Julie O’Donnell was three years old, and my daughter, Clea, was one when they started playing together. In 1966, we, the Macurdy family, were new in our neighborhood on Siesta Key in Sarasota, FL. My husband, Col. Harold H. Macurdy (Mac), had just retired from twenty-five years in the USAF, and we were living in a sprawling old fixer-upper on Bayou Louise at the north end of the island.  Among our neighbors were Julie’s parents, Jim and Anna O’Donnell, whose divorce was in progress. We continued to socialize with both parents, so we saw Julie a lot. Continue reading



Born into a Methodist family in a rural Tennessee community, my first exposure to religion was in a small Methodist country church, surrounded by my parents, my three sisters and one brother, my aunts, uncles, cousins, and a few neighbors. All were decent, honest, hard-working, law abiding people. We did not have well-educated pastors assigned to our remote circuit, as the smarter pastors went to urban churches. We got the uneducated preachers, and listened to many fire and brimstone sermons, based on the threat of burning in hell forever if we sinned. Continue reading