A number of years ago my husband, Richard Beck, and I were sitting in a restaurant in Germany with my son, Patrick Madland, a pilot living in Anchorage Alaska. “Mom,” Pat said, “you never talk about World War II. Don’t you have anything to say about it?” I started talking and when I finished, said, “and I didn’t even start crying, isn’t that surprising?” I was startled, because for many years I could not talk about it.
A few years later, the son of the daughter of my first husband’s cousin—he was twelve years old—kept asking his mother when I would write my autobiography. I understand the child is a history buff. Other family members mentioned it; since I had just completed a somewhat humorous mystery and academic spoof set in Hawaii, “Turtle Bay,” and did not have another book in mind (I do now), I decided why not.
I must say, I am a bit skeptical about “memoirs;” they sound pompous, so I decided to call mine “reminiscences. Since I am a retired professor who taught eighteenth-century German literature, I was keenly aware of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s autobiography “Dichtung und Wahrheit” (Poetry and Truth). Sometimes I wonder if I have misremembered some of the details I have written about in mine, or exaggerated them; it is difficult to say. I like to think that I have described events as accurately as I remember them. At seventy-six, I have a lot to remember; my memory has always been good, and I have written for years. I have portrayed my story to the best of my ability and hope the early part of it will add to the history of Germans after WWII.
My book was self-published with Aventine Press; I have published with them before. It is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Kindle, Nook and Smashwords.
Helga Stipa Madland was born in Upper Silesia and emigrated to the United States with her family in 1954. She has three children and six grandchildren. She is Professor Emerita at the University of Oklahoma and is the author of academic and other books. Her husband, Richard Beck, teaches Ancient Greek at OU in Norman, OK, where they live with a dachshund and four cats.
Her latest book is the memoir, You’re Not From Around Here, Are You?: Reminiscences.
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