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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Michigan author tells her frosty life story

How do you do laundry when you have no electricity and the only source of water is the river at the bottom of the hill, which is under three feet of ice for at least half of the year?
Rural Livingston County resident Linda Mae Usher has written her autobiography - A Shiver of Memories: My Life in the Slow Lane. Born in Houghton Lake, Michigan, she lived in four states (Michigan, Arizona, Oregon, and Alaska) by the time she finished first grade. She later moved back to each of those states again (Arizona, Oregon, Alaska, and Michigan).
"I wrote my book because people always seemed to be fascinated with my life and how we managed, especially in Alaska, and because I always wanted to tell the whole story, how we got from here to there to there, all the background information."
Usher spent more than 27 years in Alaska, "so far from the beaten path, we weren't even sure there was one." She lived for a time without electricity, indoor plumbing, telephones, and television, and had minimal contact with anyone outside her family.
In her book, she details home schooling, making root beer and ice cream, getting water from the river when it would be -50 degrees or colder for weeks at a time, cutting down trees and building a log home with her husband, raising three children, etc.
"The title - A Shiver of Memories - just popped into my head one night as I tried to get to sleep. The more I considered it, the more it seemed to fit. I looked for a definition of 'shiver' to explain it but couldn't find one that worked, so I wrote my own, to introduce the book: 'A shiver can be an all-consuming, teeth-rattling shaking, when you're thoroughly chilled, or a sudden inelegant spasm caused by a wayward cool breeze. Or it can be that little electrical tingle that courses unseen along your spine - a shiver of dread or joy, premonition or happiness. It can be caused by the touch of a loved one, or by the absence of a loved one. A whisper in your ear . . . a memory . . . "
To purchase A Shiver of Memories: My Life in the Slow Lane, search by title or author at, or you may order it directly at

Julie Jacobson Hines
Local News Editor
48 W. Huron, Pontiac, MI 48342
(248) 745-4632 / (800) 260-2298
Twitter: juliejacobsonh

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