This is Barb Lewis and, a number of years ago, I read a book called The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan, and was recently reminded of it when I heard of a Winlock lady who was winning prizes, a LOT of prizes!
The book is the true story of a mother, Evelyn Ryan, from a very small town, who won many jingle-writing contests in the 1950s and 60s. It's such an interesting and inspirational book about this mom of 10 kids, who, despite so many obstacles, kept a positive attitude about life.
When my friend Rieva won a major trip recently, I asked her to tell me about some of the other prizes. There was an enormous play set for the yard (Rieva's words are gigantic, like seriously huge, two big towers with a wire suspended bridge), tickets to many movies, a trip to Zoo lights in Portland, many CD's, trips to Cirque du Soleil, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Manheim Steamroller, Polar Express train ride in Portland, $1,095, many concerts, the Renaissance Festival in Hillsboro, Ore., and a trip to Disneyland, among other things.
Evelyn worked for a newspaper in her early years and Rieva does now. They both shared the love of cats. Evelyn's cat was talented enough to open door's and Rieva's...well, Rieva's cat made fame by getting sheet-rocked into a wall by construction workers. After she wrote a column about this incident in her newspaper, a publisher asked to include the story in a book that was just published so her cat is famous now!
Their stories are vastly different in a number of ways but come together in their literary gifts and seeing the bright side of things. The type of contests have changed over the years. After Evelyn won her last major prize that helped the family so much, jingle contests were on their way out. Rieva tells me she won the outdoor playset from a raffle but most of her prizes have been from radio call in contests. Lucky dialing, she says!
As I was writing this Rieva sent me a message. She had just won four tickets to Disney Live in Portland! I laughed and said "Perfect ending to my book review!" I told her she should be known as The Prize Winner of Winlock, Wash.! She could write a book and I could review it!