Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's Here!

My new book titled "Umpire in a Skirt" is now available from the South Dakota State Historical Society Press. It's a non-fiction children's illustrated book about a girl who became famous in the early 1900s as a baseball umpire. Research and writing it were a lot of work, but it was worth it, I think, to have this remarkable woman's life remembered. It can be ordered at the SDSHS Press's web address. ( 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Where Your Treasures Are

My husband Bud and I spent a little time outdoors this afternoon. We sprayed the apple tree in hopes we'll have wonderful, insect-free apples this year. What a treasure those apples are to us. Then we removed some mulch on the south side of the house. Underneath it, daffodils and tulips were already starting to grow. I've been enjoying pretty little crocuses nearby for several days. All this reminded me how much I treasure the flowers of spring. They're so reassuring after a long and hard winter. Here's an article about things I treasured as a child. I hope it reminds you of your treasures. Appreciate them, no matter how humble they may be.

Where Your Treasures Are

By Marilyn

Stocks. Bonds. Diamonds. Real estate. These are the treasures we think about as adults. Too bad. The real treasures of our life are much simpler things. Love. Family. Friendship. And maybe even a snail or two.

We have to go way back to childhood to find the treasures that made us feel really rich. Remember walking along the ditches beside country roads, hunting for snails? We though they were “sea shells.” When we came home with our pockets filled with those treasures, Mama reacted with horror. She made us clean every last one out of our pockets. We felt sorry she didn’t appreciate their worth, but at least we had beautiful “sea shells” for a while.

If we were lucky, the creek overflowed after heavy spring rains, allowing minnows to swim into nearby weed-filled ditches. Wading in those ditches was ever so much more fun when we had minnows for company. They nibbled at our toes, if we stood still long enough. What a treasure they were - real live fish, right there in our ditches.

Only a child growing up on a farm could appreciate the bounty of  kittens, a few weeks old, ready to tame, in the cow barn. What a treasure they were - one cuter than the other. We’d already tamed the mother cats enough that they didn’t mind us playing with their fat and fuzzy babies. We’d each claim one particular kitten for our own before the rest died of distemper or disappeared mysteriously.

Plants growing around the farm and fields also yielded up their treasure. We gathered rose hips and fat weed stems, which looked like celery to us, and seeds and leaves to “can.” We found discarded jars in the trash behind the tool shed and packed them with our produce. Then, to keep them “fresh,” my little sister and I decided to store them in the stock tank. Naturally, that didn’t go over very well with our father. The minute he found the jars in the tank, he made us remove them. But we’d had the fun of “canning,” so we just tossed the jars, still filled, back on the trash pile and went on to our next adventure.

Hardly anything equals snow as a treasure to a child. You can slide on it, throw it, make forts with it, and even eat it. It’s really “all-purpose” stuff. We loved it. The fact that its arrival sometimes meant a day off from school only added to its appeal. And when it melted down into water and then froze into ice, we knew we were in for a great time skating, even though we had no ice skates. Rubber boots worked just as well. 

Treasures - their worth depends entirely upon the person treasuring them. The older I get, the more precious are the treasures associated with being a child. Maybe memories are, after all, the greatest treasures for us to enjoy.   

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Old Pink Coat

Here's an article that tells the true story of an old pink coat I used to have. Now that may not sound very important or exciting, but something special happened one night when I was wearing it. Hope you like reading about that event.

The Coat I’ll Always Remember

By Marilyn Kratz

I hardly ever give my warm winter coat a second thought. It’s simply a necessity for living in this part of the country. When it wears out, I’ll replace it without hesitation and probably forget I ever had it.

But I still remember the winter coat I had when I was a senior in high school, over 50 years ago. That’s because of one memorable evening when I wore it.

The coat itself wasn’t anything special. It was most likely ordered from a catalog at a bargain price. I’m sure I wore it several years because my parents couldn’t afford to get me a new one each winter.

The coat was soft pink, a popular color in the 50s. The outer fabric had long fibers which, unfortunately, matted easily. That made the coat look scruffy to me so I usually brushed it each time  I wore it.

On the evening I mentioned earlier, I brushed my coat more thoroughly than ever. It was Christmas Eve and, after attending the children’s program at my boyfriend’s church with him, he would be taking me to his home to meet his parents for the first time. I wanted to make a good impression.

My old pink coat was soft and smooth when I climbed into my boyfriend’s car that evening, but my nerves were frazzled as I worried about meeting his parents.

I didn’t fidget in the car or during the church program so my coat wouldn’t get matted and look bad.

At last, the dreaded moment arrived. My boyfriend parked his car outside his parents’ house. I took a deep breath and followed him inside. What would he say? What should I say?

Without taking off our coats, we walked into the living room. His parents sat in their chairs, looking as though they’d been waiting for us.

“Well,” my boyfriend said. “Here she is!”

We all relaxed after his silly and straightforward “introduction.”

A few years later, his parents became my in-laws.

Did my pink coat make a difference that evening? I doubt my in-laws even noticed it. But I still feel good about knowing I did everything I could to make a good impression on two people whom I came to love dearly.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Phone Interview

My newest book, "Umpire in a Skirt," a non-fiction children's book, will be out by the end of March. To learn more about it, you may go to the following site and hear a phone interview between the publisher and me: