Monday, May 6, 2013

Linda Hanna: Preacher's Kid with a Blessing of Humor

Linda Hanna is one of the funniest people I know. Even when times are difficult, her good humor will win out. She grew up in a pastor's home and while some PKs have stories of bitterness and ill will, Linda's is full of good memories and happiness in spite of her shyness because of moving so much. 

She aspired to be a wife and a mother when she was just a kid, but also an animator and writer (thus, why I connect with her on a heart level because those were my aspirations too. )

Linda is funny, but she has a heart full of compassion and love for her fellow humans, which is why I think you'll love her life story as much as I do:  (And she was a cutie...still is!)

Childhood Ambition: I wanted to be a wife and mother, which may sound a little boring to some, but that’s where my heart was and still is. I also wanted to be an animator and a writer.

Proudest Moment (from back then): I was a very quiet and shy girl, and had a hard time sticking up for myself. I was seven years old before it finally happened. Let me tell you the story.

It wasn't our first move, but it was definitely the first one I remember. This little western town's culture and local customs were vastly different from what I was used to.

Since most of the kids my age lived on ranches and were saddled with lots of chores, I developed a wonderful relationship with our neighbor. Tag was a lonely old widower who happened to be the town marshal. His kids were all grown up and out seeking their fortunes. Since my own grandparents lived so far away, Tag quickly became my surrogate grandpa, and we each filled a void for the other. I was a pretty good whistler and he'd listen to my mini-concerts and encourage me. He'd been a great whistler, too, in his pre-denture days. He built two swings in his backyard for me and every time he'd go into town, I'd get a candy bar! He was a great guy in every way. Except one.

Tag just loved to play practical jokes on me. I can't begin to guess how many times he successfully locked me in the chicken coop or soaked me with hose water. I would take it for just so long before my feelings would get hurt, and I'd feel the need to give that rascal a taste of his own medicine. Even though my attempts were very amateurish compared to his well thought out pranks, he waited awhile before he pulled any more tricks.

One day, I gritted my teeth from another long string of his shenanigans. That man was so proud of himself, and I figured it was high time to teach him a lesson he'd never forget. I had no idea of what that would be yet, just that I was the woman to do it.

Tag had a big garden. He always bemoaned the fact that the rabbits ate more of his lettuce and carrots than he did. Often, he’d go outside with his shotgun and binoculars and patiently wait for one of those varmints to munch on his veggies.

Once in a while, Lady Luck just smiles your way, and this was my time. There Tag was, in his driveway, leaning against his old Nash as he watched for rabbits. His binoculars hung around his neck and his gun was propped by the car. I was busy swinging when he softly called me over. He laughed, handed me the binoculars. "Get a load of that." He pointed to the garden adjacent to his own, and I peered through the lenses.

I saw his heavyset neighbor, Mae, wearing short shorts and was leaning over to pull weeds. Her more-than-ample backside was aimed right at us. Tag couldn't control his chuckles. A wonderful idea came to me as I giggled and handed the binoculars back to him. He hung them around his neck.

As nonchalantly as possible, I went to the other side of his car as he resumed his watch for more bunnies through those binoculars. I gave the loudest, longest wolf-whistle of my short life, and then ducked down behind the Nash to watch the scenario unfold.

Mae shot to an upright position and spun around. There stood Tag with his face beet red, and the binoculars still lifted mid-air. Poor man laughed in spite of himself. Mae stormed inside her house and slammed the door, obviously not appreciative of her fresh neighbor's musical remark. I thought he’d be very angry with me. However, he couldn't stop laughing. All he could say was, "Wow! I taught you well."

I'm sure he thought he had a tiger by the tail because thankfully, he stopped pranking his little neighbor girl who finally developed a backbone.

Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen: My dad was a pastor and we moved around a lot. By the time I was 14, we had lived in 7 states. Being quiet and shy, it was difficult for me to always be the new kid on the block.

Childhood Indulgence: My childhood indulgence was daydreaming. My creative mind was like a whirling dervish and never seemed to stop. Sometimes (most of the time) all it took was one word to send my poor ADD brain ricocheting off the walls.

Favorite Childhood Movie and/or TV Show: I loved Bonanza and had a major crush on Adam Cartwright. I also loved Candid Camera. But I think my favorite shows were the Hanna/Barbera and Warner Brothers cartoons. The Flintstones and Jetsons topped my list. I was fascinated by the way cartoons were made—one frame at a time. In fact, one summer, my best friend and I pretended to be animators for the Flintstone Branch of Hanna/Barbera, Inc. After about a week, Tina and I decided that it wasn’t enough to be just simple everyday cartoonists, oh, no. We wanted to be in charge. So, we ‘married’ the bosses! Since I was a little older than Tina, I got to marry William Hanna (top billing, don’t ya know) and she married Joseph Barbera. As Paul Harvey would say, “Here’s the rest of the story.” One state, three moves and ten years later, I really did marry William Hanna, just not the cartoon mogul. 
(CM: LOL! The irony of a writer's life.)

Favorite Childhood Book: I had a couple Bible story books – one had wonderful pictures in them. I remember one of a child’s bedroom back in Bible times. For some reason, I was mesmerized by it and thought about what that little boy or girl did in there. What kind of toys did they have? The window didn’t have screens or glass, so did they ever fall out? The bed appeared quite hard. Was it more comfortable than it looked? I also enjoyed fairy tales. Mom read them to me quite often from the book she had as a little girl.

Did you pass notes or have a pen pal as a child? Yes to both. Since we moved around a lot, I kept in touch with some the friends I left behind. Later on, in middle school, my best friend was Barb, and we passed notes a lot. Barb’s high IQ always amazed me, however one day her intellect must’ve been on hiatus or something. During Science class, she was writing to me, and in that note she said how the teacher wasn’t very bright and had the audacity to mispronounce several words that any college graduate should know. She was oblivious to the fact that Mrs. Y. had stopped talking and was watching her write. Then she walked to Barb’s desk and confiscated the note. We thought a lengthy detention was surely in our future. However, Mrs. Y. didn’t do anything except take Barb’s suggestion and learn how to pronounce the words correctly.

In high school, my friend, Debra, and I were a little savvier in our daily note passing. We used stenographer notebooks. We’d accidently ‘drop’ them at the same time, then do the ol’ switcheroo. Other times we just exchanged them as we passed each other in the hallway. I’m proud to say we never got caught once.

Best friends: In Minnesota: Tara and Karen. In Montana: Debby, Corrine, Connie and can’t forget my favorite BFF and junior cowboy heartthrob, Bobby. In Pennsylvania: Mary, Joy, and Debbie. In Michigan: Tina, Barb, Jim and Glenn. In Indiana: Debra. Debra and I have remained good friends since 1966.

Any Childhood Pets? Mom and Dad were very good about letting us have pets—usually one at a time. Our dogs were: Cappy, Mike, Heidi and Dudley. Cats: Mickey, Sparky, Trixie, Patty, Mitzi and Judy. Bunnies: Frisky, Winky, Shadow, Pride, Joy, Scooter and Barney. Goldfish: Harold and Harry. And a lone canary named Puffy.

Was there anyone in your childhood who pointed you to Jesus?
Dad was the spiritual leader of our family. You can’t live with a preacher and not be pointed in the right direction. Mom helped, too, of course.

Share your introduction to Christ as a child or teen or a significant event that led to your walk with Jesus.
 I remember back when I had just turned 5 years old, Mom was at work and Dad was watching me. He told me that it didn’t matter that I was a good little girl I wouldn’t go to heaven if I didn’t ask Jesus into my heart. Being good would never be “good enough.” He explained the plan of salvation on my level and I knelt by the bed and asked Jesus into my heart. I’ve never regretted that decision. I might also add that I didn’t remain a baby Christian. My faith and devotion to the Lord has continued to grow throughout the years.

Anything else you would like to share with readers about your childhood which affected the writer you have become?  
This happened when I was about 4. Mom worked in a hospital to help supplement our income, so Dad became my evening caregiver. This meant many long hours of trying to quietly entertain myself while he prepared a sermon, studied or did other preacher duties. Usually, this was no big deal. I could roll with the punches with the best of them. However, I thought I would go completely stir crazy when he dragged me to a local Christian college library so he could study.

Of course, college libraries don’t have any kid books, so, Dad bought me a Little Golden Book—Flash Gordon. Bless his heart, he meant well, but it was a boy’s book, and my only portable one. There weren't any cute, cuddly baby animals or anything else of interest to a little girl. It had action pictures of an airplane landing on the Amazon River, people running through a dense jungle and a scary snake suspended from a tree. Since I wasn't even in Kindergarten yet, I couldn't read. So, I studied those pictures for what seemed like hours on end, and made up girlish versions of the story in my mind.

It only took a few weeks before I tired of Flash and the gang. A little girl can only dream up so many plots about the Amazon and dangling tree snakes. I made up my mind, the very next library excursion, I would be prepared!

With my brand new Easter purse packed with a motley collection of odds and ends, I envisioned myself as a woman in charge of her life. A bottle of Mom’s Evening in Paris cologne was tucked away in a little pocket and made me feel so grown up. Later that week as we headed to the college, I hugged my purse and grinned to myself. Farewell, Flash. Adios, Amazon.

I noticed something was amiss when Dad ushered me into a different building. The room was hot and stuffy with the distinct aroma of Sen-Sens and mothballs. Several men sat in a large circle of wooden folding chairs. Naturally, I was the only child there, not to mention the lone member of the female persuasion.

One by one, they prayed these l-o-n-g pastoral prayers. I had no idea of what their big, fancy preacher words meant. What I did know was the time had come to dig into my stash of supplies. Out came my lacy handkerchief. I was very apt at folding it to make twins in a cradle and other 'hanky origami' projects!

As luck would have it, the man who sat on my right had a major case of B.O. not to mention a pretty nasty breath problem, the likes of which I’d never encountered before. It smelled like something had crawled in his mouth and died. I half-expected to see a herd of flies circle his head like vultures...but I digress. Being this take-charge woman, I quickly evaluated the situation and devised a brilliant plan. If I dabbed a little cologne onto my hanky and held it up to my nose, his disgusting odor would be concealed. If that failed, the hanky twins could always be crammed up my nostrils.

I mentally patted myself on the back for packing a well-stocked purse, and casually leaned over to retrieve my little pink bag once again. I quickly made a visual sweep to be sure all heads were bowed and eyes closed, then out came the Evening in Paris. Everything was going like clockwork. I carefully removed the silver cap, and tipped the dark blue bottle onto my hanky. Just a drop would do...well, maybe two since his arms were now raised over his head. Perfect!

Then, I made a tactical error. Somehow that full bottle slipped from my hand and landed in my purse. It drenched everything inside. If you've ever smelled Evening in Paris, you can imagine the strong nauseating stench that permeated the entire stuffy room. It made me as sick as a dog. Of course, total humiliation didn't help either.

The prayer meeting dismissed almost immediately and those men fled the room like ants from a burning log. Dad must have felt sorry for me, because he never said one word. He simply lifted me into his arms and carried me to the car, the dripping purse still clutched in my hand.

I learned a very valuable lesson that night. Never, ever carry a full bottle of cologne in your purse. However, the best thing to come out of that experience was that Dad learned a lesson, too.  Never again did he drag his little girl to one of those preacher/college student prayer meetings. So, it was back to the boring college library and making up more stories about Flash and the gang for me.

Facebook: (Linda Edington Hanna)

 From Linda: Debbie Dulworth and I co-authored Reflections of a Stranger. This is a cozy mystery and was released in 2012. Currently, we’re working on our second writing project, a romantic comedy called Pressed Flowers.

Deb and Linda speaking about writing

Reflections of a Stranger 
by Linda Hanna and Deborah Dulworth

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Harbourlight Books (August 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611161908
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611161908
  • Kindle File Size: 457 KB
  • Print Length: 284 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Pelican Ventures Book Group (Harbourlight Books)) (August 23, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0091XFU5W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled 
  • X-Ray: Not Enabled 
  • Lending: Enabled

Cora and her husband, PGA golf pro Steady Eddie Timms, live in a safe gated community. So when Cora witnesses a murder, she’s shocked and frightened. But without a body, murder weapon, or evidence of a crime, Her sanity is called into question—especially when it comes to light that she’s not been dealing well with the stress and grief of losing a daughter, and her memory of late hasn’t been all it should be.

Determined to prove her sanity, Cora bursts into a flurry of danger and unanswered questions as she sets out to find evidence of foul play. With the help of a bumbling security guard, a loyal best friend, and a neighbor’s yappy dog, pieces finally fall into place. By all appearances, the mystery is solved…until Cora is kidnapped and implicated in a case of hidden identity and an old embezzlement scheme.

About Linda Now:
 Through the years, I’ve written TONS of newsletter articles and scads of humorous promotional material for churches, groups, schools and businesses. Several magazine articles and a handful of devotionals also made the cut, but since I’m not a serious minded person/writer, I felt the need to limit that writing endeavor.

Debbie and I have also led several workshops dealing with Senior Adult Ministries. Lately, we’ve enjoyed speaking engagements and book signings at churches, libraries, various groups and a local Christian bookstore. 

(Contact Linda or Deb if you'd like for them to speak at your event!)


Winner! Comment from 
Cathy Baldwin: 
I really enjoyed this Linda. And I always remember you as that cute little girl.
She has been informed and Linda and Deb will see that she receives their book, Reflections of a Stranger!  


Anonymous said...

Love having Linda in our writers' group. She is indeed a very funny lady!

Cathy Shouse said...

i really enjoyed this interview. I can't imagine changing schools that much, Linda. You amaze me at how will you survived.

SHARLENE said...

Loved this interview. Linda is a good friend. She makes me laugh so much! She's an EXCELLENT writer too. The book, Reflections of a Stranger, that she co-wrote with Deb Dulworth is an excellent read. I'd recommend it in a heartbeat.

Marti Kramer Suddarth said...

Oh, my goodness! I laughed so hard at the perfume story! I could picture the whole thing in my mind. It sounds like a great story for a picture book!

Crystal Laine said...

I was delighted that Deb Dulworth and Linda Hanna agreed to do kid interviews! Yes, Linda is so funny! And I loved the perfume story. :)

Lessons For The Journey said...

I loved this interview, I read all and enjoyed all. But my favorite was the story of Tag and the neighbor...I am glad to have Linda as my friend, she has made me laugh so hard at times I fell off me little chair.

Rachael Phillips said...

LOL! I am a preacher's kid, too, Linda! I guess it's not surprising that we're writers, as nurseries and children's church didn't exist when we were kids, and we spent lots of time teaching our bodies to sit still and our minds to run wild!

Elizabeth Parker said...

I loved this interview! Especially the story about Tag and the neighbor. I love Linda and would just hug her till she squealed if I could.

Crystal Laine said...

Linda and Rachael, I'm about the same age as you are and I remember vividly having little plastic dogs to play with in church. Once I leaned over and asked a little girl next to me if she wanted to play with "Candy" (the name I'd given to the little Pekinese dog that was red) and she promptly took a bite! I was horrified.

And I also remember during prayer time as we kneeled in front of our pew studying the shoes in front of me (I was little and could see under the pew in front of me) and making up stories about the shoes. (Those prayers were really long....)

It was really hard to sit still in grown up meetings. That is probably why I made such a good Children's Dept head at my church. :)

Such great comments!

seannaapproved said...

How neat! :) Count me in!

sean-mackenzie {at} live {dot} com

The Fictionista

Dan Glass said...

Learned a lot about you Linda, Go to church with someone and don't get to know them very well, but this was short enough to read and very interesting.

Paulette said...

I've always enjoyed Linda's story-telling since I first met her on Shoutlife years ago. Enjoyed the interview! Her story about pranking her neighbor made me laugh! Loved the childhood photos too!


Ellen C. said...

I learned a lot about you Linda...great pictures too. Thanks for sharing this site and keep are a true inspiration.

Tammie Edington Shaw said...

How interesting. Linda and I just found out this week that we are related! Thanks for the link.

LouAnn Jackson said...

I love everything Linda writes, from comments on facebook, to stories about something that's happened in her life (Oh my!),and now her interview of her childhood!She just knows how to add "zip" and "spice" to any story...short or long! I loved this interview, because it gives me more insight on what makes Linda tick!

Unknown said...

I haven't know Linda for very long but ever since meeting her, she's been full of compassion and a great sense of humor.Great interview!

Karen B. King said...

Linda is one of my dearest friends and I am glad to say that I pushed her rather hardily to finish her book which I love!!!!! I already have a copy of her book in Kindle form but would love to have one in hard copy. Love you, my Twinnie!!