“Ten Fun/Interesting Facts about…Who?” column for Aug. 12, 2014

I get a lot of odd requests. This was the first of its kind.

In September, I’m to speak in several places in Indiana, including an elementary school in a small town called Hope. Usually, I speak to grownups, not children. Grownups are less demanding. If you bore them, they may heckle you or start to snore. But they’re not likely to start pinching each other.

Still, I’ve had vast experience with children. Mostly good. On the whole, while my own three often tried to convince me otherwise, I like children a lot.

Imagine my surprise to get a request for “10 fun/interesting facts” (about me) to be shared with the children of Hope Elementary prior to my visit.

Ten? Really? OK, I’ll try:

1. I grew up running barefoot in the mountains of North Carolina, squishing snails with my toes, catching lightning bugs in jars and jumping over snakes. My teachers said I was a writer. They also said I was chatty and lazy. I liked writer best.
2. I raised my children on the coast of Northern California, wading in tide pools, turning blue from the cold and watching whales spout offshore.
3. I now live in the desert outside Las Vegas, floating in the pool late at night, listening to coyotes howl at the moon.
4. I am married to a man who is an editor by profession and a bass player/rock star by heart. I have a brother who was born totally blind and insufferably stubborn, and a sister who once tried to shoot me with a real gun just because I poured a Pepsi down her pants.
5. I have three children: two teachers and an actor. My daughter teaches reading. My youngest teaches third grade at the school where he went to third grade. And my oldest is not a real doctor, but he played one on TV. He’s also not a policeman or a vampire or a bad guy of any kind, but he has played all those things, too.
6. I have four grandchildren. Randy is 4. Henry and Charlotte are nearly 3. Wiley is going on 2. They call me Nana. I wish you could see them. When they visit, I let them do as they please. We have another grandbaby on the way. She’ll have curls like her brothers and her cousins, but she will look just like me.
7. I rode a camel once in Africa; had my picture made in Mexico with a live chimpanzee; and once, in Yosemite, I nearly got run over by a big black bear.
8. When my kids were growing up, their favorite meal was Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. My favorite meal is at my favorite restaurant (Gaetano’s in Henderson, Nev.)
9. I like to watch sunsets, birds, baseball, basketball and people doing what they do best. I like singing hymns in church, duets with my husband and Motown when I’m cleaning house. I like the sounds of rain and wind and waves, foghorns, sea lions and rolling thunder, and the laughter of my loved ones when they’re laughing at me.
10. I’m not good at much, but I am a decent free throw shooter (or was when I had a hoop to practice on), and given a chance, I would try my best to beat you in a game of one on one.

Sometimes, when I stand before a crowd to speak, I feel like a little girl playing “dress up” and any minute, someone is going to figure out that I really don’t belong there. That feeling always passes (at least, I forget about it) as soon as I see someone smiling up at me.

Most of all, I love stories _ reading and writing them, watching them in movies, telling them in any form, any way I can _ and getting people to open up and tell me their stories, too.

Wait. Is that 10? Did I mention I’m not great at math?

OK, here is one final fun/interesting thing about me: Soon, Lord willing, I will get to meet the children of Hope. If I’m lucky, they might like me. I know I’ll like them. Maybe they will even think I belong there.

And honestly? What could be more fun/interesting than that?

P.S. What are 10 fun/interesting facts about you???


  1. Sharon,
    I’m always so inspired by your stories… Indeed, as Denise said, since you asked, here are just “Four things about me:”
    1. Four jobs I have had in my life: a. Milking cows and goats by hand. I love the rhythm. I love the fresh, warm milk! b. Cleaning someone else’s house while I was in college. I couldn’t believe how high she piled the dishes, nor how dried on the food..! c. Detasseling seed corn in the humid Missouri bottomland. d. Part-time nurse and dining room server in a nursing home.
    2. Four states I’ve called home: a. Missouri b. Kansas c. New Mexico d. Indiana
    3. Four places I’ve been on vacation (not all at the same time!) a. Camping at Lake Pomme de Terre, southern Missouri many summers with my family b. Carlsbad, NM to visit my cowboy aunt, uncle and cousins. c. Winter, out in the boonies of Ontario, Canada. My brother’s family lived without electicity. The wood stove kept us cozy. I wish you could have seen it! d. Nairobi, Kenya: vacation and mission trip wrapped into one.
    4. Four places I would rather be right now… I’m happy where I’m at. Here are four that I do look forward to doing sometime: a. Meeting another new granddaughter in the next two weeks. b. Take a creative writing class. c. Learn to play classic guitar, or drums. d. Have tea and conversation with you at my kitchen table!

    • Sharon Randall says

      Gail, what a lovely note, thank you! I would love to sit and talk with you at your kitchen table someday! Until then, congratulations on that soon-to-be grandbaby! Kiss her toes for me!
      All the best to you and your family,

  2. Oh, I’m so excited! I live in Columbus but will wiggle my way into Hope if necessary in order to see you! I’ve followed you for several years, love your column & your first book…and by the way, when is your next book coming out? Hope to see you soon!

    • Sharon Randall says

      Sheila, thank you for your kind note! I will be speaking in Columbus and Hope as follows:

      Tues., Sept.16, 6:30 p.m., Main Branch, Bartholomew County Library, 536 5th St, Columbus, IN 47201. Free and open to the public, seating 75-100.
      Wed., Sept. 17, 6:30 p.m., Moravian Church, 202 Main Street, Hope IN 47246. Free and open to the public, seating for 300.

      All events are sponsored by the library, free of charge. Thanks for writing and all the best to you and your family!

  3. Sharon – I have been an avid reader and fan of your column for as many years as I can remember. You are the greatest. I live in Indiana and I want to make every effort to hear you speak. Where will you be besides Columbus and Hope? I am 2-1/4 hrs from these two towns but if I can hear you speak….I will do what I can to be there. I am a retired 4th grade school teacher and I gave out copies of your “What Every School Child Needs to Start School” column to each one of my parents.

    • Sharon Randall says

      Pam, thank you for your kind note! I will be speaking in Columbus and Hope as follows:

      Tues., Sept.16, 6:30 p.m., Main Branch, Bartholomew County Library, 536 5th St, Columbus, IN 47201. Free and open to the public, seating 75-100.
      Wed., Sept. 17, 6:30 p.m., Moravian Church, 202 Main Street, Hope IN 47246. Free and open to the public, seating for 300.

      All events are sponsored by the library, free of charge. If you pla to attend you might want to do the one on Wednesday at the Moravian Church where there’s more seating. I’m concerned that not everyone who shows up will have a seat. Thanks for writing and all the best to you and your family!

  4. Sarah Webster says

    I was so excited to read that you are coming to Hope and other places in Indiana, but unfortunately for me, after several years of being snowbirds, we are now back in Florida to stay. I’ll be coming to Indiana in October when the leaves change…

    Maybe someday you will come to Port Orange, FL. We have Sugar Mill Gardens and Gamble Place (a get away for Mr. Gamble of Proctor and Gamble many ears ago). Port Orange also has a lovely library at City Center Circle and lots of great people!

    We are just south of Daytona Beach. It’s a really great place to visit. We’re about 20 miles east of DeLand, FL which was one of the 16 finalists in Parade magazine’s recent best small town Main St in America. I’m sorry I don’t recall the exact name of the contest.

    Near DeLand there is also a place called the Old Spanish Sugar Mill and Griddle Restaurant inside Deleon Springs State Recreation Area that I always take visitors to. You fry your own pancakes and/or eggs on a griddle in the middle of your table. (They cook any meat). It is really neat in the winter when they have a fire in the fireplace.

    I’ve enjoyed your column for many years. You are so much like girls I grew up with except I never saw a mountain until I was 18!

    I’m looking forward to seeing your schedule for Indiana.

    Sarah Webster

    • Sharon Randall says

      Thanks, Sarah! If you know of someone looking for a speaker in your part of Florida, let me know!
      All the best to you and your family,

  5. Please come to Evansville while you are in the area. Love to read your column…would love to hear you speak. I promise to smile so you would feel connected!

    • Sharon Randall says

      Thanks, Debi, I’d love to come back to Evansville, and will hope to meet you another time!
      All the best,

  6. I am so glad to hear that you are coming to Hope and Columbus! I have followed your column for lots of years, and feel like you are a friend! Several years ago I met you at a book signing for Paper Cranes.
    Hope is a “Surprising Little Town” and I know that you will be welcomed with open arms!

  7. denise hench says

    since you asked.. When I was little, I often ate white chalk and dried mud and found them both VERY tasty! And I sucked my thumb until I was at least eight. I am now 62 and sometimes miss sucking on my thumb BUT not eating the chalk or mud! I live in two houses. One in Western NC and one in NW Ohio. I started playing piano at age 58. My six grandkids call me Mimi.My hair has two colors red and white. Watching movies and reading books make me happy. I met my husband when I was 18, and we still like each other( most days) That’s close enough to 10!

  8. Our local newspaper tried to rid your column from its pages a few years ago, and such a hullabaloo went up that they were forced to get you back. I hope they apologized. Egg on faces that are mostly all gone. It is a pleasure to read you, and all the comforting news and reflections on your family and situations you had alluded to in prior columns. Folksy, homey, honest, and worth our time. Somebody famous once said something like, “They won’t remember what you did or what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.” That’s you. In an often awful world, you make us feel good. Thank you.

  9. Wow! I wish I was back in grade school so I could hear you speak. I live 15 miles from Hope. Maybe my sister will get to sub that day and she will hear you. We are both big fans.

    • Sharon Randall says

      Actually, Ruth, I’ll be speaking in several places in the area, all of which should be noted soon in your local paper. I’ll hope to meet you there!
      Best to you and your sister!

  10. Fact # 11. You are an incredibly gifted writer who touches the deepest part of our hearts. You are kind, generous and one of the most positive and uplifting people I have ever known. You, my dear, are a blessing. 🙂

    • Sharon Randall says

      How lovely, Sandy, I can’t thank you enough!

    • How much I wait for next column ? how much more can I bless Sharon ? How much I love her ?? the words are not enough !! Only I can write is that She is my Hero ,my inspiration and I can write today from my inner heart that God gives her much more than she has at present in name, fame and prosperity ,richness in health and wealth more in health I would pray each day for her well being and for all her family and loved ones . Thank you Sharon being my best writer and inspiration for millions more and I will read all what you would write in future .

  11. Of course they would love to see you again and again . Thank you for sharing 10 interesting fun and facts things about you . Want to know at least 10 more .

Speak Your Mind