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Ghosts

October 7, 2017

October is the month when everybody asks if we believe in ghosts. We probably all have a slightly different answer to that question. Mine is: Not really, but then again, I don’t NOT believe in them either. Whether you believe or not, it’s fun to talk about these mostly unseen souls. So … here’s a little something to add to the conversation.

A number of people claim to have seen ghosts at the Pearl S. Buck House. With that in mind, the Pearl S. Buck Volunteer Association has arranged a Ghost Tour to introduce you to some of the ghostly inhabitants of Ms. Buck’s home. I asked Cindy Louden, our resident expert, to tell you about it.

From Cindy:

Mortals who care to discover the REAL ghosts in the Pearl S. Buck House are invited to visit on Saturday, October 29, for a slightly spooky, yet family-friendly Ghost Tour. Visitors will encounter some of the many ghosts seen on the property by Pearl S. Buck, her neighbors, and house visitors.

Through the years there have been many documented ghost sightings at the Pearl S. Buck House, including: a ghost called “Devil Harry” who was a drunkard and well known for pinching bottoms of visitors to the House; a ghost called the “Shrubbqe Woman” who spoke with Pearl as she worked in her beloved gardens; a ghost called the “Colonial Children’s Nurse” who quieted people in the House because she was tending to babies on the third floor; a ghost called “Ole Hen” who comes in from farm work to line up for dinner; and a ghost called the “Repentant Preacher” who roams the property telling people to repent.

Real people in the life of Pearl Buck will be brought back from the dead for this one special night. Portrayed by actors, they will host the event, keeping up the tradition set by Pearl who hosted a Community Halloween Party every year. Mrs. Loris, housekeeper to Pearl Buck, will lead daring mortal visitors through the tour of the house and grounds. Richard Walsh, Pearl’s husband will show off his personal office. Pearl S. Buck herself will also make an appearance, as well as a character from the Dickens’ books she loved to read. At the end of the tour, the former gardener, George Gala will offer his fresh-pressed cider made with an original antique apple press

This will be the 6th year of the Ghost Tours. It is a project of the Pearl S. Buck Volunteer Association.

www.PearlSBuck.org/GhostTours
WHEN:                  Sunday October 29, 2017

Tours start at 4:00, 5:00, 6:00, 7:00 – duration approximately 40 minutes

WHERE:                The Pearl S. Buck House, 520 Dublin Road, Perkasie, PA

WHO:                    Family friend! Suitable for middle school ages through adults.

       $15. Pre-registration required.

Thanks, Cindy.

Though I can’t say I’ve ever actually seen a ghost in the house, it’s easy for me to imagine Ms. Buck’s ghost sitting at her desk, her fingers skimming over the keyboard, creating the characters who so vividly inhabit the pages of The Good Earth.

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Places of Vision

September 28, 2017

For some people, the first thing that comes to mind when they hear the word “museum” is stuffy. They think of  old, dusty objects and tributes to dead ideas and deeds. That may be true of some museums, not certainly not all. Some, I would even say most, are places where we honor and help preserve mankind’s highest ideals. One such place is Green Hills Farm, the home of the writer and humanitarian, Pearl S. Buck.Historic-House-Tours-Photo

One of the things I love most about Ms. Buck’s house is that, impressive as it is, it doesn’t feel like a museum. It is a home – warm and welcoming. It brings to life the story of a talented, energetic woman who saw injustice and didn’t turn away. Instead, she used her talent and energy to break through barriers and nurture understanding. I have always admired Ms. Buck, both as a writer and a humanitarian, but being in her home, seeing the objects that were part of her life, I see her as a human being. Two of my favorites of 21740579_10155686751232692_3843948112621252102_nthose objects are the desk and typewriter on which she wrote The Good Earth.

As with many, my introduction to Pearl Buck was The Good Earth. I first read the book sometime in my teens and was caught up in the story of struggling Chinese peasants who battled obstacles more fearsome than their legendary dragons.  The sweep of the story, the characters whose lives were so different from mine, but whose dreams were so much the same, taught me a lesson I’ve never forgotten. I went on to read other books by Ms. Buck, some set in China, some in other Asian countries, some in the United States. These stories are peopled with characters whose lives are as diverse as their settings, but, always, it is their humanity that drives the story.  I remember the first time I saw the desk and typewriter. I stared in awe. I imagined her sitting there, tapping away on the old-fashioned, round keys. I still get a thrill when I tour the house and point them out to guests, especially students. I wonder what they feel and hope they are inspired to reach beyond themselves as Ms. Bucks always did.

The feeling of the Pearl S. Buck House is much the same as her stories. I’ve been a volunteer for about two years, not nearly as long as some (it seems this is a job no one wants to leave), but already it’s an important part of my life. Before becoming a volunteer, I knew that Ms. Buck did more than write about the plight of people whose choices in life were restricted by the circumstances of their birth. I knew that she had founded Welcome House and that it has helped change the fate of many children born into seemingly hopeless situations.  What I did not fully comprehend was that the legacy did not die with the woman. Pearl S. Buck International, the organization that evolved from Welcome House, helps to make sure that it goes on.

Hearing about lives that have been changed by this organization is inspiring, so inspiring that it would be easy to think of Pearl S. Buck as a superwoman. Walking through her home changed that for me. Imagining her with her husband and children, being a wife, a parent, a member of a community, I am reminded of one of her favorite quotes: “All, under Heaven, are one family.” It’s a message I’m proud to pass along to visitors to Ms. Buck’s home, especially the many groups of school children who come. People nod in recognition when they hear this. I have the feeling that they take something of her vision with them when they leave, ensuring that her legacy will continue. Her vision will prevail.

 

 

 

The Book I Never Meant To Write

September 18, 2017

It’s funny how writing works. You never know where a story will lead or when a tiny brain tickle will begin to pulse. After writing five books about Jennie Connors and the folks at Riverview Manor, I felt the need to try something different. I loved spending time with the characters in the Jennie Connors mysteries and had a good time inventing new adventures for them, but I didn’t want to fall into the trap of writing the same book again and again. In other words, that tickle was getting stronger. I started looking around for new characters and a new setting.

I didn’t have to look far for a setting. Just up the hill from where I live, there’s a print versionwonderful castle-like museum. Perfect. All I needed was a plot and some characters. Peace Morrow introduced herself. I didn’t know much about Peace when I started, but, little by little, she revealed herself to me. I learned there were questions she desperately needed to have answered. Together, Peace and I began to plot the journey that we called LOVE AND NOT DESTROY.  By the end of the book, those questions were answered. End of story, right? Not quite.

In life, even fictional life, there is no permanent happily ever after. After even the most satisfying resolution, life goes on. New problems, new questions, arise. Peace wouldn’t let me rest. She kept asking: “What’s going to happen to me now?” Needing to know the answer myself, I began the story that became AN UNCERTAIN PATH, the book I didn’t intend to write. LOVE AND NOT DESTROY was supposed to be a Cody Uncertain Path Coverstandalone but I couldn’t ignore Peace’s query. I’d barely begun to answer Peace’s question when a new character, Rachel Woodard, stepped in with problems and questions of her own. Her problems became entangled with Peace’s.

This latest Peace Morrow book is the story of two young women, linked by tragedy. Their lives and the lives of everyone they love are affected by their responses to the tragedy. What happens when good intentions go bad?

AN UNCERTAIN PATH, more than anything I’ve written, grabbed my hand and led me down a path that was often uncertain, but that took me where the story needed to go. It’s a departure from my other books in that it’s not a traditional mystery. Readers know from the beginning whodunit and they are asked to decide for themselves what constitutes good and evil.  People who are supposed to know about such things tell me this is a mistake. Readers don’t like it when a writer steps outside their box. I disagree. I have more faith in readers than that.

AN UNCERTAIN PATH –  amzn.to/2vhDkz4

LOVE AND NOT DESTROY – http://amzn.to/NfDQqk

FINDING PEACE, a short story that introduces Peace Morrow – http://amzn.to/2j64Hrb

A Brand New Baby

August 21, 2017

The new baby has finally arrived. Yes, another Peace Morrow novel. I never intended for Love and Not Destroy to become part of a series, but the characters demanded that their story be continued and, truth be told, I wanted to know what happened next in Peace’s life.

An Uncertain Path explores the relationship between Peace, who was abandoned as an infant, and the birth family she finally meets at age 22.  This one is a bit of a departure from my usual “Whodunit”. It’s more of a “Whydunit” and a “Will she get away with it?” Don’t worry. There’s plenty of suspense. If you’re interested in family relationships, you’ll like this one.

A tragic accident links the lives of two young women, unrelated, unknown to one Cody Uncertain Path Coveranother, causing each to question things she thought were certain, and setting each on a path neither could have imagined.

Peace Morrow, abandoned as an infant, is about to meet the birth family she’s always longed to know. Raised as a Pennsylvania Quaker, she wonders what her Virginia aristocrat family will think of her. What happens when a careless action by one of them takes the family to the brink of disaster?

Rachel Woodard, longing to break out of the safe world she’s always known, takes a drastic step that results in the death of a young man and sets off a chain of events that swirls outward like a pebble dropped in a pool. Can she live a lie to preserve her own life and save everyone she loves from heartbreak?

 amzn.to/2vhDkz4

Happy Independence Day

July 3, 2017


tags: Declaration of ndependenceFounding FathersFourth of July,George WashingtonLiberty BellThomas Jefferson

by Sandra Carey Cody

July 4After basics like food and shelter, I can’t think of anything more precious or more essential to the human spirit than independence. And there’s probably nothing more taken for granted by those who posses it. That’s too bad, a grievous sin. It’s also probably true that we here in the United States are more guilty of this sin than most. However, once a year we at least try to redeem ourselves; we set aside a day to remember our heritage and to celebrate it. Tomorrow is that day: the Fourth of July, the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the document that condenses into six paragraphs the ideals on which our nation was founded.

Many of us memorized the Declaration of Independence sometime during our school years and promptly forgot most of it. But some phrases are so powerful and so evocative of what we as a nation hope to be, that they remain locked in the recesses of our brains–phrases like: “decent respect to the opinions of mankind,” “self-evident that all men are created equal” and, of course: “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

I don’t think there’s ever been a time when it’s been more necessary to remember those words. At the moment, our country is so divided that the crack in our Liberty Bell seems ominously appropriate. I believe that differences in opinion are good and even necessary to create a society that embodies the ideals of that brilliant Declaration. If only we could remember the phrase “decent respect to the opinions of mankind” and listen to all opinions, even those with which we disagree. Not just listen, but actually consider that there might be some truth in a viewpoint different from our own. If all men are created equal, shouldn’t all men (and women and children) be allowed to express their opinion? But perhaps not quite so vociferously. A little civility goes a long way.

The times may seem bleak, but history reminds me that this is not new. There has always been conflict among men, especially during periods of change. I understand that even the men we so lovingly call our Founding Fathers lost their tempers and shouted at each other from time to time. The story goes that George Washington wondered if he was witnessing a rising or a setting sun. So, maybe things are not as bad as they seem.

Go forth and celebrate your Life and Liberty. Pursue Happiness.

Venture into Short Story

March 31, 2017

Writing a short story is different from writing a full length novel. Every word has to count. You need to establish mood, setting and character in just a few words.

The challenge in the story that I eventually called More Than Words Can Say was to make readers care about a young woman in a role for which there is no natural sympathy – the other woman. They’re almost always portrayed as selfish, heartless beauties who break up families and have no thought for the havoc they leave in their wake. I wanted to see if I could create sympathy for this character. I’m not sure where the idea came from. It was just something I wanted to try. That’s the beauty of short stories, you can test things and stretch your writing wings a bit.

So … I wrote a story from the point of view of the other woman and, although I didn’t plan it,
Copy of MORE THAN WORDS CAN SAY-1600X2071 the plot evolved. Somewhere in the process of writing about this young woman, she became more than I had in mind when I began. I got to know her better and other facets of her personality and her life became real to me – much in the way we get to know the people we meet in real life. Then I added a character with a challenge, a quality that we used to thoughtlessly call a handicap. And I liked him too. I wondered what would happen if I put these two vulnerable people together. Writing about him, I began to wonder what his family would think of her.

Such is the process of story building. You start with an idea, put a few words down and you never know where it will end. To me, and I think to most writers, it’s endlessly fascinating.

The story is free on Amazon through this weekend. Here’s the link if you’d like to check it out:  http://a.co/hUgDSLX

On Birthing a Novel

March 22, 2017

I found a post on another blog that captures perfectly how writing feels much of the time – and explains the name of this blog. No need for me to say more. Ramona nailed it here – http://bit.ly/2mPPrPqRamona DeFelice Long

If you’re a writer or anyone who loves words and is excited by how they can used, this is a great blog to follow.

Thanks, Ramona, for your insight.