estlund ann author
More than you may care to know...
About Annie ,
Annie Estlund, author of For Widows Only!
I, Annie (Thompson) Estlund, was born and reared in Wisconsin and, except for a two-year stint at Cottey College in Missouri in the 1950s, I spent most of my life there until 1994.
The writing bug bit in 1956, when my new husband, Bruce, and I owned (and were co-editors of) a tiny weekly newspaper, The Muscoda Progressive, in southwestern Wisconsin. As co-editor, I was privileged to write important news articles, a humorous weekly column, miles of local "items," AND sell advertising, maintain the subscription list, hand-set type for job printing, run the addressograph, run the job press, pitch in with the huge press and folder when necessary, and clean the office occasionally, AND keep the apartment and family in some kind of order at home. Bruce's load was heavy, too.
With little Cindy looking on from her playpen, and her brother, David, trying to kick his way out of my tummy, we decided in late 1957 that the daily regimen of a small weekly newspaper was a whole lot more stressful than satisfying at that time. Everyone told us we'd look back on those days and the best days of our lives.
Soon we and
our two (woops make that THREE) little ones, C, D and
E (for Eric), moved on to bigger Wisconsin towns and bigger jobs
for Daddy, while Mommy stayed home and tried to manage the house and
family. I continued writing, when time allowed, for
magazines, newspapers and newsletters, gradually honing my craft,
and making a few bucks...very few, actually.
Death...Birth of an Idea
At the age of 29, I began planning a self-help book for widows with my best friend, Pauli, also 29, who had become widowed when her third baby was only 3 months old. We had become lifelong friends while attending Cottey College in Missouri. In spite of our enthusiasm, however, that project soon became a struggle...with me living in Waukesha, a Milwaukee suburb, and Pauli living in Minneapolis. It withered on the vine as we each succumbed to the time required to care for three babies and maintain a home.
Time marched on. I finally received my bachelors degree in journalism, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, at the age of 45, shortly after my youngest departed for college. I had co-authored a book about working mothers that was "almost published" in the '70s, and I wrote 4 (mediocre) romance novels in the '80s, just for fun. But mostly I wrote articles for newspapers, and for regional and national magazines.
After a stint as Public Relations Writer for the Milwaukee Art Museum, I worked as the editor of several area newsletters. In 1986 Bruce and I both retired to fulfill our dreams, to write full time. A few years later we moved up north to our little log cottage on the rocky shores of Lake Michigan in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin, the perfect setting for a couple of inspired writers.
Then "IT" happened. At age 55 I was suddenly widowed. I was completely thrown, and quickly realized that my "study of widowhood" years earlier was of little help to me now. I learned the hard way that only a widow can understand the harsh realities of widowhood well enough to comfort another widow. And I soon knew in my bones that I was destined to write that long overdue book to help as many widows as possible through this trauma.From Day One I began keeping an intimate journal of my turmoil and grief, and soon I began designing what I still think is the perfect book to help widows deal with the agony and challenges of widowhood and life alone.
For Widows Only! is that book. It became available to readers in 2004. Why not read a few excerpts right now. I'm sure you'll agree.
My new man, Bob, and I now make our home in Paradise, known to some as Ft. Myers, Florida. Our second home is "Dutch Treat," a roomy forty-foot Island Trader motorsailer, which usually can be found in and around the waters of Ft. Myers.
However, Bob and I spent the summers of 2002 and 2003 chugging along the 5,340 mile "Great Circle Tour," which took us up the U. S. east coast, mostly on the Intra-coastal Waterway, to Chesapeake Bay, where we lingered and visited with Annie's kids a bit. Then we sailed around New Jersey and up the Hudson River to New York's Erie Canal, where we left Dutch Treat high and dry for the winter.
After a long winter's rest, we put her back in the water and headed north, across Lake Ontario. We enjoyed weaving through Canada's lovely Trent-Severn Waterway, crossing Georgian Bay and meandering through the spectacular North Channel. Then, too soon, it was time to head south, back into the U.S., under the Mackinac Bridge, down the picturesque Michigan shoreline and across the top of Indiana into Chicago's Sag Canal. This was our entry into the country's variable inland river system that slowly carried us to the Gulf of Mexico and back to Ft. Myers.*
Dutch Treat still resides in the canal behind our home, (Anybody wanna buy a boat?) while Bob (who provided the photo for For Widows Only!'s cover) and I readjust to life inside our much less confining home on dry land.**
** "Yes, Bob and I are still speaking to each other, even after all these years."