Author Archives: Mae Schick

Download “A Life” For Yourself

 

LOHO_fullcover_R5 front onlyA Life of Her Own – Five Tales of Homestead Women is a collection of stories about women homesteaders carving out their futures on the high plains of Montana.

pointing+hand+vintage+image+graphicsfairy2It is a free ebook for download Friday, May 27th and Saturday,May 28th. 
Click here to download.

Here is a Question: Did Women Homesteaders at the turn of the 20th century have more freedom than today’s working women?

The longing for a free life brought courageous women homesteaders to the Western lands. For single women in the United States, the Homestead Act signed by Abe Lincoln offered fantastic opportunities. Not so for the women in Canada who wanted to be independent. However, even some Canadian women took advantage of America’s land offer.

 Today obtaining a land grant would be impossible. Many a single working mother has to struggle just to meet the monthly rent let alone imagine owning a home. The hard-fought struggles of the early settler women may seem ancient, an archaic history that we have successfully moved beyond. But is that true? Yes, in some ways. At least for the moment, women have access to contraceptive methods and prescriptions. They don’t go to jail for sending birth control materials through the US Mail. At least for now.

I wonder if homestead women were paid equal value for the crops they produced. Today, a woman’s work is often paid less than their male counterparts. Yet, a woman pays more for shoes and clothing than a man. Hmm. Maybe women would benefit from dressing as men!!

In today’s society, women’s fight for fair treatment continues. Unlike some of our European counterparts who are working women that can have up to a year off with pay after the birth of each child. Fathers are released from work to have time with their newborns. How many weeks do American women get after a child is born? None!

Has there been progress for the women of today? History tells us the Homestead Act was a watershed for women who had the right to claim land in their own name.

A Life of Her Own – Five Tales of Homestead Women is my collection of stories of women homesteaders carving out their futures on the high plains of Montana. 
pointing+hand+vintage+image+graphicsfairy2 It is a free ebook for download Friday, May 27th and Saturday,            May 28th. Click here to download.

1-MZ Book signing-002Enjoy!    Mae Schick

 

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Minna Has Arrived

Minna_6x9_EF3 (2)

pointing+hand+vintage+image+graphicsfairy2Minna for KINDLE is FREE FOR ONE DAY ONLY ON SATURDAY APRIL 9th. CLICK HERE ON SATURDAY.

My full-length novel Minna is available in ebook Kindle edition and in Print Edition for those who much prefer turning pages, and also in Goodreads

In my new novel, Minna, a  young  woman on the run from Montana explores the streets of Seattle with her new friend Cosmo. Minna spies a sign in Pikes’ Market: “Fresh Horsemeat from Montana.” She had only recently run away from Montana and her mother who runs the local bakery! For her Seattle is another world, with some things more ominous than just people eating horses! I hope you will enjoy her journey in the World War II years as Minna navigates her newly discovered world, survives, and prevails!

Click Here to learn more about Minna.

Horsemeat!  You could eat unrationed horsemeat during WWII, but fifteen hundred years ago you could be ordered to eat just bread and water for the sin of eating horsemeat! Pike Horsemeat

In Ireland in the year 732 A.D Pope Gregory III in his Collectio Canonum Hibernensis, a collection of rules for the Irish, declared it a sin to eat horses because they are “filthy and accursed.” It was rumored Gregory III was planning to go to war and would need horses. The punishment was severe for violators. Three years of penance and just bread and water was necessary to acquire forgiveness and make right one’s relationship with God. However, it still remained a common practice to eat horses during ancient religious rituals in the British Isles.

In America our love of “Black Beauty” trumps practicality. Horses are our companions. Even if we don’t train or ride them we like seeing them run in a field. We admire their proud countenance and the iconic independence they represent and don’t relish them on our platters. As one NPR commentator  said,

“It’s okay to kill a ton of chickens and cows, but kill a horse? By golly, there’s something wrong with you!”

***  More  ***

 

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Teacher! Hide your Husband!

Minna_6x9_EF3 (2)News Flash       “Big Majority Opposes Married Women in Industry: Nation Overwhelmingly Is Against Faire Sex in Jobs If  Husband Is Employed” – Billings Gazette 

The discriminatory practice, known as the “Marriage Bar”, was instituted to avoid depriving “single girls of opportunities.” In Anaconda, Montana, the school superintendent ruled in 1899, that since “Mrs. Foley [who had been employed as a teacher] is married,” [she must not be] “in need of the salary which she draws from the schools.” She lost the position.

In 1913, Mrs. W. J. Christie of Butte argued that “the test of employment should be efficiency and nothing else.” Mrs. James Floyd Denison agreed: “When a married woman has the desire to go from home and to enter the school room . . .it must be because her heart and soul are in the teaching work. Under those circumstances, if she is allowed to teach, the community will be getting her very best service.”

Country schools were desperate for teachers and that was to the benefit of Lilian Peterson, a widow with six children. The school boards of Missoula and Kalispell would not hire her because the marriage bars extended to widows with children. Married homesteader, Maggie Gorman Davis in Choteau County, in 1913 found a position at the Carter School.

The editor of the Helena Independent argued in 1927, “Married women whose husbands are invalids or insane and unable, therefore, to provide a living for the family, should be exempted from the marriage bars.” This was in response to the Billings School Board’s decision to institute the marriage bar. He added, however, that “men should take care of their wives. Single women with their living to make should not be penalized by having positions open to them otherwise taken by women who have married failures.” 

That didn’t stop Jennie Bell Maynard in 1913, a teacher from Plains, from marrying [failed] banker Bradley Ernsberger. They just kept their wedding a secret, and she continued to use her maiden name and teach until they moved to Lewistown. or Jennie Bell Maynard, a teacher from Plains, from marrying [failed] banker Bradley Ernsberger. They just kept their wedding a secret, and she continued to use her maiden name and teach until they moved to Lewistown.

Many women teachers married secretly, or didn’t get married in order to keep their jobs! In 1913, the law didn’t stop Jennie Bell Maynard, a teacher from Plains from marrying banker Bradley Ernsberger. They just kept their wedding a secret, and she continued to use her maiden name and teach until they moved to Lewistown.  In 1914, teacher Adelaide Rowe from Butte eloped with Theodore Pilger to Fort Benton. They hid their marriage for three years.

During World War II, married women were invited back into the classroom. But it was meant to be a short-term solution. M.P. Moe, the Secretary of the Montana Education Association said in 1942, “1,500 married teachers are in the schools ‘for the duration only.’” The National Education Association, however, advocated for married women teachers, arguing that if they “were good enough . . . in wartime . . . they’re good enough in peace time.” In 1953, the Billings School Board lifted the marriage bar due to the teacher shortage and because of the postwar baby boom,  However, this was not true for declining enrollment school districts,

Also, in 1953, the Bigfork School Board adopted two salary schedules. Single teachers were paid on a higher scale than married teachers whose husbands worked. “Ideally,” Superintendent C. E. Naugle explained, “everyone would be treated in the same manner. However, we are not dealing with an ideal situation, we are dealing with reality,” and cuts should be made “where it will hurt the least.”

In 1955, Montana attorney general Arnold Olsen declared that “Marriage is not a ground for dismissal” and that “teacher contracts could not discriminate against married teachers.” Yet, as late as 1964 the Anaconda school district supported hiring single women and married men over married women. Women who were married were offered contracts ONLY if there were no single or male teachers available.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act was responsible for the end to the discrimination. Local school districts were required by law to treat married female teachers as they treated married male teachers. This occurred fifty years after education reformers, Mrs. Christie and Mrs. Denison, advocated for teachers to teach based on their ability and not their marital status.

Source – Montana Historical Society from Women’s History Matters

 

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“A Life of Her Own” collection is Free on Friday & Saturday, February 12-13th

LOHO_fullcover_R5 front onlyHere is your chance to get all five of my short stories at once- for free. This includes Mirna- A Life of Her Own, Sophie Writes From Montana, Nora Takes A Chance, Lizzie the reluctant One and Mrs. Andersson Gets Her Wish. Each portrays a different adventure inspired by true stories of Western homesteader women.

Just click this link to the Amazon Kindle webpage, then click Buy Now with 1-Click, download and enjoy reading.  You can also click Give As A Gift”

If you don’t have a Kindle just click this link and download Kindle for PC for free.

When you are done I would greatly appreciate your adding your review to the Kindle ordering page –  Thanks, Mae Schick

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Contraception Since 1873 – You’ve Come a Long Way Baby?

“You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby,”… or Have You? “Male sheaths (condoms) and “rubber cap over the uterus (diaphragm) were the contraceptives of choice for Victorian women in 1892. Dr. Clelia Duel Mosher, a John Hopkins graduate who later became an assistant professor at Stanford, conducted the extant survey that included over 2000 participants.

Twenty years earlier, with the enactment of the Comstock Act of 1873, it became a federal offense to send such articles through the mail. It was illegal to mail “any article or thing designed or intended for the prevention of conception or procuring an abortion.” In addition, many states passed the Comstock Laws outlawing the use of contraceptives, or distributing contraceptive information.

Contraception didn’t disappear despite the Social Purity Movement and its leader, Anthony Comstock, a postal inspector, who believed contraception was an immoral practice that promoted prostitution. It went underground. Drug stores euphemistically sold condoms as “rubber goods” and cervical caps as “womb supporters.”

Dr. Molly Atwater, a Montana physician in the early 1900’s, carefully selected a reliable person at the Dillon pharmacy who would agree to sell “rubber goods.” As a doctor, she tended to women at risk for another pregnancy, and other women who tried to, or did commit suicide rather than face one more childbirth.

The Birth Control Movement, initiated in 1914, fought to increase access and legality to contraception in the United States. By the 1930’s their persistence resulted in legal victories that weakened the anti-contraception movement. Several years later, in 1942, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America was formed to provide nationwide clinics to promote women’s health and contraception.

But, today, our current US Congress continues to debate the viability of Planned Parenthood with the intent to defund it. Have we, as the Virginia Slims, slogan launched on July 22, 1968 by Phillip Morris says, “Come (such) a Long Way, Baby?” What do you think?

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A New Year for Women of Montana

cropped-16-DSC068473.jpgThis winter is pretty cold and snowy here in Bigfork, Montana. We have much to be thankful for living in our warm houses. Imagine how much we live a life of luxury compared to women homesteaders of Montana in the 1890’s living in a shack on a homestead farm!

You can read about these women by downloading two my two stories for FREE from my Amazon Kindle sit today, Friday, January 15th,  and Saturday, January 16th.

pointing+hand+vintage+image+graphicsfairy2    You can read Sophie Writes from Montana and Nora Takes A Chance on a Kindle, or any Personal Computer or smartphone with the Kindle App. I would greatly appreciate it if you write a brief review of the stories at the Amazon Kindle sites.

Best wishes for the New Year! – Mae Schick

 

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A New Year for Women of Montana

cropped-16-DSC068473.jpgThis winter is pretty cold and snowy here in Bigfork, Montana. We have much to be thankful for living in our warm houses. Imagine how much we live a life of luxury compared to women homesteaders of Montana in the 1890’s living in a shack on a homestead farm!

You can read about these women by downloading two my two stories for FREE from my Amazon Kindle sit today, Friday, January 15th,  and Saturday, January 16th.

pointing+hand+vintage+image+graphicsfairy2    You can read Sophie Writes from Montana and Nora Takes A Chance on a Kindle, or any PC or smartphone with the Kindle App. I would greatly appreciate it if you write a brief review of the stories at the Amazon Kindle sites.

Best wishes for the New Year! – Mae Schick

 

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A Life of Her Own – FREE Dec 11th and 12th

LOHO_fullcover_R5 front onlypointing+hand+vintage+image+graphicsfairy2FREE for download as an ebook Friday Dec 11th – Saturday Dec 12th. Just in time for weekend reading. Includes all five stories below.

What happens when a single woman homesteader in Montana protects a dark secret, or when another is pursued by angry homesteader’s wives? I answer these questions and more in A Life of Her Own, my collection of five homestead women stories of suspense and imagination. Click below!

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Mrs. Andersson Gets Her Wish

Andersson R6Mrs. Andersson has it all.  Or does she? Her homesteader neighbors love her. Were it not for Mrs. Andersson Mirna might never have met dear Mr. Clawson, and Bertha might have gone to jail for trying to kill Sophie. Mrs. Andersson runs a lucrative business that keeps her occupied at odd hours. During hot Montana afternoons, she entertains her neighbors on the wraparound porch of her two-story house. She gives her comforting arms and soothing words to folks in distress, and never asks a prying question. She is fair-minded, doesn’t jump to conclusions, and never gossips. Her heart holds many secrets, including her own. There is one thing she doesn’t have, and can’t have. She’s not one to agonize what is. If you asked her outright she’d say- “Well, it certainly ain’t the end of the world, is it?”  But . . . maybe it is!

Mirna – A Life of Her Own

MIRNA_final_200x300After fleeing terrifying circumstances in Indiana, Mirna takes up a homestead in central Montana. Before long she crafts a new life that brings her both income and new friends, but she lives with the nagging fear that this could be shattered.

When danger does appear outside the door of her shack, she prepares herself. She is on her own except for Dog who lies at her feet, and the cocked rifle in her lap. What is out there beyond her flimsy walls? Will she be able to handle what comes through her door?

Sophie Writes From Montana

SOPHIE_cover_r4Sophie is a sophisticated, attractive young woman who lives in Chicago. She enjoys all the amenities of a big city – interesting and challenging job, museums, art galleries, concerts, libraries, smart shopping, the lakefront and even public transportation. Felix, an outstanding young lawyer, admires her, and may even want her for his wife. Still, she wants to take up a homestead in central Montana.

How can she fit into that hard life? Can she  build a shack, ride a horse, plough, plant and harvest her field, kill and cook chickens, dig a well, or milk a cow? She has no experience in any of these things. Yet she has the brave spirit of an explorer. If Felix will not be there to help her  . . . who will?  

Nora Takes A Chance

NORA_cover_r4“I am sixty-two years old…I am active yet and more active than most younger women, so please think of me as physically able to endure. I have the courage and determination, and I am sure if any other lone woman can do it, I can too.”

– From Montana Women Homesteaders: A Field of One’s Own

Nora, also sixty-two, is in serious trouble. Nora has left her conventional life “back East” to live free on Montana’s open plains. But maybe this time she has bitten off more than she can chew. As she rides alone toward Lewistown she talks to Maggie, her horse, in a “highfalutin” way to give herself some intellectual stimulation. Suddenly Maggie bucks her right into a crisis. How can she get herself out of this one she wonders?

Lizzie the Reluctant One

LIZZIE_R2v1What will become of lovely, gentle Lizzie from Bessarabia? At fourteen she was pushed away by her papa and sent with her unkind brother Adam to homestead in America.  Reared to believe that men are in charge, she submits to Adam’s rules and slaves in the fields alongside him without question. He hires her out when he doesn’t need her on the farm.

At seventeen, Adam gets her a job, in town, and she experiences freedom for the first time. It is a blow when, Adam retrieves her to tend to his growing family and his unstable wife. She is conflicted between her duty to her family and her need for independence. What will Lizzie do? Will she be able to break free of her brother’s oppressive control and make a life of her own?

. The printed copy of the collection is available for $7.95 for those who prefer to turn a book’s pages.

I welcome you and ask you for to write your unbiased review of the collection on my

A Life of Her Own covers wide territory, from the tense tale of the practical Mirna – A Life of Her Own, to the vivacious journalist in Sophie Writes from Montana who faces open and violent confrontation because she is single. Another  woman  in her sixties is the hero in Nora Takes a Chance. She leaves behind her family in Ohio to encounter risks greater than she could have imagined.  Lizzie the Reluctant One is bound by family and duty against her will. The compassionate catalyst of the community harbors a deep secret in Mrs. Andersson Gets Her Wish.

 Each of the five tales of pioneer women are about change and facing disadvantageous circumstances and danger.  The tales are inspired by lengthy research about the lives of  women homesteaders of the early 1900s in Montana and the Dakotas. As the grandchild of homesteaders, I am pleased to shine one more light on this important era in our American women’s history.

pointing+hand+vintage+image+graphicsfairy2Amazon sites, or leave a Comment below-

 

 

 

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A Life of Her Own

What happens when a single woman homesteader in Montana protects a dark secret, or when another is pursued by angry homesteader’s wives? I answer these questions and more in A Life of Her Own, a collection of five stories of suspense and imagination.

LOHO_fullcover_R5 front onlyA Life of Her Own covers wide territory, from the tense tale of the practical Mirna – A Life of Her Own, to the vivacious journalist in Sophie Writes from Montana who faces open and violent confrontation because she is single. Another  woman  in her sixties is the hero in Nora Takes a Chance. She leaves behind her family in Ohio to encounter risks greater than she could have imagined.  Lizzie the Reluctant One is bound by family and duty against her will. The compassionate catalyst of the community harbors a deep secret in Mrs. Andersson Gets Her Wish.

 Each of the five tales of pioneer women are about change and facing disadvantageous circumstances and danger.  The tales are inspired by lengthy research about the lives of  women homesteaders of the early 1900s in Montana and the Dakotas. As the grandchild of homesteaders, I am pleased to shine one more light on this important era in our American women’s history.

pointing+hand+vintage+image+graphicsfairy2Download A Life of Her Own as an ebook on Amazon Kindle for $2.99, or FREE if you have  Kindle Unlimited. The printed copy of the collection is available for $7.95 for those who prefer to turn a book’s pages.

I welcome you and ask you for to write your unbiased review of the collection on my Amazon sites, or leave a Comment below-

 

 

 

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Mrs. Andersson

Mrs. Andersson Gets Her Wish is the story of a widowed woman homesteader. Like the woman homesteaders in my previous short stories, she works tirelessly to be independent. At the same time she is stalwart soul of her community. Mrs. Andersson  supplies a liquid product that is much appreciated by many in those dreary days of hard toil, as well as in the dark, cold winters.

She fills out the final details of her life as if she anticipates moving her soul onto the next stage. She is a descendant of one of the families who sought to venture west to escape repression, and have a chance to make it in a new land. Her life impacts her whole community, in the form of her many acts of kindness. Her neighbors gather together to find that in so many ways she has touched and enriched each one of their lives.

This heroine story is the fifth of the collection of woman homesteader short stories to be published in time for before Christmas entitled A Life of Her Own. Together you will find that the stories are alike as colored glass in a mosaic . . . each with its own special shape and brilliant color.

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Download the ebook on Amazon Kindle for 99 cents or FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

 

 

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