Enjoy the original
stories Woman, Tomboy
Pills for Pink People
Also see the reviewed books Christian
women have found delightful reading!
- A new novel by
Adele S. Hodlin
The tavern hunkered in the lee of a forbidding cliff of black stone shot
through with fingers of green crystal. The crude lettering on the warped
and weather-faded sign suspended at a cockeyed angle above the tavern door
read simply, “The Last House”. Beyond lay the unmapped mysteries of
the Syr, where the elusive creatures known as the Lingyl were said to
As she eyed the tavern with misgiving, Stasia patted her mare's
neck. “Nasty House would suit that disreputable pile of rubble better,
don't you think?”
The mare bobbed her head. They were in complete accord. With a
grimace for the muck into which she was placing her boots, Stasia
dismounted. The shaggy goat grazing in the thatch of the tavern’s roof
paused in mid-chew to fix her with a baleful stare. She returned it in
kind, and took a deep, steadying breath, squared her shoulders.
A crumbling ruin the tavern might be, but she was in need of fresh
provisions if she meant to continue on into the Syr, the one place she
would be safe. The one place the soldiers sent after her by the Tarranti
Governor wouldn't follow.
There was nothing this side of the grave that could induce a
Tarranti to venture into the lands held by the Lingyl. Nothing. The
superstitious fools believed the creatures were demons, children of Gote,
god of Evil, simply because the males, called struts, were possessed of
horns and tails.
The people of Meridios, Stasia’s people, had once worshipped the
Lingyl; a steadfast few, the Devout, risked torture and death to keep the
old religion alive even now, during the Tarranti occupation of their
beloved city. They were unwavering in their conviction that one day the
Lingyl strut called the Sunthrower would return to cast the cruel and
rapacious Tarranti out of Meridios for all time.
Stasia shook her head. The Devout also believed that her Destiny
was the Destiny of the Meridiot people themselves. Which, as far as Stasia
was concerned, was incontrovertible proof that the Devout, although
well-intentioned, were utterly mad.
With another deep breath and a hasty prayer, Stasia leaned her
weight against the iron-banded plank door of the tavern. It gave with a
grudging screech of rusty hinges.......
©1997 all rights reserved
From the beginning, man has complained that he can not, does not, understand woman. Over the centuries, he has alternately feared her and pitied her, dismissed or distrusted her, but never has he truly understood her.
Woman is hailed as either one of God's most beautiful -- but always mysterious -- creations, or she is damned as
a creature in league with the devil.
Women are blessed with a remarkable gift of being more than one person, of having multiple personalities, not in the psychiatric sense, but in the theatrical sense. Like an actor, a woman can change her appearance, her persona, to suit her needs or the needs of others. Some are practiced masters, others are instinctive.
There are those who mistake this facility for trickery or cunning or evil. At the lowest
level, of course, it is. There will always be those who use their special talents for selfish gain. But those some talents can also be used to survive, to demonstrate love, to fascinate, or simply to
entertain. Even the most ordinary of women can
transform herself within seconds if the situation demands it. Most of us realize the majority of women are Mother, Daughter, Wife, and
Provider in the course of a single day. Many are unaware of their abilities, many are
uncomfortable with them. But the woman who is aware of her talent for transformation and uses it for love, the woman who can be an entire cast of characters at will is priceless and very special.
Relax! Sit back and enjoy the show!
©1998, all rights reserved.
Adirondack guide Floyd Geisler was leading a hunting party into Murphy Lake when one of the men pointed excitedly to the bear track in the black mud beside the rocky forest trail. "Oh, that ain’t no bear," said Floyd, squinting at the track. "That’s Doctor Joe’s daughter been through here."
Her father always got a charge out of that story. He told it every chance he got. She must have been about ten. Her feet were so tough she could walk on broken glass without breaking the
skin. Thirty-five years later, Morgan doesn’t remember when she started playing the longest running role of her life in earnest. Maybe while she was in nursing school. That’s when she learned
to wear the costume and the mask, the under-wired bras, the mascara and blush.
She allowed her tomboy self to be suffocated by the demands of work and responsibility, by her need to blend in. To do whatever it is the world expects a woman
to do. A loner and a misfit all her life, she desperately wanted to belong. She studied for the role by watching other women just being themselves. Cooing over babies. Playing hostess to guests in the office. Remembering birthdays and special occasions. Giving thoughtful little gifts. Arranging luncheons. Critiquing one another’s knitting and needlework and crafts. Chatting over tossed salad. Exclaiming over photos of their children and grandchildren. Hugging one
By now, she almost has the hugging thing down, she even manages to remember the occasional thoughtful little gift, but don’t ask her to coo over any babies. Now, if you need your file cabinet moved…
Enough. It’s time to retire the role. Time to embrace the wolf child, Doctor Joe’s tomboy daughter, who walked barefoot and unafraid through the woods. More than one tough cookie in a gunslinger’s hat who baited her own hook.
A lot of girls go through that stage. They brag about being tomboys when they were little. But a real tomboy is a tomboy for life. It’s not a stage, it’s a state of being. The wannabes grow up to become women, feminine women. A tomboy grows up -- or do they? -- to become… a tomboy.
Not that a tomboy can't have a feminine side, just as men do. Doctor Joe's daughter is
a sucker for Regency romances, for instance. Tomboys were called hoydens back then, sad romps.
What are tomboys really? Will the genies of genes discover a crooked chromosome? Or is it a hormonal imbalance, an error of chemistry? A
neuro-psychiatric flaw? An intrusion of a past life into the present? A symbiotic co-existence with another spirit? Something else altogether?
Every so often the fragments of another self align within Morgan's consciousness like the splintered shards within a kaleidoscope. Not surprisingly, the alignment occurs when she’s driving fast or riding a trail bike, or using a shovel or a hammer.
For an instant suspended in time, she comes together. And she is male. Recognizably the same male who occupies her body when she dreams. Lean, dark, self-possessed. Confident. Competent.
There is a fleeting but overwhelming sensation of wholeness. Morgan's posture changes. The person looking out of her eyes sees differently. Thinks differently. She becomes aggressive, sure of herself. But just for a moment. Then the mind’s rational censor kicks in.
The responsible grown-up inside her head reminds her that the body she inhabits is female. The magical instant is no more. She feels a little silly. Co-existing entities are the stuff of science fiction, or worse, tabloid farce.
But her every instinct tells her to believe. It’s as if she’s two entities co-existing within a flesh and blood framework that happens to be, in this time, place and space, female.
The male entity was dominant in childhood. Abetted by indulgent parents, Morgan was unfettered by convention.
Looking back, she has to admire their courage. It was the Fifties, after all, and they lived in a small town that was -- still is – intolerant of those who choose their own path. Protected, she realizes now, by her father’s status as a beloved and respected family doctor, she was free to be herself, an ungoverned and ungovernable wolf child.
Today, the diagnosis would be ADHD. Not only was Morgan loud, dirty and perpetually in motion, she was utterly without fear. The Avon lady damned near had a heart attack when she spotted Morgan strolling along the second floor banister as if it were a tight rope with a safety net below. Easier to mend a broken bone than a broken spirit, Morgan's mother calmly assured the terrified woman.
Morgan's conviction that she was somehow linked to her brother had already taken root. Joe, Jr. died at birth. A blue baby they called them in those days. Morgan expects they would have been able to save him today.
For as long as she can remember, she’s believed that on his death, his spirit entered her. Odds are, given the persistence of tall, dark, lanky males on her father’s side of the family, her brother would have fit the mold. He would have looked like the male entity that co-exists within her, waking and dreaming.
Morgan's rational mind spills over with reasonable explanations for this conviction. Crippled by guilt because she lived and he didn’t, she created the fantasy of co-existing spirits to keep him alive. Or perhaps, sensing her parents’ grief with a child’s acuity of instinct, she tried to ease their pain by becoming the son they would never have, the boy who would have carried on her father’s name. Or it may be nothing more than wishful thinking. It would have been nice to have a little brother.
Morgan was a lonely child. Only the bravest of the neighbor kids came to the house to play.
Strangers always mistook her for a boy, a mistake she encouraged. It was more than just the short hair and blue jeans, it was the attitude. Doctor Joe’s barefoot daughter carried a BB rifle, strapped a World War II souvenir bayonet to her waist and rode a trail bike without benefit of either helmet or shoes. Being a girl wasn’t even in her frame of reference. Still isn’t.
That’s the hardest part. The world sees and hears a woman, and judges accordingly. Half an hour after Morgan puts on the costume, the foundation and powder and panty hose, she’s forgotten she’s female. It comes as a shock when she’s treated like one. It tempts her to think that in a past life, she must have been a swaggering young buck with only one use for the gentler sex, maybe even a gouty old misogynist. Reincarnation as pay-back.
But no matter how you cut it, no matter what you choose to believe, whether Morgan became her parents’ son to ease their grief or whether her brother’s spirit really does co-exist alongside her own, this female is a force to be reckoned with. Male, female, neither and both. The real thing.
She’s Doctor Joe’s tomboy daughter, walking barefoot and unafraid through the woods.
©1998 all rights reserved
Pills for Pink People
Beyond the soundproof mint-green door in the back wall of my
grandmother’s bedroom on the first floor of our house lay my father’s
domain, The Office. It was the most exciting place in the entire world
when I was a kid. Better even, than television! It was the 1950’s, and
my father was a doctor.
Every evening (except on Wednesday, of course) after dinner I’d race
downstairs. By 6:00 P.M., the waiting room, with its high ceilings and
tall windows, would already be full. After turning a couple of cartwheels
for the entertainment of the patients, I’d settle in to help my
father’s secretary. Actually, she was nurse, receptionist, secretary,
file clerk and office manager. She looked a lot like Della Street in the
Perry Mason TV show and she must have had the patience of a saint.
Except for the almost constant ringing of one of a pair of black rotary
dial telephones, the low murmur of the patients chatting – and me -- the
office was quiet, almost hushed. No computers, no photocopiers, no fax
machines. There was a black cast iron Smith Corona typewriter with round
keys, and a big appointment book that smelled like pencil lead and eraser
dust. A gallon bottle of blue ink used to fill fountain pens sat under the
desk. Above the desk hung a painting of a tired doctor at a woman’s
bedside; over them both stood Jesus, one gentle, healing hand on the
The door between the waiting room and the big, bright space that served as
both consultation and examination room was massive, like the door to a
safe, and completely soundproof. The glass tube in the blood pressure
apparatus mounted on the wall between my father’s desk and the patient
chair was filled with real mercury. Across from the desk stood the
instrument cabinet. It was dark brown, with a brilliant white enamel
interior The doors made a distinctive metallic ping when they opened,
releasing the sharp odors of rubbing alcohol and iodine. Gleaming
stainless steel instruments were lined up on the glass shelves:
big-barreled ear syringes, specula – I didn’t know what the big ones
were for until I was a lot older – forceps and scissors of every size
and description; suture needles like miniature scimitars.
At the other end of the room stood the ominous hulk of the exam table, its
worn black leather pad covered with glossy, crackling paper. A gooseneck
lamp and a piano stool sat at its foot. In another corner, built-in
shelves held my father’s best books, and many of the gifts he regularly
received from his patients. The tall black scale beside the shelves was my
first stop whenever I was allowed into this most private of inner
sanctums, where my father was The Doctor, not Dad.
the exam room and the bathroom a small, dark cubicle housed the battleship
gray hulk of the fluoroscope, an early X-ray machine that reminded me of a
huge, sinister robot. A lead vest and a pair of goggles with eerie red
lenses hung on a hook beside it. That was it. No lead-lined room, no
remote controls. Once, my father gave in and let my girlfriend and me
stand behind the adjustable screen on the front of the monster machine so
we could look down and see our bones.
Among other fascinating things, the floor-to-ceiling white cabinets in the
bathroom held all different sizes of syringes and needles. The syringes
were glass and the steel needle had to be screwed on the end before they
could be used. The beveled tips were sharpened against a whetstone. If
office hours ended early – before ten P.M. – I was allowed to rinse
the syringes in the sink and place them in the steel basket in the small
white enamel autoclave to be sterilized. The dark brown surgical gloves
had to be washed, dried, turned inside out, and powdered for the next day.
But the most interesting room of all was tucked away in the back. Heavy,
leather bound medical books full of graphic and, in the case of a
memorable text on skin diseases, truly gross photographs, lined the
highest shelves. No problem, I just climbed up on the massive green and
brass filing cabinets to get at them. The other shelves held bottles and
boxes of pills and tinctures and solutions and ointments of every
description. Injectable drugs in glass vials with rubber tops were kept in
a tiny refrigerator. Best of all, the room also served as a laboratory,
with a Bunsen burner, and a centrifuge that had to be cranked by hand. I
spent hours peering into the microscope at the slides of various types of
human tissue kept in an elegant slotted and labeled wooden box.
If there was time, and the supply of pre-filled little boxes – round and
square in red and pink and blue – was low, I helped the nurse count out
more pills from the big bottles in the back room. The powdery,
bitter-tasting dust from the pills coated everything.
It wasn’t until the 1960’s that I realized I had spent the
better part of my childhood counting uppers and downers!
When I asked the nurse what the pills were for, she would tell me
with a smile: “Green Pills are for Green People; and Pink pills are for
It was a different world back then - we like to think so anyway!!!
©1998 all rights reserved
women have found these books delightful reading!
Click on the title to order yours today
Jeffries Weeds the Plot
One of a series of delightful Victorian mysteries featuring Mrs.
Jeffries, housekeeper to pleasant but often-bewildered Scotland
Yard Inspector Witherspoon. Unbeknownst to the Inspector, his
entire household, including Fred the family dog, is devoted to
helping him solve the most complicated of crimes. Jolly good!
Charlotte Graham may be seventy-one, but she’s a fit and
feisty Yankee with a talent for sleuthing. From the unforgiving
cliffs of Maine’s highest mountain, Mount Katahdin, to the
equally unforgiving world of Hollywood, past and present, this
complex mystery is rich with natural and historical detail.
Eccentric characters on both coasts enliven Charlotte’s search
for the truth.
A sweet, slightly eccentric mystery by the author of the Mrs. Pollifax
Livingston Hill – Collection No. 1
Four complete novels, three by Grace Livingston Hill and one by her
aunt, Isabella Alden. Ms.
Hill’s unique style combines tasteful and exciting romance with
Christian faith. Her
aunt’s writing reflects the lessons taught by her minister husband
Gustavus. Both women remain popular with readers more than fifty years
after their deaths.
Livingston Hill – Collection No. 2
Four more complete novels, three by Grace Livingston Hill and one by her
aunt, Isabella Alden
Lori Shepherd is down and almost out when she discovers that Aunt Dimity
isn’t just a character in a bedtime story after all!
Dimity and the Duke
A Duke in search of a missing lantern with extraordinary powers brings
Aunt Dimity, and her earthly assistant Emma Porter to a Gothic mansion
Dimity Digs In
All of Aunt Dimity’s otherworldly powers will be required to restore
peace to the little village of Finch.
As soon as Lori Shepherd finds the mysterious stranger lying in
the snow beneath the lilac bushes in front of her English
cottage, an extraordinary sequence of events begins to enfold.
With Aunt Dimity as her ghostly guide, Lori finds not only the
truth about the gentle man dressed in rags, but the true meaning
of Christmas. Any book that has the power to make you laugh and
cry as this one does is worth reading—and re-reading.
Zukas and the Stroke of Death
Left with no choice but to give in gracefully, librarian Helma
Zukas joins the Bellehaven Library relay race team. She sends
home to Michigan for her handmade wooden canoe, but now, in
between practice sessions, she must solve a murder to keep her
eccentric artist friend, Ruth Winthrop, out of jail, and it
isn’t long before the killer comes after her.
Zukas and the Library Murders
The skills Helma Zukas employs as a most competent and ethical Librarian
also serve her well as an amateur sleuth.
No detail escapes her notice!
This time it’s a body between the fiction stacks at the
Zukas and the Island Murders
Helma Zukas is the perfect person to organize her high school class’s
twentieth reunion. She
hadn’t planned on being stranded with her old classmates on a foggy
island with a clever murderer.
Zukas In Death’s Shadow
Helma, who always buckles up and never speeds, is sentenced to fifty
hours service in a local homeless shelter when she refuses to pay what
she believes to be an undeserved traffic fine.
No one is surprised when she discovers a body on the very first