Historical Fiction Library | Joann Ellen Sisco | Books | e-Book | Oklahoma


Here I am and I came along during the great depression, and went on to live through a dozen presidents, a half a dozen depressions, two world wars, and a number of other skirmishes while the dollar melted down to about 4½ cents. A lot of memories happened during that time, and as I got older it seemed right to set them to paper.

Growing up alone a lot of the time, the pencil became my best friend, and there were never enough books. Learning to read was a great excitement, and whatever object had a printed word on it, I read it. From flour sacks to spice bottles, to the black pepper can, to the Farmer's Almanac, to the book of '101 Sermon Outlines' that belonged to my Minister father. I just as well have read them because he didn't. He preferred to make his own outlines. . . didn't need help, he said. God took care of what he should say. I believed him.

During that period, I remembered a lot of my grandmother's words and her small town life long before electricity.

These stories were set down with the background of the fictional town of River Bend, central Arkansas, where members of the town interact and share the good and the bad. Such fun it was to re-live my grandmother's memories and add a few of my own while weaving them into the fabric of the era.

Joann, like so many of her generation, was and is a voracious reader.  All of that started before the internet, but the typewriter (RC Royal, manual with icky black ribbon) had been invented by that time.  Transportation may not have been great, but books could take a reader anywhere at any time.

It became such fun to write about what might have happened before everything became so easily available.  There were the difficulties of just existing, the wonders of personal relationships and coming up with inventive ways of ‘make do’ to overcome obstacles.
For some fortunate persons, there would be an older person still around who was full of stories, and Joann was one of those.  She had a lively, talkative grandmother who enjoyed people and loved to talk about how things were in the “olden days”, back when one existed with the way things were.  It could mean that one must live, temporarily, in a soddy on the Kansas plains or among the limestone ledges of Missouri.  Or maybe the tree-clad mountains of Arkansas and even the eye-teasing, rolling landscape of Oklahoma.  Hence, a love was born for the history of the midwest and Historical Fiction Library was born.

I’ve pretty much been in love with the pencil from the time I first learned not to poke myself in the eye with it.  That was back when the pencil was sharpened with a pocket knife, or maybe the kitchen paring knife.  In those days, it took skill to get to the point without breaking the lead, but we managed.  Later, when I started to school, I met that little machine attached to the wall that did the sharpening with the turn of a lever.  Pencil and I were both glad of it.

It was there that Pencil and I learned that we could copy words on paper, and even write a few of our own.

A fourth grade teacher tried to teach her class about a ‘fountain pen’.  No one was bold enough to ask where was the fountain.  It must have been that rubber balloon thing inside the shank.  When it went dry, the pen point was inserted into an ink bottle, and a lever was lifted.  That filled the bladder, and you were in business again.  All was well until the bladder reached the age to give out, then the writer had a handful of ink.  I could almost hear Pencil snickering in the background.   He knew that contraption had no future.  Intuitive, he was.

Next step up was the typewriter and Pencil came along.  He carried the much needed eraser.  The perfect love triangle… none of us could operate without the other.

Pencil and I loved book reports, and we worked together on them.  Then we decided we could write the whole book so we swapped the typewriter for a computer and had even more fun.
Of course, when I got started writing it was impossible to stop!  Enjoy my Historical Fiction Library.
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