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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Fife

ReadingMagic - Are you related to any writers? Did you read any of their books as a kid? - Day 17

Updated: Feb 1, 2021

Dale Fife was my Great Aunt. I never knew her, which is sad, because her writing is delightful. To the best of my knowledge that's where my middle name came from. But my parents split when I was only 5, I was raised by my mother & stepfather, and I just assumed that my namesake had died a long time ago. Considering my paternal Grandfather, her brother-in-law by marriage was born in 1901 and died nearly 10 years before I was born & was preceded by his wife who was seven years younger than him, I can see why I always just assumed Great Aunt Dale was in the same realm as them. Being the youngest in the family, when I left home there were a few items of my father's that had remained with the house that I appropriated. My Grandmothers autographed copy of Weddings in the Family by Dale Fife was one of those items.

I never read it as a kid. I just knew that my great aunt had been an author. This would have remained undiscovered upon my bookshelf were it not for our nightly read aloud tradition. Taking your turn picking in our family sometimes catches you by surprise. I tend to pull about a half dozen books off of the shelves when its my turn & go with what feels good. It was probably about 8 years ago or so now that this was one of those books. It's DELIGHTFUL! Its a novel, but it's written in large part autobiographically. There's an Odile in the book. That was Aunt Dale. Her given name was Odelia Hollerbach. The writing reminds me very much of Louisa May Alcott, only with more humor. I haven't read it since the time I read it with my kids, but I'd love to read it again. I'd actually love to narrate it. When I read it, I reached out to find out if she had any living children who I could connect with & got in touch with her son Duncan. It was from him that I found out just how long lived my great aunt was. She lived to 103 years old & died after I was already married with kids! Duncan has since passed away as well & I need to get in touch with his widow to see if we can work something out on it. I'd love to gift the audio to all my cousins, because it really is a great story, even if she's not a "blood relative," I felt very connected with the story as I read it, connecting me with grandparents I never met.

Dale also wrote other books - including a sequel to this one that I need to get my hands on. The Married Sisters - I think is the title. She also wrote several kids books & it runs in my mind that we had one she wrote when I was a kid with a little dog on the cover. (A Dog called Dunkel maybe? - a little help here older siblings / cousins).

She also had a series about a boy named Lincoln that I found the cover to here:

Dale Fife is also the great aunt of my cousin J.W. Elliot, who I narrated Walls of Glass for. Between the three sides of my family growing up (including my stepfather's nieces & nephews) I have 102 first cousins. 2 of which I know for certain are published authors. Out of a hundred cousins, I'm sure I've got another one or two with the title "author" next to their name. Give me a shout if you read this. I'll give you the cousin special. (J.W. & I will be doing a live reading from Walls of Glass on the 20th of this month at 10 AM Mountain time if you'd like to attend. Details will be forthcoming).

What about your family? Any lesser known authors we should all know about? Are you descended from Charles Dickens?


Look! I Found the cover I was looking for! This is definitely the other book by her we had growing up:

1 Comment

Feb 01, 2021

Since we're related, I'm related to the same authors that you are. I've never read that book by Dale Fife. I guess I'll have to give it a read one of these days.

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