Darleen's Photo Biography

Dad was a hobby photographer. He turned our downstairs bathroom into a darkroom so he could develop his photos. Here are some pictures he took of our family.--Darleen Bailey Beard


Like most kids, I started out bald and funny looking. Mom says I didn't smell very nice either!

This is my big sister, Sherrie. She's five years older than me. Growing up, she used to say, "I'll always be older than you, smarter than you, and bigger than you."  She was right. She is older than me, bigger than me, and way smarter. She even knows how to set the clock in my van-- something I can't figure out even with the instruction booklet! My sister never would hold still when it came time to trim her bangs.



Sherrie and I all dressed up on Easter Sunday, 1962. Our mom sewed those dresses.

Here we are on Christmas with our dog, Ginger. Shhh, don't tell my mom she's on this web site in curlers,
she'd just die.



Mother's Day 1966

I was raised in Levittown, PA, in the 1960's.  All us neighbor kids used to play flashlight tag, stickball in the street, go sledding, and catch crawdads in pop bottles at the creek. In 1971, I had an amazing, life changing experience--I met my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Jacqui Schickling.  Her classroom was filled with words and writing. She created a school newspaper called the "Hoover Hotline" and we all became reporters, columnists, and editors. We wrote book reports, stories with our spelling words, and wrote and illustrated our very own books. One day, Mrs. Shickling put her arm around me and said, "If you work hard at this, I think you can write a real book when you grow up." And that's just what I've done.  My first book, The Pumpkin Man from Piney Creek, (Simon & Schuster, 1995) is dedicated to my teacher.



Here's our class picture:  I'm in the second row of girls, third from the left. I was very skinny and the tallest girl in my class.  My nickname was "Chicken Legs."  My best friend was Kathy Dyer, she's sitting in the front row to the left of our sign.  She's now a registered nurse, married, and has two kids of her own. We still keep in touch, even though I moved to OK when I was 12 years old.  You should see our phone bills...!


When I was 15 years old, a twister went over my home.  Dad, my dog Brutus, and I ran to our cellar, but Mom wouldn't step out of the house because she had just had her hair styled at the beauty parlor and didn't want it to get all wind-blown.  Little did I know then, that twenty years later, I'd recall that memory and turn it into a picture book called Twister. (Published 1999, Farrar Straus Giroux, Inc.) Just to ease your mind, we made it through the twister just fine and Mom's hair wasn't messed up a bit. She was still pretty as ever.



This is Mom and me in 1986, when I received my bachelor's degree in Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma.  I tried to convince my sister, Sherrie, that now I was smarter than her, but she wouldn't agree.  Some things never change.

Here's Mom, Dad, Sherrie, and I in January, 1996.  Sherrie had just turned forty and I'd just turned thirty-five. I was five months pregnant with my daughter, Karalee. My sister and I always share birthday parties because our birthdays are only six days apart. My birthday is January 24th.  When we were little,mom would always make us pick one present from under our Christmas tree and she would put it up until our birthday. We never liked that idea.



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