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Meet My Personal Reporter

Miss Sybil Scribly, reporter from Nitwit National News, came to the apartment to interview me. I liked her at once and promised to talk with her often.  She is seriously interested in the progress of the sales of Mabel’s Way.  I thought you might enjoy eavesdropping on part of the interview.

Her title startled me.  “Insider Tells All”

Reporter:  Mrs. Hopkins, why did you write Mabel’s Way?

Hopkins:  I had a neighbor who forced me to write it.

Reporter:  Why did he do that?

Hopkins: He was too lazy to do it himself–but he offered suggestions along the way.

Reporter:  How did he force you?  With a gun?

Hopkins: No.  The gun came later.  At first he just drove me crazy telling me to write the book.

Reporter:  Who is Mabel?

Hopkins:  Mabel Johnson was a resident we all loved and I based my character on her.

Reporter:  Why?

Hopkins:  Because she was smarter than I am and I knew she would be able to handle the villains in this book.

Reporter:  There are villains at Windsor Point?

Hopkins:  I didn’t say that.

Reporter:  But you said –

Hopkins: My book is about Dogwood Glenn.

Reporter:  Where can I buy a copy?  Often an author gives me a copy.

Hopkins:  Well, I have one that got rained on at our Spring Fling.

Reporter:  That will do.  Did you mention coffee?  I smell it.

 

Miss Scribly drank three cups and finished off the cake I made for my husband’s birthday.

 

 

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What I missed in Mabel’s Way

I had not expected the reception my book is getting at Windsor Point.  Some residents like it; others are mum about it – but most of the residents are reading it.

“Did you mean to spell my name wrong?” one friend asked.

“I had forgotten about that incident,” another remarks.  The most frequently asked question is, “Who is——?” “I’ll not tell,” I reply.

But what hurts me –  really annoys me – is the great stories I missed. My writing buddy from Germany calls to me.  “I read your book through and I am not in it.” I heard the disappointment in his voice.

Tall, handsome in his navy photographs, Frank Kornprobst is 96 and shares the experience most of our men did.  He fought in the big war.  When he first moved here with his sick wife, several residents refused to sit with the former Nazi. (No matter that as a teenager, he was forced to join.) Slowly, quietly, Frank won them over and now, each evening, I see him dine with other former naval officers.  It doesn’t matter that they fought each other. They have put the war behind them.  This is a tremendous example of maturity in old age.   

 

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Dedicated to Mabel Council Johnson

When we first moved to Windsor Point, a continuing care retirement community, one of the first people we met was Mabel Johnson.  She was a retired high school teacher and lived just down the hall from us.  She became a dear friend.  She was a radiant Christian and had taught SS in various churches for more than 60 years.  I spent lots of time with her while I was writing an article about her for the Faquay Varina Independent. I longed to write an entire book about her, but my health problems as well as hers kept me from it.  But her attitude about life and her desire to walk closely with our Lord, plus many interesting experiences she shared with me, kept her alive to me after she died.  When she was in her last illness, someone commented that not many people lived to be more than 95 years old, “But you have.”  Mabel responded, “Yes, and I have had fun all the way.”

This book is NOT a biography of Mabel Council Johnson, but I hope her spirit comes through in the fictional account I wrote.  I remind you it is fiction, but those of you who were fortunate to know her will see glimpses of her, I hope.  I trust you will recognize some great truths she shared with me.  She told me once that she loved each of her husbands the same.  She also loved to tell about meeting them on the same day–when she came to Fuquay Varina High School to begin her teaching career.  I think she would approve of what I have written!

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Why I wrote Mabel’s Way

I heard people referring to a retirement center as the “home.”  And heard comments about older people not having any fun.  I was not motivated yet. I thought I had retired from writing novels.

Then, enter a new neighbor: Dr. Robert Holt, into the apartment across the hall. He read my other books and immediately began to pester me to write this book.  I fought him for a year.  Then, I found myself making notes about funny or poignant incidences that had happened  at Windsor Point, the CCRC  where we live.  I began to wonder “What could happen if—?”

It became great fun.  Now, if you do not like Mabel’s Way, blame Bob.  If you like it, give him credit.

Lila

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