My Forty Years Scribblin's

Collecting these writings of Mildred's forty-odd years has been a lot of fun. She has an amazing memory for knowing not only what she has written, but where and when she was published. She provided many of her original typed manuscripts, as well as a couple of long-hand versions of her most recent stories.

Many other people provided material as well, including her daughter Azara Stinger, granddaughter Chris Hoppe, Susan VanRooy of the Charity Peak Outlook, and Suzanne Vernon from Vernon Printing and Publishing. The collecting process is not totally complete, however, since Mildred continues to write a new story every other week or so!

In addition to her self-published works (a coloring/story book, a cook book, and an autobiography), Mildred has written for many publications over the years. She describes her first unsolicited submission to the Rocky Mountain Husbandman, a poem written at the age of fourteen. To her delight as much as consternation, it was printed!

The majority of her efforts, though, involved short articles for newspapers. In addition to the bi-weekly St. Ignatius (Mont.) Post, she contributed to The Missoulian (the daily paper out of Missoula, Mont.), and The By-line and The Register, both Seeley Lake bi-weeklies edited by her daughter Myrtle Eldridge. Searching for and collecting those not represented here would be another project in itself; the focus of this project is her last forty years of literary effort.

Because Montana's Little Legends (1963) has been out of print for several years, all of her articles and interviews from that publication have been included in this collection. Many of the articles within were originally published in the late 1980s in the Seeley Swan Pathfinder. A few short items from the Seeley Lake Writers Club book Cabin Fever (1989) have been also been included, however, both Cabin Fever and her autobiography Once Upon a (Life)time, are still available.

In 1994 Mildred launched the sale of her Once Upon a (Life)Time, at the Evaro Schoolhouse. Susan VanRooy, editor of the Charity Peak Outlook, approached Mildred about writing for her publication.

Susan wrote… "We at the Charity Peak Outlook are sincerely grateful to Mildred Chaffin's recounting of her years as a youngster in Evaro. These accounts are invaluable to the modern, and not so modern generations, in giving us a baseline from which to understand the changes that have come to our area and determine what really is important in our own lives. Thank you."

Mildred tells us that in 1992 "the editor of The Montana Journal wrote me, inviting me to submit some 'old timey' stories of Montana life. Somewhat hesitant, I took him up on it. It was a good try. He printed them all!"

As of May 1998, she has had three of her outfitting stories accepted for publication in the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's publication, Bugle. As Mildred tells it… "My daughter Azara persuaded me to submit some elk hunting stories to the Bugle magazine. TheBugle has been great to work with, and I'm still bombarding them with Bob Marshall Wilderness stories."

We are all looking forward to a continuing "bombardment" for a long time to come.

Jerry & Yvonne Coopmans