Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mrs. Mike . . .

. . . Country Traveler

Unless you are an old movie buff or an avid reader you probably have never heard of "Mrs. Mike." So I need to tell you about her.

Back in 1947 Nancy and Benedict Freedman, novelists, cast her as the main character of a book that later became a movie under the same title.

Now this blog is no bull - it's the BEST story you'll read tonight, a chronicle of the travels of the wife of a member of Canada's Royal Mounted Police in the fictional novel by the Freedmans.

Hailing from Montreal, Kathy, with a new husband, Mike, a Mountie, traveled to remote Hudson's Hope in far northern Canada. This most interesting novel follows Kathy's new life among bears, other four-legged inhabitants and natives in frequent harsh winters.

Later came a sequel to the first book telling of Kathy's further adventures and travels up north. I have both books. There was no third book. Thus, Kathy was allowed to drift into a quiet and sedate life in the 'old books' stack at your local library.

Hah! That's what "Mrs. Mike" thought!

While not from the novelists Freedman, the "further travels of Mrs. Mike," a sequel to the sequel, came about when my late mother, known as "Nana", read the newly-published book and then inscribed the book to my late brother, Paul, as a birthday gift on his return home from the United States Navy .

At this point, "Mrs. Mike" is in Taunton, Massachusetts. Enter here my sister Margery - and if you are thinking now this is going to be a family story, you're right. As said its the BEST [family] story you'll read tonight.

Margery apparently borrowed the book from Paul, after he read it, and then accidently added it to her own personal library in Milltown, New Jersey, after reading it herself.

"Mrs. Mike" continued to travel. It's thought that the book was loaned by Margery to a friend who eventually left the Garden State with the book and later put it into a tag sale somewhere.

Now enter Yarntangler, my daughter Marcie, author of the popular children's book "The Tree At The Top Of The Hill", (see and click picture on the right side of this blog) then living in Bellingham, Washington. I was visiting her and the rest of the Cumberland family there at Christmas, 1991.

Marcie invited me one day to browse if I wished in her library for something to read if I got bored. I did one day and came across a book called "Mrs. Mike."

Opening it I quickly noted my mother's fine handwriting, an inscription to brother Paul, and also in the upper right hand corner of the same page a little white sticker denoting new ownership of the book by Margery Rogers of Milltown, New Jersey.

Now I am all the way across the United States from New Jersey. Yarntangler saw the quizzical look on my face and nonchalantly remarked "bought it at a yard sale in Cheyenne, Wyoming."

She said she knew immediately the book was Paul's as she saw Nana's handwriting. The book took on GREAT interest to me at that point and I thumbed to another blank page and showed Marcie some writing she hadn't seen before - "to Nana from Charles." The Charles, of course is Old Newsie.

We both marveled at "Mrs. Mike's" cross-country travels in the 45 years since Nana first received the gift from me, travels which since have seen the book landing in the hands of one of my grandsons, either in California or Arizona, thus now in a fourth generation.

Small world isn't it "Mrs. Mike"?

If anybody is interested the Freedmans' sequel is "The Search for Joyful" -the story of Mrs. Mike continues- You might find both books in your liibrary but both are for sale by the online book vendors, which is how I acquired them. BTW you can buy Yarntangler's book from Booklocker.

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