Wednesday, 2 October 2013

...And The Whippoorwill Sang



On Welcome Wednesday I have opened my blog to many different sorts of writing. Sometimes it has been my own, sometimes guest posts from an author, and at other times it has been an author interview.

Today, I have a friend visiting from the US who has brought along a character from her memoir...And The Whippoorwill Sang. So, in a sense, it's a character interview. 

But it is a poignantly different type of investigation.

Micki Peluso's account is a recreation of her own experience, the loss of a young teenage daughter a main theme of the writing. It demonstrates how Micki, and her family, have dealt with such sad bereavement.

Doing a character interview can be a fun thing to do that's, often, only vaguely challenging. When the character is from a story that happened in real life, and died in tragic circumstances, it's quite another kind of test for the author to recreate. 
 
Micki Peluso

I'm so pleased that Micki Peluso has allowed us to have a little glimpse of her daughter, Noelle Marie Peluso. As such, Noelle is not really speaking in the present; more like how her life was many years ago before her time on earth was abruptly and shockingly ended and how she connects to her family situation now. Think of the answers being given for both a time in the past, and from a perspective of present interaction. 

Welcome to my part of the world, Noelle. Let's get to know you a little bit.
Can you describe yourself in only six words for my readers, please, Noelle?
I am 14 and in love.

Noelle Marie Peluso
That is quite a description and you are so beautiful in this photo! Where are you currently living?
I live in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in this great haunted 100-year-old farmhouse with my parents, five brothers and sisters and ghosts. I love it here, except for the bats that single me out.


Had you been there all your life?
No, it seems all my life we just keep moving. I even wrote a poem about it. Each time a new baby arrives we have to move to a bigger house, and then mom insisted we leave our house and friends in Long Island, New York and move to Las Vegas, Nevada because of the drug situation. My little sister, Nicole called it ‘Lost Vegas,’ and me and Kelly, my sister and best friend, hated it there. My oldest sister, Kimber, loved it and Mike and Dante like to explore the desert and their high school was cool. My school was in a trailer and I hated it. Mom kinda liked Las Vegas because her best friend lived there, but daddy, like me, also hated it because he couldn't find high paying job like in New York. 

How do you mainly spend your days just now?
Well, we all have chores but I usually skip out on mine. I’m the clown of the family, tricking my brothers and sisters to do my jobs while I keep them laughing at my TV imitations. I do a great Groucho Marx. Then Kelly got me a job with her, babysitting for a bunch of kids. Course I got Kelly to do the work while I played with the little toddlers and babies. I earned money to buy my new school clothes. Mom sews a lot of our clothes and Kim, Kelly, and I love them, but Nicole wants ‘store bought’ clothes. Mom says someone must've switched babies at birth.

You're only barely into your teens but what career path do you think would be a good one to follow?
At 14 there's not much else besides babysitting to do to make money, but I want to be a lawyer when I grow up and have six kids just like my mother. She's the best mom a girl could have and I want to be just like her. She never got to go to college but I will – I have great dreams for my life especially since I fell in love with Chuck. I feel he's my soul mate.


What's your favorite reading material?
I love to go to the park down the country road from our house and read Harlequin romance books. Sometimes I meet Chuck there and we talk. He kissed me for the first time the other day and it was heaven! We know we’re meant for each other.

Young love, indeed! That sounds very mature in some ways, quite sure and definite a statement, and yet at 14 there's still a lot to learn about relatiponships with boys. If you had to change things. What would you do first?
Well, I had a rough time when we first moved here and I went to junior high school. I got depressed because the snotty girls who come from rich families ignored me. I convinced mom I was sick a lot and missed school. She'd make me scrambled eggs and we'd hang out together. She had a similar time in high school and gave me good advice. When kids make fun of you, make them laugh with you and not at you. I realized I was a bit of a comic and took her advice. Soon I was accepted and made many good friends. I became a star basketball player and joined the band, which helped. Mom asked me if I knew the song ‘Long Long Ago, Far Far Away.’ We had just learned it and mom said, then go play that trumpet far far away. Guess you know where I get my sense of humor.

Those are very positive approaches to tackling what can be a very nasty problem. If not Chuck, who or what else would be the love of your life?
I love life. I enjoy each moment. Kelly thought I was nuts one day when we bought new school clothes and then decided to go for a bike ride. I couldn't decide what to wear so I put on layers of the entire summer clothes at once. Kelly's a little too organized and rigid and said she was saving her clothes for a special occasion. I told her I thought a bike ride was special enough. After all, you only live once. I love my family more than anything, but my love for Chuck is new and different and it makes me so happy.

What is your favorite way to travel?
Certainly not traveling in our station wagon, all six kids and our huge St. Bernard, Luna, who upchucked, making everybody else throw up except Dante. Dad got furious, but mom had brought bags for us. Course Luna didn't know how to use them. Mom always looked out the window so dad wouldn't see her grin. But traveling out West in a dilapidated camper built for four was so fun-- at least for me and my brothers. Kelly kept asking if we'd left the country and Nicole cried, wanting to go home. Kim loved it, until we forgot her and left her in the desert at a gas station. Mike laughed but Kim looked shook up even as she claimed she knew we’d come back for her. When I was 12, Grandma took Kelly and me by bus to Canada to visit a Catholic shrine and that was a blast. Lucky for me, Grandma and Kelly had a sense of humor, as well as a lot of shock over my shenanigans.

What is your biggest goal?
My goals were violently taken away from me on August 23, 1981. My friend and I were walking to the park to hear a concert. I begged mom to let me go and paid her a dollar to do the dishes for me. She laughed and finally gave in. The last words I said to her as I ran out the front door, was, ‘Bye Mom.’ I was telling my friend as we walked that I hoped Chuck would be there. That's all I remember. The next 10 days I was between two worlds. I could not move and I heard the doctors say I wouldn’t live. Mom and my family were with me day and night and mom told me I was in an accident but would be all right. I fought to live for my mom and dad and family and began communicating by blinking my eyes for yes and no. I heard the doctors try to convince my parents take me off life support, but they refused. I'd always said if I was paralyzed I would not want to live, but I couldn't let my family down.
On one visit, after seeing tears running down my cheeks, mom whispered in my ear that it was okay if I wanted to go Home and followed the light to Heaven's realm. I felt free at last . . . And soon after I left my body. I know now my goals were met, according to God's will, in my short life. Now my goal is to remain close to my family, appearing to those, especially my 10 nieces and nephews, who have the ability to see, hear or sense my presence. I told the little ones who could see and hear me the clearest that mom would survive her heart attacks. And she did. Now my goal is to wait for my loved ones to come home to me. Time doesn't exist here as it does on Earth. Years are but a second and then we’ll all be together again. And so I wait.

Beautiful answers, Noelle, thank you. 
 
A little fun now for the readers, Noelle. Which do you like best?
Candy or fruit? Candy

City or countryside? Countryside
Reading or walking? Reading
Puccini operas or Rihanna? Neither

Thank you very much indeed, Noelle, for being interviewed today.

...is about:
It is a day like any other, except the intense heat wave has broken and signs of early fall are in the air.

Around the dining room table of her 100 year old farmhouse Micki Peluso's six children along with three of their friends eagerly gulp down a chicken dinner. As soon as the last morsel is ravished, the lot of them is off in different directions. Except for the one whose turn it is to do the dishes. After offering her mother a buck if she’ll do them, with an impish grin, the child rushes out the front door, too excited for a hug, calling out, "Bye Mom," as the door slams shut. For the Peluso’s the nightmare begins.


Micki and Butch face the horror every parent fears—awaiting the fate of one of their children. While sitting vigil in the ICU waiting room, Micki traverses the past, as a way of dealing with an inconceivable future.

From the bizarre teenage elopement with her high school sweetheart, Butch, in a double wedding with her own mother, to comical family trips across country in an antiquated camper with six kids and a dog, they leave a path of chaos, antics and destruction in their wake. Micki relives the happy times of raising six children while living in a haunted house, as the young parents grow up with their kids. She bravely attempts to be the man of the house while her husband, Butch is working out of town.

Hearing strange noises, which all the younger kids are sure is the ghosts, Micki tiptoes down to the cellar, shotgun in hand and nearly shoots an Idaho potato that has fallen from the pantry and thumped down the stairs. Of course her children feel obligated to tell the world.

Just when their lives are nearly perfect, tragedy strikes—and the laughter dies. A terrible accident takes place in the placid valley nestled within the Susquehanna Mountains in the town of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. On a country lane just blocks from the family’s hundred year old haunted farmhouse, lives are changed forever.

In a state of shock, Micki muses through their delightful past to avoid confronting an uncertain future—as the family copes with fear and apprehension.

One of her six children is fighting for life in Intensive Care. Both parents are pressured by doctors to disconnect Noelle, their fourteen-year-old daughter. Her beautiful girl, funny and bright, who breathes life into every moment, who does cartwheels in piles of Autumn leaves, who loves to sing and dance down country roads, and above all loves her family with all her soul. How can Micki let this child go?

The family embarks upon yet another journey, to the other side of sorrow and grasps the poignant gift of life as they begin. . .to weep. . .to laugh. . .to grieve. . .to dance—and forgive.

Buy from: 


Keep up with the book on Facebook:



Find Micki Peluso at: 
http://www.mallie1025.blogspot.com

And now, please watch the tribute to Noelle. See the family, and Noelle within the family. 


Thank you for coming today with your very poignant memoir, Micki. My best wishes to you and your family.

Slainthe! 

50 comments:

  1. Nice interview. I enjoyed 'getting to know you' Micki. Love your blog, Nancy.

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    1. Thank you, Pauline. I'm pleased to have you visit anytime!

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  2. Thanks for coming, Pauline. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. Nan did a wonderful job setting it up.

    Micki Peluso

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  3. Thanks for a fascinating tribute to a daughter I would have loved to call mine and to a mother whose immense love and masterful writing skills keeps her close to her heart.

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    1. I'm so pleased you've appreciated it, Marta. thanks for popping in.

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  4. Thanks, Marta for comoming and commenting. I wanted readers to get the feel for Noelle from her own words, which are all hers except for the last line which is how I feel she is thinking.

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  5. What a wonderful book full of hope, love, understanding, and forgiveness. I can feel the emotion in what I read. Nicely done Micki.

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    1. Jeanette, I'm so glad you enjoyed getting a glimpse of a special girl.

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  6. Wow. Powerful. This is so tastefully done and so open. I feel privileged to have read it. It takes guts to try an interview like this, but it worked. I felt like she was sitting right here talking to me. Thank you.

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    1. T.R. - I agree with you very much. I think it took a lot of guts, too. Thanks for commenting.

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    2. Thanks T.R., I was worried it would sound like a set-up, but I was trying to let Noelle speak in her own words, which she did except for the last few lines. I take your thoughts on this as a high compliment.

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  7. Such a warm and loving interview. You revealed Noelle's personality through "her" answers. Very nicely done.

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    1. Sandy, I appreciate your views on this as I was uncertain that it would work.

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  8. This is the interview of smiles and tears... the answers of a happy Teenager, full of love and laughter. It is a loving and touching and caring person behind all this and this deeply moves me! I loved reading it!!

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    1. My thanks to Sandy and Raani. It's lovely to see you supporting Micki like this. You're welcome to pop in to my blog anytime!

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  9. Thank you for sharing, and bringing Noelle into our lives.

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    1. Jon, thank you for commenting. I think you have the book and already, if read, know Noelle.

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  10. Beautiful and poignant. Micki, you have allowed us to know Noelle just little in this interview. Thank you.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Trish. I want Noelle's story to show happiness more than sorrow. She would have wanted that.

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  11. Well said, Trish. I now know Noelle a little bit, too. Thank you, Jon, for commenting as well.

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  12. There must have been tears when writing this, Nancy; there were when I was reading it... Poignant moments, when Noelle talks of a future that she doesn't know she's going to be denied.

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    1. Actually, I didn't cry when writing it , Nik, but I did when I read it on this site. Some rears just never dry up. Thanks for your insight--you got what I wanted the interview to show.

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  13. Having read the book I was not surprised by the poignancy of this interview. It is a worthwhile read and I am sure that it has saved some lives. We can only wonder what this lovely youngster would be like had she lived. At least her death motivated her mother to write and to share.

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    1. Ken, as always, I value your words and this is no exception. Thanks for taking time to drop by and comment.

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  14. What a beautiful interview. Such a unique way of paying tribute to Noelle. Thank you for sharing!

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  15. Such a lovely interview. Thanks for sharing your precious Noelle with others!

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  16. To Nik, Ken, Cynthia and Marion my thanks for popping in today. It's now time for me to hop off to bed. I'll catch up in the morning, though.

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  17. What an unusual interview with Noelle. Very touching and real. Her soul just leaped out from the page and her bright light shone from the pictures. Thank you for sharing Noelle with us in this way.

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    1. Penelope, I'm glad you enjoyed getting to know a special girl. She tells her story better than me. Thx for taking time to visit and comment.

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  18. I loved the interview with Noelle, even though the end was heartbreaking. A very brave way to tell her story. Thank you.

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    1. Clayton, I appreciate your commenting and value your opinions. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

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  19. How proud you are of Noelle! I would like to have met her, but will have to wait until a more appropriate time. It is difficult to lose a child, to live on without her. When my young brother Frank died, my mother asked God why, then she folded her hands and apologized, saying, "You gave him to me on loan and you took him back again." Mama taught us to trust in God's Will and to love one another as God loves us. Thank you, Micki, for this heartwarming interview with Noelle. I feel as though I've met a new friend.

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    1. Thanks, Sal, it took me a long time to get to where your mother got with losing a child. God and I were not on good terms for a few years, but I finally "got it' even if I don't like it.

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  20. A beautiful girl in so many ways. Thank you for letting me get to know your daughter.

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    1. Thanks, Diane, I'm so glad you dropped by to coment. It means a lot to me.

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  21. Hi, all. I'm so glad you've all been able to pop in and visit this tribute to Noelle. Thank you, Micki, for sharing it with me. Just so everyone knows there have been over 300 clicks on the post over the last 2 days.

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    1. Nan, that's really great!!! I always wonder why people stop but don't post since they are already here. I have 6 or 7 that commented to me but couldn't post here. If there's a way we can add them, I'll send them to you.

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    2. I can cut and past them in, Micki, as one block. Send them to me and I'll have a go. ;-)

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  22. Micki, after reading you book and being familiar with your story, I know it took a great deal of courage to write the interview. You are an immensely strong woman! May you truly be blessed in the years ahead with not only this book but perhaps others to come.

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    1. Thanks, Sharla, I'd like that too, but this book is the only one that matters to me at this time. I'll keep up with the short stories and slice of life and maybe get my story collection together, but I don't see another book in my future--but who knows--I never saw this one.

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  23. Some comments did not show up for some reason or other, so I am adding 3 more and thank the people who commented very much for responding to Micki's post.
    "Dearest Micki, thank you so much for including me in your e-mail regarding your interview. I took a peek, and I cannot describe how I felt afterwards. I am almost speechless, however, my heart is full.
    This is truly a beautiful presentation, and brought your story to life. Noelle was blessed to have such a loving mother and family for the short time she was here, as I know she was an immense blessing to you. Thanks for sharing with us.

    I tried to leave a comment on the blog, but somehow it didn't take.

    As always, Pat Yeager"


    "Very, very touching video at the end. Oh my Lord....may he continue to give you strength and courage and may you find peace knowing that Noelle is in His loving arms.

    Karen Hosein"
    "Micki,
    It's beautiful and so creative. I would never have thought of that. Nicely done!

    Linnea Larsen"

    Thank you once again, Micki, for sharing Noelle on my blog. You're a star!

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  24. Thanks for having me, Nancy. I was touched by all the responses. It makes all the work of writing and publishing worth it --almost :)

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  25. Thank you for your story, Micki, I know ot must have been hard to do this interview, but you did it well and in very good taste. You made a promise to Noelle, and you delivered! I love you!

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  26. Thank you for your story, Micki, I know ot must have been hard to do this interview, but you did it well and in very good taste. You made a promise to Noelle, and you delivered! I love you!

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  27. Thank you Micki for having the insight to write a different style with your book. It must have taken many emotions to get through this but now you have shared Noelle in every way possible keeping your promise. May she always rest in peace and you rest knowing her life is fulfilled with you in it.

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  28. Rosemary, Thanks for your kind words. They mean the world tro me.

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  29. I was lucky enough to go to school with Noelle (she and her friend Wendy were two of my favorite kids...very funny girls). I was always envious of her clear, rosy complexion and shiny, dark hair. I lived very nearby (parents are still on Bloomingrove Rd) and rode the bus with her, her siblings and mine. It was a very sad time for our school. As a full-grown adult now, I myself have been hit several times by drunk drivers- but was very lucky to have survived. Even when you survive, it is traumatizing. It was very beautiful and a "throwback" to read how Noelle lived, very similar to myself in the countryside. Your book was a poignant recount. Thank you for sharing it with the world. I often think of Noelle, and a few other classmates we lost in the early years, and wonder what their lives would be like today. Kelley

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