Dear Lucy: A Memoir


The author received her first diary in 1963 when she was 11 years old, a few weeks before the assassination of John F. Kennedy.   Fifty-six years of diary and journal entries have been woven into a narrative to describe her journey from the tiny logging town of Mapleton Oregon, to Alaska, Oregon, Iowa, and back to Oregon.   This is a story about her quest to find meaning and purpose in life while grappling with questions about theology, spirituality, and her place in the world as a woman.  

Early childhood experiences informed her dreams and passions but, although societal norms were changing, calls for feminism and equality were drowned out by messages from her “perfect” nuclear family and the church.  She began her life with the belief that she was not very smart and that, if she wasn’t careful, she would go to Hell.  Major life choices were based on these assumptions but, when tragedy struck and her world turned upside down, she was forced to grapple with spiritual and moral dilemmas which would inform the rest of her life. 

She was first told that she was “crazy” by a doctor when she was sixteen years old, a message that fed her belief that she was, in some way, weak and in need of protection.   Teenage angst and drama fueled her behavior and she eventually found herself married to a fine Quaker man who, she hoped, would save her from herself.   While they became good friends, friendship alone was not enough to weather the storms of grief and loss, and a time of desperate confusion led to a divorce and a garbled life of very bad decisions.   

She flirted with substance abuse, became emmeshed in a mentally abusive relationship, and fled to the barren fields of Iowa where she found her soulmate and realized her dream of becoming a psychologist.  But the past continued to nip at her heels as she sought to achieve her dream of becoming a comforting presence in the world and she continued to confront the winds of change upon her return to Oregon.     

Phyllis Martin wrote Dear Lucy for her amazing granddaughter Lucy Hays who is destined to become a positive instrument for change in the world. 

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