THINGS ABOUT ME YOU DIDN’T KNOW! by Cheryl Pierson

Cheryl2041webI suppose everyone is “strange” in their own weird ways, aren’t they? But I was definitely “the one” in my family! We all have a tendency to be “the oddball” or “the black sheep” or the one who is somewhat “different” in one way or another. So instead of just naming 10 things you might not know about me, I thought I’d talk about this phenomena of being “the weird one” in the family.

First of all, I was a mistake. Yep, my sisters were 10 and 12 when I was born—so I was definitely a “bonus baby”—and one my poor parents weren’t sure of what to do with. Picture this: Mom and Dad were both born in a very tiny town in Oklahoma in 1922. They had a graduating class of 12 seniors. They were highschool sweethearts, married, and made it all the way through the 1950’s with two daughters (my sisters) who were well…typical 1950’s adolescents. Smooth sailing!

MOM AND DADScans 009

But…I came along in 1957 and grew up in the 60’s and 70’s—enough said. So another weird fact about me is that my parents gave me the oddest name in our entire family. I’ve mentioned this before, so if you know this already, just skip on down to the next segment. My name is Cheryl. But it’s pronounced CHAIR-yl, not SHARE-yl. I’m sure my parents thought they were just being different…but that’s the point. I’ve spent part of my early lifetime correcting people and finally—I just gave up. But it still feels weird when someone calls me SHARE-yl. And as if that weren’t enough? My dad decided to name me “KATHLYN” – not Kathleen, not Kathryn. I will be 59 this month, and in my entire life, I’ve met 2 other women named Kathlyn and 2 others named CHAIR-yl rather than SHARE-yl. That’s not a lot, but at least I know I’m not alone. And I named my daughter Jessica…no complications there.

Cheryl and Aunt Emogene 1964

Growing up, I was lucky enough (or not, depending on how you look at it!) to be accepted as a student by a very perfectionistic, meticulous piano teacher. So one surprising fact about me is that I’m a classically trained pianist. This is doubly surprising considering the small Oklahoma town I grew up in!

Here I am at age 6, goofing around with my Aunt Emogene who was a self-taught pianist and could make that keyboard ring.

The next strange or surprising thing about me is that I actually achieved the dream of becoming a writer—something I’d wanted to do since I could hold a pen. In fact, I was the “problem child” who got in trouble for writing in my books—not drawing—but adding my own text. (Never mind that it didn’t make sense—it was a hodgepodge of letters that didn’t make words, but to me, what I was doing was really important!) From THE COLOR KITTENS to FIRE EYES!

THE COLOR KITTENS--LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK

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Another thing that is “strange” was how I met my husband. My father worked in the oilfields, and the summer before I started my senior year in high school in Seminole, OK, he was transferred to Charleston, West Virginia. Yep. I had to leave all my friends that I’d gone to school with since first grade! I graduated from Winfield, WV, and started college. There, I met my “older man”—a Vietnam vet with an ex-wife and two kids. He had just gotten a job with the Federal Aviation Administration, who had their main training facility in…OKLAHOMA CITY! So after a few years of marriage, I got to come back to Oklahoma when my hubby took a job at the FAA Academy, and we’ve been here ever since.

OKLAHOMA MAP-DETAILED

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another little known fact is that I am able to drive a stick shift. We are the last of a dying breed! AND I learned to do it in West Virginia—which is in the Appalachians and full of curvy roads, twist, turns, and…did I mention NARROW lanes? I learned on our little Capri—a car I still love with all my heart and am so sorry that we had to trade in on something else. I found this picture on the internet–this is the exact copy of the car we had back in ’76!

Mercury Capri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rocking Chair Reader Memories From the AtticDid you know (I bet you didn’t!) that I started my published writing career as a short story author for Chicken Soup, Rocking Chair Reader, and also a feature writer for our local newspaper? I had been working on the “great American novel” for quite a while, but I had to “break in” somehow—and this was it. Here’s a picture of the first anthology I ever had a story published in. It was called PENNY MEMORIES. What a thrill!

 

 

 

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Probably the thing that surprised even me was going into the publishing business. Livia Reasoner and I started Prairie Rose Publications a scant three years ago. We now have expanded to six imprints and I have loved every minute of it! Helping other authors realize their dream of publication has been a thrill I never could have imagined—and now, it’s a reality.

 

 

And last but not least, another strange or surprising fact about me is that in recent years I have become an animal rights activist. Oh, no—not that kind that sprays spray paint on people wearing fur coats and that kind of thing—but I started out by sharing shelter animals that needed homes on Facebook. This might seem like a small thing, but guess what? I matched up at least six homeless animals with their “forever” homes just by sharing! What a great feeling. As time has gone by, I try to share petitions to stop animal cruelty as well as the shelter animals that are running out of time. It’s easy. It’s free. And it really does work. I’ve learned that every small thing we do toward keeping animals safe and loved all adds up in “the big picture.” Here’s a picture of my own rescue dog, Embry, when he was a puppy 7 years ago. He’s now a 200 pound bundle of love!

Embry as a puppy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that does it for me. Thanks so much for stopping by today!

Cheryl Pierson
A native Oklahoman, I've been influenced by the west all my life. I love to write short stories and novels in the historical western and western romance genres, as well as contemporary romantic suspense! Check my Amazon author page to see my work: https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson
I live in Oklahoma City with my husband of 37 years. I love to hear from readers and other authors--you can contact me here: fabkat_edit@yahoo.com
Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.pierson.92
http://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules

33 Comments

  1. I can totally relate about people saying your name wrong. I get tired of correcting people too and have gotten where I just go by what ever someone calls me. I have lived next to my neighbors for 15 years now and they still call me Jeanie.

    1. Janine, I think people like us with the odd names that are mispronounced wrong so often are usually super careful about how we say everyone else’s name. I’m mortified if I say someone else’s name wrong–no matter how old you get, that is still a very personal thing. I used to go to a doctor who called me Sheryl. I know it’s a mental block with me, but it was really hard for me to listen to what he had to say, because I felt like he was talking to someone else. LOL I still have relatives who will call me Sheryl sometimes! Thanks for stopping by!

      1. Well I think your relatives should at least know how to say your name. That really would have annoyed me. I should have added this funny part too. When I was married to my ex, people still have a hard time pronouncing the name Duke. I mean really, how hard it that. I remember this one time when I applied for a credit card at a department store (before you could just do it at the register and find out if you got approved or not). The girl called my name over the store intercom and asked for Janie Dukey to come to the office. That was the ultimate embarrassment. Another time someone pronounced it as duck. Even Rowe is hard for people, I get called rowee sometimes. So my name can be anywhere from Janie, Jeanie, Janet, Janice and even Jay nine. 🙁

        1. THAT IS FUNNY! And I know just what you are going through, too. My last name is PIERSON–I get sales calls from people asking for “Sheryl Person”–it’s great because it weeds out the callers. I just say, “Speaking, and I’m not interested.” My sister’s last name is Qualls, and she gets the same kind of calls–people asking for Karen QUAILS. Good grief! My maiden name was Moss–so didn’t have to worry about any mess-ups with that! Oh, I would have just died if I’d been you and had my name announced as Janie Dukey. I’ve just started spelling my name when anyone asks for it. Especially at the pharmacy.

  2. Wow, love your article. I too have a different pronounced name & spent my life correcting people. You pronounce my name tOnya. Not just Tonya w/ a Little sounding O, but the Long O. I was named after my Dad, Tony so just add the A to the pronunciation. Lol

    1. Oh, Tonya! I bet you really have had it rough with your name through the years. But what a nice tribute to your dad. My mom taught me when I was really little to say, “My name is CHAIR-yl. Like CHAIR.” and one time when someone questioned me I said, “You don’t say SHICKen. You say CHICKEN.” LOL I’ve always loved names, and this is probably why. Do you “collect” names of other people? I’ve always loved that.

  3. CHAIR-yl – I’ve been pronouncing your name wrong in my head for years! I’m going to have to try to retrain myself. I’m so glad you included that tidbit. Not that I won’t still slip up if I see you in person. I probably will, but you have my permission to correct me as often as necessary. 🙂

    And I’ll join you in the stick shift club. My husband taught me when we were first married and our only car was a standard transmission. Recently, when my oldest was getting ready to drive, my husband decided it was time to get another stick shift so we could train the children. It was incredibly hard to find one that wasn’t a sports car or a Jeep-type vehicle. We finally found one and though my daughter could probably drive it if her live depended on it, she prefers the automatic. My son, who is now 16, drives it, though. So Dad’s mission has been accomplished. Plus, he just likes having that extra feeling of control. Total guy thing. 🙂

    1. Karen, I have a sister named Karen and one named Annette. My mom told me one time that both of those names were very unusual when they named my sisters, and that’s why they went with those. Oddly enough, my sister Karen’s daughter-in-law also has a mother named Karen! And if that wasn’t weird enough, Karen’s grandson is dating a girl whose mother is named Karen Annette. BOY, that gives me the shivers. I wonder truly what’s in a name, don’t you? There has to be a reason why our parents picked a certain name above all others for us–I have always thought that names tie in with family personalities in a huge way, thereby also helping to create the personality of the baby who bears a certain name from the moment they’re born.

      My son wanted a stick-shift SOOOO much. BUT. We live in Oklahoma City, which, at one time, was the largest city area-wise in the US. And I think he’s covered every last mile of it numerous times. So no stick shift for him in this traffic. Daughter didn’t show much preference one way or the other. I think it really is a guy thing! LOL

  4. I seem to be the unique member of my family also. I am the only girl with 3 brothers. So that might be why I’m singled out at first. 🙂 I love being the weird one – I embrace it fully! I loved learning more about you, CHAIR-yl! (oh you poor thing growing up having to correct everyone!) I also know how to drive a stick-shift since My first and most fun car was one. Although, learning to drive it was certainly an adventure, I may have gotten stuck on a hill. 😉 Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Susan, I ALWAYS wanted a brother! I begged for a brother. (I was a huge tomboy growing–climbing trees, riding my bike all over creation, etc.) I remember one time when I was about 5 or 6 asking Mom why I couldn’t have an OLDER brother if she didn’t want to have another baby? I remember how she always would just be so glib about putting me off about a baby brother. I never asked for a baby sister. LOL But it was not to be. However, I think my daughter truly treasures her little brother, and I know he treasures her, too. Glad I had them 3 years apart.

      Congratulations on being one of the stick-shift club! LOL I secretly sometimes do long for a stick shift. But…living here in Oklahoma City, I know that would be a huge mistake. SIGH. Thanks for coming by today!

  5. I love animals! My rescue cat is my fur baby.

    1. Estella, God bless you for rescuing that sweet baby. I know just how you feel. And if I lived “out” somewhere instead of in my neighborhood, I would most likely open up my own little rescue, even now! I love all animals, but rescues are so grateful. Thanks for coming by today, Estella.

  6. Hi Cheryl, what an interesting life you lead, for sure! And I had No Idea you’d spent time in West Virginia! We visited Harpers Ferry and the Shenandosh Valley not long ago in the fall–wow! Gorgeous and such history! Wishing you continued success as a publisher and Ed-in-chief! You go, girl!

    1. Hey Tanya! I spent many years in West Virginia and I loved every minute of it…well, okay, maybe I didn’t love the winters so much. LOL But it’s so beautiful out there, and so different from Oklahoma. Both places have their own kind of beauty. But I really really missed seeing the open sky–sunrises and sunsets, etc. living out there. Still, here we don’t have the greenery and lovely forests and such that is so abundant there. The summer before we moved to WV was when John Denver came out with Almost Heaven, West Virginia. The beauty there is just breathtaking, and I made some really good friends there–and of course, Gary’s family is all there, too. Thanks for your kind words!

  7. I’ve always loved animals and help with ferals/strays and have had two wonderful dogs. My name is Jeanne and you wouldn’t think that would be a hard name but most call me Jean and spell it with an i. I picked two names for my daughters that I thought wouldn’t get nicknamed – April and Alysa but my oldest got Ape for a while!!!!! and no one pronounces or spells my youngest name right.

    1. I have always love the name Jeanne. I worked with a woman in WV who was named Jeanne and DID go by the pronunciation “Jeannie”–in these days, you just never know. Like you, I thought to name my kids names that no one would ever have to question. My daughter is Jessica–she had 7 other Jessicas on her little league softball team. Yeah. That’s her complaint–too common. My son is named Casey. Up until the year he was born, I had never ever heard of a girl named Casey. But that year, evidently, it became a name used for both sexes. He was devastated when someone at school said, “THAT’S A GIRL’S NAME!” But as karma would have it, in his kindergarten class there was a little girl named…MICHAEL. Suddenly, everything was all right again. LOL

  8. You didn’t have to tell me you’re strange. I already knew. 😀

    I’m sure this will come as an enormous surprise, but I was the “weird” one in my family — and the troublemaker. I’m the eldest, though, so I couldn’t get away with anything. Sadly, all of my parents’ attempts to make me behave went for naught: I’m still an excellent example of how to be a bad example.

    So are YOU, BTW. 😛

    1. Kathleen, I figure you are just making up for lost time, since you couldn’t get away with anything when you were younger; and being the eldest? Oh, you poor thing! The guinea pig! I am sure your parents had their hands full with you–it’s a wonder you weren’t an only child.

      And as the saying goes, “It takes one to know one”–so of COURSE we are kindred spirits!

  9. Nice info.

  10. Thanks, Kim! I’m glad you stopped by today!

  11. CHAIR-yl, hmmmm, if you hadn’t put this in writing, I would never have said your name correctly! Boy do we have a lot in common! LOL! I have always marched to that unusual drumbeat maybe because I am so musically challenged. I worked and paid for my own piano lessons when I was a senior in high school. I really wanted to play. Not one, but two teachers told me not to waste my money. BUT I can drive a stick shift and stir up more trouble than most. 🙂

    1. LOL ROSIE! You made me laugh! Always remember, there have been a ton of artists in every field who’ve been advised “don’t do it” and “keep your money”–I think the WILL to do something many times is just as important as God-given talent. To think of a high school senior, working and paying for their own lessons and being told not to waste their money? Aw, Rosie. I wish I’d known you then! I used to teach piano, too, for many years. The only time I’ve ever said anything like that to a parent about one of their kids was when they child had not desire and didn’t practice a lick in between lessons. :((( Have you thought about taking it up again NOW? Just because someone else tells you something is hopeless does not mean it IS.

      I’m glad you are a member of the “stick shift” club! You know, I still really miss that sometimes. When we lived in WV, driving a stick was a challenge–a hair raising challenge sometimes! But I’m a darn good driver now! LOL

  12. What a wonderful article! I really enjoyed it. And we have a lot more in common than my family coming from Oklahoma too. 🙂

    First, My great-grandfather, grandfather and father were musicians, except that the grandfathers played fiddle while my dad and I played guitar. I started at 9, joined a band at 15, and played in various bands for about 20 years where I met my husband–not classical music though–soft rock and country. Our son is a musician too.

    After my very first car, I’ve since always driven gear shifts including the one I have now. I think the last salesman I had thought I was too old to be messing about with gear shifts, but I’ve never had to have one replace! So there! 🙂 One has so much better control of a car with a stick shift so I have stuck to my guns.

    I’m very much a supporter of animals, wildlife and our planet. I just sent a check off to the NRDC for their effort on behalf of honey bees! Can you imagine? I grew up with clover in the grass and plenty of bees, but now everyone uses pesticide and bees are endangered–which is a danger for the planet too. So besides money, I don’t use pesticides or grass seed; I let my grass grow like older times so there are plenty of flowers of some kind for bees and butterflies to enjoy–which I then enjoy.

    I was allowed to write in my childhood books, and although I’m not a novelist, my life’s career was publishing on the editing side. Both my parents were book-aholics and I obviously took after them both.

    Finally, I’m an only child but I’ve always marched to my own drum too–as if you couldn’t tell from what I already wrote. 😉 And as for my first name, there were five! of us with the same name, born the same year, in the same small homeroom in school. So I guess it goes to show we may might what others have–like a unique name. haha

    1. Eliza, you are my kindred spirit! LOL

      I wrote a story one time about my mom and her sisters–she was the eldest of ELEVEN kids. From an early age, she taught the younger siblings how to sing harmony. Of course, during the 20’s and 30’s–this was a huge form of entertainment for them and for the other family members. Mom had a beautiful, beautiful voice until the day she died, and one of my last enduring memories of her is her singing O Holy Night. Even though she had Altzheimer’s and couldn’t sing the words, when my sister and I played it as a duet on the piano, she hummed it perfectly. Music never leaves us.

      My husband and I had a soft-rock/country band, too! Back in the 70’s-80’s. All that ended when I had Jessica in 1986. Both my kids are musicians. My son played in a band for a while, but had to give it up for his study time he needed in college.

      That’s funny about the salesman thinking you were too old to mess with gear shifts. LOL Makes me laugh. Hubby had a pick up with a stick in it up until just a few years ago, when his back started giving him trouble. He STILL misses that truck!

      Oh, and good for you with the bees! That is soooo important. It’s all so important. Makes me sad to think of so many people in the world who have no care about the wildlife and bees and of course, the cruelty that domestic animals face (and factory farm animals, too–I’m on my way to being vegetarian–I learned so much from my daughter about this and am following her example.)

      My dad was a real book-aholic. One of my best memories is of him reading The Cremation of Sam McGee to me as a kid–just appalled my mom! But I think that’s one reason I love poetry so much, as well as reading and writing.

      Eliza is an unusual name–I know sometimes that’s short for Elizabeth. I love them both!

      Thanks for stopping by today. I thoroughly enjoyed your comment!

  13. Cheryl – wonderful post. Are you sure Embry is a dog and not a horse? He is beautiful. He must be part Great Pyrenees. Our largest rescue dog is about 70 pounds. You have posted some wonderful dogs needing homes. We have three rescues now and really can’t fit in another, even if it is tempting. We lost our lack lab mix a couple years ago and I would replace her if we could. Our current mix of dog personalities wouldn’t do well with a new addition.

    Our children are split in age much like your family. Our daughters are 15 months apart. Our son was born over 7 1/2 years later. It was challenging at times. The girls were old enough to go hiking and do stuff with. A hyper-active toddle threw a monkey wrench into many things we tried to do. He certainly kept (and is still keeping) life interesting.

    I can relate to being the odd one out in the family. I am the oldest of six, all born within about 11 years. With little more than a year between each of the oldest 4, I don’t know how my mother did it. Anyway, being left “in charge” when my parents were busy or gone put up a bit of a resentment barrier. Always having to be the perfect example didn’t help. We are adults now and over it, but I spent my childhood being the odd one out. I wanted to write beck then, but they discouraged it.

    The world works in strange ways. Meeting your husband in West Virginia and then being sent back to Oklahoma was a nice quirk of fate. Fate kept putting my husband and I in each other’s path and then sent us back to my home town for a 7 year Air Force assignment.

    I can drive stick shift, but haven’t done it in ages. All three of our children can. Our oldest daughter loves it and will not get an automatic car. I am just old and lazy and will take automatic any day.

    Congratulations on the success of Prairie Rose Publications. I am sure it has opened the door, and will continue to do so, for new authors trying to get their careers on track. Thanks so much for everything you do. I will have to check out more of the books you are putting out. You deal with Westerns and Medievals which are my favorites.

    1. Hi Patricia!

      Yes, Embry is Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd. And he’s definitely a “herder”–about 4:30 every day, he comes and gets me and leads me to the living room where I am directed to call my husband down from his “man cave” upstairs and we “gather” in the living room for a bit of family time and a snack (the important part!) for Embry. LOL I would love to rescue more, but he’s been our only for so long I don’t think he would appreciate sharing us with another dog–though I do wonder if he’s lonely sometimes.

      Oh, wow! Yes, you did have a big age gap in your first two kids and your last–and with him being a boy, I imagine that was even harder! Boys are so totally different than girls are–my mom never having had a boy of her own, felt like I let Casey get away with too much–but I never ever believed “boys will be boys”–he was just his own person, just like Jessica was. You can’t ever treat them like they’re out of the same mold — which was her way of raising kids. LOL

      I can understand that resentment of being left in charge. My mom told a story about how all the neighbors and families would go to “Blue River” to swim when she was growing up–trouble was, only the men could swim! None of the women or kids could. The men would go off to have their “man time” and the women would be getting the food set out, and the older kids would have to watch the young ones. One of these times, one of Mom’s cousins disappeared. They were all out in the water splashing around, but he was no where to be found. She felt something, and looked down, and there he was, floating by her looking up at her. She thought he was dead. She reached down and pulled him out of the water — she was about 12, and he was maybe 5 or 6– and after that, she couldn’t remember anything else about that day. He was revived, but MG, how traumatic can something be? And to be put in charge of a bunch of excited kids that can’t swim…I tell you, my heart just broke for her when she told that story. It’s not fair. And of course, like you, being the eldest one of her siblings, she was the odd one out. More of a second mother than a sister.

      LOL I would take an automatic any day, too, Patricia, but sometimes I just wish I had a stick shift to drive around for a day or two. LOL

      Thanks so much for your kind words about Prairie Rose Publications. We have enjoyed every minute of what we do, and encouraging authors of all kinds to take the plunge and try their hand at what they love to do.

  14. Good afternoon, Miss Cheryl. Although I’ve known you a while and have written for Prairie Rose, I was a little surprised at some of the things about you. Of course, I knew you were an animal advocate and love you for it. Thanks for sharing more about yourself for all of us, Fillies, friends, and readers. I’ll be glad to get back to Texas and catch up with everyone. I’ve been in California for graduation and some RR to recup from my knee surgery, but I’m rearing to go for the 4th of July. Hugs and much love, Phyliss

    1. PHYLISS! So good to hear from you! Shoot, I figured you knew every last one of these things about me. LOL Oh, yes, get yourself back to TEXAS and rest up from your knee surgery. I bet you can get out on that dance floor and do a jig before long. It’s good to know that is behind you and that you’ve been just taking some good relaxation time for yourself.

      Hugs and love backatcha, dear friend. Have a wonderful Fourth of July!
      XOXO
      Cheryl

  15. Loved getting to know you better. I am a stick shifter too!

    1. Thanks, Melanie! AH! Another one of us out there!

  16. Hi Cheryl! I’m on each of those few people who mourn the inability to buy stick shift vehicles. We’ve got a 17 year old pickup truck that I don’t want to replace because it is a stick.

    I definitely understand about growing up with an unusual name – there aren’t very many Glenda’s around.

    1. Hey, Glenda! Another stick shift driver club member! I totally understand about not wanting to replace it. I would just keep it and buy something else in addition to it. LOL

      No, you’re right, there are not many Glendas. I knew one who went to my sister’s church several years ago. And I do have an aunt GLENNA, which is also unusual! So welcome also to the “weird name club” as well! LOL So glad you stopped by!

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