Nothing is more invigorating than a spring day,
except, maybe, getting a book published!
Many years ago, no wait, many, many, MANY years ago, in the middle 1980s, I was teaching a quilt class. We met once a week at one of the class members’ homes, interrupting our quilting with snacks and hot tea. One of the ladies would haul out a big notebook and read to us. She was transcribing handwritten letters, sent back and forth to her sister-in-law, Bert, in the 1950s. We loved hearing the letters. They were so interesting and the enormity of her task, typing them all without a computer, was impressive.
And so, we spent the winter, hunkered down, quilting and listening to wonderful letters read by one of the original authors. We knew Grace was serious about her letters, because as we quilted and talk through the weeks and months, the stack of typed paper grew. Then, at some point, Grace started mentioning the idea of publishing her letters with Bert as a book. The other quilters and I would try to think about publishing a book, but that was very far away to us. Grace, however, anticipated entering the publishing world someday, without a second thought. Later, I learned that her dreams, with her positive thinking, brought results.
Grace’s book was published in 2000.
The years went by. I moved away and lost touch, got married with a family and often thought of Grace and the quilters, but never quite took action to say, “Hello.” Then, with the immediacy of the Internet, in 2008 or so, I wondered about Grace, did a search on her name and got the surprise of my life. I was directed to Amazon, to a book called, “Dear Bert” by an author named Grace Kull. I was thrilled!
At that, I had to get in touch and reacquaint with one of my favorite people, so I called Grace and we have been in touch ever since. And today, I called Grace again, because today is Grace’s ninetieth birthday. Counting backwards you can figure she became a published, first time author at seventy-eight years of age.
Happy Birthday, Grace, and Many Returns!
Being a first time author was not her only first. Talk about trying new things, Grace opened a bed and breakfast in the 1990s, forging ahead to bring new people into her life. And indeed she did. One of her guests turned out to have connections with a one man publishing house, Jerry Kelly of Xoxox, as one article says, “hard to pronounce, but easy to admire.” The rest is history as Grace’s book came out and delighted everyone who read it.
Grace and her cat, Abner.
Jerry Kelly is a graduate of Kenyon College and an informative article is available by clicking here. While interestingly enough, Jerry is called a literary “midwife” for his birthing of books, Grace is also mentioned in the article:
“More typical, perhaps, is Grace Kull, an octogenarian homemaker from Cooperstown, New York, who came to Kelly through his network of writer friends. In 2000, Kelly published Dear Bert, a collection of letters by Kull to her sister-in-law. In 2003, he brought out Traces: A Soldier Writes Home, a collection of war-time letters by Kull’s brother, John E. Rames, who was killed in the Battle of the Bulge in 1945. In both cases, Kelly was drawn by the personality and humor that shone in the letters, as well as by the way the letters’ mundane details evoked a particular era while innocently touching universal chords.”
Grace’s second book, “Traces: A Soldier Writes Home,” has a heartwarming aftermath as members of the armed forces who knew Grace’s brother in WWII have written her following her book’s publication. But! That’s a good story for another post, so we’ll end by wishing Grace:
The Best of Happy Birthdays!