When I read the book The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less, I knew Mom and Evelyn Ryan, the protagonist, would have been fast friends. The two of them, in many ways, are peas in a pod. Both raised big families during the 50s and 60s. Both were brilliant women who chose to pour their intellect into family rather than fortune. Both loved words and had a knack for stringing together rhymes almost effortlessly. And both faced pending financial disaster with pluck and optimism. I’m sure Mom would have had fun channeling her creativity into marketing ditties, but, unlike Mrs. Ryan, she didn’t make any money with her jingles.
I'm the twelfth of 13 children. I was born into a poor family rich in blessings. We lived in South Pasadena, California on top of a hill in a big house we called Tanner Manor. These are my stories of growing up there.