Each day this month, meet a Rhode Island author! Comment on the blog post for a chance to win our Grand Prize (a $200 Amazon gift card) or our Bonus Prize (a $100 Amazon gift card). Some authors are giving away books, too – your comment enters you into their drawing as well. (See details at bottom of this page)
The title might seem a bit odd for a memoir, but not if that is how one came to the United States. At 93 years of age, Theresa Landry, a local Rhode Island dance teacher, decided to lace her dance shoes and retire. I had known Theresa since the age of 5 when her daughter, Susan, and I entered the first grade together and remained lifelong friends.
Theresa had been saying for years that she wanted her life’s story written in a book. Being an English teacher and one of the many people who never said “no” to our beloved Theresa, she and I began my first published memoir.
I would go to Theresa’s house two or three times a week, where she would talk about her past experiences, and we would look at, literally, hundreds of pictures that proved each of her stories. She even had two small journals, one brown and one black, which she had written in over the years. The brown one contained dates, times, places, and the amounts of money she was paid for her performances. She included how her “agent” got her to “gigs” in Boston and other parts of Massachusetts, usually by bus. Also in this book were the names of dance teachers from whom she had taken lessons. She traveled by train as far as New York because a teacher was so well known for what she wanted to learn. The slightly bigger black book contained the names and addresses of businesses where Theresa rented space for her studios, until she finally got to the last one, from which she retired after being in the building for 60 years.
Theresa’s studio was wallpapered with life-sized pictures of her posing with famous people – actors, dancers, and politicians. She had met so many, but it is how she met them that was the “hook.” The stories became an obsession for me. HEARING, LISTENING, WRITING – the whole process was a labor of love. This woman was not just a dance teacher. She was a businesswoman, a people person, a lover of children, a wife, a mother, a lover, a humanitarian, a world traveler – an institution!
The three parts of this book begin with the tale of Theresa’s parents’ trek moving with their children from Canada to the United States. The second part is broken into vignettes: Theresa’s stories, happy and sad, but always ending with her own positive spin. And, finally, a gallery of pictures, allowing the reader to view her embellished life.
The conclusion shows how one person can be so many things to so many people. Mostly, it shows how many people Theresa Landry loved and how many people loved her. Sadly, Theresa passed at the young age of 96.
Lynda has generously offered to gift a copy of Truck of Potatoes to one lucky winner! By commenting on this post, you’re entered to win Lynda’s book, and you have an entry to win either our Grand Prize or our Bonus Prize!
Lynda (Simoneau) Nagle was born and lived in Central Falls, Rhode Island, until the age of 19, when she married and moved to Pawtucket. She is a graduate of Rhode Island College, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education – English, as well as Master’s degrees in English, Educational Administration, and Psychology. Currently, Lynda is a retired high school and college English teacher.
Lynda’s first book, Truck of Potatoes, is a memoir which became a labor of love while she listened to stories and wrote from another person’s perspective. This led to her thinking of writing children’s stories and two books entitled Albert in the Middle and Albert’s Dog Daze. Each is based on Lynda’s father as a young boy. Her hope is that, after reading these books, children will learn how to live, love, and enjoy the good in life, even if, at any time, life is not perfect.
At this time, Lynda is involved in writing more memoirs. She also writes poetry and songs, a favorite pastime as she sings and plays the guitar.
Lynda’s books can be found at:
Trafford Publishing https://www.trafford.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001089200
Stillwater Books, Pawtucket, RI https://www.stillwaterbooksri.com/
You can leave a comment on each day’s blog post during November, for up to 30 chances to win. Daily giveaways by authors will be drawn one week after publication. The author will contact the winner to coordinate delivery of the book(s). Grand Prize and Bonus Prize winners will be drawn and announced on December 8.