After I retired from writing Sunday school lessons, I missed writing for children. I decided I could still write short stories for my favorite age group (4-9) and submit them to the take-home papers published by Christian Light and distributed at church every Sunday.
The easiest stories to write are one's own memories, so I dashed off a story about a little girl who had a big imagination playing she was a pioneer. I didn't want to use my own name and decided to call her Esther because someone once said every Mennonite family has an Aunt Esther somewhere.
That story was so much fun I wrote some more and included Esther's older sister. She needed a name so I just pulled one out of the air and called her Grace. One story followed another until I eventually had written 29 stories about Grace and Esther. Before they were all published, people began telling me I should put them into a book. I could not do that on my own because Christian Light held the copyright to the stories.
When the request continued to come from various people, I passed it on to Christian Light. They reviewed the stories and decided to compile them in a book. I was stumped for a suitable title and decided to accept whatever they chose. They decided to use the title of one of the stories and call it Esther Starts From Home and other stories.
The story from which the title comes is about (preschool) Esther thinking about how they only way she knows how to go anywhere is to start from her house. She wondered how people know which road to take if they start from somewhere else. The story ends with:
Suddenly something dawned on Esther that she had never thought of before. “We live in the middle of the world and everybody else lives around us.”
Everyone but Esther laughed.
“What’s so funny?” Esther cried. “We do, don’t we?”
“Yes, dear,” Mom said. “Our home is in the middle of your world. That’s the way it should be.”
“You can start from home and go anywhere in the world—and all the way to Heaven too,” Daddy said.
Some adjustments had to be made to the drawings with each story. It has taken about a year but we are finally reaching the finish line. The book is ready to go to the printer and should be on the market in a few weeks.
I hope there are no glitches because the historical society where I volunteer has scheduled a book signing at Hinkletown Mennonite School on November 6. There's always a sense of satisfaction in seeing a project completed.