Big-time In Bloom

Spring is starting to settle in here in my greening home, and it feels like I have a lot of plates in the air. 🙂  I don’t really mind, so long as I can keep from having anxiety about it all. Good changes are coming and good projects are in progress.  I’m also working on my taxes, but as long as I can keep thinking of it as a puzzle I get to solve, then the math doesn’t overwhelm me. 🙂

Renée Janski and I will present another Concert Window broadcast together on May 3rd- we have some surprises planned!  Go here to subscribe (for free) and get a reminder to watch when we’re about to go live.

I’m freshly home today from an experience I’d never had before: singing at a grave marker dedication, and watching that grave marker be installed.  


Some of you may have heard me sing the song I wrote last spring, either live or during an online show, about the woman whose name is on this grave marker.  She grew up one hour from where I was born, our birthdays are one day apart, and she was one year older than my grandfather.  I can’t believe I had never heard her name before a year ago, especially since her life story, though short, is so compelling and full of courage.  If you ask me, she’s a Rejected Princesses candidate (and yes, I have written to RP curator Jason Porath to let him know).

Helen was a teenager when her father was killed.  She avenged him before she’d reached what we now consider legal age, served time for shooting his killer, and despite horrific treatment at the hands of those in charge of the Pea Farm (Arkansas’ Depression-era women’s prison, now long gone), never once allowed her spirit to be broken.  She was twenty-two years old when the Pea Farm warden set her up to be murdered by a trusty guard, and slander still circulates that she was pregnant out of wedlock when she died, despite five physicians having confirmed the opposite after her autopsy.  The press went wild over her story, telling it as exaggeratedly as they pleased, and her friends had to smuggle her body out of its window display (yes, really) at a local funeral home in order to see her body buried.  She has been without a grave marker for over eighty years.  

This morning, that changed, and I got to be there to sing at her grave.  It seems like such a small act, but it’s one I’ll never forget.  

Denise Parkinson is the one to thank for all this.  She wrote the actual book about Helen’s life which captivated me so when I came across it in 2017.  Denise has since given me her blessing and hired me to produce the official audiobook.  I hope to have it ready soon.  

Until I do, feel free to read it for yourself, and read the accompanying article about Helen on the Encyclopedia of Arkansas website.