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‘Tis the Season….Happy Birthday Doris Day! A reflection on the actress’s spirituality

Mary Anne Barothy, author of Hawthorne’s Day at a Time: An Indiana Girl’s Sentimental Journey to Doris Day’s Hollywood and Beyond

Seems like for the past several years, as we get close to April 3rd, the rag magazines begin to run some sad and odd stories to “celebrate” Doris Day’s upcoming birthday.  I was just in a long check-out line at the grocery and spotted the screaming headline, “Doris Day Tragedy at 97!” on one.  Of course they try to make Doris the victim of some made-up scenarios.  No one’s life is perfect, and Doris, who actually shied away from the “Girl Next Door” moniker, is the first to admit life happens and you move on. Despite negative things happening in her life, she moved on and didn’t let life knock her down. Frequently she would comment if something negative happened, “I have a round bottom and I bounce back.”

When I lived with Doris in the 1970s everything was not always “hunky-dory”— but life happened and she moved on. We had great times together and I sometimes still pinch myself wondering how I was so blessed to spend time with her, serving as her secretary and living in her home for a period of years in the ‘70s.  Guess it was just meant to be, and as she sang, “Que sera, sera.”  I admire Doris for her strong will to keep going, no doubt part of why she is still with us after all these years.

But also, Doris has always had a strong faith and maintained a positive attitude despite what may have been happening in her life.  I was living with her when she received a call about her son Terry’s being in a horrendous motorcycle accident.  She broke down in tears, but was determined to get to Terry’s bedside at the hospital in Hemet, California.  I drove her to Hemet, about two hours from Beverly Hills, and while we were on the road, she was somber and praying for her son. I was so impressed with her very strong faith, knowing what she was going through and not really knowing what to expect. The motorcycle accident shattered both of his legs and required him to be hospitalized for six months. She made frequent trips to Hemet to be at his bedside until he was released and took up his life again.

Another time I saw first-hand her faith in action was when her dear friend, actor and co-star, Billy DeWolfe, was failing. We visited him in a Los Angeles hospital; she took up his hand at his bedside.  Despite her tears, her beautiful smile, hard as the situation was, calmed Billy down and they just held hands. You could see a calmness come over his face. It was later that night she received the call from the hospital that Billy was gone. Losing people is never easy, but she had an intense faith in God that helped her through difficult times.

Doris became a Christian Scientist during the time she was with her husband Marty Melcher. Christian Science emphasizes the faith that we can trust God completely and that the negative power of the material world has no real power because God has all the power there is. After Marty’s passing, though she left formal Christian Science, she continued her devoted faith in God. She and I visited a practitioner friend of hers for a Christmas dinner while I was with her.

I cherish the little red book Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy which Doris autographed and gave me in 1971.  In it she had a hand-written note saying “Oh thou hast heard my prayer —  and I am blessed.  This is thy High behest thou here and everywhere!!!”[from Mrs. Eddy’s poem “Come Thou.”]

Yes, Doris is turning 97 on April 3rd. I wish her all the best of health and happiness and just want to THANK HER for being an incredible role model for me and many others over the years with her positive attitude and beautiful smile. They come from deep within.  I am most grateful for the time I had the pleasure of working for and living with her…I saw first-hand the real down- to-earth yet spiritual Doris Day.

While the rag magazines continue to feature Doris periodically to peddle their stories, don’t take every word as gospel truth. Happy, Happy Birthday dear Doris— God bless you— you are much admired and loved by many all over the world.

To order Mary Anne Barothy’s book Day at a Time, click back to the Hawthorne website.

Posted in Doris Day |

The Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame Inducts Our Author Colonel Janet Horton – Her Own Account:

On March 7th 2019 I* had the joy of being inducted into the US Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame at the Russell Senate Office Building in The Kennedy Caucus Room. Congressman Chris Stewart and BG Anne Macdonald, USA Ret. and Jim Beamesderfer, the VP of Veterans initiatives, Prudential, officiated at the ceremony. Thirty women were honored as scholarship recipients.  14 women were honored as firsts in their branch of service or specialties.

*[Colonel Janet Horton entered the service in the 1970s as one of the first women chaplains in the Armed Forces.]

BG (Ret) Clara Adams-Ender, first Army Nurse to command as a general officer.
BG Collen L. McGuire, first woman provost marshall  first woman Commander of CID
CSM (Ret) Billie Jo Boersma,  first female command sergeant major of an infantry brigade combat team
CW5 Sharon Swartworth,  (posthumously) active Army CW5.
Maj Helen Loretta Holmes,  (posthumously) WACC public Relations Officer 1942
CPT Lauran Glover,   1st woman drill commander of US Drill Team, (The Old Guard)

The First Woman Army Chaplains

Ms. Ella Gibson Hobart  (posthumously)  Civil War chaplain of 1st Wisconsin Regiment of heavy Artillery

Rev. Alice Henderson,  first woman to officially serve in the US Army Chaplain Corps  served 13yrs.

Chaplain (Col) (Ret) Janet Horton,  First woman chaplain to be promoted to Colonel, first to serve as a woman Division and then Corps Chaplain.

Rabbi (Col) (Ret.) Bonnie Koppell,  first female Army Rabbi.
Ch (CPT) Mel O’Mally,  South Central Chaplain Recruiting Team.
Ch (CPT) Vivian Keady Yanquoi-West, first female chaplain assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division.
Ch (CPT) Alison and LeAnne Ward, first “sisters” to serve as Army Chaplains  USA

The ceremony also honored The Hello Girls, who were really America’s first women soldiers. These were 223 American Signal Corps women telephone operators deployed to France in WWI,  connecting 26 million calls. They finally received their thanks 60 years later, recognized as veterans and receiving their benefits.

There were a few other honorees that support the Foundation financially and in other ways.

About 250 people attended. It was a warm and caring ceremony that truly honored women who have serve the US Army and their country.  The stories of what they went through simply to serve and how humbly they did so with little or no recognition were touching.   Yet they served because they loved what they were being asked to do.  We chaplains served because of our of love for God and country.


Click back to the website if you wish to order Colonel Janet Horton’s book Cracking the Camouflage Ceiling, Hawthorne’s all-time best-selling book.

Posted in Book Awards, Winds of Change |

Colonel Janet Horton (Ret.) our author of Cracking the Camouflage Ceiling, Will Be Inducted this month into the US Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame.

One of Hawthorne Publishing’s all-time best sellers has been Colonel Horton’s book on the integration of women chaplains into the armed forces in the 1970s. It has been repeatedly reprinted and still leads the line.

Former and present military personnel have been interested in obtaining it from around the country. Although Janet Horton was in our Indianapolis area Ft. Harrison for a period of years, she was stationed not only in this country but in Korea and Germany and eventually at the Pentagon, where she was present for the attack on 9/11.

Colonel Horton is one of ten early women chaplains to be honored in March at the Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame at Fort Lee, Virginia.

She was specifically one of three who followed immediately after the very first chaplain in the mid 1970s. Her book details the difficulties of serving in an army where men only had traditionally constituted the armed forces since the Revolutionary War. The accounts in this memoir tell the story of suspicion, discrimination and outright attempt at suppression of the early women chaplains but also the inspiration, dedication and demonstration of faith of the women.

Cracking the Camouflage Ceiling recounts some of the history of the chaplaincy and includes details of the life of a chaplain in the armed forces.  Chaplains do not represent specific denominations. They minister to general religious groups in four categories: Protestant, Jewish, Catholic and Muslim.

Although Colonel Horton is a Christian Scientist and her book has been a favorite of that denomination, she aided soldiers of many faith traditions. This was demonstrated on September 11 when a jet plane hit the Pentagon, where the chaplain was on duty. The dramatic and touching story of the chaplains entering to help mortuary details recover the fallen, killed in the attack, shows the courage and dedication of the chaplains corps.

The US Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame honors, some posthumously, many women who have served. Recent naming to the Hall of Fame included the “Hello Girls,” the 223 female US Army telephone switchboard operations, formally known as the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit, who deployed to France in World War I and were the sole contact to the soldiers on the front line.

Colonel Horton’s Book Cracking the Camouflage Ceiling: Faith Persistence and Progress in the Army Chaplaincy During the Early Integration of Women in the Military is featured on the Hawthorne Website for purchase.

Posted in Book Awards, Winds of Change |

A literary memoir in a regional marketplace: Distilling and selling an Idea Nancy Baxter, Senior Editor Hawthorne Publishing

What makes a memoir that enters the marketplace, which will appeal to readers and be sold in bookstores and to libraries a success? We should clarify the definition of a memoir which is intended to be sold. It’s not the duplicated family memoir one does for children and grandchildren. It’s written and edited skillfully.  And, it’s also different from a biography, which is told by a third person writer, or a detailed autobiography, dealing with a full life. A memoir is a section of a life fixing its attention on a certain period or periods, possibly with one theme. It may summarize much of the rest of the person’s life but fixes on the one theme or time that will be important to readers.

So why would we care about this person’s life? There had better be a reason for people to pay anything from about $18 to $40 to read this book. Story! Something with some historical meaning or drama needs to make it readable and distinctive. Importance of the person or, better yet, the issue or time or happening to which the person was connected, will render it viable.

And in Indiana, we as a recognized state/ regional press know that it needs to be connected with the Hoosier state.

Lou Ellen Watts now lives in Franklin, Indiana, but she has recently written and published with us her story about growing up in pre-Civil Rights-era South Carolina, Alabama and Louisiana. Its title is Sleeping in Dixie’s Feather Bed: Growing Up White in the Segregated South.

Lou Ellen told her story of being a popular, young working-class girl whose life with her friends and activities fully occupied her growing-up years. All around her by the time she was in high school, the Civil Rights movement was awakening and coming to fruition. Lou Ellen tells of happenings that made her uncomfortable, still, in the midst of her teenaged life: the balcony at the local theatre where the “colored people” had to sit and sometimes threw down popcorn; a distressing incident with a bus driver who mistreated those in the back of the bus, a drive to see the remains of a burning cross and more. Her uncomfortable lack of focus on the rights of half of the society in which she grew up blew up in her face when she became a counselor in an integrated summer camp. That time changed her heart. She found she wanted to welcome all races in her life. Lou Ellen became a teacher and advocate for integration and equal rights. She believed in her 80s that her story of change in attitude and consciousness needed to be shared with others.

But how to sell such a book in the regional market? Such a book had never been exactly published or marketed in Indiana before. Indiana, the former home of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s, was believed to have a hidden layer of prejudice beneath its declared tolerance. She hesitated about her own community. We at Hawthorne felt Indiana was ready for the biography of a southern belle who now regretted her family’s intolerance and wanted to talk about incidents which shouldn’t have happened. Our own experience is that Indiana has come a long way (not completely of course) toward outgrowing the intolerance of the Klan era. D. C. Stevenson, the grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana, was preaching hatred of Catholics first and foremost and then Negroes in the 1920s. Thousands joined his Klan, partly because it had a social appeal. His own misconduct, the rape of a young woman on a train and her subsequent death in humiliation, caused a Noblesville jury to send him to prison for life. A jury in that town of southern immigrants found him guilty of murder. The Klan was broken up by Indiana officials themselves. We Hoosiers are not genetically or hopelessly intolerant and Lou Ellen’s book has shown that. How did we succeed in getting the first edition sold out and Lou Ellen on a book tour which saw many people coming up with their own stories about “growing through” cultural beliefs of an earlier time? Extensive publicity in both Indiana and the South?

Our campaigns are based on long experience with our state. We begin with the home community of the author. Sure of the importance of the story and the quality of the book, we have the author seek an opening venue where he/she can tell her story. We believe each story at Hawthorne, motto “The stories of good people told well,” has natural appeal to those who have had similar experiences in the state or region of their lives. Careful newspaper contacting of pertinent media outlets with electronic publicity kits and reviews on Amazon and other places puts the title in the public eye. Most of all, the story needs to sell itself. That’s why careful and long-term planning of the publishing goals and limits of a company like ours is important. We take books we know make valuable contributions, that will sell and will interest our people. Thus they sell themselves, once the news is out.

You can get Lou Ellen Watts’s book Sleeping in Dixie’s Feather Bed by clicking back to the website.

Posted in Writing Memoirs |