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This book is divided into three parts. First is The Human Condition, which contains stories that illustrate some of the experiences people have in various life situations. The second is Just for Fun, stories that are funny or outlandish, written with a sense of humor. The third is Other Stories, which do not fit in the other two. Only one is sort of a horror tale; the others are of adventures and such. Most are principally for adult readers, though a handful are included also in the companion volume, A Potpourri of Short Stories for Kids.
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Davida (Pete) Gates was raised in a poverty-stricken environment in the deep backwoods of southern Florida, and in continued poverty in Miami from age eleven. Through the deprivation, she escaped often by imagining stories of adventures in settings she could only imagine. Sitting in the family car downtown, she made up stories for herself about people passing on the street. Early on, from this active imagination, she learned to observe real people, real situations, and real settings. Late opportunities for higher education (Ph.D. at age 56), gradually opened career changes from office worker to teaching elementary school and college, state drug abuse prevention coordinator, finally to professional sociologist for the Federal government. It also brought opportunities for some world travel. These led to mature concerns for family, social problems, children, cultural differences, and led as well to a humorous, sometimes cynical and serious outlook. From these sources, she continued to make up more realistic stories. She began writing down some of her tales while still young, as she progressed from one career to the next. She was an avid rockhound and amateur geologist for sixty years, and has lived in ten states, traveled in all the lower 48 and Alaska (four times), Canada, and Mexico (several times), the Old Silk Road across China and into Pakistan, and to New Zealand, and Australia. She spent some time on the Oglala Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota the sixties, and taught college and Elderhostel classes on American Indians. From these experiences have come several authentic cultural stories of children and other topics. Retired at age 63, Pete became an experienced hiker, highway walker, and backpacker, and has written books on hiking, an Everglades adventure story for kids, and an autobiography suitable for high school and college social science and Depression history classes. She is now 85 years old, legally blind, profoundly deaf has serious heart problems, with other deteriorations of old age, but retains her interest in and enthusiasm for life and people.
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