I am happy to host this post from my friend, Cynthia Meyers-Hanson, author of Mom's on the Roof and I Can't Get Her Down. She has put together the S.H.E. anthology in response to what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary.
What follows is her fascinating story of this book. Enjoy and share!
A SPECIAL NOTE to the reader:
Each blog about the S.H.E. Anthology has a unique excerpt to keep things fresh.
When I heard about the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, due to my experiences with many deaths in our small community within a short period of time, I felt that the kids and folks might feel less alienated and alone if they were shown the light at the end of their tunnels. I wanted to find a way to be empower the children and their community while revealing to them a HOPE that things can and do get better. I thought that town might enjoy rhetoric from those kindred spirits. PLUS, I felt others including health care professionals might enjoy those types of stories.
After pondering a bit, God illuminated my next step. Thinking of three books that I had partial copyrights to, I began compiling that book. Plus, I immediately had the title of an anthology in my mind. By the way, the S.H.E. Anthology is NOT a romance anthology but it was written by all females. In this book, the girls recollected traumas, mostly related to death, that they faced while in elementary school. Their stories reveal their path out of mourning along with many minor miracles that they encountered. Their tales of hope and inspiration are true accounts from those children turned authors. One writer and illustrator is only six; Thai wanted to be a part of empowering children to survive harsh things in life; so, her piece is story number three in this compilation.
The abbreviation ‘S.H.E’ also refers to Sandy Hook Elementary. Isn’t God the best at setting up coincidences?
This book is meant to empower Newton as well as others that read it. We hope that this anthology, also, sheds some new light on grief recovery in the minds of teachers, mental health professionals, and adults handling major life changes. The compilation’s royalties will help charities involved in grief counseling or with mental health issues- especially for children therapies for the types of traumas witnessing massacres produce. For example, one local group ‘New Hope for Kids’ (Orlando) will get some of the profits from this compilation because the group that started this organization helped Stacey over 20 years ago; her story is in the anthology as well as excerpts in my blog @ http://mchanson714.weebly.com/
In the book, The Evans Terrace Girls give their account of what happened when 7 or more parents died within a year or 2 of each other in a small subdivision of about 110 homes. People started saying their land was CURSED. The children heard those rumors about their subdivision and were scared to death. Then, when a neighbor lost her dad to a blood clot after surgery, the kids felt the need to help. When one of the girls heard the rumor that the mourning family ran out of milk, she setup a traditional solution or proverbial lemonade stand. That day, other angels or young children arrived; many of those neighbor kids ran door to door selling half glasses of hot lemonade. They raised enough quarters to buy milk and other perishables. More importantly, they formed a group that became a club and led their neighborhood out of grief. An excerpt from their story follows.
The Evans Terrace Girls did charity and were goal driven as seen in this excerpt. They made most of their decisions with very little adult intervention; the group made all the right choices leading by example. Plus, they kept their promises even the ones they made in the privacy of their hearts.
When we went to the nursing home for Valentine’s Day, it was fun. While decorating, there were many conversations with patients and staff. Most of us felt great satisfaction. It would have been entirely an uplifting experience except for the loneliness we witnessed.
As the club members strolled giggling and chattering towards the elevator, an elderly man rambled on in Spanish. He cried out to us. Then, this patient followed us in his wheelchair to the only elevator. Luckily, a nursing assistant intercepted his attempt to escape this institution. The lady explained the situation to us. “He looks for his son to come visit everyday but that doesn’t happen much anymore,” she trailed off. “Sad, this man could use some company because most of us don’t know Spanish.”
“Awe, he’s so lonely,” Joy blinked back tears as she entered the open elevator.
“Poor guy,” Mia empathized as well. “I hope I can visit my mom everyday if she ever is as sick as that guy is.”
“Yeah,” Ann added. “We should come back again and visit.”
Two months passed with that thought haunting some of us. Since, our group met impromptu and irregularly, we rarely discussed what to do for the patients at that nursing home. Meanwhile, the club was meandering and having trouble staying together as a group. In fact, our Vice President, Linda, lost interest right after Easter because her best friend arrived back from North Carolina. This friend’s mother died in the car accident that kept the girl in a coma and her brother in a body cast for months after their visit with relatives in that state.
“This girl could benefit from joining our club; you can ask her to be a member.” Linda never delivered my invitation. Instead, she chose to spend her weekends with that pal instead of with our volunteer group.
Four months after the lemonade stand, we were faltering due to a lack of meetings to set goals. The resistance to gathering this way resulted from hectic schedules with no time to devote to a meeting rather than from lack of interest. Joy, my sister, had an overpowering soccer schedule and so did Nicole. Ann had synchronized swimming commitments that took much of her spare time. Meanwhile her sister, Mia, took horseback riding lessons at least twice per week. Jane was into competitive gymnastics that restricted her leisure time as well. Linda was just too busy rekindling a friendship. It seemed the only available time was late Sunday afternoons. Finally, after a period of floundering, the girls met and discussed our future plans as well as electing a new Vice President.
“Okay,” I began our agenda. “We need a new leader. Also, a time should be set aside for meetings to be held more regularly.” My executive ability caused me to set up all our ideas at once. “Finally, a decision on future projects should be made, today, so we can prepare.”
“I could be the new Vice President,” Ann offered raising her hand shyly or slyly.
“We have to vote,” our democrat, Nicole reminded us.
“Are you going to run this time?” I questioned our rule guardian.
“No,” she answered. I could never figure out if Nicole was afraid she’d lose or just not interested. Obviously, she was into our right to vote.
Ann, Jane, and Mia showed interest in this office. Their speeches didn’t change much from our first elections. However, Jane didn’t mention her dad’s tragic death made her the obvious choice for leadership. Since she was the youngest, not one of us really saw her as a contender. It‘s the politics of youth! Meanwhile, Ann spoke less of her handwriting skills and more of her leadership ability. Finally, Mia did her usual speech with less empathy this time. Therefore, Ann won.
Next, a good meeting time appeared to be after church and potential activities. “Every Sunday,” I proclaimed.
“Every other Sunday,” Our fearless leader or chaperone, mom, interrupted. This club as well as our other activities consumed her free time.
“Does that work?” I took the vote by counting nodding heads. Briefly, it seemed unanimous.
“Except that I have gymnastics competitions,” Jane added a disclaimer to her nodding head.
“Soccer,” Nicole and Joy added while still voting affirmatively.
“Swim meets, what about if I have one?” Ann joined the bandwagon of yes and no votes.
Frustrated, I barked, “Okay! Okay! Do you guys want to quit the club?”
“Settle down, Jeannie,” mom warned. “They are being honest- not mean. We can work around those occasional activities.”
“Right!” Added Jane with her usual giggles. Tossing her dirty blonde hair off her face and shoulders, “We can work around my gymnastics.”
“Right,” it was unanimously agreed that Sunday was the best possible day as long as it was late in the day.
“Okay,” I continued the meeting realizing we all wanted this club to work. “What is our next project?”
“The nursing home?” Mom reminded us of our desire to return.
Some of us were graduating elementary school and were in the mood to prance. Ann mentioned her idea that related to this emotion,” Let’s entertain the residents. You know, dance and sing.”
Mia had just finished performing a play for a local civic group, she squealed, “Or do a play!”
“I’d be too nervous to do a live play,” Nicole objected.
“Me, too,” Joy demoted Mia’s idea.
“We could sing, dance, and do a skit,” Ann promoted all the ideas.
“Let’s tape the play, so we won’t have to do it live. It would make it easier.” I plugged that idea because Mia and I were attending acting lessons. The sketch idea appealed to me.
“Yeah, we could sing and dance live then show a movie as well,” Ann interrupted.
“What if we mess up while we dance or sing? Should we tape it all?” Joy, the shy one, timidly inquired.
“Old people don’t care if you trip and fall. They love you to sing even off key. They’ll applaud anything we do,” Ann tried to curb the fears. “Old folks just love visits from kids. No matter how bad we perform, they’ll hug us and applaud like we were the best.”
“She’s right,” Mom laughed.
“If they have Alzheimer’s, they won’t even remember we messed up,” Jane giggled. Sad but funny, we all chuckled as our apprehension diminished.
“Then, it is decided,” I closed our conversation. “We will tape the play and perform the dancing or singing live.”
“It will take a month to get the recreation director to place your show on the docket,” Mom added. “We have that amount of time to learn the play and tape it. Also, to practice the rest of the acts.”
“Let’s write our own play,” I suggested. “I’ll write a cool one for us!” My leadership was only surpassed by my desire to act before a camera.
“Sure,” Ann as well as the rest agreed with me.
Two weeks later, my mother pulled her dusty, bulky, ‘on its last legs’ VCR camera out. We went on location to film. Everyone found it easy to do their parts because I mirrored the play after their real lives.
Our movies began with a slumber party. Each one of us dreamed of successful lives and discussed it in this mini drama. Next, the show jumped ahead a few years. Guess what? The movie depicted us attaining those goals.
What other minor miracles happened when these angels joined forces with others to make wishes come true? Read The Evans Terrace Girls or their section in the S.H.E. Anthology.
The eBook copy of the S.H.E Anthology is available @
The paperback version comes in BLACK & WHITE on AMAZON @
Plus, the S.H.E Anthology is in color paperback format @
as a KINDLE @
in other eBook formats @ SMASHWORDS.com @
So, come on buy to be inspired and help grieving children.
It’s a WIN-WIN.
My main author page is @ WEEBLY and you can follow my blog, there.