Memories with Maggie Berkley and a giveaway

Have you ever had a childhood memory just crept upon you so suddenly and hard that it knocked you back into the past with the force of a hurricane? At times it will be the weather that will do it, the conditions just right and a memory surfaces, bring a wistful smile to my face. Or I’ll hear a song and bam…there I go, back into the past. There’s one song that does that to me.Sweet HomeAlabama.  Reminds me of hot summer nights when I was ten, camping out in a tree house with my two best childhood friends and roaming the back yard to chase fireflies.

Well, I was sitting here getting ready to write this blog when I heard that song on the TV (which I keep on for background noise) and it brought back some memories of those days. Well, to anyone who’s read my bio, it’s known I live in wet, clammy Oregon. But I didn’t always live here. You see my dad was in the Air Force (salute!) so we traveled around quite a lot and out of all the states in the US that I lived in, I have to say Alabama was the best. I lived there in a little podunk town named Millbrook in the early to mid 80’s, between the ages of 10 to 13 and at the time, my two best friends in the whole world were girls named Paige M. and Shannon R.. At that time I went by another name (for those of you that haven’t figured it out, Maggie is my author’s name) and I wore thick glasses and a page boy haircut (shudder).

Well, Alabama is what I call a lazy state, not as in no one works but as in it makes you want to enjoy the day the Lord made and actually smile, sit back and watch the sunset.  I lived in a bricked over trailer behind a cow field; to the right was the neighborhood, to the left a huge field and past that the highway. Catalpa was the street I lived on, and mine was the house at the end of the road. I remember across the street some fresh concrete had been poured (whether for a drainage ditch or the base of a fire hydrant I can’t remember), but Paige and I carved our initials in the wet cement. Hers was S.P. for Silly Putty, mine was C.C. for Cat Crazy…amazing what things can be remembered.

I remember so many Southern nights where the soft wind blew gently through the trees and listening to the crickets’ chirp as my friends and I hunted the fireflies that danced past us in the air. So many nights we slept outside in the tree house my neighbor had made for his stepdaughter and we’d rig the place up with power cords so we could watch SCTV and Ed Grimly. Later, in the dead of night we’d dare each other to climb out the window and make our way to the highest branches. I hated heights but Paige was fearless and always made her way out to the narrowest, longest branch. Eventually she’d get stuck and I’d have to swallow my fear to climb out and help her back in.

Then of course there were the ghost stories. At the end of the street (opposite end from my house) was on old, abandoned white board church. Legend had it that it was haunted, that it had been used in some kind of Satanist ritual and people had been killed. Whether it was true or not, I have no idea, but we’d sneak out there at midnight and scare ourselves with every creak, shadow or scurry. Then we’d take off screaming, afraid we were next to be sacrificed.

Just writing this brings back so many fond memories. Swing tires, tiny bubbles, cinnamon tooth picks, fireballs, sinking up to our knees in red Alabama mud, writing plays and acting them out, Dr. Demento! And having to take summer school because we played around too much during regular school…lol. I have to say the days I spent there, in Millbrook, Alabama with my two childhood best friends had to be the best times in my young life. I miss those girls!

Oh childhood, sweet childhood, what fun I had!

(Ok, now here’s my joke…Southerns Strike Back!)

I am sick and tired of hearing about how dumb people are in the South. I challenge any so-called smart Yankee to take this Engineering exam:

1. Calculate the smallest limb diameter on a persimmon tree that will support a 10 pound possum.
2. Which of these cars will rust out the quickest when placed on blocks in your front yard?
(A) ’65 Ford Fairlane
(B) ’69 Chevrolet Chevelle, or
(C) ’64 Pontiac GTO.
3. If your uncle builds a still, which operates at a capacity of 20 gallons of shine produced per hour, how many car radiators are required to condense the product?
4. A woodcutter has a chainsaw, which operates at 2700 RPM. The density of the pine trees in the plot to be harvested is 470 per acre. The plot is 2.3 acres in size. The average tree diameter is 14 inches. How many Budweisers will be drunk before the trees are cut down?
5. If every old refrigerator in the state vented a charge of R-12 simultaneously, what would be the percentage decrease in the ozone layer?
6. A front porch is constructed of 2×8 pine on 24-inch centers with a field rock foundation. The span is 8 feet and the porch length is 16 feet. The porch floor is 1-inch rough sawn pine. When the porch collapses, how many hound dogs will be killed?
7. A man owns a house and 37 acres of land up in a holler with an average slope of 15%. The man has five children. Can each of his grown children place a mobile home on the man’s land and still have enough property for their electric appliances to sit out front?
8. A 2-ton truck is overloaded and proceeding 900 yards down a steep slope on a secondary road at 45 MPH. The brakes fail. Given average traffic conditions on secondary roads, what is the probability that it will strike a vehicle with a muffler?
9. A coal mine operates a NFPA Class 1, Division 2 Hazardo
us Area. The mine employs 120 miners per shift. A gas warning is issued at the beginning of the 3rd shift. How many cartons of unfiltered Camels will be smoked during this shift?
10. At a reduction in the gene pool variability rate of 7.5% per generation, how long will it take a town which has been bypassed by the interstate highway to breed a country and western singer?

I betcha thought that test was gonna be an easy one, didn’t you? It’s okay if you didn’t do all that well. Just goes to show you… There’s a whole heap of things that big city book learning don’t prepare you for in this life.

As a bonus for taking the “REDNECK CHALLENGE” here’s some Southerly advice that may come in handy down the road a piece… Next time you are too drunk to drive, walk to the nearest pizza shop and place an order. When they go to deliver it, catch a ride home with ’em.

Do you have a favorite Southernism to share?  Memory, saying,  whatever.  Share with Maggie and you’re entered in her giveaway for winner’s choice of Book 1: ENTER THE NIGHT, Book 2: BEHIND THE THRONE, or Book 3: OUT OF THE SHADOWEDLANDS.   These are ebooks (mobi, epub, or pdf).  Giveaway ends 12-18-12 @12 am est, winner announced shortly thereafter.                                               


                                                                    A storm is brewing in the Dark Courts and her name is Death.


Tired of broken promises and betrayal, Morgan Crowe takes matters into her own hand and carves a destructive path through the maze of political intrigue the Dark Queen of the Mor’sin’dar had created. After rescuing her friend Vivienne from the dungeons of UnderArch,Morganreturns home to discover her son missing, taken by the man she had once given her heart to. Seeking help to retrieve him she finds those she served unwilling to give assistance and realizes that loyalty is not always a two way street. Tired of being used by those she thought of as allies and hunted by those she knows are enemies,Morganis determined to end the game she had been unwillingly pulled in to and strikes out in fury at everyone around her.

But when her past finally catches up with her and threatens the lives of those she loves,Morganknows it’s time to take a stand. Charged by her dead King to bring justice to him and the throne and still haunted by the prophecy given to her about the future, she must make a decision that could change the ShadowedLands and those who live within its borders forever. With the help of the mysterious Lord Requiem and the young Werewolf Ty,Morgansteps forward to bring a true King to the Ebon Throne and to remove the threat to her and those she loves. Will she give into her destructive nature or will she finally step into the destiny she was born for?

Barnes &,, Sony Reader,,,,,

You can get in touch withMaggieat and her website.

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3 comments to Memories with Maggie Berkley and a giveaway

  • bn100

    Nice post and cover. I heard of “You better redneckcognize”.

  • I think your comments on childhood memories are interesting. I’ve inserted certain childhood or early adult “memories” in my novels. Then I sit back and see if anyone makes a comments on them. So far only one person (who didn’t know me as a child) has made comments on these “memories.” She always comments on them, as being poignant. Naturally she is my favorite reviewer.