Author Sally Howard Receives Honor
By Arts Council Menifee
Sally Howard believes she is the only author to write an autobiography of her journey as a foundling, an adoptee and then the birth mother to a child put up for adoption. Her work is titled “Finding Me in a Paper Bag: Searching for Both Sides Now” and chronicles her life from its mysterious beginnings to her surprising findings.
Howard has been named October’s Artist of the Month by the Arts Council Menifee Board of Trustees. Her book is available on the local authors’ shelves at the Sun City Library, where she has volunteered since moving to the area in 2008.
She had been a bookstore volunteer for more than 25 years in San Juan Capistrano and wanted to continue the work. She also operates an online bookstore that sells children’s books. Her other creative outlets include singing with choral groups for more than 30 years and creating craft works. Howard recently sold her first art project – a large collage of World War II memorabilia.
“When I found the literary group I felt like I was home,” she said.
Howard served as one of the instructors during Arts Council Menifee’s two-week Summer Youth Art Institute held at Quail Valley and Romoland elementary schools.
“I had the privilege of teaching writing at the summer art camp. Using writing skills combined with art proved to be so rewarding for the teachers and students as well. Our next project, we hope, is holding a contest with high school age children writing song lyrics,” she said.
In the past, Arts Council Menifee’s Literary Arts Division members have organized free book giveaways and essay contests for local students.
Howard became an author after being encouraged by other members of an online group for birth mothers to write about her search for her birth parents and her biological daughter.
“After filling 20 typed pages I knew bringing up the past was causing me to experience pain I had hidden for so long so I located an adoption therapist,” said Howard, 76. “I handed her my pages, thinking she would find something to work on with me. Instead she said I had the workings of a book. That started a difficult and emotional journey.”
However, she was bound and determined to find answers and gave herself one year to search. In the end, it took her 10 years to complete the book.
Howard is a college graduate and has worked for many human service organizations. She has been a guest speaker at various events around the country and hopes her story will be of help to someone else. She would like to counsel young girls before they get pregnant.
“Many people have hidden secrets they carry around for years; this can make them sick,” she said. “My secret has left a psychic scar on my being but I no longer drag my secrets around. This is very freeing.”
Now widowed, Howard and her husband of 50 years had three sons. Her biological daughter is a journalist and author who calls Holland home.
Sun City resident and artist Edie Schmoll met Howard shortly after joining Arts Council Menifee more than two years ago.
“Sally is a very lively person and such a joy,” Schmoll said. “Her book is well written and a good true story.”
Howard’s book, published about 10 years ago but including an updated chapter, is available at Amazon.com. The Arts Council Menifee Literary Arts group meets the first Wednesday of each month from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Sun City Library, 26982 Cherry Hills in Menifee. The free meetings are open to anyone interested in writing.