“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus


Sunday, 1 April 2012

#AtoZChallenge - BLOGGERS WERE CHILDREN TOO! - A is for Ann - Ann Carbine Best


Regular followers and visitors to this site will know I'm using BLOGGERS WERE CHILDREN TOO! for my theme this year. Today we begin reading about bloggers' lives, some you know and some you may not yet know, as they respond to some prompts I sent out. I've been so grateful for their responses as it helped me to get to know them better, admire their stunning cuteness as babes, and delight in the with random facts they shared.

Thank you Adult Bloggers for your heartfelt responses. Thank you readers for visiting my posts. I hope you'll leave a comment and if you'd like to follow the link to my respondents' blogs at the bottom of the post they'd be delighted to meet you.

Rock on A- Z Challenge. (Visit more posts here).


A is for Ann - Ann Carbine Best

Ann somewhere between the age of 3 - 5. She
tells me she hasn't grown a lot since then, lol!

I WAS BORN IN -- Salt Lake City, Utah (USA) in “Mormon” country, on May 13, 1940, a year and a half before Pearl Harbor. I was too young to remember anything about the war, but of course my parents did. My mother was 33, my father 32 years old when they got married, and thus there was never any chance of my father having to go to war. My mother was a housewife of the forties and fifties. My father eked out a living first as a service station attendant in the 1930s and 1940s-- his skill and talent was repairing cars -- and in the fifties he had various jobs, one selling and repairing washing machines. In some ways we were poor financially, but my parents were as frugal as one can be. My mother was born in 1905, my father 13 months later. They’re of the “greatest generation.” They lived through the Great Depression. They learned from experience how to be frugal.

I GREW UP IN Salt Lake City. I lived there until I was 19. Then I moved south about 35 miles to Brigham Young University where I rented an apartment off campus with five other girls.

MY FAVORITE HOME WAS IN -- Salt Lake City, my only childhood home. But I had a favorite home away from home. My mother grew up in Santaquin, Utah, a fruit farming town about fifty miles south of Salt Lake where during my youth I always spent two or three weeks every summer with my country cousins. My best childhood memories are of those times.

MY WORST CHILDHOOD MEMORY IS --  of an evening at the Great Salt Lake, a salty lake that’s a remnant of a great ice age lake that lies west of Salt Lake City. A resort called Saltair was a booming place in the thirties when my mother was young. But I remember it as a place that was beginning to crumble. I never rode the roller coaster because Daddy said it wasn’t safe.

Some of the beach was still very good though, and on warm evenings Daddy would often drive us to the lake in his 1930 Chevrolet that bumped and rattled over an old, now non-existent road. In the distance we could see clouds of brine flies hovering in the air, and smell the briny lake before we saw it.

At the lake, my parents and little brother watched me and my younger sister wade far out in the salty lake that was too salty to support fish life but so salty one could float in it without sinking. I had been assured one couldn’t sink in the lake. But I was only ten years old, frightened in the not too distant past by tales like Little Red Riding Hood and given to flights of fancy.

My sister and I had to wade quite a distance before the salty water reached my waist and my sister’s upper chest so we could lie on our backs and float without our feet or buttocks touching the lake’s bed; where under a twilight sky that began to turn a deep brilliant desert red, we floated side by side, maybe a few yards apart in the water, the inland gulls circling and cawing above us.

It wasn’t very long before I noticed the waves swelling around us, and felt as if we were riding the crest of a huge watery creature. With the pungent taste of salt on my lips and the hump of Stansbury Island within view on the western horizon, I suddenly felt an undertow around my legs. I had no idea how far below my feet the bottom was. I only knew that something seemed to be pulling me toward that hump, pulling me away from the shore and my parents and brother who were now specks, and I panicked.

I turned my head enough to see my sister calmly floating near me. Was she as terrified as I was? Sometime later, I don’t remember when, I found out that her experience that evening wasn’t the same as mine. She only remembers easily floating in the waves while I remember the terror I felt. I was certain we weren’t going to get back to shore.

A few years later we both took swimming lessons together, but after that evening at the Lake I have been mildly afraid of water, and even in a swimming pool never want to be far from the edge. I would never want to have to swim a long distance to save my life!

Ann lives in one of these duplexes in Harrisonburg,Virginia

TODAY I LIVE IN -- Harrisonburg, Virginia. Utah is my first beloved home state; Virginia, my second. Virginia is where I’m living the rest of my life.

Ann as a young mother with her husband Larry and their
children,  happier times before tragedy struck

PROUDEST WRITER MOMENT -- Having my first full-length book, a memoir, published by a small press on May 17, 2011, four days after my 71st birthday. The “moment” would be when I held the print copy in my hands for the first time.

RANDOM FACT ABOUT ME -- Gosh, I don’t know. Maybe that I don’t have a lot of patience. Certainly not the patience my friend Carolyn had that day we sat outside in the playground of the junior high school. We sat because Carolyn had polio when she was nine (in 1948). Her stricken right leg had been operated on for the second time, and she didn’t have to participate in sports. The teacher didn’t mind if I often sat with her. On this particular day a bee landed on her glasses. She didn’t move a muscle until it finally left the glasses and flew toward me. It landed on my forehead. Instead of copying my friend’s patience, I instantly swatted at the bee, and got stung. My forehead swelled until I looked like an alien from outer space.


I’m the author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets, Imprisoned, and An Ozark Memory as well as stories, poems, and essays that have won awards and been published in various magazines and anthologies.  I’m a mother of three daughters and a son, a grandmother of almost-eight wonderful children, and full-time caregiver of a lovely disabled daughter.

Want to visit Ann? She blogs @ AnnCarbineBest'sBlog

I hope you enjoyed reading about Ann. Join me tomorrow for B is for Bambrey, Laura Bambrey from Daily Dodo.

Want to visit RomanticFridayWriters A-Z Challenge - flash fiction every day? Go here.


  1. I grew up in northern Utah as well (Logan) and enjoyed seeing the pics of home. Great interview!

  2. We all started as children, some of us just never grew up {me, in particular}! Very nice post. Can't wait to read more!

  3. Oh that is a wonderful baby picture of Ann and she does not change, carries the same sweet smile. Salt Lake City and Virginia is almost directly across each other but both are beautiful country.

  4. Hi Denise,

    Great reading about Ann Best! Thanks.


  5. Hi Denise and Ann .. what a great story - love reading about Ann - she has a wealth of knowledge - and the pictures you've shown are great.

    I hadn't realised Salt Lake really was a floating lake .. and I too am not a good swimmer - I got frightened early on but only in a swimming pool .. cheers to you both .. enjoy the A - Z .. great theme Denise - cheers Hilary

  6. What a great theme for the challenge! I look forward to visiting again and learning about different bloggers and discovering some new blogs to visit. Thank you!

  7. Interesting read about Anne's life, although maybe a bit long for the A - Z challenge. However, this would convert into a great book.

  8. Hi Denise and Ann - some fascinating reminiscences, though I do wonder what was pulling you inthe lake, Ann. Maybe some freak undercurrent? Lovely baby picture too!

  9. Love the theme, Denise! Ann, thanks for sharing!

  10. What a great idea! Also, I love that first picture. Those sleeves! I kinda want that dress now. :)

  11. Oh Ann the fashionista! Thanks for coming by!


  12. Love your theme, Denise. This was a good read and it's a nice way to get to know more bloggers.

  13. Lovely to visit with you, Ann! I was in Harrisonburg VA a couple of years ago - that's where I tried a deep fried Oreo for the first time :-)

  14. What a cute little girl Ann was, and her memories are absolutely fascinating. You've started your month on a real high, Denise :-)

  15. I feel like I know this woman so well--from her posts, from her books, from conversations we've had--but you really did a wonderful thing here. I feel I know her better now. Love the photos!

  16. What a wonderful blog-bio. I enjoyed the story-telling that put Ann's life in perspective, her tenacity as a writer, the immediacy of her experience swimming in the Great Sale Lake. I just visited the airport in SLC on my way home; your blogpost gives me new insight into that country -- and a writer's life.

  17. Love Anne. I bought her book last year.

    She's so sincere.

    - Eric

  18. Sis: A lump came to my throat as I saw how beautifully you put together what I sent you, as you always do with your posts! You are SO supportive of your blogging friends, and this theme you have picked to spotlight as many of them as you can is JUST lovely! I decided as of this morning to put up my posts each day, and to comment on as many blogs as I can. Jen is doing much better, and I think I'm now calm enough to do this. Thanks for all your support!!! XXX Ann

  19. Denise, what a wonderful idea!! And so great to learn more about Ann. This will be a fun place to visit!

  20. What a great idea Denise! And thanks to Ann as well.

  21. Interesting A

    Here is mine

  22. That's a frightening experience with water at such a young age. You didn't say how you got out of it though. Did you swim, wade, or did someone have to rescue you? I'd love to know.

  23. Anne was certainly a little cutie. I know a lot more about her than I did before coming here.

  24. Such a cool idea for the challenge. I have always been terrified of being caught in an undertow.

  25. I really enjoyed reading about Ann. This is a great theme for the challenge!

  26. What a great idea for a theme.
    Ann is certainly one of the great ladies of blogging.

  27. That was so neat to read. What a really wonderful idea for the challenge! Heading over to say hi to Ann now :)

  28. What a delightful theme and great start to the challenge, Denise. I promise mine will wing it way to you soon. Being a blood courier is leaving me with so little time lately!! Roland

  29. Very cool idea. I love Ann.

  30. Your comments have warmed my heart. What a lot of lovely bloggers. I love to support bloggers in any way I can and I'm proud to share these posts with you all.


    Yes, I need to know how she got out of the water too.

  31. Great memories, Anne! Thanks for sharing. ; )

  32. Gosh, Denise, but all of your hard work was soooo worth it. What a treat it was to learn more about Ann. She's totally awesome. (Er, should I give you more info? Feeling a bit skinny here.)

  33. Didn't realize I hadn't said how I got out of the water. Well, at one point, I suddenly realized the undertow was NOT pulling me (or my sister) away from the beach. And when I lay back and relaxed, I started moving my legs in the water, and felt the undertow pulling me TOWARD the beach. Strange experience!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

  34. Denise, this has got to be one of the most fabulous post ideas ever for A to Z. Love this post about Ann... and gee, wouldn't be awesome to swim in that salty sea, just once? Especially if you're wearing a life jacket! Just think, no fishies to nibble on your bum.
    Happy A to Z all!

  35. I really enjoyed reading about Ann and now I am going to pop on over to her blog and have a read......

  36. Hello Denise & Ann.
    Really nice post to kick start the event.
    Ann, your baby picture is so cute! Scary about the water though.

    This is a great idea Denise & so thoughtful of you to use RFW members as your subjects. Good luck with the rest of the challenge!

    I've taken the plunge too...A-Z & NaPoWriMo. My Day 1 is here:
    The Attraction

  37. What a great theme. I am looking forward to learning more about our fellow bloggers.

    Pamela Jo

  38. Love this year's theme! And a great first post. When I lived in Utah there were some mentions to Saltair but never visited. Some things have changed a little over the years, but it's interesting to get a peek at someone's past.

  39. Denise, what a great theme. Ann is an awesome writer.

  40. Hi Denise, Hi Ann
    Oh boy that water thing would be so scary. The bee story is hilarious.

  41. Hi, Denise, Hi, Ann,

    Lovely pics... you were such a cutie as a little girl.

    Then mountains are spectacular.

    Thanks for sharing more of your life with us, Ann.

    And Denise,

    This is a wonderful subject for the challenge.

  42. Fantastic stories Ann. Your life has been such an adventure.


  43. Great theme for the A-Z, Denise!! Great thinking :) This was an intriguing read. thanks for sharing, Ann.


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