Saturday, February 5, 2011

An Inspirational Story of The First Order

We do love to tell stories.  Some long, some short, stories all.  By definition and necessity 99% of our stories relate to "we, ourselves and us."  Hey, it goes with The Game.

Well, tonight, we're going to tell a story about someone.  Natalie's her name.  Writing's her game.  She ROX.  Her life is an Awesome Long Story all by itself.  She's a great writer in her own right.  She can tell a story and spin a yarn 'round your brain to keep you captivated no matter what the topic.  She well knows how to craft a story and keep it well told.  She lives in a long yonder wide spot on the Salmon River deep in The Heart of MOAN Country.

Tonight, we thought we'd turn the tables on Miss Natalie and tell a story of our own about her.  Yea, verily, you got your own first clue about the topic of this story by the photo above this blog post. Ah, the telling of a story is SOOO FUN!  My fingers sit perched excitedly on the keyboard.

Way back before 57 Chevies had yet to be invented, Miss Natalie won $10,000 in a cookoff!!!!!!!  Let's that sum reverberate in your brain.  Ten thousand dollars in 1950's money is like $80,000 in today's economy according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator.  (Click here to do the math yourself.)

Natalie was a 15-year-old freshman when she won this award.  Maybe she pioneered the concept of a "10K!" Her prize money paid for college educations for both her and her sister.  How good is that?  Very good!

We only learned about all of this stuff because of our Clayton Chili post last night.  We encouraged Natalie to enter next year and she sent a note about her cookoff history. Now, Friends, it's a whole new ball game!  Life won't ever be the same at the Clayton Heritage Days Chili Cookoff.

We'll let Natalie tell her own story. First, we asked her if we could post the above photo.  She said "yes" and sent this email:

"Sure you can. You can use my full pen name, too. I post the recipe every year in October with Natalie Neal Whitefield fully displayed (although that was not my name at the time. I avoid using my maiden name since there are so many identity theft problems these days.)

Those little Hoot Owl Cookies are favorites with Moms & kiddos for Halloween parties.

There is even a group of bird census takers that keep track of the owl populations in Canada who make up a batch every year and take 'em into the field to enjoy as they look for owls! I still get letters from all over the world from people who love those cookies!

Yes. I suppose it's time to write the how's and why's of that experience.  Very 1950's. It was lots of fun.

And gee. Not every kid in the whole wide world got to spend a whole week at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City being wined and least dined, since I was too young to taste the wines that were served at the banquets. A whole week! Broadway shows! TV interviews. Doing radio spots with Ronald Reagan (who was there representing GE electric ranges being featured in the cook off), appearing on Arthur Godfrey's show etc, etc. The contest was administered by the Pillsbury family in those days, and everything was FIRST class. Quite the adventure for a 15 year old high school freshman!

Art Linkletter was the MC who announced the winners at the awards banquet. There were 100 contestants in three divisions. Three prizes for each division.

(As prize 9 was being given out Mother leaned over and whispered in my ear: "Don't be disappointed. We've had a wonderful time!)

Then came the Grand Prizes---Oh, boy! Good ol' Art. He wanted to draw out the suspense so he started reading out the recipe of the person who had won the 2nd Grand Prize, and asked the originator to stand up as soon as she recognized her own recipe. My darling mother nearly fainted! What fun it was. I should dig out those old clippings from the front pages of all the NYC papers and scan them before they crumble to bits. Will put that on my "to do" list.

55 years ago on Dec 13 of this year. It seems like yesterday.

We were assigned numbers for our entries, too. My number was 13. Always has been my "lucky number"....

Thanks, John. I've enjoyed recalling what happened all those years ago.

Love, ~N"

Well, Thank YOU, Natalie!  Your story is awesome.  MUY KUDOS 2 U!!!!!

Many Cheers, jp

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