The Story Behind Memory Lessons

It is Glenna’s serendipitous choice to get off a bus in Lawrence, Kansas, that brings the characters in Memory Lessons together.


I also got off a bus in Lawrence, Kansas, at a turning point in my own life, and in a wonderful bit of serendipity met and married my husband. I was in Lawrence to attend graduate school, and that led to a thirty-year career in clinical chemistry and toxicology that I thoroughly enjoyed. But I am now enjoying even more this new career as a late-in-life author creating characters, settings, and events and then weaving them together into emotionally satisfying stories. It was particularly satisfying to set this novel in Lawrence.

When I lived in Lawrence in the late sixties, it was very much a small Midwestern town albeit one overflowing with students during the school year. In fact, Lawrence was so small that a write-in campaign, spearheaded by a couple of students in our college department, resulted in the election of one of our professors as Justice-of-the-Peace.

Lawrence has changed in the past 50 years. For example, in those days, there were no elegant restaurants, and the only ethnic restaurants were a tiny taco place and a couple of pizza parlors. Now one can find almost every cuisine in the world there, in settings that vary from 5-star elegance to pleasant raucousness. I also doubt a write-in campaign by a group of graduate students would any longer be sufficient to elect the Justice-of-the-Peace. But Lawrence in many ways is still very much the small town depicted in the novel.