I’m happy to welcome James Hall, author of Angie of the Garden, to my notebook. He’s talking about explorers today, including Ohio’s own Neil Armstrong.

“Remembering the Explorers” by James Hall

Neil Armstrong was truly a unique individual. The fact that he was the first human being to step onto another world would be enough to qualify him as such. His skill as a pilot, and I’m sure he would say providence providing a level place to land when there was only 15 seconds of fuel left,  was the difference between a successful landing and a disastrous ending to man’s first attempt to go beyond earth. There is also another reason that this man stands out. He never tried to exploit his accomplishment for personal gain. In an era when even minor achievements are often peddled for monetary rewards and self aggrandizement Neil Armstrong avoided the spotlight, realizing that his feat was made possible by the efforts of a countless number of other individuals.

In my novel Angie of the Garden a young woman from Boston also leaves the safe confines of her world. She travels on the Oregon Trail, going into the wilderness to find her lover. Though Angie’s primary motivation is romance, there is also a pioneer’s spirit inside her. Though facing depravation, Native Americans who were sometimes hostile, and nature’s fury she manages to endure, and makes the trek across the country. Though Angie’s feat was performed by many others, for their time these people were truly brave explorers, not content with living in the safety of the world they knew, but willing to see what else this great land had to offer.

I truly hope that the human race never loses its desire to understand the world, and the cosmos. Though budgetary constraints are now limiting our efforts (which they should), I hope our desire to explore does not become a casualty of economics. The day we stop reaching out to learn how this remarkable universe was formed is the day we begin to lose our collective soul.

Godspeed, Neil Armstrong.

About the Author:

J.E. Hall is the author of the romance mystery novel, Angie of the Garden.

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About the  Book:

Angie of the Garden is a story about a psychiatrist named Hollis Simms. He is an affable individual who is dedicated to his patients and his family. Hollis is married to a provocative and wealthy woman named Olivia: their irrepressible teenage daughter is named Annabelle. She used her considerable resources to purchase the estate called Fairhaven for them to live in.

As a boy Hollis found a diary written by a woman named Angie Barton buried in a garden. The journal told of the hardships and deprivations suffered by the woman from Boston as she traveled on the Oregon Trail. She became his first love. One evening as Doctor Simms walked past a garden on the estate he encountered the spirit of Angie Barton. Hollis learns that she worked at Fairhaven as a house servant after returning from the west. He cannot fathom how this adventurous woman could have come to such a station in life. Hollis decides that Angie must have experienced some kind of trauma. During her subsequent appearances he entices her into recounting the long trek westward in order to discover the cause of her malaise.

Hollis’ obsession with the woman from the past also begins to strain his relationships with those closest to him. Hollis is determined to find the reason for Angie’s moribund spirit. In the end he does, and Angie finds peace. Then a chance encounter reveals something else about the woman in the garden.