People sometimes wonder about me. Mostly, they wonder about how I got to Paris, France from Shenandoah, Iowa, and why I stayed. Actually, when I was in college in the not all that far away state of Michigan, people wondered, even asked me “how I got out of Iowa”. I would stare at them to see if they were serious and when I had ascertained that they actually were, I would answer: “I walked out. Iowa isn’t a prison, you know.” But of course they didn’t know anything more than their prejudices – for those people, Iowa is a land of corn and pigs and Iowans are hicks. Whoa! Was I ever tempted to fib and tell them that I was from someplace else? Someplace sophisticated, like New York City or San Francisco or Cape Cod? Tempted perhaps, but I never did it. And now I couldn’t if I wanted to because my fellow Iowan and journalist colleague Chuck Offenburger has written a very long piece all about me that details the story of my childhood and my roots in Iowa – and they are deep.
If you are interested in finding out how a girl from a small town in Iowa ends up in Paris leading a glamorous life far from home (think Jean Seberg but I’m a writer, not an actress…), you will find the answers in Chuck’ s article. He decided to write it after attending one of the zoom book chats I gave for my fourth book and first novel, Final Transgression: One Woman’s Tragic Destiny in War-torn France. He liked the book, he liked the reporting I did for the book, he liked my presentation of the book and he especially liked the idea that a former Shenandoahan had not only gone out into the big, wide world but had done it with style (panache, as the French would say). After asking permission to write a profile of me (I immediately said oui), he set out to trace my trajectory, interviewing an impressive slew of friends and family along the way.
In my opinion he did a terrific job. But that’s for you to decide, dear reader. Here’s the link. Now sit back and enjoy the ride! http://offenburger.com/index.php/from-shenandoah-iowa-to-paris-france-what-a-trip-harriet-welty-rochefort-has-taken-a-bunch-of-us-along/