Saturday, June 6, 2009

Betty MacDonald Fan Club Items - Comments

Dear Betty MacDonald Fan Club,
I have finally finished reading and listening to the items you sent. I'm very happy with them! I listened to the CD twice and made notes to pass on to you.
It was Alison's daughter who remarked that her Auntie Betty died when she was 9. I don't think this was Alison, as I remember that Betty put in one of her books about Alison being a teenager and her friends being "locusts". Alison's daughter helped Mary with the manuscript of the third "Best Friends" book. Alison talked about the trip to New York City with Betty, and about the trip to the Vashon store and she talked about her three marriages, there was a passage about driving to Alison's home, from Arizona I believe. Alison told the story of Mary's dinner party and how she couldn't sit with the guests because she was employed by Mary as a baby-sitter.
I very much enjoyed the remarks about Dede. It is high praise indeed for Dede to be called the wittiest person in the Bard family! And the remarks about the pathetic way Dede did things were obviously made with affection and not to disparage.
I'm also glad to learn more about Gammy, and especially surprised that hat she went to live with her sisters in Colorado. Interviewer Wolfgang Hampel was outstanding. Wolfgang was so very well-prepared and seems to know a lot about the Bard family. Hopefully, he will contribute more! I am interested to know facts, such as vital statistics, marriages, children, careers, residences, etc.
The "Betty" side of the CD is priceless. To have her actual voice recorded and preserved is wonderful. I have also read "The Kettles' Million $ Egg" and they ought to be ashamed of themselves. It s clear to me that they were just opportunists. I was quite surprised that the first judge allowed the lawsuit to proceed. It was a good idea to insert book excepts, as it helps to compare them with the testimony. There are some similarities between the Kettles and them , but there are fare more differences. I remember seeing some of the Ma & Pa Kettle movies as a kid, long before I knew they were Betty's creations, and I remember liking them fine. Haven't seen them in years, though. I liked the movies of "Egg" up to a point. It was quite sanitized from the book, and the latter part about the fire and the neighbors helping out was too sentimentalized by the filmmakers and doesn't fit with the rest of the movie. However, sanitizing was to be expected at that time. I think Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray were just about perfect choices for the roles.
Here's another personal anecdote: Our town library didn't have a copy of "The Plague and I", but our high school library did, so my sister and I would alternately check it out. We did this so much that the librarian told us we couldn't check it out any more because we were monopolizing it! Keep in mind that we were teens and impulsive!
My favorite of Betty's adult books is "Anybody Can Do Anything". It is to me the funniest and has the largest amount of interesting characters. I often wonder about the "Dorita Hess" chapter. It stands out so much from just about anything else she wrote because it is almost eerie. I'd like to know the true facts about this, too.
I'd also like to know more about Madge, the adopted sister, who I believe appeared only in "Plague", and Cleve.
As for my favorite personality besides Betty, it would have to be Mary. She's so funny and vibrant and smart. None of the Bards could be caught at a loss for words, but Mary was always the best at the quick, smart response no matter what was said to her.
Well, I didn't intend for this to be so long! But it was fun to write.
Thanks again to you and all the other at the Society for all your time and effort on Betty and the rest of the Bard's behalf.
Thanks for your promptness in sending the conclusion of "The Kettles Million $ Egg". And yes, I am most interested in "THE EGG AND BETTY" and anything else the Society publishes. It is most delightful to find out so much about Betty after 35 yrs of wondering! Yes, you most certainly do have my permission to print my comment. I'm flattered that you want to!
I have just finished reading the latest installments and am amazed at the detail. What an incredible amount of research must have gone into this. I also enjoyed the comments on the geography from the residents of Seattle and Puget Sound.
"The terrible nearness of the mountains" is one of my favorites of Betty's descriptive phrases. I've never lived near mountains, but I can certainly understand Betty's feelings of how prominent they were, especially because she was in a rural area with few near neighbors. I've never been to Washington, but I feel that Betty was probably describing actual cities because she makes them seem so real. I've never known people like the Kettles, but I have seen that type of people in the small town where I grew up as well as in Southern California with so many really big cities. I'm sure they exist everywhere.
As for the reasons I like her books, FUNNY is the biggest reason. Another big reason is the warmth and genuineness that I feel from all of Betty's books. One feels that she is talking to you just as she really was. I can't think of anything that I don't like about Betty's books--unless it is that there weren't more! I reread them regularly. In fact, I keep a reading copy of each and then I have my "good" copies that I've collected over the years (various editions, paperbacks, books with dust jackets).
Which makes me wonder: Are Betty's books available in languages other than English? I have British paperback editions that I got by special order a few years ago.
Keep up the good work. It is very much appreciated.
I have read Wolfgang Hampel's "The Kettles Million Dollar Egg" parts 1-Vll and found it to be very interesting.
Who would have thought that Betty would have to go through so much trauma for the book that gave her fame and many devoted fans.
I think they were trying to ride on the coattails of Betty's success and saw a chance for easy money. Their testimony sounded weak and ill founded. No doubt Betty would have given her all in the witness box, and I am looking forward to the sequel. A million dollars was an enormous amount and I imagine that this case would have generated an enormous amount of interest. Your questions regarding slides, Seattle, mountains and Vashon I cannot answer. I have lived in the city of Sydney, Australia all my life and have no experience with such things. But that is another reason I love Betty's books so much - her wonderful descriptions of these places / things make it all so clear in my mind's eye. The first book of Betty's I read was "Onions in the Stew" over 20 years ago - I was captivated from the beginning and read it over and over again until I reluctantly returned it to the library. I was very happy to learn she had written other books and collected them all. I did not know that she wrote childrens books as well until I found them on the internet. I have ordered a copy of "Nancy and Plum" from America and can' t wait to receive it. Reading her books is like having a chat with a wonderful visitor - someone once described her as a "word painter" .Thats exactly what she does - paints images in your mind that make you feel as though you are part of it all. My favourite book is still "Onions in the Stew" - although life on a island was not exactly rosy all of the time I still wanted to go and live on Vashon island. I loved the descriptions of Don, Anne, and Joan - particularly Betty's descriptions of the trials and tribulations of adolescence. I can now understand what my own parents went through as Betty could have been describing me at times. It has actually helped me understand my own daughter as she has marched the adolescent trail. Some things never change!
My favourite personalities beside Betty? Anne and Joan for their sheer youthful exuberance. Don for his dour sense of humor, loving acceptance of Anne and Joan as his own and for providing Betty with long awaited security, love and happiness. Betty's mother Sydney for her calm approach to what ever disaster crossed their path. Kimi for her wisdom. And finally, Tudor the dog for - well, just being a real dog that fights, throws up, and hates riding in cars - not some star studded Hollywood fake!
Thank you again for sending the first part of the biography. Please hurry with the next installment!I am so looking forward to the sequels of the biography - at last I can stop wondering what happened to all the members of this wonderful story.
Yours faithfully,

Dear Betty MacDonald Fan Club,
I enjoyed Wolfgang Hampel's books and stories so much.
I have never had any neighbors like the Kettles: thank God.
I found ONIONS IN THE STEW completely by accident when I was in junior high school (about 1960). I saw the book in the autobiography section, and thought it was a cookbook that had been misfiled. I removed it from the shelf to inspect it and, while glancing through it, became so interested in the book's contents that I checked it out immediately. As soon as I finished ONIONS IN THE STEW, I found Betty's other books and read them as well. I was so disappointed that she wrote so few books. . . I think ANYBODY CAN DO ANYTHING is probably my favorite. What I liked most about Betty's books is her honest assessments of her life experiences and the humor she shows through adversity.
I can' t wait to read more.
I am so anxious to get the rest of the Betty's bios. And yes, I would definitely like to purchase all the CD's and DVD's. Thank you for making them available! I can't tell you how often I listen to the Betty and Alison CD in my car. Probably at least three or four times a week. It relaxes me when I feel tense. Please extend my greetings to the interviewer Wolfgang Hampel and tell him how much I enjoy the CD.
Does the Betty MacDonald Society still hope to publish their work in book form? I hope that eventually happens. I think the best publisher for such a book would be a Washington-based university publisher. A mainstream publisher such as HarperCollins or Doubleday of course would be THE best, but I don't think there is enough interest for a big publisher to release such a book. I do think that a university press would be very interested. As you know, I work in a library and handle hundreds of books a month, so I know who is publishing what kind of material.
Have you ever seen any of Betty's artwork? I would love to see one of her homemade Christmas cards (even the ones she got in trouble for copying at work!) Also, I remember reading that she once illustrated a pamphlet or booklet for one of the oil or gasoline companies. Has anyone ever been able to track down a copy of that book? I'd love to see it. Can you imagine opening up a box and finding early typescripts of The Egg and I? Or letters Betty wrote from the sanitorium? Or a handwritten copy of Sandra Surrenders? Wouldn't that be amazing???I have received the Betty birthday CD and like it very much. I feel like I am right there in the house with the inteviewer and the two Alisons when I listen. The CD of Betty and her friends is so interesting. It's so fascinating to hear the different opinions of Betty though, isn't it? Alison talked about how shy she was, but on the second part of the CD we hear that Betty was quite gregarious.
Well, I should let you go. I can't wait to get the rest of the bio. Hope you are doing well. Please join me in saying, "Happy Birthday, Betty!"
Peter D. Sieruta ( U.S. Writer )

Thanks so much for the story installments. I am enjoying them very much and am curious about the ending. I'm looking forward to the last part and to hearing the CD. Your society has done a lot of hard work and research, and I appreciate it!

Dear Friends,
Sorry to take so long getting back to you--I ended up buying a new printer to finish the job of downloading...Wow, I am impressed! You really worked hard to gather all this stuff. After fifty years it must have been quite a quest! Good for you. For years we have all had questions and you have followed through with trying to find answers. My sister (I took her ALL the pages two days ago) was the most pleased I have seen her in YEARS. She says she is STILLL reading it. So, can we expect more to come ? ? Another delighted fan, Caroline Thanks again.

What surprised me the most after reading The Kettles' Million Dollar Egg, The Egg and Betty....probably the lawsuit (I had not ever hear about that); maybe the fact that so many people believed it was a true story (it seems to me that it was catalogued and shelved as FICTION in libraries at one time)...maybe 'faction' would be appropriate...Why do I think Bob didn't appear? I've always wondered where he went..I wonder how Don MacDonald liked being Mr. Betty or "BOB" some people's minds. He seemed very supportive of Betty's life and work.
I guess I read the first E&I in the 1950's -- I remember Onions in the Stew being, I think, a Reader's Digest book?? or maybe Book of the in a small town with no bookstores, my mom belonged to book clubs & that would be where I began reading about Betty. Anyway, we were a reading household..I guess I would be 12 or 13 ?? My sister is the most devoted fan--re-reads Betty books ...she was in Seattle a few years back when her husband needed medical treatment at hospital there...she went to all the second hand bookstores but said copies were impossible to find. I have said for about 25 years that someone should do what you people have many so curious as to other details of her life--Betty I mean...Sad that she died so young--was she not still in her 40s?? So much talent and so long remembered.
My experiences with chickens were at my grandmother's farm as a child. Ugh. Hard work & little reward. Of course in Betty & Bob's case it was the Depression and people were scrambling just to get the basics. Certainly in our family--pioneers in USA and of my uncle's lived a life very like Egg & I in a mountain valley a few hours from here--logging with horses, growing cherries for sale, etc. His wife was a very hardworking lady -- she probably enjoyed the E&I too at the time it was published. He wrote a book--kind of a memoir which his children had published in limited edition. Much of it probably libellous...but fun. Books are like that--even his own brothers differed on what was true and is all perception, I think. I have been to the Seattle, Portland (Ore.) area and lived on Vancouver Island in several different towns....yes, it is all very beautiful. I never saw a Geoduck but certainly we dug our own clams, had free prawns, bought huge fish from the Indians (illegally even then) and this was in the 1960's...My last trip to Vancouver Island was in the 1990's I think...if one travels to any of the more remote communities (usually accessible by ferry or only plane/boat even now) you will find much unchanged. It is reassuring in many ways.
So the Egg and I life still exists out here in the wilds of Canada....

Best wishes, Caroline

Lorinda from Seattle:
I did receive the CD the day before yesterday. It sounds like the interviewer, Wolfgang Hampel, Alison Bard and daughter were having a hilarious time. It was wonderful to hear them talking and it gives me an idea of what talking to the entire Bard family must've been like. Betty's voice was very feminine and she sounded like she would've been a fun person to know.
I LOVE Betty's word pictures and how she describes a setting or situation. The Kettles were certainly among the funniest parts for me. I loved her description of Paw Kettle coming to the table wearing a coatdress and manure-covered boots. I also loved her description of Bob's conversation with Maw Kettle while Maw was comfortably seated in the outhouse, reading the Sears, Roebuck catalog.Betty is able to find humor in adversity. Also, I do think that people can see their own families and people they know in her characterizations.
My favorites are The Egg & I because her writing was so excellent and fresh and Onions In the Stew because she was happy then.I've just seen The Egg & I and 2 of the Kettle movies. My mom has all of them and I borrowed hers. The Egg & I was too idealized by Hollywood. Claudette Colbert and Fred McMurray were lovely actors, but way too perfect looking to be real life chicken farmers. It was a fun family movie though. The Kettle movies are funny but again, they are pretty sanitized by Hollywood. I watched the one where Paw Kettle wins a brand new house for the family. It was entertaining.
Thank you for inviting me to comment and for reading through my ramblings. Best wishes to you in your continued study of Betty MacDonald and her writings. You have done a fantastic job in putting together all this information and I had a lot of fun reading it. Now I will read it again and catch some of the parts I didn't retain the first time!

Dear Wolfgang Hampel:

Your research has provided me with a great deal of information about the author Betty MacDonald. Thank you for making your publications and private exchange of collected materials available through the Betty MacDonald Fan Club website.

I have also read every book and article related to Betty’s sister, Mary Bard Jensen. I even tracked down information on the radio drama, Schuyler’s Square, written by their mother, Mrs. D. C. Bard.

I’d like to learn more about Betty’s professional, financial, and legal dealings, especially with her literary agent, editors, Lippincott managers, foreign editors, publicists, movie and television producers, financial consultants, and lawyers. I'd like to learn more about Betty’s Hollywood experiences and her short-lived ranch life in Carmel, California.

Mr. Hampel, thank you for sharing and publishing your research online via the Betty MacDonald Fan Club website. I appreciate the access to information which you have made possible.

Best Regards,

Dear Friends,
I am a huge fan of Betty's; I read "The Egg and I" when I was a teenager and have always loved her books. I am glad you have taken the time and made the effort to promote her memory through your society, such a personality as Betty was should not be forgotten. I'm sure there are very many of her fans worldwide who like me, have many questions and are very curious about what happened to her family in the years after Betty's death.
I did receive Wolfgang Hampel's books 'The Kettles' Million Dollar Egg', 'The Egg and Betty' and 'The Tragic End of Robert Heskett' and found them very funny and so interesting. I think Betty was caught between a rock and a hard place at the trial. Writers are allowed a certain "creative license" and she may have embellished her characters a bit to make a good story, but of course she didn't want to lose the case, either. So she claimed some of her story was fictional. But I still believe she drew those characters from her life; good writers write about what they know and experience and it is obvious to me that her richly drawn characterizations of the Kettles and other families while she lived on the chicken farm were true for the most part. Even if parts of the story were fictionalized, I will always be grateful to her for writing some of the funniest and most unforgettable books I have ever read. She will always be my favorite humorist and I only wish she could have lived longer so she could have given the world more opportunities to enjoy her unique talent. Thank you for the second installments of the story.I'm so happy to gain more knowledge about Betty's life and her experiences during the trial. Now I understand why the Port Townsend Chamber of Commerce said there were still some hard feelings toward Betty by some of the people in the area. You would think that after all this time, though, it really wouldn't matter anymore. I guess some people can hold a grudge forever! I don't think Betty ever intended to malign anyone. She wrote from her experiences, and if she embellished a bit, that is her right as a creative artist. Her characterizations were indeed devastating, weren't they? And so very funny. A hundred years from now her books will still be uniquely humorous. What a personality she was. When my husband and I took the trip to Port Townsend last summer in search of "The Egg and I Road" I wondered why there was no marker. The letter from the nice gentleman who lives on the old homestead in Chimacum partly answered that question. I wondered why the descriptions of the mountains in "The Egg and I" didn't match what I saw on Egg and I Road, and that question too was answered by Betty's testimony in the trial. I believe that Port Ludlow, Chimacum and Port Townsend were exactly as she described them. She may have had to stretch the truth a bit in the trial, but what else could she have done. It's indeed ironic that the Kettles were forced to live on EGG AND I Road. Another funny anecdote to her story. I especially enjoyed Kimi's defense of Betty in her letter. In this age of "political correctness" which I find very tiresome, Kimi's letter was well thought out and well written. Betty was certainly not a racist. In "The Plague and I" Betty stands up for black people, and Kimi, who was Japanese, was her best friend. It was very different 60+ years ago but some people forget that.
It is so nice that so many people remember and care about Betty and try to keep her memory alive. Thank you for all your good works in her behalf. I agree that there should be more to commemorate Betty's life and her accomplishments, at least some kind of marker or memorial. At least they did name the "Egg and I Road" after her book. I hope you can visit Washington state someday and take the ferry over to Vashon Island. It really is a beautiful, lushly green island with marvelous views in every direction.
I don't think Betty gets the recognition she deserves in this country partly because of the unfortunate atmosphere of "political correctness" (p.c.) that pervades the U.S.A. right now. Betty was critical of native Americans (Indians) in her book and that is a "no no" in the minds of many of the powers that be. They don't stop to consider that she was writing from the perspective of over 50 years ago or give her credit for her uniquely talented style and the marvelous, timeless humor of her writing. She really is one of America's best humorists and fortunately many people all over the world do recognize this. I think her books will be read and re-read through the ages. There are so many young people that are becoming aware of her books now, and that really encourages me...they will keep her memory going.
I agree with you that "The Egg & I" is one of the funniest books ever written. I remember laughing so hard I was gasping for breath and almost fell off the couch the first time I read it! I was about fourteen years old then. I have re-read it many times and never tire of it, I believe it is timeless.
Perhaps you have heard of the town of Leavenworth? It is at the foothills of the Cascades, and is a world famous Bavarian style village, very picturesque. They have Autumn Fest, Maifest, and Christmas lighting celebrations and people come from all over the world to visit. They have many German craftsman living in the area, contributing their talents to the many shops in town. They have dancers, complete with lederhosen and full old-world Bavarian dress, performing in the open square during the summertime celebrations. Wonderful food of every description; I love their bratwurst andsauerkraut, bought from the street vendors. If you are interested in learning more about the village, you can reach the site at It is well worth an online visit!
Betty MacDonald February 1951
"I have had letters from people all over the world - from England and from Bavaria - telling me that the Kettles lived next door to them.
I am looking forward to reading more of your society's publications about Betty and her life. She was such an unique personality, I will always love her and her books, they have given me so much pleasure and laughter over the years.
It is so good to know she has fans worldwide! Keep up the good work and stay in touch.
Yours in Betty's memory,Connie

Doris Sanders Says:
June 19, 2009 at 5:13 pm

Betty MacDonald has so many fans all over the world.
There is a Betty MacDonald Fan Club with members in more than 20 countries.
There is a CD and DVD with Betty and her family avaiable.
A real treasure.

Linde Lund Says:
June 27, 2009 at 7:46 am

I’d love to send you a special Betty MacDonald Surprise,
a CD/DVD with very witty Betty MacDonald and her wonderful sister Alison Bard , who got the same talent as her famous sister Betty MacDonald.
You’ll enjoy these two ladies very, very much. I enjoy them all the time and so do many fans all over the world.
Included are many very interesting biographical stories.

Kathy Anderson Says:
July 1, 2009 at 7:28

I’m so delighted to find someBetty MacDonald Fans here.
I recently heard Betty MacDonald’s wonderful voice and laugh for the first time. ( DVD by Betty MacDonald Fan Club)
Betty MacDonald is wonderful in her books and in this DVD.
The State of Washington can be very proud.

Linde Lund Says:
July 2, 2009 at 11:06 am

Are there any members here who knew Betty MacDonald and her family?
I’d love to hear from you.

Wolfgang Hampel Says:
July 25, 2009 at 10:05

Betty MacDonald is a beloved writer all over the world.
When I visited the very beautiful State of Washington in 1996 I really met the most wonderful people in the world.
I’ll never forget visiting with Betty MacDonald’s really brillant and so very funny sister Alison Bard all the places and houses where the Bard family lived. I only wished more Betty MacDonald fans had the opportunity to do this.
I’d like to say Thanks A Million for these delightful memories.

Kathy Anderson Says:
August 3, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Dear Wolfgang Hampel,

thank you so much for the wonderful idea to interview Betty MacDonald’s unique family and her very nice friends
Your interviews and biographical books and stories are my favourites and I hope you will continue your outstanding work.
Wolfgang, I’d like to meet Mrs. Schwagerman and many other Betty MacDonald Fans in Seattle and on Vashon Island.
What about a Betty MacDonald meeting? I’d love to see you all.

Frank Bichler Says:
August 7, 2009 at 5:31

There should be an event where Betty MacDonald Fans could meet each other in Seattle and on Vashon Island.
I’m from Switzerland. Count me in, please.
I want to ask Wolfgang Hampel a question: How did you get the chance to interview all these great people? I tried several times to interview Alison Bard, but she refused.
You got the opportunity to meet her and the other members of this outstanding family. Tell me your secret, please. Anyway – dear Wolfgang Hampel, you did a very great job and it’s really fascinating to listen to the stories
of the beloved writers Betty MacDonald and Mary Bard and
the unique Bard family.

Sandra Martin Says:
August 8, 2009 at 8:42

This is a dream – visiting all the places where Betty and her family lived.
Frank, Wolfgang Hampel interviews lots of artists and writers.

Visit the site

Wolfgang Hampel Founder of Betty MacDonald Fan Club and Betty MacDonald Society

I enjoy the Betty MacDonald CD and Betty MacDonald Biography very often.
Yes, we should have a Betty MacDonald Meeting in Seattle.
I’ll be there.

Brigitte Schneider Says:
August 11, 2009 at 10:00

There was a fascinating TV report about Wolfgang Hampel and Betty MacDonald Fan Club.
I’m totally delighted to listen to Betty MacDonald and her sister Alison Bard on CD. I hope the Betty MacDonald DVD is available soon.

How much I’d love to see Betty’s and the siblings’ houses, places and Vashon Island.

Denise Berger Says:
August 14, 2009 at 8:35

Let’s support Betty MacDonald Fan Club to organize a
Fan Club meeting in Seattle.

A dream would be to meet Betty MacDonald’s and Mary Bard’s family.

Hurry up with the new Betty MacDonald DVD, please.

Wolfgang Hampel should continue his outstanding research. More interviews, please.

Martine Didier Says:
August 19, 2009 at 11:31

I’ve read Betty MacDonald books many, many times.
The same thing is with listening to the Betty MacDonald Fan Club CD and reading the Betty MacDonald Fan Club books and stories. When are you going to publish more interviews and stories? Hurry up, please. I can’t wait.

Tell me more, please about the Betty MacDonald Conference. I’m very interested in attending!
Let’s all meet in Seattle and on Vashon Island!

Andrea Says:
August 23, 2009 at 12:17 am

I never visited the State of Washington but as i’m deeply in love with Betty MacDonald’s and Wolfgang Hampel’s books and interviews it’s time to see Betty’s paradise.

When can I order the new Betty MacDonald DVD?

Lena Svenson Says:
August 26, 2009 at 12:52

Our family and friends like Betty MacDonald’s books and all the Betty MacDonald Fan Club Items especially Betty MacDonald’s and Alison Bard’s interview.
They are our favourites.
One of our goals is to see everthing Betty described in her books. So we want to come.
Thank you so much for organizing a Betty MacDonald Event.
I can’t wait to see the new Betty MacDonald DVD!

Arlette Hubert Says:
August 31, 2009 at 5:31 pm

I love Betty MacDonald’s and Alison Bard’s audio interviews
and also the biographical books and stories by Wolfgang Hampel. I would like to attend a Betty Event with two of my friends who love Betty MacDonald the same as I do.
Perhaps we could meet some members of Betty MacDonald’s family. I’d die to meet Alison Bard who is really so very witty and funny. Every time I listen to Alison Bard interviewed by Wolfgang Hampel I can’t stop laughing.
Thank you so much for your great work.

Günther Says:
September 13, 2009 at 5:29 pm


Happy Birthday Monica Sone!
It would be great if Monica Sone could attend a Betty MacDonald Event in Seattle.

Natalie Says:
September 20, 2009 at 7:22 pm

My dream would be to meet Monica Sone, Wolfgang Hampel, Alison Bard – Betty MacDonald’s beloved sister – and all of you, of course.

As much as I enjoy Wolfgang Hampel’s fascinating books and stories about Betty MacDonald’s life, his interview with wonderful Alison Bard is my top favourite. I can listen to it over and over again and never get tired because Alison and Wolfgang had tons of fun with each other.
Do me a favour, please. Wolfgang Hampel and Alison Bard should repeate this at the Betty MacDonald Event. Every time I’m listening to this interview I realize that it’s pure Bard magic.

Alison Bard – brilliant sister of Betty MacDonald and Mary Bard
Alison Bard Fan Club and Alison Bard Society

Martine Didier Says:
October 6, 2009 at 11:07 am

Perhaps we should found a Betty MacDonald Museum.
I have a huge Betty MacDonald Collection with letters, documents and manuscripts.
What do you think about this idea?

Peter Meyer Says:
October 8, 2009 at 12:02 pm

A Betty MacDonald Museum would be great.
I love this idea. All Betty fans worldwide should meet in Seattle and discuss this. I guess there are many Betty MacDonald Collectors and they could contribute to a fascinating exhibit.

Helena Says:
October 11, 2009 at 12:36 pm

My family, friends and I adore Betty MacDonald’s and Alison Bard’s recorded voice and wonderful laughfrom the Betty MacDonald Fan Club CD. We can’t stop laughing about these two very funny and charming ladies. The comments in the biographical books and stories by Alison Bard and Monica Sone are very witty and wise.
A dream would come true to meet Alison and Monica in person.
I know many Betty fans in my country, the Chech Republic who would like to come to Seattle.
There should be a Betty MacDonald Museum.

Donna Says:
October 16, 2009 at 9:59 am

I’d like to share this wonderful message from Betty MacDonald Fan Faith.

Martine Didier Says:
October 22, 2009 at 10:56 am

Betty MacDonald Fans from all over the world should contribute to found a Betty MacDonald Museum and a Betty MacDonald Monument.
Betty MacDonald Fan Club will do it and Betty MacDonald really deserves it.

Sabrina Says:
October 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm

I support the Betty MacDonald Museum and Monument project. Let’s do it. Betty MacDonald shared her gift of golden laughter with the world. It’s time we do something for this unique author. My God! Betty MacDonald’s sister Alison Bard is so cute. Her adventures with Betty and Mary
are really delightful. Thank you, dear Wolfgang Hampel for this interview. I hope more will come soon. I heard that there are so many more interviews with you.

M. Sanders Says:
October 25, 2009 at 4:15 pm

I support these projects. The State of Washington can be very proud. Betty MacDonald is unique.

Betty MacDonald is the best writer – very funny, intelligent, very wise. What a lady! I can read her books a million times and have to laugh out loud every time.

It’s sad that Betty MacDonald’s wonderful sister Alison Bard never wrote a book of her own but she is really so cute in this interview.

Wolfgang Hampel’s books and stories are very well done and our family and friends enjoy them so much. Thank you for all your excellent research! We all hope, dear Wolfgang, you can continue your great work. Please do!

Thanks a lot!

Jana Says:
October 29, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Hello dear Betty MacDonald Fans,

I just visited the Betty MacDonald Fan Club Page
and found two messages from Betty Fans.
We also have some depressing weather here. The sky is so grey but Linde is right if you receive mails like this everything is ok.
I will do the same as Faith does. Drinking coffee and reading Wolfgang Hampel’s wonderful books. Afterwards
I’ll listen again to the interviews. The sky is grey but who cares if you have unique storytellers like Betty MacDonald and Wolfgang Hampel. Thank you so much for your great work! Not to forget Betty MacDonald’s witty sister Alison Bard.

I’d like to make a long boring message short. I’m very interested in a Betty MacDonald Meeting. Count me in!

Daniela Says:
October 31, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Good morning,

November is my less favourite month.
What can I do to change my mood?
I’m reading Betty MacDonald’s or Wolfgang Hampel’s books or like now I’m listening to Betty MacDonald’s sister Alison Bard. Alison shares so very funny and witty stories with us
that I have to laugh all the time – whether I want or not.
I just have to. She is terribly witty. What I adore is that you can feel that Alison Bard and Wolfgang Hampel had lots of fun. I can imagine sitting in Sydney’s house in the University District drinking lots of coffee and listening to these wonderful storytellers.

T. Werner Says:
November 3, 2009 at 1:33 am

Alison Bard is a word painter in this great interview with Wolfgang Hampel. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this interview and the biographical books and stories written by Wolfgang Hampel. I hope more interviews, books and stories will be published in the future. I would be happy to meet you in Seattle and on Vashon Island.

Karin Says:
November 6, 2009 at 3:03 pm

I hope the Bard house in the University District is still there when we meet each other in Seattle.
Alison Bard describes family life in such a wonderful way in this interview with Wolfgang Hampel. My family and I would like to see this house and the other places where Betty MacDonald lived. Alison tells many delightful stories about the houses in Laurelhurst and on Vashon Island.

Dana K. Says:
November 8, 2009 at 8:17 am

Dear Betty MacDonald Fans,

I saw a television report about Betty MacDonald and guess who are the contributors of it: Tatatataaaa our dear Linde Lund and Wolfgang Hampel.
Thank you so much for all your great work.
My family, friends and I love you both!

Elisabeth Says:
November 9, 2009 at 10:35 am

I got this info about the TV report in the Betty MacDonald Fan Club Newsletter. Linde Lund and Wolfgang Hampel did a great job. I hope Betty MacDonald Fan Club is going to publish more interviews and stories. I enjoy everything, my favourite is the story about Betty MacDonald’s friend Mike.

Betty MacDonald Fan Club Items and Comments

Peter Says:
November 13, 2009 at 5:24 pm

The TV report is really fascinating. Congratulations!
I hope we can read the mentioned story - Betty MacDonald in California – very soon.
Are there any other interviews available Wolfgang Hampel did with writers and artists? I’m very interested in his interview with David Guterson, author of Snow falling on Cedars. I know some interviews Wolfgang Hampel did for example the one with Truman Capote. I enjoy the interview in the newsletter so much

Movies Filmed in Port Townsend
Arts > Local Films Not only do we have delightful venues for watching films in Port Townsend and an established Film Festival, but we have also been the movie location for some great films. Perhaps you dream of making a film yourself - a chance to capture a glimpse from behind the lens, or perhaps strut your stuff in front of the camera, whatever you dream...the possibilities are endless. Lights, camera, action!

Literary Arts, Writers, Books, Press
Arts > Literary Arts The spoken word, the written word, poetic justice and recently published books, Port Townsend has more than it's share of local authors and poets.

Betty MacDonald Egg and I Farm

In the footsteps of Betty MacDonald: New owners take on rural life with Egg and I Farm

You can meet a wonderful Betty MacDonald Fan who posted this article:

Phil Vogelzang takes down cattle fencing on the Chimacum farm where "The Egg and I" author Betty MacDonald lived in the 1920s. Vogelzang purchased the property with three family members in mid-March from Pat and Jess Bondurant, who raised beef cattle. --
By Jennifer Jackson, Peninsula Daily News
CHIMACUM — If you had asked Phil Vogelzang a year ago if he'd ever heard of Betty MacDonald, he'd have said no.Ma and Pa Kettle?Rings a faint bell, he would have answered.So when Vogelzang, 49, saw a listing for a 20-acre farm for sale on Egg and I Road, he had no clue where the name came from."I thought, 'That's a funny name for a road," he said.Vogelzang is now a lot more familiar with Betty MacDonald, having purchased, along with family members, the farm where the author of The Egg and I lived in the late 1920s.The new owners have named their purchase the Egg and I Farm after the book, and in some ways, are following in the footsteps of its former owner.Today (March 26) is the anniversary of the birth of MacDonald, author of The Egg and I and the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books.The daughter of a mining engineer, she was born Anne Elizabeth Campbell Bard on March 26, 1908, in Boulder, Colo.After graduating from Roosevelt High School in Seattle, she moved with her mother to the Chimacum Valley after her father died.In 1927, she married Robert Heskett with whom she had two children. They divorced in 1935, and she married Donald C. MacDonald in 1942.The couple moved to Vashon Island, and starting with The Egg and I, published in 1945, MacDonald wrote three other books based on her life, plus the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series for children.She died of cancer in Seattle in 1958 at age of 49.Flash forward 50 years to 2008 and the new owners of the homestead that inspired MacDonald to write The Egg and I."We're rank beginners," Vogelzang said of farming. "We have no experience."Located on a ridge between Beaver Valley and Center Road, the farm was a homestead with 40 acres when 19-year-old Betty Bard married Heskett.Heskett's dream — to become the egg czar of Puget Sound — crashed and burned along with the marriage, an experience his ex-wife turned to humorous account in a novel 20 years later.The goal of the new owners — Vogelzang and spouse, Katy McCoy, her sister, Melinda McCoy and husband, Peter — is less grandiose.They want to grow as much of their own food as possible.They're thinking vegetable gardens, fruit trees, maybe even a cow.And of course, chickens."Certainly eggs and chickens will be in the mix," Vogelzang said.The house that Betty lived in is long gone, but Egg and I fans continued to knock on the door of Jess and Pat Bondurant, the farm's former owners who lived there 32 years.The book is especially popular in Europe — Germany has the largest Betty MacDonald fan club in the world— and Pat Bondurant has had phone calls from Heidelberg, inviting her and her husband to fly over and help celebrate the author's birthday.Last fall, BBC Radio 4 sent a program staff member from England to Chimacum to tape interviews with Pat Bondurant and longtime Chimacum residents, Aldena Bishop and George Huntingford.Family members movingMembers of the family who has purchased the farm will move there this summer, when Peter Walchenbach, a special education teacher at Ocosta High School, finishes the school year.He'll be moving with his wife, Melinda McCoy, daughter Flora, 7, and son Oscar, 5.Vogelzang, a radiologist, and wife, Katy, a physician-turned-artist, plan to come over from Seattle as much as possible, he said."Peter and I have been looking for property where we can farm on a small scale," Vogelzang said."It's sort of our dream."Vogelzang said he never considered that their "quiet little parcel in the country" would have a theme other than local, sustainable food production.But since learning that the farm had a literary history, he has been learning more about Betty MacDonald, and he has been thinking about ways to work with the heritage she left."Peter and Melinda are the kind of people who will embrace it, and welcome people," he said.
MacDonald connectionsVogelzang was also surprised to find a connection between MacDonald and his wife's family.Both lived in Laurelhurst, a Seattle neighborhood where the McCoy family settled.And on his side of the family, who are Dutch, he does have some agricultural background — he comes from a long line of pig farmers, he said.The son of a Dutch Christian Reform minister, he spent his high school years in Sheldon, Iowa, where he did menial labor on farms, mostly with livestock.While Vogelzang has not seen "The Egg and I" movie yet, he has read the book with an eye to what kind of vegetables and fruits the family grew in the 1920s."If you read what they produced on the farm, it's quite remarkable," he said."If they can do it, we can do it."Vogelzang said that, in the end, the farm is a legacy for his niece and nephew, who he hopes will get involved in 4-H, as well as take an active role in the farm's operation.In the meantime, he and the adults plan to enjoy the peace and quiet, the fresh food and the sense of accomplishment that comes from growing your own food.In other words, they plan to find the peace and happiness that eluded Betty MacDonald when she came to the farm as a young wife with no idea of what she was getting into."We've thought it out," Vogelzang said, "and we plan to be here a lot longer than Betty.

Betty MacDonald Stories and Betty MacDonald Research

Here is a list of the biographical stories:

The stories are E books - this means we are going to send you the stories to your email-address.

The Interviews with Betty MacDonald, her sister Alison and other family members and friends are available on Cd and DVD. ( CD and DVD incl. different interviews )

If you need further info send a mail to










After doing extensive worldwide research, including visits to places and people important to Betty, we are still looking for interesting and important information about Betty MacDonald and the Bard family. Our interest includes any interviews, articles, radio and television appearances.
We are also looking for more people who knew the Bards personally. If you have information to add to our research, please email us. Please also let us know your requests -- what kind of subjects interest you most about the work and life of Betty MacDonald and Mary Bard?
Your information will help us in our research and work to create and preserve a living portrait of Betty MacDonald's brilliant personality and her wounderful family. Please join us in this treasure hunt for more stories!
Do you have or know of an interesting sites with material about or related to Betty? Please send us the URL address. Thank you so much in advance for supporting our activities, and for your suggestions and help! Send us you research, suggestions and support to Research Department
Your information will be posted to the site promptly. Thank you!

Betty MacDonald Museum

We are always looking for original Betty MacDonald Items, for example important documents, letters, pictures.

There are plans to found a Betty MacDonald Museum presenting the Collection.

We'd be very grateful for your support!

Post here or send a mail to our email-adress:

Betty MacDonald Biography

We are looking for a publisher because many fans would like to read a book about life of Betty MacDonald .
Perhaps there are some fans who could support us finding a publisher.
We'd be very grateful for your advice!

We'd love to hear from you. You can post here or send a mail to

Cd and DVD about the Life of Betty MacDonald

Hello Betty Fans,

We finished a CD and a DVD about the Life of the famous and beloved author Betty MacDonald, who wrote The egg and I and the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle Series.
Everybody knows Ma and Pa Kettle from her book The egg and I and the beloved Ma and Pa Kettle Movies.

It incl. wonderful interviews with her family and friends.
You'll enjoy unique interviews with Betty MacDonald and her sister Alison.

You can read the biography of Betty MacDonald.
We've finished very interesting biographcial stories about the Life of Betty MacDonald incl. many comments of her family and friends. We visited all the places where Betty lived and met many family members and her friends.

We had the opportunity to read many very important documents, manuscripts and letters.

Did you know that her books remain in some countries to the most popular ones until today?

We'd love to hear from the Betty Fans from all over the world.

Betty MacDonald is a brilliant writer and and continues to bring joy and pleasure to all of us.