Today, I'm pleased to interview Laura B. Hayden, who is here to discuss her new book Staying Alive: A Love Story.
Laura B. Hayden is a mother, widow, teacher, and writer. She has taught English both at the high school and college levels. Laura’s writing can be found on technorati.com. Her print work has appeared in The Hartford Courant, Northeast magazine, the Journal Inquirer, Connecticut Parent, Hartford Woman, and Imprint publications. She is a graduate of the Western Connecticut State University MFA in Creative and Professional Writing program. In 1995 her essay, “Saved by the Belle” took first place in the First Annual Mark Twain Days Essay Contest on American Politics & Government, judged by Russell Baker, Garry Trudeau, and Joyce Chadwick-Joshua. Last year “Nesting,” an essay from her memoir, received an honorable mention from Connecticut Review, a journal published by the Connecticut State University system. Laura is available for readings at support groups, hospital forums, church groups, schools, bookstores, and libraries in the Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York areas. Staying Alive: A Love Story is about her search for meaning after the untimely death of her 49-year-old husband.
Welcome, Laura. Thank you for the opportunity to join me today. I understand Staying Alive: A Love Story is a memoir about your life and coping with your husband’s death. To begin, will you tell us a little about your husband, Larry, and how you lost him?
Larry and I went to high school together, but we did not date until almost ten years after graduation. He said he saw me voting, and that gave him the idea to call. That would have been the 1976 Gerry Ford/Jimmy Carter election. By January, Carter was inaugurated, and I was in love.
At the time, I had been a high school teacher for almost ten years and Larry was making a career change. At his new work at the Connecticut Labor Department, Larry understood the pain his unemployment clients felt after losing their jobs in the ’80s recession. He had once stood in an unemployment line himself, a recipient of benefits. In a few years he led the department’s team that went directly to job sites — to companies like Hamilton Standard, Pratt & Whitney, Pitney Bowes — employers that once offered their workers a lifetime of security. He assisted the jobless clients even before they left their workplace for the last time, when they were still caught up in the shock of their job loss. On weekends, on his own time, he began an unemployment support group at our church.