Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Refugee Camp Princess-- Lives on at Story House!

Guess who this is? Yes, it's me at age of 16, wearing my dancing clothes and shoes! Dancing was my life back in the good old, nifty fifties! Dancing helped me forget that just a couple of years before, I had been living in a refugee camp, as a DP girl of World War II.

I had forgotten about this picture, and the story that it accompanied. But both live on, on the web, where they fist appeared in 1998!

A few days ago I received an email from Richard Loller of Story House, which said---

-"Renie,We are featuring your story on our home page this week.Best wishes,Richard-- *******************************************************************************************THE PRESERVATION FOUNDATION, INC.Richard Loller, Publisher A Nonprofit Corporation Preserving the extraordinary works of “ordinary" people.preserve@storyhouse.orghttp://www.storyhouse.org/615 269-2433800 228-8517We are a 501c3 corporation. Donations are tax exempt."----

Wow, Really? I had no idea that Story House was still there. So I clicked back, and yes, there it was, along with the picture I had sent to go with the story, since I didn't have a picture of myself from the refugee camp.

It was 1998 when I had gotten my first computer, and I wanted to be a writer. And I found out about a contest Story House.org was having for writers, and wrote "A Refugee Camp Princess," just for that contest. It was my first ever attempt at such a contest, so imagine my surprise when my story won first prize in non-fiction, and I received a $100 dollar check for it! I was delighted that my story won, for it gave me the much needed boost to keep writing.

A little later, I rewrote the story and titled it "Discovering the Joy of Giving." And it went on to be published over a half a dozen times, including in Chicken Soup for the Sister's Soul 2, Chicken Soup for the Child's Soul, (yes, Chicken Soup reprinted it) Whispers from Heaven Magazine, Chocolate for Women anthology series, and just recently in Pure Inspiration Magazine. So the story has made the rounds, and did quite well, for which I am so grateful.

Before I make this much too long, I will put the link here to the old story, just in case any of you would care to take the time to read it. And if you do, I hope you enjoy it:

In a follow up email, Richard also said:---
Yes, it's still there. That's the purpose of our web site. To Preserve such stories for future generations. I don't doubt it will be there when Chicken Soup and all the rest have long been out of print. For it's a great one.

Good luck.

Best wishes,


Well, and thank you, Richard for your kind words and for featuring my old story, and for knowing that it will live on, on the web!

And thank you all for visiting and reading, and putting up with my reminiscing.

Have a wonderful rest of the week.

Blessings from the Woods!



Jmkdreak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jmkdreak said...

Thank goodness he and the internet will preserve such good stories forever! All you have to do is google your name and many wonderful stories come up! The picture is so pretty too. Definately happy times!

Brenda said...

Hi Renie,
I had read this story before, but I enjoyed reading it again. You have accomplished a great deal in just 11 years. I am sure there are lots of stories I have not read yet, but hope you will continue writing, or letting us know about the stories that are already published.
Now....I say you should try out for "Dancing With The Stars". You are famous, and you know how to dance. Shall I submit your name?
Have a fabulous day!

Renie Burghardt said...

Hahaha, Brenda! I don't think I'm quite ready for Dancing with the Stars! Thank you for the suggestion, though. Happy Wednesday!




I think you're a bit prejudiced in your ma's favor!


Reader Wil said...

Oh Renie, what a beautiful, moving story! Congratulations with the fact that it will be published again. You deserve it! your photo is also great!
Have a great day!

Gramma Ann said...


What a wonderful story and memory. I'm with Brenda, you could be a "Dancing Star" Keep writing and we will keep reading.


Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

What a WONDERFUL story Renie!!
And nothing has changed in 58 years! YOU ARE STILL A PRINCESS!!!

xoxo * MUWAH *

Maree said...

Oh Renie! How beautiful you were...still are!

Such a wonderful, wonderful story that needs to be kept alive.

Thank you so much for sharing your life and all the prayers you sent up for our Kate!


Margaret Cloud said...

Renie it is good to read your post, and what a beautiful picture, I always like to read your story, congratulation, bet you were pleasantly surprised, you deserve it. Have a nice week and thank you for coming by and commenting.

Loretta said...

Wonderfull story! You were beautiful,what a great picture.

Rudee said...

You have a great big heart, Renie. I was brought to tears by your very touching story as a princess.

Hugs to you!

Patti said...

That is such an awesome story!!! Congrats!! Your stories will live on for a long time for future generations to enjoy! I agree with the others-you should be on Dancing With The Stars!! Id vote for you! Its the only reality show that Im addicted to.Again, congratulations and thanks for sharing your stories with us!

Nancy said...

I remember this story, Renie, and I agree that it's one that should be preserved forever. Loved the picture of pretty,teen-age you. i had dresses so much like the one you wore. They were so feminine, weren't they? Loved the full skirts that twirled when we danced. Thanks for letting us read your wonderful story once again.

Jaina said...

Congrats Renie! This is incredible! What a beautiful picture. I love that this is going to be preserved forever. Thank you so much for sharing your memories and stories with the rest of us. We have so much to learn from you.

Patty said...

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story. I've saved it on my computer to read again. Congratulations for them featuring you again, you deserve it. Have a great evening.

By the way I think they kicked the wrong person off Dancing With The Stars last night, but then I guess I should have voted. LOL I hope that Tom isn't going to hang on forever like Cloris Leachman did. Cloris is/ was funny, but there were dancers that were more deserving than her. She finally got booted off, so might Tom. LOL

Deborah Wilson said...


A great story - plus, I see that you have a few more in your list. And I haven't mentioned that the pic of you is beautiful.

I'm checking out Story House tonight, this looks like a great web site.

Mississippi Songbird said...

I love this story. Thanks for sharing! I hope you are enjoying the fall weather. I'm so happy to see it..

Mountain Mama said...

Renie I never get tired of reading about your incredible life. You are really a great writer and the fact that you have survived some very difficult situations and are writing about them makes your stories all the more fascinating.

I just went over and real all that were listed.
Thank you so much for sharing and may our Lord bless you.

audrey` said...

Our dear Renie is always so sweet and pretty. You're still a very beautiful Princess today. xox

NitWit1 said...

Oh! wonderful! I can finally find something you have written. I thumbed through s Chicken Soup collection at WalMart yesterday but did not find your name in authors list unless you use a pseudonym.

Loved the story.

ancient one said...

I loved that story... I wish you did have a picture of you in the rabbit fur coat. I'm so glad you thought to give it to your friend. I love reading your stories.

Gramma Ann said...

Hi Renie,

Sorry you have a bug. Sometimes sleep and resting is the best we can do to chase the bugs away. If it makes you feel any better I have a bug that has been pestering me all week. Yesterday I slept so much and believe it or not I slept all night. Today I just laid around and did nothing, but watched some TV. I hope you haven't caught H1N1 or the Swine Flu bug. I think I just have a cold of some kind and hopefully it will be going in a few days.

I hope you have a great nights sleep.


Patricia said...

what a lovely lovely story about the coat... and your picture in the dancing dress is precious.

bennie and patsy said...

Loved your story and photo so glad it will live on so others will read about it.
It is cool here today. I love fall.
Hugs from Jonesboro

Kathleen said...

What a privilege to read your story. It's an honor to know such a kind person. I can't figure out how such a tin person can house such a colossal heart.


Anonymous said...

Renie I absolutely adore your stories of the early years, I know you have so many to tell. Do you have a book, a book to tell it all, to open more hearts to the depressions of the war years of the late past? You should write one.
Love Sue

Anonymous said...

OH YES Georgous photo. I know you were one proud young lady. Proud to be in America, Something we as born Americans take for granted.
And Yes you do look like a princess.

Sandy said...

Wow Renie, that is great about the story. I will click the link and go read it.

Loved the photo of you at sweet sixteen..

Midlife Mom said...

What an amzing story Renie! So glad that it has been published so often and now will be preserved on the Internet! Lovely picture of you with your dancing clothes on! I bet you still can dance up a storm! xoxoxo

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a wonderful story, Renie...Your writing is wonderful and I could visualize the whole experience as you told it to us...I wondered if you were able to keep up with your friend over the years and did she ever get to America?

One of my dearest friends, was from Hungary...(She died a year ago May...) Her Hungarian name was Hertelendy, Hanna....She somehow survived the War years, And after WW2 she became a big Theatre star in Hungary....Then the Communists came and Hanna came to America...
Whenver I hear of someone being from Hungary, I think of her....We were friends for about 45 years--our connection being The Theatre here in Los Angeles.

Janice Thomson said...

Oh Renie your story brought tears to my eyes...what a beautiful soul you are.
Congratulations on it being published yet again - it is a story well worth reading many times over.

Reader Wil said...

Good morning Renie! Thanks for your visit and have a great Sunday!

Midlife Mom said...

Just me checking in again to see if you have a new post up. I'm trying to get around to visit everyone this week before we go away on vacation on Friday. I miss reading everyone's posts when I am away!!! Hope all is well with you and yours!! xoxox

PS We're supposed to get snow tomorrow!!!!!!!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Thanks so much for your visit.....And maybe someday you will get to see The Hollywood Sign.."in person"...!

Reader Wil said...

Hi Renie! How are you today? I wish you a very nice weekend! Next week I'll be in France for ten days. I'll only post an ABC entry, but that's scheduled. Love, Wil

Sharon said...

Oh that is such a beautiful story and I truly enjoy your writing.
You truly look like a dancer.
I hope that all is well.
Did you hear from your friend?
God bless.

Beth Dunn said...

That is amazing! And such a lovely picture. xoxo


Reader Wil said...

Hi Renie! Thanks for dropping by! I see you in a few weeks! Have a great weekend! Hugs, Wil

Anonymous said...

Beautiful story. I read it and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Beth Dunn said...

Thank you for your lovely comment. I think dried flowers are amazing! And all that land you have. I'm Beth Willson Dunn on FB. I'll look for you. xoxo


Dr Jenn said...

let me guess, your hiding on facebook? Hope all is well.

Merle said...

Dear Renie ~~ Just a quick note to tell you I have left an award for you at my blog. I hope you enjoy. I love reading stories from your past.
Take good care, my friend, Love, Merle.

Mary said...

It's a great story, Renie. I was so pleased to receive my copy of Angels in Disguise. In less than a month after that, I received my contributor copies of Chicken Soup:What I Learned from the Dog and just yesterday I got an email informing me that another story would be published in Chicken Soup:True Love.

Glad that Storyhouse still has your story on their site and are featuring it.

Have a great week, my friend. Enjoy the autumn colours.


BClark said...

Good Afternoon Miss Renie,
I would never call it "putting up with" and as far as I am concerned write as much as you like. You have so much to share and I appreciate seeing another slice of life.

Best to you

alanna said...

What a beautiful photograph and story to go with it!

Beth Dunn said...

Real ducks in the pond are fun until they become a meal. That is why my mother does not keep fish outside any more either. Luckily our ducks seem relatively safe! xoxo


Poetikat said...

How fantastic to have your story live on for so many to enjoy.
I love that picture of you, Renie; you were (and are) a real beauty.


audrey` said...

Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with me. I'm very grateful, Renie =) xox

Beth Dunn said...

Well I guess if we both don't know what it is it's either obsolete or really tacky! LOL Thank you for your comment.


Pia said...

you look great, renie! so pretty!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Thanks for your visits, my dear Renie...And your always very sweet comments. I dearly appreciate it.

GutsyWriter said...

It's been a while since I visited your blog. What a beautiful photo and I am happy to hear we can all read it. I've been traveling and volunteering so not much time to visit and write. Will try harder soon.

Reader Wil said...

Hi Renie! Good morning! Thanks for your visit! You are always so kind. I wish you a great Wednesday!

Gramma Ann said...

Hi Renie,

I changed the comments page on all my blogs. I hope that takes care of the problems you have been having. Sometimes I just change things for the fun of it. I didn't think it would affect other computers. Oh well, I don't know much about computers.

How was your week-end, I'm sure it was very fun-filled with the family.

I watched Dancing this week, I don't know who will be the winner. Probably Donnie O. Talk to you later. Have a nice week.

Merle said...

Dear Renie ~~ It was so nice to hear from you and glad you liked the pics of Kathy and her family last weekend
She lives 5 hours away, and Kate her eldest lives 3 hours away in Geelong
So I don't see them often, hence the excitement.
I am happy to hear that your son and
Mackenzie have been for a visit.
Take great care in the woods, dear friend, Love, Merle.

Midlife Mom said...

Hi Miss Renie! Just stopped by to say howdy and see how you are doing. Hope all is well. We are having some gorgeous fall weather here that I am enjoying after our cold and wet summer. We have had a bit of snow but it has warmed up nicely since and more seasonable temps. We just got back from vacation with the family and had a wonderful time! xoxox

Beth Dunn said...

Thank you for your kind words on my blog. Here is my fan page on Face book! I'd love to have you as a fan. xoxo



Reader Wil said...

Thanks for your visit! Yes, autumn is a very colourful season. It used to be my favourite one, but this year I feel it as a matter of decaying, dying and taking leave of life for many people.
Well have a blessed week, Renie!

Gramma Ann said...

Hi Renie, Yes, I am watching Dancing...too tonight.
Thanks for the visits.


Margaret Cloud said...

Hi Renie, just stopping by to see how you are doing, hope you are safe and sound, also hope your Halloween went okay.

Mississippi Songbird said...

Just checking in on blogs.. I know I'll see you in facebook land. Bunches of hugs..

Pia said...

hi renie. thought of you today.

Rachel said...

What a truly wonderful story! You were so sweet to leave your coat for your friend! Very touching. No wonder you won!!

Lovely picture of you!!

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

What a blessing to find your site. Such a wonderful one too. I love your story about being published. How exciting and I can not wait to read your story.
Hope to visit again soon

Reader Wil said...

Good morning Renie! How are you doing? Thanks for your visit to my "library". So you read in many languages. Hungarian must be very difficult, but I suppose it's your native language!
I only read Dutch, English and German. I should read French but I still think it too time consuming for I need the dictionary too often.

Gramma Ann said...

Hi Renie,

I was just visiting Brenda at "Days of my life" and noticed you are getting a new computer. How great is that, those darn kids must love you! haha

I don't think Donnie will win, I think he will come in second, to that other girl, not Kelly, but the other one. She seems very good, and doesn't make as many goofs as Donnie... LOL... What a boo,boo he and his partner had this past week, all messed up in her gown. Oh well, those things happen.

Once you get your new computer hooked up maybe you will be able to visit me at my butterflies and candles blog. It's my personal blog, no theme to it, just whatever I want to talk, rant or rave about.

Have a fun week-end and week with the family.


JunieRose2005 said...


I am just now getting around to reading your Princess story!

Wonderfully written-and greatly enjoyed by this reader!

I'm so glad I found it !

NOW I've a lot of catching up to do with your stories!