my sweet momma’s birthday is today. she would have been 97. she died shortly before her 94th birthday but remains a force in the world. her kindness and her zealous belief in kindness continue to ripple outward. i heard beaky firsthand when My Girl was talking about the world and its issues and said, “the best thing i can do is to be kind to people.” i’ve seen beaky firsthand when My Boy has stood firm in raising pride awareness.
now, i know this story has been told before, but i risk being called redundant to tell it again. back when my momma was 93 and facing down stage four breast cancer having had a double mastectomy a few months prior, she told us she felt like she had accomplished little in her life. there could be little farther from the truth. but she insisted she had no title (“engineer”, “architect” etc) to put after her name. we knew she had, however, three manuscripts she had written decades prior – stories about the family dachshund named shayne – stories she had tried to have published with no success back in the day. stories told from shayne’s point of view and simply wholesome and delightful, we searched for – and found – the manuscripts. and immediately got to work.
my amazing husband david illustrated the first of the trilogy, named SHAYNE. i laid out the text and the graphics of the book itself, designed merchandise like an “author” shirt, banners and a shayne iphone case for momma, built a website, contacted newspapers and we hastened to put together a release party with a reading and press and a celebration with brownies and asti spumanti at her assisted living facility in florida. when we told her – on MY birthday in march (for what could be a better thank-you-for-my-birthday than this?) what was happening on april 11th, she squealed like a school girl and started practicing signing her name with a sharpie. it was BY FAR one of the pinnacle moments of my life to see my mom – the AUTHOR- hold her book, read aloud to the dozens of people who attended and sign “BEAKY” on her books as her fans lined up to purchase the earliest copies. eighteen days later, my sweet momma was no longer on this earth.
david has since illustrated both the second and third books. the second, SHAYNE AND THE YELLOW DRAGON, was released a couple years ago and today, on her birthday, i am so excited to tell you that the third SHAYNE AND THE NEW BABY will be released shortly. the trilogy will be complete! my sweet momma, beatrice h. arnson “beaky” the AUTHOR would be pretty jazzed to sign each of these, but i know her blessing is on them as she reaches through the invisible line between heaven and earth.
we will keep you posted on the release. i have this sweet vision of so-so-many-many-books being sold (to individuals, to schools, to libraries, to dachshund owners, to families with small children, to families with dogs, to dog lovers, to teachers, to scholastic press or to some entity that sees how important it is to have dreams come true – at ANY age) that we might start a beaky-beaky foundation and help – in some well-thought-out way – in momma’s name. if you have any ideas, let us know. we want to keep beaky’s ripples going.
SHAYNE, SHAYNE & THE YELLOW DRAGON ©️ 2015 kerri sherwood & david robinson, beatrice h. arnson