Tuesday 7 February 2023

Excerpt of The Blue House by Myrna Denham Porter

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the THE BLUE HOUSE by Myrna Denham Porter Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

 

About The Book:

Title: THE BLUE HOUSE

Author: Myrna Denham Porter

Pub. Date: January 13, 2022

Publisher: Myrna Denham Porter

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 245

Find it: Goodreadshttps://books2read.com/The-Blue-House

This is a memoir of a woman who grew up at the edge of the Canadian Prairies. For Myrna “no woman is an island” and she attributes a “life worth living” to the mentors along the way, as well as her combined parents’ Christian values. To Myrna, in today’s society, these values seem to be slipping away. Commitment, persistence, hard work, love and forgiveness, though harshly delivered by her father and lovingly delivered by her mother, were all part of Myrna’s early childhood.

 

EXCERPT - CHAPTER 1

On the Canadian Prairie

Atop a Throne of Cordwood 

Very clearly, in memory, I see the girl I was at  fourteen, beautiful and determined, leaving the  blue house where she had grown up. 

I see myself in the back of a truck, perched atop a  pile of logs soon to be cut for cordwood. The two  men inside the truck, transporting the wood to be  sold in a distant village, show no concern for any  danger I might face traveling over bumpy roads,  balanced precariously on that heavy load. As the  truck heads down the long driveway, the girl I  was looks back at her home for the last time. 

When I think of that moment, I feel both sadness and  compassion for that na├»ve, determined girl. I understand  now that, while none of us can know what lies ahead, the  way we set off, the spirit in which the journey is begun,  will determine if we see the path ahead through a glass  lightly, or darkly. 

They say that character is destiny. Clearly, my character at that young age was still forming. Perhaps I knew  what I didn’t want to become more clearly than what I did want. A spirit of defiance was enough to propel  me down the road. While my body rocked and bumped  down the drive away from the blue house, something in  my core felt steady and sure even as it moved into the  unknown. Now, approaching fourscore years on earth, I  see that departure in a different light. It tells me something about goodbyes and how important it is to always  say, “I love you.” 

In the kitchen, as I prepared to leave, flies buzzed in  and out of the torn screen in the window, drawn by the  unwashed pots and pans in and around the sink. Moth er stood kneading bread dough over and over, refusing  to look up at me. This was not how I knew her to be.  My childhood memories are full of Mother putting my  hands in hers and then looking directly into my eyes  with such loving kindness, or simply patting my head  softly. It was her way of connecting. Through the simplest gestures, she transmitted an unshakable belief in  her children. Her love gave each of us a positive sense of  self so that we were assured of success, no matter what  obstacles we might face. Yet today, the last day that I  would ever live in the blue house, the sudden end of my  childhood, Mother would not look up. Without her loving, assuring eyes connecting with mine, for a moment  my confidence was shaken. 

My sister Linda recalled when she left nearly ten  years later, heading for California to live with relatives,  Mother was hoeing the garden and refused to look up  or say goodbye. Why would Mother not acknowledge her daughters as they set out into the world? Was it just  too painful to confront the prospect of us vanishing for  good? Was she worried about all that could happen to us  leaving home at only fourteen years of age? Or was she  perhaps thinking that while I was managing to escape  our miserable life of utter poverty, she never would? Was  this why she kept kneading the bread dough, refusing to  look up, with just moments left between us? All of these  questions rode roughshod across my heart. 

I believe she was neither cold nor indifferent; rather,  her pain was so deep it caused her to behave in a way  that was contrary to her kind and affirming nature. Perhaps it was a lingering memory of the loss of our oldest  sister. 

While Mother would eventually give birth to seven teen children, her first pregnancy occurred at seventeen  years of age. The first born, Donaldene Margaret, lived  for one month. In that time, the child suffered a bowel problem requiring Mother to give her enemas with  a sharpened bar of soap. Little Donaldene, in constant  pain, cried a lot. One night, sleeping between my parents,  she died. My parents didn’t know if the cause was crib death or a result of her bowel troubles. Mother always  said, “I wanted to die that night, too.” My parents kept  her tiny casket in the house, with the lamp on throughout the night, the saddest vigil. 

Perhaps this was why Mother stood in the kitchen,  silently kneading the bread, on the day of my departure.  This image of my mother, unwilling, or unable, to look up and truly see me one last time, the sense of missed  connection, haunted me deeply as we drove away from  the blue house, and it has haunted me ever since. 

Linda, eight years old at the time, still remembers  watching me lurch and bounce away atop that pile of  cordwood. All she could think, watching me recede into  invisibility, was, “Oh, my God!” 

It is important to leave the people we love knowing  how we feel about them in our hearts. Even if they cannot fully receive this message in the moment, the words  can grow inside them, and perhaps comfort them at a  later time when they might really need that fortification.  The truth is, we never know what will happen. We never  know how, or even if, we will see each other again. 

I cannot recall what I was thinking when I left the  blue house for the last time, at the start of a hundred-mile  trip to the town of Wynyard. I was heading for my ma ternal grandmother’s home, with plans to attend high  school there in the fall. For the summer, I had been offered a job on a farm just outside of the town, working  for a couple I had never met. 

I was headed toward an unknown destiny. Yet, as I  struggled to get comfortable atop the sharp, hard wood,  I do remember one very distinct feeling: a fierce, almost  wild hope, rising. I was finally moving towards a conviction I had long held in my heart like an inextinguishable  talisman: I am somebody, and I am going to be somebody greater. Here was the first realization in my gladdening heart that the destination was not a place. My north star was the belief that, having escaped the blue  house at last, I was headed to something greater. As I  clung tightly to the old straw rope that loosely held the  logs in place, I did not know or consider what lay ahead  of me. I just knew I had to survive the journey.

About Myrna Denham Porter:

Myrna was born in 1940 into a family of seventeen children in a remote area of Saskatchewan, Canada. It was an area where conditions were harsh, aspirations were low and few attended high school. Inspired by her mother to further her education, Myrna left home at the age of fourteen to work as a nanny while attending high school. 

At the age of seventeen, she emigrated to the United States. After a successful career in the early sixties as a flight attendant, she married, raised two children, and obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Through her career and volunteer work, Myrna is proud to acknowledge she has made a difference in the lives of others. She believes that through these activities a sense of contentment and peace is obtained.

 Encouraged by her good friend and associate, psychologist and author Dr. Jacob Shefa, to write her story, Myrna began her memoirs several years ago. When she began her memoirs, her intention was to leave a legacy of strong values and a guide for “a life worth living” for her grandchildren as well as future generations. But as Myrna wrote, she began to realize others might benefit from her story.

Goodreads

 

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a finished copy of THE BLUE HOUSE, US Only.

Ends February 21st, midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

2/6/2023

Mythical Books

Guest Post or Excerpt/IG Post

2/7/2023

Writer of Wrongs

Guest Post or Excerpt

2/8/2023

#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

Guest Post or Excerpt

2/8/2023

Two Chicks on Books

Guest Post or Excerpt/IG Post

2/9/2023

A Dream Within A Dream

Guest Post or Excerpt

2/10/2023

pick a good book

Review/IG Post

Week Two:

2/13/2023

The Momma Spot

Guest Post or Excerpt

2/14/2023

Girls in White Dresses

Review

2/15/2023

Review Thick And Thin

Review/IG Post

2/16/2023

OneMoreExclamation

Review/IG Post

2/17/2023

@allyluvsbooksalatte

Review/IG Post


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