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What Inspired me to write The Poemography of Hellen Hagler, Her Story in Poetic Form

It was a beautiful day to visit and have lunch with Hellen Hagler, Grandma, who shared her story of leaving Pennsylvania and moving to Detroit, when she was a young lady. She and her husband, Bill, established a tradition of celebrating and exchanging gifts with family and friends on Christmas Eve. Through many challenges throughout generations, the tradition continues to this day. Because she knew that I wrote poetry, Grandma asked me to write her story. Unfortunately, she passed away, and though I had started her story, it was not complete. I spoke a few words at her Going Away Celebration and shared the story, vowing that I was going to write Grandma’s story. Needless to say, not only was I saddened by her passing away, but I was also feeling regrets, that I had not finished her story to share with her, before she passed away.

A few years later, her youngest daughter, Carol, passed away.  I found myself saddened and regretful again, as Aunt Carol, with her beautiful and delightful smile, would not see or read the book, and I would only be able to imagine her smile and approval, once the book was published. I picked up my pen and began adding to the story, but still did not finish it.

To complete my Master’s Degree, I had to decide on a Capstone Project. I already knew what I would do – write Grandma’s Story.  And that, I did. Unfortunately, it was not without challenge. And COVID slowed down the process further. My dear Mother-in-Law, Daisy, had also passed away, shortly before COVID, and I grieved for more than one reason. You guessed it…

Then suddenly, as employees began returning to work during COVID, the process of publishing my book became faster. All of the illustrations in the book are based on photos taken during family Christmas Eve celebrations over the years. It is remarkable that the picture of the Hagler family home, which is shown in the book, looks exactly like the first home that the Hagler’s purchased in an area known as Conant Gardens, a neighborhood in Detroit, that was one of the first to welcome African American homeowners.

I hope that you enjoy reading this book, as it was an honor for me to write it.

Vernell Wilson

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  • After sharing what inspired me to write The Poemography of Hellen Hagler, Her Story in Poetic Form, with a customer, she was motivated to work with me in writing her mother’s story.

    What story would you like to write?

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