About The Book – Introducing Elsie

15 Apr

“I love and still love Arizona….” The detailed, well-crafted, handwritten manuscript did not appear to be the work of someone who was almost 97 years old.  It was author and educator Elsie Reed Hayes Roberts’ final manuscript, but was a project never she unfortunately never completed.  A year after Elsie’s death, I discovered this manuscript nestled among her many published short stories and articles.  Never before had she written anything that stirred me like this unfinished story of love and adventure in the early state of Arizona. Obviously, these three years in her early twenties had been an unforgettable time for her.

While doing research I came across a tape recording Elsie had made for the Jerome Historical Society.  On the tape she said in closing, “I don’t see how people who have lived in Arizona’s Verde Valley or the mountains, even briefly, can bear to live in a real city.”  Elsie in fact lived in a “real city” for most of her 71 years after she left Arizona.  Perhaps she lived on memories of her time in Oak Creek Canyon and Williams, memories kept fresh by re-reading her daily journals and letters to her family.

I have left her letters and diary in this manuscript as she wrote them, editing out unrelated events.  I used additional  narrative  from her cassette tapes, manuscripts , recollections by her former students, and newspaper accounts.

Arizona from1913 to 1916 was a wild and wonderful place. For those of you enjoy a grand sense of adventure I want to give you Elsie’s memories of the fledgling state of Arizona as seen through the eyes of this delightful, spirited, young  teacher.

I hope you enjoy her memoirs as much as I have.

Barbara Anne Waite

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