The beginning of the year me and my little writing helpers joined American Night Writers Association to help us in this writing journey. This group has been fantastic!
I have really enjoyed getting to meet new ladies and get their perspectives on my book.
Sept 13, 2017, before one of the annual writer’s conventions, one of the Regency Romance writers, held a tea party at the Chateau De Via. We all dressed up in Regency period clothes, a few ladies sang and read some poems and we sampled little tea party delights.
Look how beautiful it is! It was Heavenly!
I had no idea a place like this existed in the deserts of Arizona.
I never played tea party as a little girl but I got the experience as an adult and it was dreamy, it felt like we were in wonderland.
My Grand-daughter! Isn’t this just beautiful?
Did you know this is what a truffle looked like? I didn’t.
After me and my daughter in law, Karie and my grand-daughter, Cassidy had to stop by In-N-Out because tea parties aren’t really food.
Anna LeBaron is the author of The Polygamist’s Daughter, a memoir about growing up as the daughter of the infamous Ervil LeBaron. In her memoir, Anna writes about growing up in a polygamist family, her father’s criminal activity, and constantly being on the run from authorities. Anna’s story really hits home for me because, not only did I grow up in polygamy myself, but I actually knew Anna’s mother, Anna Mae, and Annas father Ervil. My family had also been one of those on the run from her father. Ervil started having people killed who were leaving the church or followers of his brother Joel.
Anna LeBaron’s mother, Anna Mae, was first married to Nephi Marston and they lived across the street from the first house my Daddy and I built in Colonia LeBaron. Anna Mae and my mother became friends and at times I was sent to babysit Anna Mae’s children before Anna was born.
Ervil, Anna’s dad, eventually was successful in getting Anna Mae to leave her first husband for him. Something I never understood as Nephi was such a great man.
At one point, Ervil had told my mother he had had a dream that she was to leave Daddy to marry him, too. I was so glad that mother didn’t fall for that. Since he couldn’t marry my mother, Ervil told me he wanted to marry me. I was thirteen at the time, and he said he was going to ask my mother to save me for him until I was fourteen and could be married. I remember crying about this to my mother, who told me he was only teasing. Even if she really believed it, I was terrified!
I was spared but my poor sister Claudeen wasn’t as lucky! Mother allowed Ervils brother, Joel to marry her at fourteen instead!
Because I left polygamy and Colonia LeBaron years and years ago, I worried about meeting people from there again. When we left we had fled for our lives and had been trying to lay low and not bring any attention to where we were. We had been put on the LeBaron’s hit list and had received threats in the mail which were quickly turned over to the FBI. For years we weren’t sure who we could trust. Good people were turning on each other and it was hard to say whose side people were on.
But after reading Anna’s book, I could tell she is a genuinely loving person, so unlike her father, and I really wanted to meet her.
I had the great privilege of meeting Anna for dinner while she was on her book tour. I was nervous, but honestly, talking to her felt like I had met another one of my many sisters for the first time. I knew she was Ervil’s child and was a victim like I had been. Although my memories of Ervil and his family were tainted with fear, I reminded myself that her father’s actions were just that: her father’s. It would be horrible to judge anyone from the sins of their fathers.
Meeting Anna was wonderful. It was a great honor to have dinner with her. Anna is just the opposite of her father; while he was cunning and evil, she radiated love and knowledge. After speaking to her for a few minutes, it became clear to me that she embodies the love and hope of a Heavenly Father much more than the sentiments of her own father, Ervil LeBaron. I believe wholeheartedly that Anna can, and will, make a difference for good in this world.
I hope that others who grew up in a similar situation will find hope in her words. I have been encouraging family members to read her story as they can relate to and maybe even learn to let go of some things of this past painful life.
In The Polygamist’s Daughter, Anna takes the reader on a journey through pain and healing, and reminds us all that, after all, is said and done, “Forgiveness is freedom.”
Check out Anna’s Book
To learn more about Anna visit Annas Author site here.
Right before our trip to LeBaron, we had contacted Irene Spencer to stop by and visit her. We were so looking forward to the visit but she passed before we got there. Thank goodness a few years before Irene contacted me and told me she and her daughters were coming from a wedding in Colonial Lebaron and passing through Arizona. Irene, Donna, and Barbara would like to meet up with us and wanted to know the closest hotel to us so we could meet for breakfast the next morning. So very grateful they did!
We met at Kneaders and chatted for hours we took over Kneaders with our stories and laughing. People may have heard polygamy word dropped here and there and who knows what they thought. I don’t care it was so much fun!
I loved Aunt Irene just like a 2nd mom and always loved her humor and positive attitude.
Irene was one of the few that could tolerate my mother because Irene could take anybody on. Plus Irene had been so excited for another American woman in Colonia Lebaron to chat with so she just adored mom.
When Irene would come to visit her kids would all come follow her over. One day mom told her she was welcome to come visit but she had to leave her kids at home. Mom was just that way. Kids were not to be underfoot or heard. So Irene started coming over alone but eventually one by one her kids would come over and Donna would run over to gather them and try to shuffle them back together. So fun!
I loved my time growing up with Irene and her family. I will always have fond memories of going out in the orchards to pick chilies and tomatoes for Irene and once we picked what she need she said we could eat what we wanted. So we would bring our salt shaker and eat as we picked.
I don’t know that we could have made it in the colonies without Irene. I will truly miss my good friend, Aunt Irene. I hope to find more reasons to meet up with the girls though. It’s important to do that now so we never regret not taking the time while we are all alive.
To read Irene Spencers book check out her website here.