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“Portrait of Betty” on National Museum Day

September 20, 2016

bettyNational Museum Day is Saturday, September 24th, and the Museum of Art and Archaeology is hosting an open house featuring the portrait exhibition on display in the galleries, with a special museum display of some of Betty Hodgman’s treasures and personal items. These items were provided by One Read author, George Hodgman, and are accompanied by this statement about the collection:

This cabinet of curiosities includes many objects of particular significance to the world of my mother, Betty Hodgman, and to the memoir, Bettyville. The tiny map of Monroe County is a commemoration of the place my mother lived almost all her life, first in Madison, where she was born in 1922, and later in Paris where she resided after 1972.

Betty was not only an avid collector of antiques and old things, she was a conservator of objects important to her family. One of her passions was antique hat pins and she kept small vases full of them in our living room and on the bureau in her bedroom. Note the blue baby shoes hanging from the pins. I discovered these tiny shoes, which I once wore, wrapped in tissue and carefully preserved in our basement after my mother’s death.

Betty also loved cloissone—vases, ash trays, napkin rings, bowls– and kept a large collection of these treasures on view in the living room of her home in Paris, Missouri. Although the hat pins and cloissone were important to her, perhaps her favorite objects (and mine) were two small figurines of a pair of merry Chinese children purchased for her by my father for ten dollars in Chinatown in Chicago when he was a salesman in the early years of their marriage.  Value to my mother was always a personal, emotional thing, never merely the figures on a price tag. She also loved the tiny gold shoes shown here. They will be returned to their place on a marble-topped stand in our entry hall after the close of this exhibition.

The photograph of my parents when young was taken at a New Year’s Eve celebration at the Moberly Country Club in the mid-sixties.

Most resonant perhaps is the oil painting of the pink roses that she had done for our living room by a local artist when we moved to Paris. At that time, she transplanted two pink rose bushes which had grown in her mother’s yard for decades, carefully nourished with well water and coffee grounds, to our new home. They still survive and are easily more than fifty years old. So many things in our home—wall paper, decorative plates, roses, the carpet—refer to her mother’s flowers. They are, to me, the dominant image in my mother’s world and symbolize her love for Mammy and for her home. Those original roses still grow in our yard and I try to look after them with care.

 The antique brush and mirror belonged to Betty’s mother. The silver cranes– which fascinated me as a child– were a wedding gift from my father’s aunt, Sade Sizer of Kenilworth, Illinois. They stand on the piano that my mother played for decades and she could look at them during her hours and hours of practice, her reflection shining back to meet her gaze. I remember her often there at that piano.

The deck of cards refers, of course, to bridge, one of my mother’s favorite pass times. She played in bridge groups in Moberly and Paris for more than a half century with many of the same partners. Despite her illness, she was—and this was a special gift—able to play bridge relatively well three weeks before her death at a luncheon at our home with her old friends.

On bad days there was the movie “Dirty Dancing” which never failed to uplift her. Some of those days came during her chemotherapy during the last year of her life. One of the photographs shows her, from behind, waiting at Boone Hospital for a treatment.

 I brought her the Louis Vuitton scarf from Paris where I bought it in a boutique on the Rive Gauche. I’m not sure she ever wore it. She had the tendency to guard her special things rather than wear them out. She did, however, wear the bedroom slippers featured here day after day during the last year of her life. They are of great sentimental value as it seems they traveled with us through a million miles of difficult experience. To me they are as valuable as gold and more beloved than any precious substance that I might have inherited.

I hope you will think of Betty as you peruse this display.

                                                            –George Hodgman

Please come to the Museum of Art and Archaeology to visit the “Portrait of Betty” display Saturday, September 24th, and see the collection of invaluable items George Hodgman is sharing with our community.

Saturday, September 24 at 1-3 p.m.

Columbia, Museum of Art and Archaeology, Mizzou North, 115 Business Loop 70W



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Program Canceled & Rescheduled

September 13, 2016

The program “The Development of the LGBT Movement and the HIV/AIDS Crisis in Mid-Missouri” has been canceled for Thursday, Sept. 15.

It has now been rescheduled for next Thursday, Sept. 22. Same time, same place!

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Author’s Talk With George Hodgman

September 13, 2016

George-Hodgman-author-photo-credit-Sigrid-Estrada-copyJoin us to hear author George Hodgman speak about returning home to Paris, Missouri to care for his aging mother, and how that experience became his memoir “Bettyville.” He will also answer questions and sign copies of his book following his talk.

Thursday, September 22 at 7pm



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KFRU’s David Lile Interviews One Read Author George Hodgman

September 1, 2016

On August 31st, KFRU’s David Lile interviewed this year’s One Read author George Hodgman about his memoir, “Bettyville.” Listen to Hodgman speak on the writing process, his struggle with maintaining some privacy of his mother, and the possibility of adapting “Bettyville” into a TV show.

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Mini Memoir Writing Contest

July 6, 2016

“On Betty’s Journey, I have learned something I had not known: I am very strong, strong enough to stay, strong enough to go when the time comes. I am staying not to cling on, but because sometime, at least once, everyone should see someone through. All the way home.” – George Hodgman, “Bettyville”

Great minds only need simple tools by Antti KyllonenIn this year’s One Read selection, George Hodgman tells the story of returning to Paris, Missouri after working for years in New York City and finding both his hometown and his mother in extreme decline. The book is full of stories from his childhood, woven among his present-day struggles and triumphs as his mother’s caregiver – memories, events and conversations that formed the man he now is.

Taking inspiration from “Bettyville,” we invite you to write a personal essay of 250 words or less – a mini memoir – that recalls a pivotal event or interaction that significantly shaped your personality, crystalized your worldview, or otherwise echoed through the years of your life. The memory you choose may be a monumental moment – like the birth of a child or loss of a loved one – or seemingly small, but it should be a moment that stands for something important and from which you learned something about yourself.

Starting September 1, entries may be submitted using this form, mailed or dropped off at any library or bookmobile. (See full rules below for details.) Winning entries and honorable mentions will be published on this site and in the Columbia Missourian (online and in print). Winners will receive a $25 book store gift card.

Entry Form

Entries are due by September 26. Participants must be age 16 or older and residents of Boone or Callaway Counties. Read on for complete contest rules.

Contest Rules Eligibility
  • The contest is open to those 16 years of age and older.
  • Participants must reside within the DBRL service area (Boone or Callaway County, Missouri).
Contest Deadline
  • Entries will be accepted through September 26, 2016. (Mailed entries must be postmarked by that date.)
Submission Requirements and Guidelines
  • One entry per individual.
  • Submissions must be 250 words or less in length.
  • Submissions must be in English.
  • Submissions must include writer’s name, age, address and email address or phone number for eligibility verification and contact purposes.
  • Entries must be in text format and typed.
  • Entries may be submitted through the online form or by mail (DBRL, ATTN: Kat/One Read Writing Contest, PO Box 1267, Columbia, MO 65205), or dropped off at a DBRL location.
  • Submissions must be original, unpublished works.
  • Each participant must be the sole author and exclusive owner of all right, title and interest in and to his or her submission.
  • DBRL’s and the Columbia Missourian’s publication and use of the submission in accordance with the terms set out herein will not infringe or violate the rights of any third party (including copyright), or require any payment to or consent/permission from any third party.
Content Restrictions
  • The submission must not contain any material that is inappropriate, indecent, profane, obscene, hateful, tortious, defamatory, slanderous or libelous.
  • The submission must not contain any material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age.
  • The submission must not contain any material that is unlawful, in violation of or contrary to the laws or regulations in any jurisdiction where the submission is created.
  • The submission must not contain any commercial content that promotes any product or service of the sponsor or any third party.
  • Entries will be evaluated and the winners chosen based on vivid language, grammar, effectiveness of details chosen, and emotion evoked by the writing, as well as adherence to the guidelines outlined above.
  • Two winners will be announced by October 12.
  • Winning entries and those receiving honorable mentions will appear on the One Read website and in the Columbia Missourian (online and in print).
  • Winners will be notified by phone or email and will each receive a $25 bookstore gift certificate.


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The View From Here: One Read Art Exhibit Call for Submissions

June 14, 2016

Thompson Research Center, Photo by Kyle SpradleyThe View From Here
A One Read Art Exhibit
Orr Street Studios (106 Orr Street, Columbia)

“The sky is our sea here, our object of contemplation in all its moods and shades. My father taught me to observe it…My father loved to watch, in autumn, the long scarves of lonely birds, flying, finally together, toward home.”
~ George Hodgman, “Bettyville”


“Missouri in the springtime is pretty hard to beat, little boy.”
~ Betty Hodgman


Inspired by this year’s One Read selection, we invite Mid-Missouri artists to contribute works that explore the Midwestern landscape, rural communities, family houses or other scenes from this place we call home.

Cash prizes will be awarded for three winners, courtesy of Columbia’s Office of Cultural Affairs. The third place winner will receive $50, the second place winner $75 and the first place winner $125. The first place winner will also receive a $100 voucher towards a class at the Columbia Art League. Art will be displayed August 28 through September 24 at Orr Street Studios with a reception, awards and program on Tuesday, September 13 at 6:30 p.m.

Submission Details

  • Artists must be at least 16 years of age.
  • Artists may submit one original work in any visual medium.
  • Pieces should be ready for display; pieces without secure hanging wire cannot be accepted (no sawtooth hangers, please).
  • Work should be labeled on the back with your name, phone number or email and title of the work.
  • Submit artwork to Orr Street Studios (106 Orr Street, Columbia).
  • Submission forms will be available at Orr Street on the dates below, or you may print and fill one out to bring in with your work.
  • Submission dates are:
    • Thursday, August 25, Noon-3 p.m
    • Friday, August 26, Noon-3 p.m.
    • Saturday, August 27, 10 a.m.-Noon
  • At the end of the exhibit, artists can pick up their work Saturday, Sept 24, Noon-3 p.m. and Sunday, September 25, Noon-3 p.m.

Questions? Contact Lauren Williams at (573) 443-3161 or by email.

Special thanks to Orr Street Studios, the Columbia Art League and Columbia’s Office of Cultural Affairs  for their support!

Orr Street Studios LogoColumbia Art League LogoOCA Logo






photo credit: Thompson Research Center, photo by Photo by Kyle Spradley, copyright MU College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources via photopin (license)

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