Monday, February 10, 2014

Featured Book: California Girl by Terry Huntingdon Tydings

About the book:

On Saturday, June 27, 1959, Terry Huntingdon was crowned Miss California; less than a month later I became Miss United States of America, and two days after that I stood beside Akiko Kojima, Miss Universe, holding the trophy that I had been awarded for delivering the best speech at the pageant. In that address I spoke with great pride of my family background -- ten percent of the immigrants aboard the Mayflower in 1620 were my ancestors. I spoke of my relatives who, two hundred later, crossed the Isthmus of Panama to arrive in San Francisco during the California Gold Rush; and of the ancestors who were the first white people to settle in Wintun Indian territory. I talked about my great, great, grandfather, who had driven the stagecoach from Strawberry Valley to the Oregon border, forging the route now known as Interstate 5. The book then narrates television and motion picture careers during the year of my reign, includes social exchanges with the incomparable Bob Hope, American Bandstand performer, Paul Anka, Groucho Marx, of The Price Is Right, Ricky Nelsen, and his parents, Ozzie and Harriett, Los Angeles Sheriff Peter Pitchiss, Gunsmoke's James Arness, teen-throb crooner Fabian, bandleader Lawrence Welk, photographer Ernest Haas, San Francisco Chronicle columnist, Herb Caen, and my experiences as Hostess for the VIII Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley -- a tale laced with irony, humor, and of course romance, including attempts to lose my virginity, and equally passionate attempts to preserve it. The memoir concludes a few days after I relinquished my crown, when I flew back to L.A. to attend a party at the Biltmore Hotel for John F. Kennedy's top supporters following his nomination at the Democratic National Convention. There, I met Maryland delegate Joseph Tydings, who four years later was elected to serve in the United States Senate, and who, following an eight year courtship, became my husband.

About the author:

Terry Huntingdon Tydings' memoirs are informed by her varied, multilayered careers: After reining as Miss California, and Miss United States of America, she worked as an actor in the motion picture and television industries. Modeling assignments took her to New York and Europe. She was a free-lance photographer with the United States government, and a staff member on Capital Hill for California's Senior Senator, Alan Cranston. Following her marriage to United States Senator Joseph Tydings, she became immersed in the world of politics, co-chaired and chaired fund-raising events in our nation's Capitol, and served as scheduler on Senator Gary Hart's 1984 Presidential campaign. In 2011 she enrolled in The Writer's Studio at Stanford University, and was quickly immersed in her life-long passion of writing. She is currently adding finishing touches to her second memoir, Fire In The Head, which she occasionally puts aside to focus on Barbed Wire, a work of fiction. A fifth-generation Californian, Ms. Tydings lives in a century-old cottage overlooking the sea.


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