Portfolio

Personal and Family Histories

 

Dearest Bea

Compiled by John and Linda Common and Mary B. Johnston

Do you have a collection of family letters waiting to be compiled and annotated?

John Common, the co-author and client write, This story could have been written about many young couples of the Greatest Generation and how they sacrificed for their country and world peace during World War II. The story of this book starts with a tin box stuffed full of letters that were written by my father, John Robert Common, to my mother, Beatrice. It’s a true love story about my dad separated from his family when stationed in Europe during the war. It’s a story of anxieties, hardships, and relationships—but most of all about love and trust during a long separation.”

John, his wife Linda, and I supplemented this precious collection of letters with Robert’s journal entries as well as maps and newspaper clippings that Robert sent with his letters home. To help contemporary readers understand historical references, we wrote over a dozen textboxes about everything from victory mail and devils in baggy pants to famous people Robert rubbed shoulder with, including Marlene Dietrich, Margaret Bourke-White, and General James Gavin.

Her Book: The Life and Words of Anne Scannelly Able Pooser

By Camber Able Henry and Mary B. Johnston
Are you or a family member a creative machine with boxes and flash drives full of writing or other artistic outpourings like quilts, paintings, or songs?
 
Her Book is a rich anthology of short stories, newspaper articles, poems, and devotionals written by Anne Pooser across eight decades. After her daughter Camber and I read thousands of pages of Anne’s writings, we selected pieces across multiple genres that represented Anne’s love of nature, love of God, and fierce commitment to education and family. Interspersed with Camber’s reflections on her mother’s legacy as a lone female journalist in the South in the 1950s, this book is both a literary and family treasure.
 
 
The Life Story of Hazen Randall Hillyard
By The Hillyard Family

Have you long hoped to record the life of a loved one, but that person’s declining health limits their ability to participate?  

Soon after he retired and became a widower, Randall at the behest of his children, wrote a rough draft of the first half of his life. As Randall’s memory started to fail, his children stepped in to flesh out the rough draft and gather information about their father’s last four decades. They scanned photos and interviewed relatives, former colleagues, and community members. They even discovered their grandfather’s life sketch, which they included in their father’s personal history. As their father’s faculties slipped away, Randall’s children found comfort in recording and honoring their father’s life, which exemplified love and selfless service.

The Life of Blanche B. Johnston

By Blanche B. Johnston

Do you feel your memories slipping away? Are you worried that your children don’t really know you?

Blanche, a retired law librarian, had a complex history to share—decades of waxing and waning depression, a rupture from and then a reunion with her childhood faith, and three marriages. (One ended in suicide and another in alcoholism; the third was blissful.) She wanted to tell it all while her memory would allow her to—and she did. By the time her memoir was published, she knew that if she had waited, her stories would have been lost.

Memories of My Early Life

By Norman Marshall Bradburn
Do you want to capture a time period in a loved one’s life that you know little about?
 
Norman Bradburn was not one to talk about his past. A soft-spoken, gentle academic, he was more at ease in the world of ideas. Eager to know more about her father’s childhood, his daughter Isabel hired Mary to interview her father. This slender memoir unveils details Isabel did not know about her grandparents; her father’s childhood in Lincoln, Illinois; his first inklings that an intellectual life was what he wanted; and the unexpected death of grandfather, a loss about which her father’s family never processed.
 

Up, Up, and Away!

By Clara Louise May Bush

Did you or someone you love live in a time and place that is now only in history books?

A celebration of Clara Bush’s life, this memoir begins with the narrator’s childhood on Mormon Row outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Rich with photos, artwork, and maps, Up, Up and Away! I’ve Got a Lot to Do Today brings many wonderful stories to life. Divided into six chapters, each of which begins with its own title page and graphic, this book invites the reader to travel back in time to the old West when cowboys were ubiquitous and tourists were not.

Fifty-one Fabulous Years

By Edie Gregg and Mary Johnston

Do you want to celebrate an important relationship in your life?

After living as a widow for a dozen years, Edie Gregg still deeply missed her husband. Surrounded by memories of their years together but no written stories about their courtship and fifty-one-year romance, she asked Mary to interview her. The memories poured out and in just a few months she had a collection of stories and photos to commemorate a relationship that still sustained her.

 

All of the books that follow are for sale on Amazon. To learn more about them, click on the book title.

 

Hush Now, Baby

By Angela W. Williams

Natural Destiny

By Sherry Dixon

A Mother’s Dance

By Pattie Welek Hall

Korea, Are You at Peace?

By J.A.V. Simson

Play Betty Play

By Charletta R. Tibbs