The Fall of Freddie the Leaf

red maple leaf


Is there a book that changed your life?

Every moment spent in unhappiness is a moment of happiness lost.”
― Leo Buscaglia, The Fall of Freddie the Leaf


I was seven when the first significant person in my life died. I still remember the night he took a tumble and had to be taken away in an ambulance.  I don’t recall that he ever came home after that.  His name was Paul T. Gerrard, and he was a larger-than-life Presbyterian minister as well as a grandfather figure.  From what I remember, he was fiercely devoted to his faith, his wife, and their daughter.  His sermons some fifty years ago still fill the walls of the New Lisbon Presbyterian Church in Lisbon, Ohio.  I never had the opportunity to hear him preach, but boy did he touch a lot of people’s lives.  His name is etched on one of the gorgeous stained-glass windows in the church.

When he died, I had no concept that he wouldn’t be coming back home. I often visited the mustard yellow Gerrard house on Chestnut Street.  Paul and his wife Rhea were a surrogate set of grandparents.

My heart was broken when I found out that he had died. Paul’s daughter, Ruth Ann, gave my brother and me a special book to explain the illusive concept of death. It was titled The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia, and it still sits on my shelf. His dedication reads: “Dedicated to all children who have ever suffered a permanent loss, and to the grownups who could not find a way to explain it.”

The Falll of Freddie the Leaf book cover

From reading this book, a switch flipped on, and I wanted to one day write books that would grant the kind of peace and aliveness that The Fall of Freddie the Leaf brought to my life. Freddie is a beautiful maple leaf that lives through the four seasons of life.  Each season holds a new awareness for him.

I found myself wanting to craft tales that would both inspire and offer comfort.  The tale of Freddie the leaf was a blanket of peace in an otherwise confusing time.  This book allowed me to connect to nature, which I so dearly love. It also sparked within me a profound desire to capture the big and little moments of living. I found myself wanting to make a difference the way that Leo had made a difference in my life.

I wonder if you might be willing to share a book that changed your life?  I’d be excited to add it to my reading list!

Thanks for your kindness, your engagement and your willingness to share!

Cheers to Choosing Fierceness!
Big Love,

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