Greetings and Welcome!
I am an author, editor, occasional teacher, gardener, parent, grandmother, and lover of life. I have written three books, many magazine articles, and several essays.
Click around and explore the various links to see past and current photos, articles, and essays. Drop by my blog to see regular updates and feel free to leave a comment! Listen to some music from my beloved chorus; The Gaia Women of the Great Lakes Basin.
I am a lover of the outdoors, poetry, kayaking, children, grandchildren, music, writing, stories of all kinds, Detroit, digging in the dirt, good fresh natural food, all seasons of the year, plays, and books. I am a polio survivor, mother, grandmother, lesbian, Feminist, Unitarian, lover of life.
I spent the first 32 years of my life in Detroit at a time when it was a thriving big city. My husband and I moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1966, and my three children grew up there. We divorced in 1974 just after I completed a Masters degree in Nursing at Marquette University. A few years later I became active in the women's movement and in the process fell in love with a woman and spent the next 17 years of my life with her.
After retirement in 2000 from a long professional nursing career, during which I wrote for textbooks and peer-reviewed journals, I turned to writing creative non-fiction. I have always loved stories and ultimately decided that I had a story worth telling the world.
In 2003 I moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan to be closer to my two sons and four grandchildren. A small college town suits me at this stage of my life and is close enough to Detroit to allow frequent visits to sing with my beloved Gaia chorus and enjoy the culture the city offers.
In Ann Arbor, the many parks, abundant lakes and nature areas enhance my enjoyment of the outdoors. I still love to kayak though not as often as I used to. My garden of native plants satisfies my love of digging in the dirt and birds feasting at my feeders provide joy in all seasons.
I am passionate about environmental issues and volunteered in the past with the Huron River Watershed Council. I also sing with a women’s chorus. We call ourselves the “Gaia Women of the Great Lakes Basin.” We are women of Canada and the metro Detroit area who sing the music of Carolyn McDade, renowned songwriter and activist, and others to spread a message of peace, justice and care for the earth.
DETROIT KIDS DISCOVER HOLOCAUST SECRETS AND FAMILY SURVIVORS
My memoir was launched May 5th, 2019 at the Downtown Ann Arbor Library.
I was inspired to write this memoir after my siblings and I found my father’s relatives in the Netherlands in 1996. I had always missed having an extended family as my parents emigrated to this country in the 1920s and left most of their family behind. As I was growing up there were family secrets that puzzled me.
My father, Herman Josef Loewenhardt, came from a large German-Jewish family of Oberhemer, Germany. He met Elizabeth Henrietta Ring sometime after his arrival and they married and settled in Detroit. Herman converted to Catholicism, the religion of his wife. He kept his Jewish background a secret and this was one of the family secrets of my childhood. Elizabeth came from the small town of St. Ingbert, Germany and left behind her three year old daughter. In 1935, my half-sister joined our family and her presence became another one of the puzzling secrets of my childhood. My Tante Hanny, Dad’s sister, was another puzzle—we were Catholic, but I suspected that my Dad’s sister was Jewish. My parents were part of the thriving German-American community in Detroit and this helped make up for the loss of family. My father always had a job even during the depths of the depression.
I was born in a small house on the East Side of Detroit in 1934, the first of four children in our family. I attended a parochial grade school, until 1944, when I contracted polio during one of the worst epidemics of that decade. The war together with polio became an overwhelming dark presence in my young life as I feared the worst happening to my faraway relatives. I also felt great fear for myself and my family when the 1943 riots took place, and thought the war had come to Detroit.
I learned that my mother had breast cancer as I was nearing graduation from high school. After her death in 1953, my father urged me to continue my education and I graduated from Mercy College of Detroit with a nursing degree in 1955. My college education was a gift that came as a result of polio. Vocation Rehabilitation of Michigan paid the tuition and all expenses of my college education. This was a bright spot during this very sad and traumatic time of my life. Part I of the memoir ends with the death of my father and his sister, Johanna, only one month apart, in 1972.
Part 2 tells the story of our search for any living relatives of my father’s Jewish family. My siblings and I had little hope of success, but to our surprise and joy, we found Loewenhardt cousins through the internet in 1996. Over the past two decades I have visited my cousins in the Netherlands many times and they have come to see us in America.
Through this bittersweet saga, I have come to love my cousins deeply and cherish them as siblings. My memoir explains how their parents survived and tells the stories of some the Loewenhardt relatives who perished in the Holocaust.
In the epilogue I revisit the Detroit of my childhood and show what has changed and what still thrives.
My memoir is significant for several reasons. It illuminates the day-to-day lives of a German-American immigrant family in the city of Detroit in the middle of the last century. It also shares details of the lives and brutal deaths of specific individuals, my aunts, uncles and cousins murdered in the Holocaust. In spite of many volumes with similar stories, my story is unique in the way that it evolved. It also depended on access to the internet, because without it, the story may not have happened My beloved family members are now more than names on a list.
Singing Our Way Home
A celebration of the first ten years of The Gaia Women of The Great Lakes Basin
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Open Doors: Stories From Wildlife Nation
My essay titled Why I Love The Outdoors is on page 117
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Alaska Adventure With Joe and Linda: A Travel Memoir
A romantic adventure story that ends with a proposal in a small cabin in the wilderness.
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Essays and Articles
During the past few years I have written travel, gardening and health related articles, book reviews and personality profiles. I published articles in local magazines such as Tampa Bay Woman and Senior Connection, as well as the Orlando Sentinel and The Women’s Review of Books.
I won honorable mention for a story published in the 2006 edition of “The Talking Stick,” the annual publication of the Jackpine Writers Bloc. Yesterday is a Cancelled Check is the story of Steve K. who sustained a severe spinal cord injury in his last football game in high school. You can read the story below.
My essay Why I Love The Outdoors was included in a book titled Open Doors: Stories from Wildlife Nation collected and edited by Janet Fancher.
I have also had articles published in BookWomen, a literary magazine published by the Book Women Center for Feminist Reading at the Minnesota Women’s Press. See below for an article published in the April-May 2017 issue about my grandmother Pauline.
I wrote a book titled Alaska Adventure with Joe and Linda: A Travel Memoir. It was published on blurb.com in 2010. During my 1995 trip to Alaska with a small group that included my son and his then girlfriend, he proposed to her. This very personal story became Joe and Linda’s 15th wedding anniversary present.
I also edited a book titled Singing Our Way Home: The Gaia Women of The Great Lakes Basin, First Ten Years, celebrating the accomplishments of my beloved chorus. It was published in 2013 by Blurb.com. There is a link to one of the songs from our CD, My Heart Is Moved.