Ireta Black is a first-time published author at 89 years old.
In her long and active adult life, she had confined her writing to things such as letters and grocery lists. Now she's the author of a story in "Not Your Mother's Book On Being a Stupid Kid."
Black's chapter, titled "Scandalous," relates how she went behind her parents' backs to wear ankle socks.
The "Stupid Kid" volume is part of a Not Your Mother's Book series by Dahlynn and Ken McKowen. Ken McKowen is Black's nephew.
Black lived for more than 50 years in Rio Linda with her husband, Gene. The couple were active in their church and were avid state park docents. About 10 years ago, she moved to an independent living facility after her husband's death.
Writes Black at the story's beginning:
"I just had to wear ankle socks to school. It was as simple as that. But Momma and Daddy wouldn't let me because they thought a young girl showing too much leg was indecent."
Here's a recent Q&A with the new author:
How does it feel to be a published author?
Wonderful! I really wanted to be a writer for years, but this is the first I ever tried it.
What kind of stories have you written before that were not published?
I was in charge of the financials for the California State Parks Docent Association, Sacramento Region, for five years. So I never did much writing. But I love to write letters to my friends and family.
Did you make up bedtime stories for a child when you were younger?
No, but I read my two daughters lots of stories. And I love to read, even now. I like mystery novels.
Were you a good writer in school?
Yes. In third grade, I won the spelling bee contest, and I loved writing all my papers. I loved creating fictional stories.
Your story is from long ago. What today besides ankle socks on a young girl would shock your parents?
Short, short dresses and the heavy eye makeup the young girls wear these days.
Be truthful, Ireta, what other naughty things did you do as a girl?
(She laughs) We "parked." Four of us would go out on a date and then park out by the creek. The two couples would make out; hug, kiss and talk. Mother would have had a "cat fit" if she knew that. Nothing ever happened, but it could have!
What makes a good story?
A beginning, middle and ending, and a subject that appeals to everybody, a story that is timeless.