Mother of ten, grandmother, great-grandmother, fellow musician, author, and the person who taught me how to be a writer, this larger-than-life person has inspired so many people over the course of nearly a century. Today, I’m honored to talk with my own Grandmother, Ruth Scheer.
Grandma, how did you begin your writing career?
When I was about 13 years old, I wrote a poem about my little brother. I penned a couple of verses, which really appealed to my musical sense—all those lovely rhymes at the end of the lines. I decided I wanted to write and describe lovely things. As a writer, I hope to inspire people to do beautiful things that stem from the soul.
You’ve published several wonderful children’s books. Tell us about your favorites.
My husband and I decided to start Scheer Delight Publishing with Mennonite press. All the books I’ve published are exactly as he and I envisioned them. I’ve had several fabulous illustrators, including my college friend Faye Grable. She illustrated my zoo trilogy: Hippopotamus My Friend, Giraffe at the Zoo, and Elephant’s Trunk. I think they’re darling.
Next, we turned to my holiday storybook trilogy. The first book, The Mouse and the Angel, is a Christmas story in which the mouse represents the least of these, and the angel represents the most wonderful creation. I work them into the story of Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus on the night that he was born.
I wrote another story, Tanya’s Easter Bunny, in honor of my youngest daughter who was four at the time, who was worried that the Easter Bunny wouldn’t find us at our holiday cabin. I wanted to reassure her he wouldn’t have any trouble!
The last story in the series, The Halloween Ghost, was illustrated by Tanya’s own daughter Heather Deiter, a very talented artist.
Possibly the crowning story of my career, the one of which I’m most proud, is The Golden Dream. I wrote this poem when I was twenty as the antithesis to Edgar Allan Poe‘s work The Raven. My story is the exact length with the same rhyme scheme and verse structure. However, where The Raven ends with “hopelessness,” I end with “hopefulness.” My illustrator Faye Grable drew the most beautiful pictures to accompany it. The story is about a little blind girl who represents humanity, visited by an old bird sitting on the lamp post who represents God, and a breeze that represents Mother Nature. It’s an ethereal, lovely story of hope. Although the little girl never regains her sight, she seeks the truth when the golden bird flies to her bedside and drops a golden feather into her hand.
Ruth Scheer graduated with honors from Wichita State University in 1948 with a major in English and minors in both music and French. She aspires to be a Grandma Moses figure, inspiring children to read that which is good and beautiful and to reach their full creative potential.