Winter breaks are the best
So much to update since my last post!
After a very busy and successful launch of Dear Jacob last fall, Joy and I both took some time off in December to be with family, enjoy the holidays and settle into the new year.
In January, we both vacationed in Florida and Jerry and I finally got a chance to see “her house” — Villa am Meer — the rundown beach home on Longboat Key that she’d been walking by and wondering about for 15 years before it was saved and restored. In 2010, this little ramshackle house finally piqued her curiosity enough that she decided to create a blog and start writing about it at JoyTheCurious.com. And once that mystery was finally solved, that’s what led her to start blogging about Jacob’s story… which led to the start of our very deep friendship and, eventually, to Jacob. So, it felt pretty amazing to finally see Villa am Meer for real and hear how much it meant to her. It was this historic little beachfront home that started it all.
Jerry and I were so ready for a break, especially this winter. We breathed in the cool salty air. My dry skin softened with the humidity. The seafood was divine. We didn’t have any meetings or zoom calls, so for most of the first week, it was just us—Jerry and me. The second week, we visited some dear friends in Clearwater, then drove up to Georgia to visit family. In spite of the cool, cloudy and rainy weather that persisted the whole two weeks we were there, we had a great time. But, as Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home”—and after two weeks, Penny was sure happy to see us!)
Back at it!
On February 1, Joy and I were honored to deliver the keynote for the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s 157th Annual Convention. It took place at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest in Brooklyn Park (not far from Joy’s high school). I was so grateful for the opportunity to thank the media, and especially our local St. Cloud Times. We included the following slides that showed the cover stories they ran for the first full week after Jacob’s abduction, just to demonstrate the immediacy of the investigation and their extensive coverage of it. The St. Cloud Times was the first newspaper to run the story on Monday, October 23, 1989 (Jacob was kidnapped the night before).
I keep thinking about all of the people that have been so affected by Jacob’s abduction. At our author events, several of these people have shared with us their stories about how healing it has been them to revisit their journeys, and also how their lives were forever changed by no longer being allowed to ride their bikes, walk to their friends’ houses alone, or just plain feel as safe like they had before Jacob was taken. I have hugged many adults at book signings and felt their stories of loss so deeply.
There is power in coming together and not feeling so alone. We have received many kind words from people replying to this Substack, from emails, and from regular old “mailbox mail.” Many share how impacted they were, how they searched and prayed, or how they lost their own children for just a few minutes while shopping and the sheer panic that it caused. They remember where they lived when Jacob was taken and how it felt to be raising young children during that troubling time. Many have visited the abduction site, the area where he was found, and even his gravesite to leave thoughts, flowers, and prayers. Many others share stories of leaving lights on for Jacob and still never turning them off.
I love hearing how Dear Jacob has stirred people to love their own children and grandchildren more deeply. After reading the book, one dear man shared, “You have provided others a formula, a pathway, a trail to follow should horror ever visit their home.” We all gain strength by helping others, just as I drew strength from so many of you. I hope you are finding good thoughts and hope in Jacob’s story and that you will share the hope as best you can in little ways and big as we continue on our life’s journeys.
So many updates to share!
First, the TED talk that I presented at TEDxStCloud last fall is now on YouTube.
Second, I recently interviewed with Newsweek for an article that will be the first of a series on missing person cases:
Third, it will be Jacob’s birthday next week on February 17, 2024. Watch for another special post on that day.
Fourth, Joy recently moved her blog to Substack and has been writing a new story called “Sentenced to College.” It’s about a young 18-year-old gang member from Willmar, Minnesota (just south of her home in New London) who was arrested on several counts of gang-related crimes in 1999. But after being convicted by a jury, the judge on the case decided on an alternative sentence for this young man. Instead of sentencing him to prison, he sentenced him to college. It’s a fascinating story and I invite you to follow it at JoyTheCurious.com!
Finally, our publisher has been busy lining up more author talks and book signings for us this spring!
We’ll be presenting to members of the Minnesota Historical Society who snowbird in Arizona and Florida in February and March. While we’re there, MNHS Press is also lining up public book signings and we would love to see some friendly Minnesota faces if you happen to be in the area! We are so looking forward to this and, once again, thanks to the Minnesota Historical Society Press for setting these up!
We’ll also be visiting several local libraries and other venues in greater Minnesota starting in late March. Keep checking back to see the newest updates!
Upcoming Author Events
2/21/2024 – Patty and Joy, Changing Hands Bookstore, Phoenix, AZ – 6:30 PM MST
3/28/2024 – Patty, Copper Pony, Sauk Rapids, MN – 5:00 PM
4/4/2024 – Patty and Joy, Content Book Store, Northfield, MN – 7:00 PM
5/1/2024 – Patty and Joy, Cold Spring Library, Cold Spring, MN – TBD
5/6/2024 – Patty and Joy, Martin County Library, Fairmont, MN – 5:00 PM
5/14/2024 – Patty and Joy, Hutchinson Public Library, Hutchinson, MN – TBD
More coming soon!
Rankings and reviews
If you enjoyed reading Dear Jacob: A Mother’s Journey of Hope, please give it a positive rating and leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, or wherever you purchased your book. We love reading your reviews!
Ask for Dear Jacob at your local library
We also love libraries, and would especially love if every library in America had a copy of Dear Jacob on its shelves. Many times there’s an online form you can fill out to request a specific book, but of course it’s just as simple to pick up the phone and call your friendly librarian. Thank you for your supporting your local library!
Dear Jacob: A Mother’s Journey of Hope was released on October 17th, 2023 by MNHS Press. You can purchase it at your favorite bookseller, or ask for it at your local library.
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