My forthcoming children's middle grade novel, GONE FROM THESE WOODS, is a fictional story set in a North Georgia rural community very much like Winterville, Georgia, the small town where I live.
My fictional tale of a young boy, Daniel Sartain, was inspired by a real story I heard growing up. What happens in my book is similar but not the same as what happened in the family of my second grade teacher, Dycie H. Schneider. She was one of my inspirations.
I took this picture of Mrs. Schneider on a May 2008 visit to Morningside, a retirement home where she lived. During our hour together that day, she retold the sad story of her first husband's accidential death. She also talked about how happy she had been in her second marriage many years later (she had been a widow for about a year when I visited her), and she talked about attending Tuckston School on Lexington Road in Athens as well as Gaines School the first year it opened.
Unfortunately, a couple of weeks after that visit, Dycie had an automobile accident and died several days later from her injuries. She was 90 years old.
Dycie knew before she died that I had included her name on my forthcoming book's dedication page and she was looking forward to reading my book. I am thankful I got to visit with her for about an hour on that day in May. It was a special time for me and she seemed to enjoy the visit, too.