Wednesday, November 15, 2006

He remembers Mama

Author to visit Ketchum toting new memoir

Express Staff Writer

?My Mother Can Beat Up Your Father? by Danny Langdon. Publish America. $19.95. 200pp.

Remember the old saying, "My dad can beat up your dad?" Well, flip and give it a twist. Danny Langdon, business performance consultant, has written an ode to a mother like no other. He will be in Ketchum at Iconoclast Books to sign and read from his memoir, "My Mother Can Beat Up Your Father," at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 16.

Though he was raised and still has family in Twin Falls, Langdon now lives in Bellingham, Wash. The book was a labor of love, he said. "It's really about a woman who was very exceptional."

His mother, Marian Langdon, grew up in Bellevue. In 1925, her grandmother Lilea Smith and her Aunt Bessie moved from Jamestown N.Y. taking her along at the age of 4. Her father was working the mines. Lilea, who adopted her legally, worked as a seamstress. When her grandmother died, Marian, just 16, was on her own.

At 17 she married a man 27 years her elder with four children whose wife died of cancer.

"My mother was care taking her," Langdon said. "They came to love one another. They had five more children. I'm the baby of the family."

Widowed at the age of 34 in 1946, Marian Langdon, literally got out of bed the day after her husband's death from a heart attack, went to his scrap metal shop, took it over, and ran the business.

She said it was like there was a hand over her shoulder," Langdon said. "She was a remarkable woman, highly involved in the community. My mother was Idaho Mother of the Year in 1952 and the runner-up in the U.S. She lost out to a woman in Miami who had, I think, 19 children."

Langdon and his family spent a fair amount of time in the area.

"We used to camp for the whole summer on the Little Wood River," he said. "The book has some great fishing stories. I think people will really enjoy this."

Marian died in 1996 when she was 86, but it wasn't until a couple of years ago that her youngest son began writing down his memories and those of his surviving siblings. "I had done a recording with her, as had one of my nieces. What I learned about her was survival. She did phenomenal things. She was on her own from the time she was 16. I can't say enough. She was a marvelous person."

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