RT and SHARE: Release Date is TODAY! #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER, Vol II, #THESPANNERSSERIES on sale NOW!

Looking for some great summer reading in the sci-fi/ romance/ paranormal/ multiverse/ utopian/ speculative fiction genres? Adults, Young and New Adults will all be intrigued and entertained, informed and inspired by The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Just released for sale TODAY, 6/9/14, is This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Vol. II.

for RELEASE DAY 6/9/14: GIVEAWAY RULES:
1) Visit my website sallyember.com or my boards on Pinterest.com/sallyember, sallyember.Tumblr.com or Google+ or FB Spanners Series’ page and FOLLOW no later than midnight PDT (California, USA) 6/9/14.

2) DM me on what you Followed

3) and what you thought of your visit!

4) I will then DM you a coupon for FREE download of Vol II!

Sci-fi/ Romance /Multiverse/ Paranormal/ Utopian ebooks, The Spanners Series, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, is on sale EVERYWHERE ebooks are sold starting today, 6/9/14, when all Pre-orders download! Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks, nook @ $3.99, while VOL I, This Changes Everything, is permafree!
http://www.sallyember.com/ for all links, OR qualify for the GIVEAWAY!

Or, be a GRWAT supportive fan and PURCHASE/DOWNLOAD, RANK/RATE, REVIEW, SHARE about my ebook on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC

How would YOU do with the changes after finding out we are not alone in the multiverse?

This Changes My Family and My Life Forever is the story of the first five years After Public Contact with the Many Worlds Collective (2013-2018), “The Transition” to full membership for Earth. Many of the changes, reactions, struggles and circumstances accompanying these years are related from the points of view of the main character, Dr. Clara Branon’s, adult son and his cousins as well as some of those cousins’ children. One of Clara’s nephews in particular, Moran Ackerman, who becomes Chief of the Psi-Warriors and all OverSeers, tells of his experiences and training in assuming those roles for Earth after having been a Rabbi and middle school teacher.

TCMFandMLF‘s content is edited/curated and also partly narrated by Esperanza Enlaces, Clara’s Chief Media Contact, a contemporary of Clara’s son, so some of Espe’s story and many parts of Clara’s are included as well.

final cover - digital and web

all cover and logo art by Aidana Willowraven

Reviews, Excerpts, Interviews, and more, including all buy links: http://www.sallyember.com Follow Sally on Twitter @sallyemberedd or this blog on WordPress or Tumblr http://sallyember.tumblr.com/ for excerpts from and news about upcoming Volumes!

Only $3.99 everywhere ebooks are sold.

Vol I, #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING, is PermaFree!

This Changes Everything, Vol I, The Spanners Series, includes anecdotes and events from the entire span of the series, with specific details as to how it all begins. Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of  beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse.  When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are. Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty.

The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family’s and friends’ reactions. In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth?

This Changes Everything begins the 30-year story of Clara’s term as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series.

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

Thanks to everyone in my family, friendship and authors’ support circles on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn for helping these Volumes and future ones get into YOUR hands! Special thanks to Aidana Willowraven, Cover Artist Extraordinaire!

Are YOU ready for the changes?

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5-Star #Review of #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER, Vol II, #THESPANNERSSERIES

TITLE HERE

June 4, 2014

“Clara Ackerman Branon is back, and Earth’s Transition continues.

final cover - digital and web
cover art by Aidana Willowraven

“I actually read Vol I and Vol II back to back, so for me it was like I’m reading one continuous book. I think though that one would need to read Vol I really to fully understand what is going to happen.

“In this volume, we get introduced more to Clara’s family (they are a large family!) who all get interviewed about how they experienced Clara’s first contact with the aliens and earth’s transition (when the news first broke, what changed for them, any difficulties, what are they planning for the future). One of the main narrators is Clara’s nephew, Moran, a Rabbi before Transition, who will now become the Chief in the fight against those who resist and fight the transition. There is also more info about Clara, snippets about her life from young woman to past transition, we learn about her jobs, relationships with both man and woman and in communes, what does she listen to, read etc. Though I’m still confused about her relationship with her lover / not lover, Epifanio – but hey, more volumes are to come.

“One thing I like very much about The Spanners Series is the message that we can all live together in peace, learn from each other, be there for each other. All differences (religious, racial, gender, and even between species and inhabitants of other planets) are overcome. I mean, how cool would that be to be able to communicate with animals – and not in a jokey, Eddie Murphy Dr Dolitle kind of way, but accept them and their needs / interests as equal to humans. And those people who resist change (yes, there will always be those, even if it is clear that the change is for the better) will not be eliminated, but gently persuaded to recognise at what is best for them.

“Another thing I really like is the cover artwork and I hope the author doesn’t change the cover art throughout the series, that would be a shame. It’s pretty , imaginative. once you read the first few chapters and about the first encounter with ‘The Band’, have a look at the cover again and you will go ‘ahhhh’.

“I very much enjoyed this series and the somewhat unusual structure of the book with interview. It is blurring the lines between fiction and non-fiction. One of the great pluses for me was that abbreviations or foreign language used (one of the main characters is Hispanic) are always explained in brackets straight away. Because of the non-fiction style, it does not halt the flow of the story at all, but is in fact very helpful. On the minus side, as there are several of Clara’s relatives are interviewed, it can sometimes be a bit ‘samey’ at some stage. But the writing is easy to read, so it is not a big deal and I found myself skipping over a few pages.

“A satisfying continuation from Volume I – let’s see what’s coming up in the next volume.”

[NOTE: Please forgive her English mistakes: English is not her first language.]

Visit Peggy Farooqi’s Reviews and blog: http://thepegsterreads.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/review-this-changes-my-family-and-my.html
and on Amazon.com

Her review of Vol I, This Changes Everything, appeared last month (May, 2014)!

TCE is PERMAFREE everywhere; TCMF&MLF is in Pre-Orders through 6/8/9 @$1.99 and releases @$3.99 6/9/14. Links, excerpts, more reviews and info: http://www.sallyember.com/spanners

4-Star #Review for #THISCHANGESVERYTHING, Vol I, #THESPANNERSSERIES

Sci Fi which challenges your ideas

May 26, 2014

“Finally, a Sci-Fi Series that is not exclusively aimed at teenager. Don’t get me wrong, there is a market and this book can be read by everyone. But it does challenge you mentally. What I like is that the main characters are not teenagers caught in some intergalactic wars.

This Changes Everything cover
cover art by Aidana Willowraven

“Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, a middle-aged, Ph.D., school teacher, narrates the book (in most parts). She gets contacted by aliens from the MWC = Many World Collective. Led, Mick, Ringo and Janis – Diana (as Clara names them *geddit?*) appear to Clara in her bedroom as holograms and tell her that she is chosen to be earth’s first Chief Communicator with the MWC. They have come to prepare earth for membership of the MWC. Clara is not too spooked by their appearance, as she had visions since childhood. For me, she is a very likeable character and I took to her straight away – she has a great sense of humour.

“These aliens are actually friendly, and want to help earth and all its inhabitants (and that incl human and all other life) to live peacefully together. Reference John Lennon and “Image” here! Being aware of everything that went on at earth, they feel now the time is right to come forward and help earth with its transition to a more peaceful future.

“While the book in most parts is narrated by Clara, the chapters are also interlace with interviews, press conferences and diary entries written by others. This may sound confusing and it was at first when I read the contents pages. But the title of each chapter, whilst long, explains exactly what it is, so you will always now where and when you are. And there are a lot of ideas to take in, so a very helpful section at the end explains main phrases / concepts / abbreviations. But while it challenges your reading experience, it is not difficult to get your head around the ideas presented here.

“I found the idea that the MWC have been watching earth and are responsible for some of the disasters on earth (when things have gone wrong…) thought-provoking and absorbing. The concept of ‘timulting’ was more difficult for me to take in – Clara (and others) can see different timelines at any one stage. And than there is Clara’s love interest Epifanio whom she is / isn’t married to depending what timeline she is in and I struggled a bit with it. But I think I ‘got’ it at the end.

“I loved the idea of a ‘re-set’ on your life where you can change an event once. For Clara, that was the fact that she had a car accident as a teenager which left her with a degree of disability, which than ruled her life. When she can ‘re-set’ this event and watches how her life plays out without this disability in a different timeline, she realises that she would certainly be more outgoing, but the life of those around her (mostly her son) would also change significantly – at a price.

“Loved that. So, would you ‘re-set’ if you could?

“This book is the foundation for The Spanners Series, and while I understand that the following books can be read independently, I really think one ought to read Vol I to get the main ideas and concepts on which the author can now build upon. There is certainly a lot of scope to develop the ideas introduced in Vol I.”

[NOTE: Please forgive her English mistakes: English is not her first language.]

Visit Peggy Farooqi’s Reviews and blog: http://thepegsterreads.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/review-this-changes-everything-by-sally.html
and on Amazon.com

Her review of Vol II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, appears later this week!

TCE is PERMAFREE everywhere; TCMF&MLF is in Pre-Orders through 6/8/9 @$1.99 and releases @$3.99 6/9/14. Links, excerpts, more reviews and info: http://www.sallyember.com/spanners

19th Serialized Excerpt: Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

final cover - digital and web

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.

19th Serialized Excerpt, 4/14/14

CHAPTER SNAPSHOT #2

Snapshots of Clara’s Daily Life: Fourteen Octobers, 1963 – 2017

October, 1968

(continued)

“I get sent to the office on several occasions because my skirt or dress is deemed ‘too short.’ This designation is made first by a teacher. Once at the administrators’ office, accused offenders have to kneel on the floor. If our skirt or dress does not touch the ground, we are to be sent home to change (meaning, someone has to come pick us up in a private car, since there is no reliable or close-enough public transportation), unless we opt to wear our hideous ‘gym suits’ the rest of the day.”

“Ironically,” Clara goes on, showing me with her hands how this outfit works, “this jump suit is a sleeveless top with shorts, so it shows more of our legs than any permissible skirt would. Since my mom is home with my youngest sister and often one of them is sick, I can’t get picked up, so gym suit it is.”

“‘Getting suited’ occurs on numerous occasions for many of us ‘popular’ girls. This circumstance, wearing our horrible gym suit around school for the rest of a day, becomes like wearing a badge of honor. We are the ones who dare to wear a skirt that we know in advance is too short (some of us roll the waistbands after leaving home in order to achieve a shorter hemline) and which ‘dooms’ us to wearing our gym suits. Everyone knows this must be intentional. My friends and I make ‘getting suited’ cool.” Clara laughs. “We’re such trend-setters in 1968!”

“You won’t believe the P.E. [Physical Education] classes’ misogynistic and unfair fashion policy: Here it is, summary fashion,” Clara says. “The boys get to wear a comfortable, regular T-shirt and shorts (in white and blue, respectively, our school colors) for P.E. Girls, however, have to wear these ridiculous gym suits. This detested thing is a one-piece, blouson number in an almost-royal blue color. It has an elastic waist and snaps on the too-loose sleeveless bodice with medium-length shorts attached. It has to have been designed to make every girl look terrible in it regardless of body type, which I suppose is a great leveler.”

“As I explain earlier,” Clara reminds me, “if girls forget this monstrosity at home or don’t wash it, don’t have it or don’t wear a clean-enough suit to every class (each girl is issued two and must have one to wear for each P.E. class, every day), we are marked down in our grade and also, made to stay after school (like, a detention).”

“These administrators are so uptight, they treat these infractions the same as forgetting homework or vandalizing the bathrooms. Earn enough detentions and we have to come on a Saturday, too (like the movie, The Breakfast Club), just for “not suiting up.” If we get marked down enough, we could flunk this required class and have to take it again in summer school. I am not kidding!”

Clara is still indignant, these 45 years later. “Lowering academic grades for appearance issues, particularly failing a student for noncompliance to a dress code, becomes illegal, but not yet.”

“Back to the dress code,” Clara goes on. “The only short skirts girls are allowed to wear to school have to be culottes, which are split skirts or skirts with shorts inside (sound familiar?), but only cheerleaders are allowed to wear them. Now you’re starting to understand some of the reasoning behind my wanting to be a cheerleader,” Clara tells me.

“In a typical fall or winter month, once a week all through 9th grade (on “game days,” meaning, a day the 9th-grade boys’ team of the season has a football or basketball game, usually a Friday), I get to wear my cheerleader’s outfit. The rest of the year I am at war with the skirt police and usually ‘get suited.'”

“I wear my gym suit proudly, regularly showing it off in defiance of the school’s absurd policies. There are usually a group of us on any given day. We walk down the halls showing off our legs and laughing at the adults for being such dimwits,” Clara explains. “We show more of our legs wearing these gym suits than we do in any skirt!”

I say mildly, “Quite the rebel, eh?”

Clara misses my light sarcasm, so intent on telling her story of these years. “Some teachers think I’m ‘interesting,’ ‘intelligent’ and ‘fun.’ I know because they tell me or my parents. Others detest me and the feeling is mutual.”

Clara grimaces. “Wearing short skirts and being a ‘smart-aleck’ are what passes for rebellion for a teenage girl in my era, in this town. So, yes. I am a ‘rebel.'”

Guess she does catch my sarcasm. I move to apologize, but she smiles at me and goes on.

“I earn a reputation for ‘being sassy,’ a term only applied to girls who talk back to authority in southern-bordering or actual southern states. In contrast—more sexism, here—a boy who talks back is told to stop ‘giving me lip’ by the adult who is being challenged.”

She looks at me, making sure I understand, then continues. “Disobedient girls are ridiculed and patronized; impertinent boys are given grudging respect by being viewed as threatening. See the difference?”

I nod.

Clara goes on with her reminiscing. “At one point in my dress-code and behavioral scofflaw years, my cheerleader’s status is jeopardized because I refuse to back down in some argument with the chorus teacher about where I am supposed to sit. I dimly remember that she is trying to separate me from my friends because we are ‘disruptive,’ meaning, we are talking and having fun in class. For these ‘bad behaviors,’ she wants to move my seat. I am an alto but she wants to move me to the second sopranos, which is not the part I sing. I refuse to move, declaring that we are now engaged in a ‘sit in’ (which are big in the civil rights and anti-war movements by now) to protest her unfair discrimination against my having friends, or something to that effect.”

“What happens next?” I ask. I am curious how much trouble she gets in.

Clara laughs. “She sends me to the office. I go off, waving derisively at her and happily at my friends. When I get there, the harried assistant Principal threatens to suspend me from being a cheerleader because he has nothing else to hold over me. What’s so ridiculous about this threat is that we’re already in March by now and the only sports ‘season’ left for me to cheer in is track and field, which we really don’t do cheering for, anyway. The Principal can tell his threat is not upsetting me, but he doesn’t know why.”

“When I get home, I tell my father. He decides to come in and threaten them with a lawsuit (he is an attorney by training but not by trade at that point), just for fun (for him, that is). My dad is not very involved in my life or even around much, but he does love a good fight.”

“The day of their meeting, I sit outside the Principal’s office and eavesdrop on the ensuing discussion. It is very funny, to me. My dad talks circles around these guys. They really do not have a leg to stand on, so to speak, since I have done nothing to get myself suspended from being a cheerleader, applying their own rules, my dad points out perfectly: I never smoke, drink alcohol, have public sex, skip classes, vandalize school property or commit any other school ‘crimes.’ There isn’t a policy that calls for a suspension of privileges for being disrespectful or having a ‘bad attitude,’ but they wish there have one, I’m sure.”

“As I see it clearly, now, I am an ‘impudent’ female who regularly gives certain adults much-deserved backtalk and ends up ‘getting suited’ for wearing short skirts (along with dozens of other girls) several times every month. I also have excellent grades and attendance and never forget my gym suit. I am a very good ‘bad’ girl and they don’t have a punishment for someone like me.”

“My dad prevails, but this does not endear me to my chorus teacher or the administrators. I’m glad to get out of that school and on to high school a few months later.”

“What is high school like at the end of the 1960s in the USA Midwest?” I ask.

Clara responds: “In the fall of 1969, losing the fashion battle and the legal war, unintentionally catching up to the rest of the country (at least, the coasts), the Roanne school board President announces that all dress codes are to be discarded across the school district.”

Clara is gleeful, remembering this “victory.”

“Within a few months of entering high school, we girls are wearing cut-offs, halter tops, going barefoot and bra-less to classes. The biggest change for boys is that no one forces them to keep their hair short enough not to touch their collars any longer.”

Clara recalls: “My sophomore year is quite fun and such a shocking contrast to the years of ludicrous restrictions by the fashion police that we are giddy with freedom. People are smoking pot in the courtyard, hanging out the windows playing rock music in the hallways, and generally being rowdy and undisciplined. I love it, but I don’t get into the wildest behaviors, myself.”

“It’s difficult for me to imagine having those restrictions at all,” I say, shaking my head. “By the time I get to kindergarten, we wear whatever we want. 1987, for me.”

Clara shakes her finger at me and exhorts: “Thank a feminist!”

“Thanks!” I tell Clara. I mean it.
************
“Here is the poem that won my spot in the statewide poetry magazine in 1969.” Clara reaches into a paper file folder and hands a yellowish page to me.

The poem is written in cursive writing on manila lined paper in blue ink. It has her teacher’s red-inked comments on it. I point to one part, silently asking Clara to explain.

“Mrs. Hay crosses out the last stanza all together, so I do not include it here, since it is not part of the winning poem’s form,” Clara tells me. Here is the poem.

TO DIE IN VAIN

by Clara Ackerman, 2/21/69, age 14

Sitting on a stool of self-pity

I glance up, casually,

To see if anyone had seen me

Dying.

(I wasn’t really dying, only dreaming of how much

They

would miss me) If I did

Die.

*******

“You could not pay me enough money to be 14 again,” Clara says emphatically.

“Nor me, either.” I agree wholeheartedly.

*********************************

Stay tuned on Sally’s blogs on WordPress (which has all links) and Tumblr, and on The Spanners Series‘ pages on Facebook and Google+, for each of the upcoming Excerpts from Volume II from March 16 – April 18, about one/day.

4/18/14, Volume II becomes available for Pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook for half-price: @$1.99, through June 8, 2014.

On 6/9/14, Vol. II goes LIVE everywhere ebooks are sold for $3.99.

#THESPANNERSSERIES #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING

19th Serialized Excerpt: Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

final cover - digital and web

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.

19th Serialized Excerpt, 4/14/14

CHAPTER SNAPSHOT #2

Snapshots of Clara’s Daily Life: Fourteen Octobers, 1963 – 2017

October, 1968

(continued)

“I get sent to the office on several occasions because my skirt or dress is deemed ‘too short.’ This designation is made first by a teacher. Once at the administrators’ office, accused offenders have to kneel on the floor. If our skirt or dress does not touch the ground, we are to be sent home to change (meaning, someone has to come pick us up in a private car, since there is no reliable or close-enough public transportation), unless we opt to wear our hideous ‘gym suits’ the rest of the day.”

“Ironically,” Clara goes on, showing me with her hands how this outfit works, “this jump suit is a sleeveless top with shorts, so it shows more of our legs than any permissible skirt would. Since my mom is home with my youngest sister and often one of them is sick, I can’t get picked up, so gym suit it is.”

“‘Getting suited’ occurs on numerous occasions for many of us ‘popular’ girls. This circumstance, wearing our horrible gym suit around school for the rest of a day, becomes like wearing a badge of honor. We are the ones who dare to wear a skirt that we know in advance is too short (some of us roll the waistbands after leaving home in order to achieve a shorter hemline) and which ‘dooms’ us to wearing our gym suits. Everyone knows this must be intentional. My friends and I make ‘getting suited’ cool.” Clara laughs. “We’re such trend-setters in 1968!”

“You won’t believe the P.E. [Physical Education] classes’ misogynistic and unfair fashion policy: Here it is, summary fashion,” Clara says. “The boys get to wear a comfortable, regular T-shirt and shorts (in white and blue, respectively, our school colors) for P.E. Girls, however, have to wear these ridiculous gym suits. This detested thing is a one-piece, blouson number in an almost-royal blue color. It has an elastic waist and snaps on the too-loose sleeveless bodice with medium-length shorts attached. It has to have been designed to make every girl look terrible in it regardless of body type, which I suppose is a great leveler.”

“As I explain earlier,” Clara reminds me, “if girls forget this monstrosity at home or don’t wash it, don’t have it or don’t wear a clean-enough suit to every class (each girl is issued two and must have one to wear for each P.E. class, every day), we are marked down in our grade and also, made to stay after school (like, a detention).”

“These administrators are so uptight, they treat these infractions the same as forgetting homework or vandalizing the bathrooms. Earn enough detentions and we have to come on a Saturday, too (like the movie, The Breakfast Club), just for “not suiting up.” If we get marked down enough, we could flunk this required class and have to take it again in summer school. I am not kidding!”

Clara is still indignant, these 45 years later. “Lowering academic grades for appearance issues, particularly failing a student for noncompliance to a dress code, becomes illegal, but not yet.”

“Back to the dress code,” Clara goes on. “The only short skirts girls are allowed to wear to school have to be culottes, which are split skirts or skirts with shorts inside (sound familiar?), but only cheerleaders are allowed to wear them. Now you’re starting to understand some of the reasoning behind my wanting to be a cheerleader,” Clara tells me.

“In a typical fall or winter month, once a week all through 9th grade (on “game days,” meaning, a day the 9th-grade boys’ team of the season has a football or basketball game, usually a Friday), I get to wear my cheerleader’s outfit. The rest of the year I am at war with the skirt police and usually ‘get suited.'”

“I wear my gym suit proudly, regularly showing it off in defiance of the school’s absurd policies. There are usually a group of us on any given day. We walk down the halls showing off our legs and laughing at the adults for being such dimwits,” Clara explains. “We show more of our legs wearing these gym suits than we do in any skirt!”

I say mildly, “Quite the rebel, eh?”

Clara misses my light sarcasm, so intent on telling her story of these years. “Some teachers think I’m ‘interesting,’ ‘intelligent’ and ‘fun.’ I know because they tell me or my parents. Others detest me and the feeling is mutual.”

Clara grimaces. “Wearing short skirts and being a ‘smart-aleck’ are what passes for rebellion for a teenage girl in my era, in this town. So, yes. I am a ‘rebel.'”

Guess she does catch my sarcasm. I move to apologize, but she smiles at me and goes on.

“I earn a reputation for ‘being sassy,’ a term only applied to girls who talk back to authority in southern-bordering or actual southern states. In contrast—more sexism, here—a boy who talks back is told to stop ‘giving me lip’ by the adult who is being challenged.”

She looks at me, making sure I understand, then continues. “Disobedient girls are ridiculed and patronized; impertinent boys are given grudging respect by being viewed as threatening. See the difference?”

I nod.

Clara goes on with her reminiscing. “At one point in my dress-code and behavioral scofflaw years, my cheerleader’s status is jeopardized because I refuse to back down in some argument with the chorus teacher about where I am supposed to sit. I dimly remember that she is trying to separate me from my friends because we are ‘disruptive,’ meaning, we are talking and having fun in class. For these ‘bad behaviors,’ she wants to move my seat. I am an alto but she wants to move me to the second sopranos, which is not the part I sing. I refuse to move, declaring that we are now engaged in a ‘sit in’ (which are big in the civil rights and anti-war movements by now) to protest her unfair discrimination against my having friends, or something to that effect.”

“What happens next?” I ask. I am curious how much trouble she gets in.

Clara laughs. “She sends me to the office. I go off, waving derisively at her and happily at my friends. When I get there, the harried assistant Principal threatens to suspend me from being a cheerleader because he has nothing else to hold over me. What’s so ridiculous about this threat is that we’re already in March by now and the only sports ‘season’ left for me to cheer in is track and field, which we really don’t do cheering for, anyway. The Principal can tell his threat is not upsetting me, but he doesn’t know why.”

“When I get home, I tell my father. He decides to come in and threaten them with a lawsuit (he is an attorney by training but not by trade at that point), just for fun (for him, that is). My dad is not very involved in my life or even around much, but he does love a good fight.”

“The day of their meeting, I sit outside the Principal’s office and eavesdrop on the ensuing discussion. It is very funny, to me. My dad talks circles around these guys. They really do not have a leg to stand on, so to speak, since I have done nothing to get myself suspended from being a cheerleader, applying their own rules, my dad points out perfectly: I never smoke, drink alcohol, have public sex, skip classes, vandalize school property or commit any other school ‘crimes.’ There isn’t a policy that calls for a suspension of privileges for being disrespectful or having a ‘bad attitude,’ but they wish there have one, I’m sure.”

“As I see it clearly, now, I am an ‘impudent’ female who regularly gives certain adults much-deserved backtalk and ends up ‘getting suited’ for wearing short skirts (along with dozens of other girls) several times every month. I also have excellent grades and attendance and never forget my gym suit. I am a very good ‘bad’ girl and they don’t have a punishment for someone like me.”

“My dad prevails, but this does not endear me to my chorus teacher or the administrators. I’m glad to get out of that school and on to high school a few months later.”

“What is high school like at the end of the 1960s in the USA Midwest?” I ask.

Clara responds: “In the fall of 1969, losing the fashion battle and the legal war, unintentionally catching up to the rest of the country (at least, the coasts), the Roanne school board President announces that all dress codes are to be discarded across the school district.”

Clara is gleeful, remembering this “victory.”

“Within a few months of entering high school, we girls are wearing cut-offs, halter tops, going barefoot and bra-less to classes. The biggest change for boys is that no one forces them to keep their hair short enough not to touch their collars any longer.”

Clara recalls: “My sophomore year is quite fun and such a shocking contrast to the years of ludicrous restrictions by the fashion police that we are giddy with freedom. People are smoking pot in the courtyard, hanging out the windows playing rock music in the hallways, and generally being rowdy and undisciplined. I love it, but I don’t get into the wildest behaviors, myself.”

“It’s difficult for me to imagine having those restrictions at all,” I say, shaking my head. “By the time I get to kindergarten, we wear whatever we want. 1987, for me.”

Clara shakes her finger at me and exhorts: “Thank a feminist!”

“Thanks!” I tell Clara. I mean it.
************
“Here is the poem that won my spot in the statewide poetry magazine in 1969.” Clara reaches into a paper file folder and hands a yellowish page to me.

The poem is written in cursive writing on manila lined paper in blue ink. It has her teacher’s red-inked comments on it. I point to one part, silently asking Clara to explain.

“Mrs. Hay crosses out the last stanza all together, so I do not include it here, since it is not part of the winning poem’s form,” Clara tells me. Here is the poem.

TO DIE IN VAIN

by Clara Ackerman, 2/21/69, age 14

Sitting on a stool of self-pity

I glance up, casually,

To see if anyone had seen me

Dying.

(I wasn’t really dying, only dreaming of how much

They

would miss me) If I did

Die.

*******

“You could not pay me enough money to be 14 again,” Clara says emphatically.

“Nor me, either.” I agree wholeheartedly.

*********************************

Stay tuned on Sally’s blogs on WordPress (which has all links) and Tumblr, and on The Spanners Series‘ pages on Facebook and Google+, for each of the upcoming Excerpts from Volume II from March 16 – April 18, about one/day.

4/18/14, Volume II becomes available for Pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook for half-price: @$1.99, through June 8, 2014.

On 6/9/14, Vol. II goes LIVE everywhere ebooks are sold for $3.99.

#THESPANNERSSERIES #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING

18th Serialized Excerpt: Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

final cover - digital and web

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.

18th Serialized Excerpt, 4/12/14

CHAPTER SNAPSHOT #2

Snapshots of Clara’s Daily Life: Fourteen Octobers, 1963 – 2017

October, 1968

    Age and Living Circumstances/Location:

9th-grader in Roanne Junior High School, Missouri; living in Bayonne, suburb of large city in family home with her: father, Isaac; mother, Rose; older brother, Thomas; and, two younger sisters, Cassie, 8, and Violet, 3; and, a dog.

One boyfriend, ongoing since beginning of 8th grade, and many local friends from school, Camp Cedar and same Sunday School as earlier.

    Writing:

stories, articles, songs, poetry (poem selected as winner and published in Missouri’s Youth Writes).

    Books:

Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke; More than Human, Theodore Sturgeon; Pilgrimmage: The Book of the People, Zenna Henderson; Sword of Aldones, Marion Zimmer Bradley; The Time Machine, Jules Verne.

    Music on the Radio:

“Hey, Jude,” The Beatles; “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay,” Otis Redding; “Bend Me, Shape Me,” The American Breed; “Born to be Wild,” Steppenworlf; “Build Ne Up, Buttercup,” The Foundation; “Can’t Take My Eyes off You,” Andy Williams; “Chain of Fools,” Aretha Franklin; “Do You Know the Way to San José,” Dionne Warwick; “Hello, I Love You,” The Doors; “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” Iron Butterfly; “MacArthur Park,” Richard Harris; “Mrs. Robinson,” and the Bookends album, Simon & Garfunkle; Piece of My Heart,” Big Brother & The Holding Company (Janis Joplin); “Stoned Soul Picnic,” The Fifth Dimension; “Sunshine of Your Love,” Cream (Eric Clapton); “The Weight,” The Band (Bob Dylan); “Young Girl,” Gary Puckett and The Union Gap; Bonnie Raitt; Linda Rondstadt; Bob Dylan; Peter, Paul & Mary; Little Stevie Wonder.

    Popular Songs in Sheet Music:

“I’ve Gotta Be Me,” (sung by Sammy Davis, Jr.); “The Look of Love,” Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66; “Eli’s Coming,” Laura Nyro; “For The Good Times,” Kris Kristofferson (sung by Rita Coolidge); “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” Burt Bacharach & Hal David (sung by Dionne Warwick)’ music from Cabaret (Kander & Ebb), Hair! (Jerome Ragni, James Rado), Man of La Mancha ( Joel Darion, Dale Wasserman); Yellow Submarine (The Beatles).

    Activities:

► Taking Honors classes, including Spanish
► Cheerleader
► Member of chorus and selected for performance ensemble
► Taking weekly piano lessons; wins 2nd place at regional classical piano competition for ages 12 – 14.
► Attending Jewish religious classes every Sunday morning (Sunday School) (under duress); wins engraved Bible in essay competition
► Playing outdoors, tennis, softball, soccer, field hockey
► Indoors, competing on balance beam/gymnastics
► In summers, bike riding; waterskiing, canoeing, Israeli folk dancing, swimming at Camp Cedar (Jewish residential camp, Lake of the Ozarks) and local outdoor pool

ESPE: For junior high school, Clara tells me, her 7th-grade year is pretty awful. She has braces on her teeth, her hair is curly when having straight hair is fashionable, she is slightly overweight, she has no boyfriend, she is in all Honors classes with almost none of her former friends. This school serves students from five other elementary schools, so it is quite large and most of the people and the entire set up are unfamiliar to Clara.

Each student is assigned a 9th-grader as a “Big Sister/Brother” for the first month or so. Clara gets one of the cheerleaders as her Big Sister. One Friday, which are “game days” for football in the fall, Clara immediately timults herself as a cheerleader: she sees herself walking down the hall, laughing and talking with her friends while wearing her uniform, just as she sees her Big Sister, Cindy, doing on that Friday between classes. It is the first time Clara is aware of timulting something about her “future” which turns out to occur.

After losing the extra weight during 7th grade and having a very successful summer at Camp Cedar, Clara is set for a change. At the beginning of 8th grade, Clara gets the braces off, she learns to straighten her hair, makes some new friends. Her social life changes to the point that she becomes “popular” and a leader, again.

Clara says she gets a “great” boyfriend with whom she “goes steady” through all of 8th and half of 9th grade, when they break up amicably because they’re “both tired of each other,” she tells me.

Near the end of 8th grade, Clara practices for months so that she and nineteen other girls are nominated by adults (from “try-outs” of over fifty girls) to be voted on as cheerleaders in the election for class officers and other positions.

Clara, with seven others, is elected to be a cheerleader. As one of the leaders of her class, Clara also ran for “Pep Club” President. Clara cultivates many friends in order to get selected by the committee to be a finalist and elected by the students.

Her popularity ensures that she is elected to both positions. However, the Principal makes her choose between these rather than allowing her to be both.

Viewing being a cheerleader as the pinnacle of female achievement for that era and since she already timults that outcome two years before this, Clara chooses to be a 9th-grade cheerleader. Bonus: one of her friends, her “opponent,” becomes Pep Club President.

However, Clara tells me, “After learning all the cheers and being so excited to be elected, turns out that being a cheerleader is usually quite boring for me because I don’t actually like or care about team sports. Joke is on me.”

“I continue to want the status and there are not many routes to status for girls in 1968 in Missouri public schools. We aren’t allowed to run for President of the Student Council or our Class. Secretary; for ‘higher office,’ is the top slot we can run for, and only Pep Club is considered appropriate for a girl to lead. But, Pep Club is hardly the same thing as those other two, which actually have governing functions. Plus, sitting around in meetings seems much less interesting than going on buses with the team and being the center of attention as a cheerleader. I am a Leo, after all! These experiences help build up the feminist in me, as they do for Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan and many other second-wave feminists, all cheerleaders!”

What happens when Clara gets to high school?

Clara explains: “Although the entire squad of us tries out for the sophomore squad, which is to be at the high school in which we will be combined with the other junior high school for tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades, only one of our school’s squad (not I) along with seven out of the eight cheerleaders of the other junior high school’s squad become the cheerleaders selected by the panel of adults. There is no election since the two 9th-grades’ students don’t know each other, yet.”

“Patently unfair,” Clara says to me, “but, not being selected to continue being a cheerleader is the best thing that ever happens to my personal development. I become more involved in debate, chess, theater, music, books and writing. These are much better choices for me. I become a ‘hippie-intellectual’ instead of a ‘jockette.’ Since I am very good in school, this is a more comfortable role. I can get excellent grades and make a better, more suitable group of friends in my honors classes than I can ‘on the field,’ so that is what I do in high school.”

Here is a poem Clara writes (after studying Julius Caesar in English class) about her feelings and experiences during and after this social transition. Clara goes from occupying the “popular” slot due to being a cheerleader to becoming involved in “cool stuff” due to her other (forced) choices. The “insider” becomes a different kind of “insider,” almost an “outsider,” but this time, mostly by choice.

Clara wants me to remind everyone that she makes no claims to being a great poet. However, it is significant to note that this and another poem she writes in 10th grade are submitted by her English teacher to a state contest. The other poem wins the Missouri’s Youth Writes competition and is published in the state students’ literary magazine in 1970, which is Clara’s first publishing credit.

Clara says: “It’s quite funny to me that I am first published as a poet, since I think my poetry is mostly mediocre to horrible.”

The poem is written on blue, lined spiral notebook paper (the left edge where it is removed from the notebook is ripped in spots) in cursive writing.

RUBICON SURPRISE

by Clara Ackerman, 11/11/69, age 15

Walking on my road

the way is easily seen.

Around the bend, the light

dims

and is gone.

Continue to walk, though

the way grows steep and feels

unfamiliar,

yet exciting.

Forge on through the dark,

stumbling over rocks and into

gullies

and potholes; what

is that swaying sensation?

Ah! The light returns,

only to show the way

already traveled to have been a

bridge,

smoking to ashes as I watch.

The light again dims,

but remains a dusk-glow,

enough to show me the

mockery

free will and decisive action

really are.

What else about your junior high years do you want people to know?

“I experience more misogyny, more restrictions, more unfairness due to gender than in grade school. I have two years of male science teachers and all three years of male math teachers who despise girls, even or especially those of us in Honors classes,” Clara complains.

“Furthermore,” Clara remembers, getting somewhat agitated in the remembering, “our 9th-grade biology teacher is so mean to the only three girls in a class of twenty-four boys that we generate ‘solidarity,’ which is great. We stick together even though we’re not previously close friends. Those girls and I create an informal support group, my first one.”

Also, Clara reminds me, there are more clothing issues; again, only for girls.

*********************************

Stay tuned on Sally’s blogs on WordPress (which has all links) and Tumblr, and on The Spanners Series‘ pages on Facebook and Google+, for each of the upcoming Excerpts from Volume II from March 16 – April 18, about one/day.

4/18/14, Volume II becomes available for Pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook for half-price: @$1.99, through June 8, 2014.

On 6/9/14, Vol. II goes LIVE everywhere ebooks are sold for $3.99.

#THESPANNERSSERIES #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING

18th Serialized Excerpt: Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

final cover - digital and web

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.

18th Serialized Excerpt, 4/12/14

CHAPTER SNAPSHOT #2

Snapshots of Clara’s Daily Life: Fourteen Octobers, 1963 – 2017

October, 1968

    Age and Living Circumstances/Location:

9th-grader in Roanne Junior High School, Missouri; living in Bayonne, suburb of large city in family home with her: father, Isaac; mother, Rose; older brother, Thomas; and, two younger sisters, Cassie, 8, and Violet, 3; and, a dog.

One boyfriend, ongoing since beginning of 8th grade, and many local friends from school, Camp Cedar and same Sunday School as earlier.

    Writing:

stories, articles, songs, poetry (poem selected as winner and published in Missouri’s Youth Writes).

    Books:

Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke; More than Human, Theodore Sturgeon; Pilgrimmage: The Book of the People, Zenna Henderson; Sword of Aldones, Marion Zimmer Bradley; The Time Machine, Jules Verne.

    Music on the Radio:

“Hey, Jude,” The Beatles; “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay,” Otis Redding; “Bend Me, Shape Me,” The American Breed; “Born to be Wild,” Steppenworlf; “Build Ne Up, Buttercup,” The Foundation; “Can’t Take My Eyes off You,” Andy Williams; “Chain of Fools,” Aretha Franklin; “Do You Know the Way to San José,” Dionne Warwick; “Hello, I Love You,” The Doors; “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” Iron Butterfly; “MacArthur Park,” Richard Harris; “Mrs. Robinson,” and the Bookends album, Simon & Garfunkle; Piece of My Heart,” Big Brother & The Holding Company (Janis Joplin); “Stoned Soul Picnic,” The Fifth Dimension; “Sunshine of Your Love,” Cream (Eric Clapton); “The Weight,” The Band (Bob Dylan); “Young Girl,” Gary Puckett and The Union Gap; Bonnie Raitt; Linda Rondstadt; Bob Dylan; Peter, Paul & Mary; Little Stevie Wonder.

    Popular Songs in Sheet Music:

“I’ve Gotta Be Me,” (sung by Sammy Davis, Jr.); “The Look of Love,” Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66; “Eli’s Coming,” Laura Nyro; “For The Good Times,” Kris Kristofferson (sung by Rita Coolidge); “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” Burt Bacharach & Hal David (sung by Dionne Warwick)’ music from Cabaret (Kander & Ebb), Hair! (Jerome Ragni, James Rado), Man of La Mancha ( Joel Darion, Dale Wasserman); Yellow Submarine (The Beatles).

    Activities:

► Taking Honors classes, including Spanish
► Cheerleader
► Member of chorus and selected for performance ensemble
► Taking weekly piano lessons; wins 2nd place at regional classical piano competition for ages 12 – 14.
► Attending Jewish religious classes every Sunday morning (Sunday School) (under duress); wins engraved Bible in essay competition
► Playing outdoors, tennis, softball, soccer, field hockey
► Indoors, competing on balance beam/gymnastics
► In summers, bike riding; waterskiing, canoeing, Israeli folk dancing, swimming at Camp Cedar (Jewish residential camp, Lake of the Ozarks) and local outdoor pool

ESPE: For junior high school, Clara tells me, her 7th-grade year is pretty awful. She has braces on her teeth, her hair is curly when having straight hair is fashionable, she is slightly overweight, she has no boyfriend, she is in all Honors classes with almost none of her former friends. This school serves students from five other elementary schools, so it is quite large and most of the people and the entire set up are unfamiliar to Clara.

Each student is assigned a 9th-grader as a “Big Sister/Brother” for the first month or so. Clara gets one of the cheerleaders as her Big Sister. One Friday, which are “game days” for football in the fall, Clara immediately timults herself as a cheerleader: she sees herself walking down the hall, laughing and talking with her friends while wearing her uniform, just as she sees her Big Sister, Cindy, doing on that Friday between classes. It is the first time Clara is aware of timulting something about her “future” which turns out to occur.

After losing the extra weight during 7th grade and having a very successful summer at Camp Cedar, Clara is set for a change. At the beginning of 8th grade, Clara gets the braces off, she learns to straighten her hair, makes some new friends. Her social life changes to the point that she becomes “popular” and a leader, again.

Clara says she gets a “great” boyfriend with whom she “goes steady” through all of 8th and half of 9th grade, when they break up amicably because they’re “both tired of each other,” she tells me.

Near the end of 8th grade, Clara practices for months so that she and nineteen other girls are nominated by adults (from “try-outs” of over fifty girls) to be voted on as cheerleaders in the election for class officers and other positions.

Clara, with seven others, is elected to be a cheerleader. As one of the leaders of her class, Clara also ran for “Pep Club” President. Clara cultivates many friends in order to get selected by the committee to be a finalist and elected by the students.

Her popularity ensures that she is elected to both positions. However, the Principal makes her choose between these rather than allowing her to be both.

Viewing being a cheerleader as the pinnacle of female achievement for that era and since she already timults that outcome two years before this, Clara chooses to be a 9th-grade cheerleader. Bonus: one of her friends, her “opponent,” becomes Pep Club President.

However, Clara tells me, “After learning all the cheers and being so excited to be elected, turns out that being a cheerleader is usually quite boring for me because I don’t actually like or care about team sports. Joke is on me.”

“I continue to want the status and there are not many routes to status for girls in 1968 in Missouri public schools. We aren’t allowed to run for President of the Student Council or our Class. Secretary; for ‘higher office,’ is the top slot we can run for, and only Pep Club is considered appropriate for a girl to lead. But, Pep Club is hardly the same thing as those other two, which actually have governing functions. Plus, sitting around in meetings seems much less interesting than going on buses with the team and being the center of attention as a cheerleader. I am a Leo, after all! These experiences help build up the feminist in me, as they do for Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan and many other second-wave feminists, all cheerleaders!”

What happens when Clara gets to high school?

Clara explains: “Although the entire squad of us tries out for the sophomore squad, which is to be at the high school in which we will be combined with the other junior high school for tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades, only one of our school’s squad (not I) along with seven out of the eight cheerleaders of the other junior high school’s squad become the cheerleaders selected by the panel of adults. There is no election since the two 9th-grades’ students don’t know each other, yet.”

“Patently unfair,” Clara says to me, “but, not being selected to continue being a cheerleader is the best thing that ever happens to my personal development. I become more involved in debate, chess, theater, music, books and writing. These are much better choices for me. I become a ‘hippie-intellectual’ instead of a ‘jockette.’ Since I am very good in school, this is a more comfortable role. I can get excellent grades and make a better, more suitable group of friends in my honors classes than I can ‘on the field,’ so that is what I do in high school.”

Here is a poem Clara writes (after studying Julius Caesar in English class) about her feelings and experiences during and after this social transition. Clara goes from occupying the “popular” slot due to being a cheerleader to becoming involved in “cool stuff” due to her other (forced) choices. The “insider” becomes a different kind of “insider,” almost an “outsider,” but this time, mostly by choice.

Clara wants me to remind everyone that she makes no claims to being a great poet. However, it is significant to note that this and another poem she writes in 10th grade are submitted by her English teacher to a state contest. The other poem wins the Missouri’s Youth Writes competition and is published in the state students’ literary magazine in 1970, which is Clara’s first publishing credit.

Clara says: “It’s quite funny to me that I am first published as a poet, since I think my poetry is mostly mediocre to horrible.”

The poem is written on blue, lined spiral notebook paper (the left edge where it is removed from the notebook is ripped in spots) in cursive writing.

RUBICON SURPRISE

by Clara Ackerman, 11/11/69, age 15

Walking on my road

the way is easily seen.

Around the bend, the light

dims

and is gone.

Continue to walk, though

the way grows steep and feels

unfamiliar,

yet exciting.

Forge on through the dark,

stumbling over rocks and into

gullies

and potholes; what

is that swaying sensation?

Ah! The light returns,

only to show the way

already traveled to have been a

bridge,

smoking to ashes as I watch.

The light again dims,

but remains a dusk-glow,

enough to show me the

mockery

free will and decisive action

really are.

What else about your junior high years do you want people to know?

“I experience more misogyny, more restrictions, more unfairness due to gender than in grade school. I have two years of male science teachers and all three years of male math teachers who despise girls, even or especially those of us in Honors classes,” Clara complains.

“Furthermore,” Clara remembers, getting somewhat agitated in the remembering, “our 9th-grade biology teacher is so mean to the only three girls in a class of twenty-four boys that we generate ‘solidarity,’ which is great. We stick together even though we’re not previously close friends. Those girls and I create an informal support group, my first one.”

Also, Clara reminds me, there are more clothing issues; again, only for girls.

*********************************

Stay tuned on Sally’s blogs on WordPress (which has all links) and Tumblr, and on The Spanners Series‘ pages on Facebook and Google+, for each of the upcoming Excerpts from Volume II from March 16 – April 18, about one/day.

4/18/14, Volume II becomes available for Pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook for half-price: @$1.99, through June 8, 2014.

On 6/9/14, Vol. II goes LIVE everywhere ebooks are sold for $3.99.

#THESPANNERSSERIES #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING