Cypress, Texas, reviewer K Leonard calls Stories I’ve Been ToldVolume 2 inspiring. She writes, “Masterful storyteller Elaine Thomas leaves you feeling like you have been sitting on the front porch or at the kitchen table hearing firsthand the life stories of beloved family members and friends. 

“The book uniquely captures the life and times of Fayette County, Texas, families, as they met and married, raised children, built businesses and served in the military during the first half of the 20th century. They are stories of sacrifice, faith, amazingly hard work, love, loss and the joy of community. 

Three of K’s favorites

“We meet such memorable figures as the man who dropped out of college because he was too poor to purchase a pair of shoes that didn’t blister his feet. However, he went on to establish a business empire that enabled him to give over $5 million in philanthropic support to his community. The Buzz About Sanford Schmid – Pg.76

“And then there is the story of the widowed mother who had to leave her farm because her five oldest sons had simultaneously answered the military’s call to serve in World War II. High Hill’s Band of Brothers – Pg. 91

“Perhaps my favorite was about the grizzled farmer who spent the next to last day of his life sitting in his wheelchair gazing at the newborn calves nestling among the bluebonnets on land he had toiled upon throughout his life that ended just shy of his 100th birthday.” Remembering Friend and Neighbor Johnnie Kobersky – Pg. 184

Thanks for your feedback, K. Hearing the stories of my South Central Texas neighbors is a joy.

Some other enticing memories

Moose Roberts vividly recalls the terrifying apparition that haunted his grandparents’ big two-story home and what caused it to leave. A Ghostly Visitor Climbs the Dark Stairs – Pg. 112

World War II veteran Harvey Steward remembers his commanding officer who was a movie star before joining the Navy. You Have to Have Faith – Pg. 13

What happens when you run over a hive of honeybees with a tractor and shredder? Bernard Ripper recounts what it’s like to be stung about 80 times and live to tell the tale. Nailing Down the Past – Pg. 70

Lee Mueller criticized community leaders for overlooking the existence of the Chicken Ranch, a local house of ill-repute. Shortly afterward, he found a live rattlesnake on the floorboard of his locked pick-up truck. The Courage of Lee Mueller’s Convictions – Pg. 53

Weldon Koenig lived with his grandparents during the week so he could ride the bus to a big consolidated school. Otherwise, the youngster would have had to drop out after the sixth grade to work on the family farm. Had that happened, Weldon would never have risen to the rank of rear admiral in the U.S. Navy. All Ahead Full – Pg. 32

Perhaps Frankie Joe Cernosek spent more time at home in bed than in his second-grade class because he couldn’t speak English. He overcame that obstacle in his early education to become a revered coach and teacher. From Curve Balls to Classrooms – Pg. 19

The remains of a Fayette County Korean War soldier missing in action finally made it back home. Thanks to his niece’s tenacity and advances in science, Charlie Mares is now buried with his kin. The Long Road Home – Pg. 174

La Grange photographer Diane Mueller shot the cover photo of high school sweethearts Drs. Royce and Elva Kellers. In their story, The Doctors Will See You Now, the couple recalls their careers in medicine and their service to friends and neighbors, as well as Royce’s eventful sojourn in China. – Pg. 1

And there are more!

That’s not all! There are additional entertaining and insightful narratives in Stories I’ve Been Told – Volume 2. The majority of these personality profiles appeared first in The Fayette County Record, La Grange, Texas.

Several of these features went on to win regional and state newspaper awards over the years.

Readers told me they enjoyed the stories so much that I should publish them in a book. Since I’ve written well over 100 of these personal reminisces, I’m creating a series. Volume 1 was published last year and now I’m launching book 2. If I am spared, as Mother used to say, I’ll publish volume 3 in 2023 and book 4 in 2025.

And here’s a link to last year’s blog post about Stories I’ve Been Told – Volume 1.

Last fall, Stories I’ve Been Told – Volume 1 filled my bookcase at The Fayette County Record in La Grange, TX. (That’s Clint the Cactus brightening up the top shelf.)
Thanks to Fayette County Record managing editor Jeff Wick and the staff for selling Stories I’ve Been Told 1 and 2 at the paper, plus my other Texas books. (Clint the Cactus continues to thrive in his home away from home.)

Sales fund scholarships

Last year, my husband, Emil, and I donated proceeds from book sales to student scholarships at Blinn College-Schulenburg, Texas. The handwritten thank-you notes from recipients made us proud of their initiative. Their career goals ranged from nursing to physical therapy and from teaching to training as a medication aide.

We plan to again turn the proceeds from book sales over to Blinn College-Schulenburg to fund more student scholarships.

So, what’s stopping you? Aren’t you ready for some upbeat stories that inspire and entertain? What’s more, aren’t some folks on your Christmas list fans of true Texas tales? Here’s the link to purchase your copy:

I look forward to hearing if you have a favorite story from Stories I’ve Been Told – Volume 2. Happy reading!

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Check out some previous posts about remarkable individuals I’ve been privileged to meet:

The tale of Mikie Kieran’s trophy
memorial day
John and Gwen’s wartime love story
David Koether is one happy knapper
Elaine Thomas
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