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Betty Hornbeck's Whirligig Stories
Tales of the Sixties in a West Virginia Town

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Author. Journalist. Humorist. Throughout the 1960s, Betty Hornbeck wrote a front-page feature column that steadily became the most familiar item in her local small town newspaper.

Occasionally, she filled the space with business and community insights, sometimes with the pragmatic musings of an omnipresent stage narrator, but mostly she wrote the personal anecdotes that reflected the period's attitudes toward family life and the political changes that were rumbling underneath it all.

As a humorist, she could bring out more chuckles than Erma Bombeck. As a patriot, she could generate more waves in the flag than Paul Harvey. The stories paint a picture of a time when things were different. Can you feel it? The winds of change are blowing. Everything's a spinnin' and a flutterin' like a West Virginia Whirligig.

Enjoy over 250 narratives that reveal the pulse of small town America from 1959 through 1970 as seen through the eyes of a weekly newspaper columnist. Includes a special Foreword by New York Times Best Selling Author, Stephen Coonts.

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1968 Chicago Democratic Convention

Last Monday and Tuesday I thought I was seeing a summer replacement for Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. Wednesday it wasn't funny anymore. A thought kept running through my brain "Born of revolution, this country is dying of revolution." And, even as the delegates became disenchanted with the so-called Gestapo tactics at the corner of Balboa and Michigan Avenue, the National Guard with bayonets, the Chicago police with billy clubs, the tear gas, the barbed wire, I felt like sobbing... [Whirligig September 5,1968]

Weekday Holiday

Even at the risk of bringing down the wrath of all housewives, I must ask - what do you do with your time? Whether for good or bad, I had a holiday Monday. The holiday was good in that I spent a day at home and leisurely cleaned house instead of the usual hit and miss on Saturday afternoon. The holiday was bad in that by 3:30 in the afternoon I was bored. Here it was I asked myself the question - what do you housewives do...[Whirligig November 16, 1962]

Tucked in Bed

There's just no livin' anymore with those teenage boys at my house, and no discipline, either. Take Monday night, for instance. As usual, shortly before bedtime I'm half-standing at my dresser, doing those things to my face and hair that all women do before retiring, half-standing, 'cause I've had a heck of a wearing day. Dave and Bill enter, supposedly to talk, one of them starts clowning, wrestling with the other. I say, "Stop it." They say I've raised my voice. I say "Stop it I've had a rough day." Both agree I'm tired and should be in bed...[Whirligig January 16, 1964]

Welfare and the Pill

O, the wrath that was heaped around my head last January when I dared suggest birth control pills be distributed to welfare recipients! And, on the suggestion of a local physician, too. The anonymous phone calls and the anonymous letters (mostly in anger) reminded me of a quotation from some time or other, "Not one man in ten dares say what he thinks; not one man in ten thousand dares put it in print..."[Whirligig June 18, 1964]

Over 250 stories that reflect on life in small town America during the decade of the 1960s. Order your copy today!

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The Unpublished Whirligig Stories

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Send email to wrh@whirligigstories.com to receive your Free Collection of over 100 additional Whirligig narratives that were excluded from the published Whirligig Stories book. These stories will be delivered as a digital PDF edition.

© 2014 WRHORNBECK LLC • All Rights Reserved • 703.777.6840 • wrh@whirligigstories.com • Photos are copyrighted by and used with the permission of the Howard Hiner Collection. No reproduction allowed without the express permission of the Howard Hiner Collection.