In all 43 essays, I recount stories about my parents and friends, siblings and grandmothers, marriage and motherhood, animals and teaching, and death and regret.
Welcome to the August 2nd stop on the blog tour for Something to Hold on To by Ann Hajdu Hultberg with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, more guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
What it’s like to share your most personal words with the world.
We write what we know. We write how we feel. I was never ashamed or embarrassed about any events I shared in my book. For me, it was cathartic to write my stories. A voice nags at me until I get whatever is on my mind onto paper. And I write and revise until that voice is satisfied.
I wrote about my two miscarriages in “Turn on the Moon.” It was a difficult time for me. Many of my friends were having babies, my sister too, and I kept losing them. I had to accept that my daughter would end up being an only child. Many women have been through the same and I knew I wasn’t alone in my feelings.
In “What If,” I described my panic attacks as a young child and then again as a college freshman. I didn’t like being away from my family, and at Girl Scout camp I developed facial tics. These disappeared once I returned back home a week later. In my first semester of college, I pulled out my eyebrows and chunks of hair from my scalp. It was a way to cope with anxiety. I outgrew this the second semester of college, but being three hours away from home, I worried that terrible things would happen to my family while I was away.
In “The Weighted Blanket,” I wrote about a 6-month period when my mom died, then my grandmother, my daughter graduated from high school and left for college a few weeks later, and my sister who lived near me moved to another state. It was the saddest time for me at losing four women in such a short period of time. I was lonely and sad; four generations were gone. How do you cope with such life changing events?
I confessed my guilt after my dad suddenly died in “I am Sorry.” How I didn’t take the time to visit more often, or listen to his CD’s, or ask more questions about his life in Hungary or how his parents met in Romania. It’s a guilt I carry thirty years later. My questions can never be answered.
In “The Corner Lot,” I talked about the small house my family lived in. My parents slept on a pullout couch in the living room while by two brothers shared a bedroom and I another with my sister. I was never ashamed of our hand -me -down furniture or clothes. We didn’t have a lot of material things or a lot of money, but we were rich in other ways. The walls in the living and dining rooms were decorated with Dad’s oil paintings and the outside bloomed with beautiful roses and a vegetable garden. The house was tiny but our love immense.
What is personal to me I hope is universal to others and that readers can connect to these emotions. I wanted to sound human, believable, and relatable.
About the Book
Something to Hold on To
by Ann Hajdu Hultberg
Published 7 September 2022
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Page Count: 164
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
In life we hold on to our faith, family, friends, our sense of humor, our memories, and our promises. As a child, it might be a make-believe world. Sometimes it’s something physical like a prayer card or a twist tie, a school bag or a rosary bead. Maybe it’s a photo. Everything we hold dear brings us hope and comfort during both good and bad times.
I write what I and others have held on to; I recount my experiences as a late Baby Boomer raised in rural Pennsylvania, and most importantly, by a Hungarian father, an immigrant, who escaped the Soviet Invasion in 1956. I hope that you the reader will connect to some of the stories and the things we hold on to.
from “Ashes to Ashes”
The first time I held her, I rubbed her small, wet nose and new soft fur as black as my onyx ring against my cheek, puffed out into a smile. We named her Ashes for her glossy, black coat, the color of the ashes in our wood-stove. Under the outdoor sun in 67- degree weather, I whispered sing-songy, hello, welcome to the family, we will love you forever. She was the newest member of the family, a Shih Tzu and poodle combination, her face more that of a poodle’s.
The last time I held her, nineteen years later, under a spiritless, sooty sky, with sultry temperatures, I rubbed her small, dry nose and bristly fur, now a mountain pine gray, against my wet cheek. I choked goodbye, we will miss you, we loved you forever.
The day Ashes died, she left her brown shag fur bed, and wobbled onto the living room tile floor where she collapsed; we think she had a stroke. She had been failing for several weeks. She was losing bladder control, so we fitted her with pink, disposable doggie diapers. She quit eating and drinking no matter how much I coaxed her. I boiled chicken and rice, once her favorite, but she didn’t even sniff at her bowl. I could not bring myself to accept that the end was near. So she showed me the way. That it was time.
About the Author
Ann Hajdu Hultberg, born in Buffalo, New York, grew up in rural Bradford, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and St. Bonaventure University, Ann spent 34 years teaching English at Limestone, NY, and Allegany, NY, School Districts; she was also an adjunct college composition instructor and student teacher supervisor at University of Pittsburgh at Bradford for 15 years. She and her husband split their time between Bradford and Naples, Florida, and visiting with their daughter and son-in-law. Something To Hold On To is her debut book.
Ann Hajdu Hultberg will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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