The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio

How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less

Book - 2001
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Baker & Taylor
A woman describes her mother Evelyn's struggles with poverty in the 1950s as she tries to build a happy home for her ten children, with the help of wit, poetry, and prose during the contest era of the 1950s and 1960s. 75,000 first printing.

Baker
& Taylor

The author describes her mother Evelyn's struggles with poverty in the 1950s as she tried to build a happy home for her ten children, with the help of wit, poetry, and prose during the contest era of the 1950s and 1960s.

Simon and Schuster
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio introduces Evelyn Ryan, an enterprising woman who kept poverty at bay with wit, poetry, and perfect prose during the "contest era" of the 1950s and 1960s. Stepping back into a time when fledgling advertising agencies were active partners with consumers, and everyday people saw possibility in every coupon, Terry Ryan tells how her mother kept the family afloat by writing jingles and contest entries. Mom's winning ways defied the Church, her alcoholic husband, and antiquated views of housewives. To her, flouting convention was a small price to pay when it came to securing a happy home for her six sons and four daughters. Evelyn, who would surely be a Madison Avenue executive if she were working today, composed her jingles not in the boardroom, but at the ironing board. By entering contests wherever she found them -- TV, radio, newspapers, direct-mail ads -- Evelyn Ryan was able to win every appliance her family ever owned, not to mention cars, television sets, bicycles, watches, a jukebox, and even trips to New York, Dallas, and Switzerland. But it wasn't just the winning that was miraculous; it was the timing. If a toaster died, one was sure to arrive in the mail from a forgotten contest. Days after the bank called in the second mortgage on the house, a call came from the Dr Pepper company: Evelyn was the grand-prize winner in its national contest -- and had won enough to pay the bank. Graced with a rare appreciation for life's inherent hilarity, Evelyn turned every financial challenge into an opportunity for fun and profit. From her frenetic supermarket shopping spree -- worth $3,000 today -- to her clever entries worthy of Erma Bombeck, Dorothy Parker, and Ogden Nash, the story of this irrepressible woman whose talents reached far beyond her formidable verbal skills is told in The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio with an infectious joy that shows how a winning spirit will triumph over the poverty of circumstance.

Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, c2001
ISBN: 9780743211222
0743211227
9780743273930
0743273931
Branch Call Number: 977.114 R958p
Characteristics: 351 p. : ill. ; 22 cm

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WVMLStaffPicks Jan 22, 2015

Do you love to enter contests? Before today's era of sweepstakes, the heyday of contests of the 1950s and 1960s required entrants to compose witty poetry, prose and jingles. Meet Evelyn Ryan, who defied her Church, alcoholic husband and society's views of housewives, by keeping her family out of the poorhouse with her winning ways.

e
erinsnest
Jul 04, 2012

Started June 29, finished July 2, 2012. Had to read this one in record time, to get it back to the library before I went on holidays! This was the real life of an amazing but ordinary woman. I guess depression was not heard of in her day! She was so smart in so many ways and did an amazing job of raising her 10 children. I think her accomplishment would be equal to, if not greater than, climbing Mount Everest! (But bananas in the dryer! hilarious!)

c
clawedK
Jan 19, 2008

This was a wonderful book, about a really brave, smart and funny lady who held her family together through some pretty grim times, as well as a fascinating look at 1950s pop culture and the contest mania that swept through it. Highly recommended!

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