Sunday, August 28, 2011
The Life and Times of Cheryl Pierson
Well, here’s a bit about me. I’m from Oklahoma, born and raised here. My parents and two “much older” sisters and I lived in Duncan, where I was born, until the summer I turned 6—that was 1963. That summer, my dad, who worked in the oilfields as a chemical engineer, was transferred to Seminole. My oldest sister Annette had managed to graduate from Duncan High School, but my middle sister, Karen, was going to have to do her last two years in Seminole.
We were pretty much the typical family, like the Cleavers, only Mom didn’t vacuum in high heels and pearls like June did. She kept busy with my sister Karen’s activities, and I started first grade that year at Woodrow Wilson Elementary, just a three-block hike from my front door.
I was lucky to have a stay-at-home mom, who loved to bake and cook things from scratch. Being a child of the Dustbowl and the Great Depression, it was the only way she knew to cook. A wonderful seamstress, she made a lot of our clothes, including my first prom dress!
Talk about an idyllic childhood. It was small-town America. The “neighborhood gang” rode our bicycles all over that part of town with no restraint, other than most of us were not to go past the main busy street, Strothers. However, there were plenty of other places to ride and we explored every inch of them. My best early childhood friend, Jane, moved in the same week I did, and she was only one year older than I. We grew to be as close as any sisters, and I was heartbroken when her father was transferred a few years later. I took dance lessons and played the flute in band. I was a classically trained pianist, and though I hated the hours of practice, if my mom was still here today, I would tell her what she always said I would—“THANK YOU.”
Going to the library was an every-Saturday affair. When Mom went to get her hair done, she dropped me off at the library. Goldie Barnett was the old maid librarian. Books were her life. She had a humped back and the sweetest, gentlest smile that you ever saw. She knew every book on the shelves, and loved to see young people come in and choose “no more than seven” to take home with them.
In the summers, we ran wild, playing sandlot baseball, riding bikes, climbing trees (yes, I was a bit of a tomboy!) and lying on an old packing quilt in the shade with a pitcher of cold lemonade and a favorite book for hours on end. We made frequent trips to Durant, in the southeastern corner of the state, where both my parents were from and where we still had many, many relatives on both sides. My dad’s parents had a huge garden that we would go down and help harvest. This was where I learned the fine art of shucking corn, picking beans and okra, and canning tomatoes.
When I finished my junior year in high school, my dad was transferred again--this time, to Charleston, West Virginia. I was told time and again how lucky I was to have been able to stay in school in one place all those years. I didn’t feel so lucky, though, to have to leave everyone I knew, and all that was familiar. I finished high school in Winfield, a small suburb of Charleston, and started college nearby. Turned out, the move was “in the cards” because I met my husband, Gary, there at college.
Gary and I were married in 1979, and here we are nearly 33 years later—still together. Only because we never owned a gun, I’m sure. (just kidding, really!)
Gary had been married before and had two children from his first marriage, Jennifer and Russell, who came to live with us in 1982. It was really a saving grace, because this was a very hectic time, and a time filled with upheaval, as Russell’s mom insisted on taking him back to live with her, leaving Jennifer with us. Time flew, and in 1986, our first child, Jessica, was born. I had started to write by then, but only at night when everyone else was in bed. In 1989, our son, Casey, came along, and by then Jennifer was a senior and ready to graduate.
We moved into Oklahoma City from one of the outlying suburbs and bought the home we still live in today. For many years, my life was full with taking the kids to their sporting events, play practices, and school activities. I worked part time during those years, and taught piano and guitar for many years, as well. Jessica, Casey and Jennifer all live nearby. Sadly, we lost Russell in a car accident when he was 18.
I’ve loved to write my entire life. I remember as a child, my mother would take little notepads to church with her in her purse for me to “occupy myself” with. In elementary school, I wrote poems, short stories and even a play that my 4th grade teacher let us practice and perform in class. My writing career took off a few years ago when I sold a short story to Adams Media for their Rocking Chair Reader collection. I sold several more to them, sold some newspaper articles, and then sold my first novel, FIRE EYES, a western historical, to The Wild Rose Press. I had a wonderful editor there, Helen Andrew, who really helped me find my way with the book, and will be forever grateful to her. I have since sold another novel there, SWEET DANGER, a contemporary romantic suspense, and a short story, a western historical, A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES.
Since then, I have sold many short stories with Victory Tales Press for their anthologies as well as having sold TIME PLAINS DRIFTER, a paranormal western, to Western Trail Blazer, an imprint of VTP. I’m really excited about TIME PLAINS DRIFTER, because it was given a 4 ½ star rating in Romantic Times Magazine, and has garnered many wonderful reviews. My daughter created the cover for it, and this book means a lot to me because of the rocky road it had on the way to publication.
My latest release is a short story called THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS, that appears in an anthology called THE TRADITIONAL WEST. This is an anthology of stories that was put together by a group of well-known western writers that I belong to called the Western Fictioneers. I am thrilled to be included in the group, and have gotten some great reviews on my story.
That’s my life in a nutshell. Not too greatly exciting, just a life mixed with some trials, tribulations, and wonderful happiness. I hope you haven’t been bored—I loved getting to read all about you all and getting to know you. I’ve been in and out a lot this month and haven’t always commented, but have read every single post, and feel glad that I got to know you all a little bit better.
Hugs to all my SWEETHEART sisters!