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WRITING ON FAITH

by Janet Nesler

 

The Daily Independent, Ashland, Kentucky

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Blanche Skeans Schisler has always been a woman with a dream. "I always wanted to put a book of poems together," the 92 year old confessed. "I wrote my first poem when I was 11 years old about a little girlfriend and playmate who had moved away. My mother and my first grade teacher put the love of poetry in my mind and the Lord began helping me to write it."

When Blanche was around 14 years old she read a magazine article that said anyone who would study the bible and the dictionary could get the equivalent of a college education.

"I was a little old country girl," said Blanche, "and thought I would never get to go to college, so I got that bible and dictionary and started studying them both. Sometimes I would study all day at a time. That really helped me to get a better education."

"When I was a young married woman, raising my children, I had a big wooden box with a lock on it and I would write a poem and slip it in the box. By the time my seven children had grown and left home my poetry box was full."

Always a nature lover, many of Blanche's first poems were about the beauty she could see all around her in nature but as she grew older and became a christian, her writing took on a different flavor as she started to write more on christian themes.

Several of her poems have been published in papers and magazines. Blanche's poem "The Master Potter" has had a lot of exposure and she received the Poet Laureate of Texas award for her poem entitled "Heaven".

"The Master Potter" came to me one morning while I was ironing," said Blanche, "It came so fast I could hardly get it on paper. I sent it off with a letter to the man who ran the old Union
Mission in Portsmouth, Ohio and he answered my letter and told me he was going to make 1500 copies of it. There was a depression at that time and he was going to hand it out to the people that came in the Mission. The same poem was read on Cincinnati, Ohio radio
station WLW and I got stacks of letters from people telling me how much the poem had meant to them."

Blanche has never let age slow her down. At the age of 60, then a widow, she moved to California just because she had always wanted to see what it was like there. She started nursing school where she attended for a year learning to be a Home Care Nurse. During this time she continued to write poetry about all the beautiful places she visited there, always dreaming about the book she would publish someday.

After graduating Blanche took a job as a live©in nurse, saving her money to buy the home she had always wanted so she could work in her yard and grow flowers.

"I grew homesick for my grandchildren, so I came back to Portsmouth, Ohio and bought my dream house," said Blanche. I got to have my flower garden and enjoy my grandchildren but there were still so many things I wanted to do so I started college at Shawnee State University at the age of 70 and took painting, because I had always wanted to paint. I also took a few ceramic classes while I was there."

Blanche has been married and widowed twice. She and her first husband, Ennis Skeans, were married 36 years and had seven children together, which included a set of twin boys.

Blanche remained a widow for many years, then at the age of 79 she met Herschal Schisler, a man who shared her christian faith. He was her Sunday School teacher and when she had been out a couple of Sundays with the flu, Herschal started missing her so he decided to go and see about her. Blanch had recovered so they sat in the glider on her screened©in porch and talked. He asked if he could call on her and she said yes. It wasn't long before he asked for her hand in marriage and she accepted. Herschal played the trombone and several other instruments and also continued to be her Sunday School Teacher.

" He said he was so thankful to have me for his wife," said Blanche, "he always called me his angel, we were really happy together. We were married for seven years when Herschal passed
away in 1991."

After the death of her husband, Blanche sold her house and moved into an apartment but She continued to write poetry and remain active in her church.

Two years later she had a stroke. "I couldn't talk or move but I could think," said Blanche. "It was dark in the place where I was and I prayed to God that He would let me live a few more

years and there was a light that came down over me and I knew I was going to have more time. When my recovery was just about complete I decided it was time to do my book."

Blanche's first book of poetry "Where Healing Waters Flow" was published in April, 1996 when she was 90. In this book are poems stressing faith, hope and encouragement. Her goal was to one day help as many people as possible with her poetry. Her faith has brought her through many hardships and she feels some of the best poems she has written came from those hardships and a lot of her poems came straight from the Lord.

Blanche's daughters, Wanda Click and Wilma Caudill helped her to get her first book "Where Healing Waters Flow" together and her son©in©law Milton Hughes did the illustrations. The book was published by Theographics Press.

Blanche was able to go back her apartment in a retirement center and live alone for the next year.

Poetry is not the extent of Blanche's talents. She is also an artist; Several of her beautiful paintings hung on the walls of her apartment and ceramic teapot's and vases lined a shelf around
the walls. All the ceramic pieces were hand made, fired and painted by her.

Now 92, Blanche has given up her apartment and takes turns living with her two daughters. Her dream became reality again because in March 1998 at the age of 91 Blanche published hersecond book of poetry "Sunshine and Shadows, For the Young at Heart." She gives all the credit to the Lord.

The illustrations and cover for Blanche's latest book were done by her daughter Wanda Click and it was published by Voice Newspapers Inc. of Wheelersburg, Ohio

This book was written about and for her seven children, 20 grandchildren, two of which are twins. 38 great©grandchildren which contain two sets of twins and one great©great
granddaughter.

At her last count Blanche has written over 1500 poems.

 

 

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