fiction or true? (I would not be surprised if the warm-hearded Bard-Bunch would accept such a person, which was fitting to their kind of living so good, without hesitation!) (id:3454)
Sally Jan 16, 2005 Charlotte, NC Technical Analyst
   Always thought that MAGE was Blanche. But I wil check to see if this was correct. Use to have coffee in the morning with Cleve and Blanche in Vashon. Many good memories of the life on Vashon. Left the Island in 1987, but returned every year until 2000. Last saw Blanche in 2000 the last time I visited Vashon. (id:3463)
Sally Jan 17, 2005 Charlotte, NC Technical Analyst
   Blanche was not at home,so could not get the answer to the question. But will post the answer later as to "Who was Madge" (id:3464)
Sue Jan 17, 2005 Pacific Northwest retired
   Sally, thanks for checking on the Madge question. That will be interesting. I just finished Monica Sone's book, Neisei Daughter. It's an interesting memoir on its own, even without the Betty link, as it deals with growing up in Seattle during the early decades of the 20th century, and with the forced internment of American citizens of Japanese descent without trial or hearing during WWII. I read with interest Ms. Sone's comments about how supportive Betty was when the Itoi family (Monica Sone was Kazuko Monica Itoi Sone)was forced to leave their home and business when they were sent to an internment camp, because Betty has been the subject of some criticism of her portrayal of the Pacific Northwest natives with whom she came in contact, and some people I know who have read Egg have called her racist. (I think it was in the Common Reader edition of The Egg and I that her daughters wrote a preface that said she probably would not have made those comments had she been writing in later years.) The first copy of Neisei Daughter that I found in a bookstore, which was too expensive for me to buy at the time, had either a jacket cover commentary by Betty or a preface by her, where she said that she would have borne far more resentment toward the U.S. than did Monica Sone for the callous way in which her family and many others were treated. I wish I could remember exactly what she said, but that was the gist of it. That preface is not included in the paperback copy I just finished, so I can't quote it. The reason I mention it is, it's part of Betty's complex character that she was so sad for Monica's family, and obviously angry about the racial motivations for what happened to them, but she didn't seem to see that her own portrayal of people like Clamface and Geoduck might seem racist to others. As Emilie posted back in December of 2003, alocholism and despair were and are a sad fact of life for some people. It could be that a few of the people Betty portrayed so poorly may have frightened or confused her, and she transferred those feelings to Pacifc Northwest Natives as a group, which was unfair.Of course, all this is just my speculation, but in reading Neisei Daughter I think it's clear that Betty was not generally racist. I'd be interested to know what others think. (id:3466)
Gail Jan 19, 2005 Pennsylvania Librarian
   Amazon lists it as Nisei (different spelling) Daughter by Monica Itoi Sone (id:3469)
Sue Jan 19, 2005 Pacific Northwest retired
   Hi Gail---Thanks, you are right. It is spelled Nisei. That's what I get for not having the book next to me and for not paying attention! (id:3472)
Deborah Jan 19, 2005 Southern California Caregiver
   Sue, I don't think that Betty was a racist. Remember in PLAGUE, Betty's friendship with Evalee? Also in PLAGUE, Betty was very sad over the decline of the the woman, Margaretta. And of course, there's Betty's friendship with Kimi/Monica. I agree that nowadays Betty would not have lumped all Pacific native people together. I always rather liked Mrs. Kettle, and I can see that her descendants would be offended by Betty's comments in EGG. We live in better times now, in some ways. I believe that Betty had the capacity to have changed with the times. (id:3473)
Sally Jan 22, 2005 Greensboro, NC law office administrator
   I, too, do NOT think Betty was a racist. You have to bear in mind what the world was like when she was born. My mother was only a few years younger than Betty and was a very compassionate person; however, she was prone to making comments like referring to someone's race or ethnic background when describing them. It wasn't done in a negative way but it always irritated my children because they considered it semi-racist. I believe Betty disliked many of the locals she encountered while on the chicken ranch and they happened to be Indians. I don't believe the fact that they were Indians was the REASON she disliked them. Had her books been published later, even if they had included some of the lines from "Egg" that offended people, a politically correct conscious editor would have probably edited them out. Betty's friendships with Kimi and Margaretta in "Plague" were pretty liberal for the time in which she lived. (id:3478)
Kim Jan 26, 2005 Virginia mom
   SPOL Editor Dec 24, 2004 Real life keeps intervening. We're now targeting Jan 10-15. Thanks for your interest. RC (id:3422) Just checking to see if there's been any progress since the last notice (I copied it into this message) said Jan. 10-15 was estimated date. Kim (id:3490)
John Jan 27, 2005 Fort Wayne, Indiana
   hello Betty Mac Dondaldites !I love this group:you are the most authoritative people on the subject of Betty that I have ever seen. I would really love to be apart of your wonderful group. I first discovered Betty over 30 years ago and have loved her ever since. I would love to write a book on her life, the research would be so enriching and fulfilling. All I have so far are a few snipets of information, 4 1st edition Mac donald books, and a deep passionatelove for The Bards. Hope you let me stay. John (id:3491)
John Jan 27, 2005 Fort Wayne, Indiana
   thought you might find this of some interest. it is bob's burial records. hopeyou enjoy 1. HESKETT, ROBERT EUGENE PVT US MARINE CORPS VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 07/18/1918 - 06/12/1919 DATE OF BIRTH: 10/28/1895 DATE OF DEATH: 07/22/1951 DATE OF INTERMENT: 08/02/1951 BURIED AT: SECTION M SITE 937 GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL CEMETERY 1300 SNEATH LANE SAN BRUNO , CA 94066 (650) 589-7737 (650) 589-1646 (id:3492)
Sue Jan 27, 2005 Pacific Northwest retired
   Hello to John from Fort Wayne, and thanks for the burial info on Bob Heskett. Some time ago, somebody posted a question about the My Most Unforgettable Character article which Betty wrote for The Reader's Digest. I just found a copy of it (it's the July 1949 issue) and read the article, which is about Mike Gordon, a suitor of Betty's before she married Don MacDonald. It was a treat to read something by Betty that I hadn't read before. She writes of Mr. Gordon with both exasperation and fondness. I started laughing by the second paragraph, when she said, "Even though I had been married and divorced and had two children, I was only 26 at the time; and since Mike was somewhere between 70 and 100, it never occurred to me that he would consider himself my suitor and that he would endeavor during the next eight years to out-suit anyone else." She writes of Anne's and Joan's fondness for the man (what children wouldn't be fond of a fellow who says he knows Santa Claus personally and then delivers every Christmas gift on their lists via Railway Express?) and also of at least one road trip the family made with him to Eastern Washington. Betty's friendship with Mike Gordon is also mentioned in Blanche Caffiere's book, and there's also a photo in that book showing the two of them together. Betty towers over him! This Reader's Digest article is worth getting through inter-library loan if you can get your local library to find it for you, or you can try getting a copy of this issue on eBay. (id:3494)
John Jan 27, 2005 Fort Wayne, Indiana
   Sue, thank you for your responce. The betty articale sounds very interesting and i will see if i can get a copy ot it via Readers Digest, hopefully. If any one can supply with me with the city and state that betty passed in i can see if i can get her burial records. I am also working on a copy of Bob's death certificate, i am in contact with the cemetary in this regard, and hopefuly they can provide me with this information. As I said "I would love to research betty and her family deeper and maybe write a book on betty" of course it will be to share only among other macdonaldites. (id:3496)
Jane Jan 27, 2005 Canada
   Great work, Sue! I had been curious about that article. Yes, I know the photo - Betty and Mike made an unlikely looking couple, but then so do a lot of happy people. (id:3497)
John Jan 27, 2005 Fort Wayne, Indiana
   in an exhaustive attempt to locate Bett'y buroial information and possible grave site, I have discovered that Betty was cremated. I am in the process of tryingto locate a copy od the original defimation suit filed by the Bishops claiming that Betty slandered them with her representation of them through the kettles. I don't expect to get anywhere with this but, I do hope to get some good information. I will be sharing this information with all Macdonaldites as soon as i get it. (id:3498)
Margaret Jan 28, 2005 Sydney, Australia Registered Nurse
   Regarding Betty's death - Betty died at the Maynard Hospital in Seattle. Her official cause of death was listed as "Carcinomotosis" (which means there were multiple sites of cancer in her body) Her funeral arrangements were conducted by a funeral firm called Bonney-Watson Co. Betty had requested no funeral service as she considered such practices barbaric, but her family requested in lieu of flowers to send donations to the American Cancer Society. She was cremated and the remains returned to Donald in California. I am unsure if there is a burial site there. (id:3499)
john Jan 28, 2005 Fort Wayne, Indiana
   Thank you Margaret for your enlightenig information. I don't know if any of you have have YAHOO, but I am thinking of starting a Betyy Macdonald group there and would like to invite all of you. I will created this group once I find that people wiuld seriously be interested. Also Margaret, I don't think that there is a burial site for Betty, i have searched all the local cemetaries in the area and there was no listing for Betty or Don ( i would love to see what I can find out about him). I wonder if he is even alive. (id:3500)
Jane Jan 28, 2005 Canada
   John, Betty's husband Donald MacDonald died in Carmel Valley, California in 1975. (id:3501)
john Jan 28, 2005 Fort Wayne, Indiana
   Thank you Jane. (id:3502)
Deborah Jan 28, 2005 Southern California Caregiver
   Wow ! Things are really getting fascinating now ! Glad to have you onboard, John ! (id:3505)
JOHN Jan 28, 2005 Fort Wayne, Indiana
   Your welcome deb; glad to be here ! I have some information coming that you may enjoy having as Macdonaldites. I just ordered a copy of Betty's death certificate and funeral home records. I am now currently involved on finding anything I can on Don. Hopefuly i will be able to get some information on him. Now, let's get to work on the original kettles and see what we can dig up on them. Would anyone happen to know their original names? also, i have spoken to a real estate agent in Port Townsand, aka "TOWN" and i am trying to get her to go to the original "EGG" farm and take some pictures of it or what may remain, she is also interested in Betty, and i told her of the sute so i hope she will be joinging us. I love to do research on the obscure and the hard to get stuff that people seem to like. Thanks for letting me be a member of this wonder forum. :) (id:3507)
Sue Jan 28, 2005 Pacific Northwest retired
   John, the family's name was Bishop. Try this site for good info and some pictures: I found it on I think most Betty fans will find this site very interesting. (id:3509)
Sue Jan 28, 2005 Pacific Northwest retired
   For some reason, the address I gave didn't post. It's (id:3510)
john Jan 29, 2005 fort Wayne, IN
   Thanks Sue !I'll keep you informed of any new findings :) (id:3512)
john Jan 29, 2005 fort Wayne, IN
   Thnks Sue ! I just checked out the site and have found a coule good lead ideas there. Albert and Susanna look nothing like the discription that we have of them from The Egg and I or from the depiction we get from the movies. I was expecting a big busted slatternly looking woman with a top knot and, a tiny, funny looking little man with a badge covered derby when i looked at the photos on the site. Now that i have the real names of the bishops i am going to sent a letter to the Uniteted States District Court and see if i can get a copy of the original suite filed against Betty for her depitions. I doubt that i will have any luck but, I will do my best. Again thanks Sue for the great lead. (id:3513)
Deborah Jan 29, 2005 California
   Help ! I have tried to bring up the Bishop site several times but I keep getting error messages. I tried Google and Jeeves. I'd love to see pictures of the real Kettles ! I'm confused though-you mean the Kettles were actually named Bishop? I had thought that the Bishops were the Kettles' descendants. John, I'm all but drooling to see what you come up with ! (id:3514)
john Jan 29, 2005 Fort Wayne, Indiana
   Hi Deb: It's a great site hope you find it. Deb, I am trying to get a copy of the law suite that was filed against Betty by the Bishops. Now that I know the names of the real "MA" and "PA"..... (id:3515)
Sue Jan 29, 2005 Pacific Northwest
   Deborah, go to the Jeeves website and type Bishop Family + Heskett into the search bar. The article is about third down on that list. Betty didn't use the Bishop family's real name in Egg. I think that's why, when they sued her for defamation, she was able to claim the Kettles were composite characters, and they probably were, but there were obviously enough similarities that people in the area thought they knew who she was talking about. I had always read that the family sued Betty for a million dollars, and that she was able to successfully defend herself based partly on her claim of composite characters, but the article linked to the Jeeves site says that some of the family collected damages. I wasn't aware of that, so I'd be interested to know the real story, if John is successful in his research. (id:3516)
Deborah Jan 29, 2005 California
   Thanks, Sue ! I went right to it and have saved it. What a great site ! I didn't see any adult pictures of "Mrs. Kettle" though, and was disappointed about that. (id:3517)
Deborah Jan 29, 2005 California
   I meant pictures of "Mrs. Kettle" that would be from the time that Betty knew the Bishops. The family photograph I thought was charming, and I agree, John, they look just like anyone else. Quite nice, actually. (id:3518)
john Jan 29, 2005 Fort Wayne, Indiana
   Dear macdonaldites. would it be ethical of me to share Monica "KIMI" sones address and phone number with you? It is a matter of public records :) (id:3519)
Deborah Jan 29, 2005 California
   John, I would ask Mrs. Sones first. Maybe you could ask her to post here? (id:3520)
john Jan 29, 2005 Fort Wayne, Indiana
   Yes that is a good idea Deb, I was just so happy to have come across it. I will call her and ask if i can post her adrress for purposes of fan mail (id:3521)

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