Class of 1959
Dorothy K. (Dottie) Chilcott Mock
August 15, 1941 - September 3, 2002
Our friend Dorothy, affectionately
known to us as Dotte, wrote an autobiography which was available
for some time on the Internet at the Kansas State Library site.
Since it has been removed, a copy of that autobiography is reproduced
here for your reading pleasure. Bob Hardin, web administrator.
I grew up in Indiana. My hometown was small. We were actually in the country-sandwiched between the tracks of the Wabash and the Pennsylvania railroads and surrounded by farms. Ours was a turn-of-the-century, Victorian-style house with six rooms remodeled to accommodate the coal-burning stove in the living room and the wood-burning stove in the kitchen.
My parents, victims of the depression, never finished high school. My father, a self-trained machinist, worked in a factory. My mother colored pictures with chalk for a local photographer. I was their only child.
There were fourteen kids (seven girls) in my class at school. We went through eight grades in three rooms. My best friend, Rose, was two years older than I was. Although we seldom saw each other at school, after school we were inseparable. Cowboy was our favorite game. We whopped and hollered over the rolling hills, around the railroad tracks and through the farmer's fields. Rose was always Roy Rogers. I was always Roy's wife, Dale. We liked exploring and imagining by ourselves.
We used coffee cans to catch crawdads (crayfish) in a nearby creek and made cucumber boats and hollyhock babies. We used trumpet-vine flowers for "fingernails," and crafted tea sets from acorns. My mother taught us to make thimble cakes and tea for doll parties and paper dolls from greeting card pictures. She taught us how to play chop sticks on the piano and harmonize songs with titles like "My Buddy" and "Moonlight Bay." My father taught us to find wild mushrooms, swim in a bottomless lake, and enjoy the terrifying tales of his favorite radio program: The Inner Sanctum. His love for history and literature whetted my appetite for reading and writing.
Before I could read or write, I made books with pictures cut from old catalogs or magazines. Later, I created greeting cards for my family and friends. At 16, my first published poem entitled A Banner of Bliss appeared in a local newspaper. Then college, teaching, marriage, and children (I had five) became priorities, and twenty years passed before I wrote for publication again. I was thirty-seven.
My husband (a school administrator) and I had a habit of reading at least two books a day to our children (ages three to twelve at that time), and I owned and operated a preschool. Picture books seemed a natural extension of my experience with my own children, my teaching background, and my childhood memories. I wrote twenty of them, and I received more rejections that I cared to count. Then someone told me about denominational publications, we moved to Independence, Kansas, and my success with publication began.
My saleable ideas usually develop from a reaction to everyday happenings. For example, we moved to Kansas during the summer of 1983. One steamy-hot day I noticed my children were wasting water. I jotted down thoughts on water and organized them to show its uses (and inspire thankfulness to God for His gift). That became my first published book: Thank You, God, For Water.
Since then, I've written 10 published books and over 200 published articles, short stories, poems, etc, on a variety of subjects for all age groups. And my reaction to something is at the core of each piece.
We made three moves in the early stages of my writing career. For two years we lived in an apartment. Now I can't imagine trying to write with two adults, five kids, and a dog packed into an apartment. But my family was supportive, and I eventually turned that experience into a nine-book series about six kids living in an apartment complex. Each book in The Good News series took three-to-five months of planning and writing, -three years for nine books. Most of those books came from something Kansas-related.
Here are a couple of examples: For years, folks living in Independence have held a festival called Neewollah (Halloween spelled backwards) during the last week of October. In 1992, as I watched the Neewollah grand parade, I was overwhelmed with the talent it took to make it come together. Someone crafted a wonderfully detailed playhouse. Someone created a giant-size fish float. Band after band boom-ditty-boomed. And several children performed a tap-stepping kind of dance all along the parade route. I was thrilled and enthralled. And my book, The Thanksgiving Parade, grew from that experience.
When our local paper ran a piece about polluted water causing problems somewhere in the area, I turned my reaction to the article into God Is Everywhere. Someone asking me to explain the meaning of Easter, combined with years of Sunday school/Bible School teaching experience, was at the core of The Big Secret. So it went, and on and on, until the nine books were done.
Today, if you visit me during the work day, you're likely to find me in my upstairs office keyboarding. However, that wasn't always the case. For years, my writing time was any time left over any day or night of the week. And my writing place was any empty space in any room of the house I could find. Since our youngest child went off to college, however, I've found more space and more time: time for teaching and writing, time for reading and gardening, and time to travel and collect new experiences-new memories to add to my old memories that will become stories and books for children.
- Provided by Dorothy Mock