Growing up in rural Texas during the Great Depression was challenging enough for any family. In Jewel’s case, her challenge was exacerbated by being raised by a verbally and emotionally abusive aunt. Mental anguish for Jewel manifested in her adult life, stemming from this destructive relationship.
Jewel dealt with her emotional pain by writing it down on paper, in an unpublished autobiographical account. Sometime later, she changed the names of the principles involved, switched it to a third person account and submitted it to a publisher who was promoting a writing contest. It was called “The Search For Amy by Julie Dean. (Jewel’s full name was Jewel Dean Wheeler). She received a letter of rejection of her submission. Disappointed, she never tried to revise or resubmit her manuscript. But privately, she still wanted her story told.
I married into Jewel’s family in 1972. My wife, Janice, was Jewel’s daughter-in-law. Jewel always treated us like part of her family. We were always included in all the family gatherings and remained close until her death on November 6, 2016.
Knowing that writing is my “spiritual gift,” Jewel asked me to rewrite her story in the summer of 2016. She gave me her manuscript. Regretfully, I did not begin writing “Nobody’s Child” until three months after Jewel’s death. Because she was not available to me to answer questions concerning the historical, geographic and cultural context of her writing, the novel became a work of fiction. The rural Texas towns named in “Nobody’s Child” are real places, but they were randomly selected by me and are used fictiously.
The historical context of the depression era was readily available to me through research on my computer. Since I did not know any of the principles involved, I was free to develop Jewel’s primary characters and added a few secondary characters. Any similarity to actual people, living or dead is purely coincidental. I also included stories of my own invention that fit into Jewel’s narrative. I mimicked Jewel’s country wisdom as much as possible to do the story telling.
“Nobody’s Child” exists as a “Word” document on my computer, copyright of John Dvorak, September 2017. It is a Christian “faith based” novel consisting of 35 chapters, containing 86,088 words including the summary and information about the authors.