The Atlanta Journal in the 1930s had a weekly magazine section that offered $5 for a one-hundred-word incident sent in by their readers. Nine-year-old Lynelle Mason had the perfect story about the family pet turkey that often gave her sister a merry chase. Every week she would rush for the magazine section hunting for her entry. It never came.
This week Mrs. Mason will be in Fort Worth, Texas, for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship yearly meeting where her memoir, "Tarnished Haloes, Open Hearts" will be one of the features of a new publishing venture by Baptists Today, an independent publication for all Baptists, headquartered in Macon, Ga.
The book, laced with love and laughter, is the story of giving and finding acceptance in people in places behind the common masks of fragile humanity. It is an unvarnished story of mental illness, sexual identity issues, heartache and hope, obstacles and opportunities, disappointment and acceptance, pain and peace.
Three years before her career as an elementary public school teacher ended, Mrs. Mason began attending the Southeastern Writers’ Conference at St. Simon’s Island, Ga. Since then she has earned a number of awards given by the yearly conference, primarily in historical fiction. She has previously published over 20 articles in different publications and two books, "Advent Encounters" and "Lenten Encounters," with Creative Communications for the Parish in Fenton, Mo. She currently is working on several children’s books.
The youngest of eight, she was born in 1931 in the country south of Waycross, Ga. "30 wonderful years of my life were spent as an elementary teacher in the public sector, with 25 of those years as a special education resource teacher. I often rewrote my text materials, created plays and delighted in turning losers into winners.
"The love of my life, Claude Mason, who is now deceased, was a minister. I have two sons. Max lives nearby and Alan and his partner Timothy live in California. I enjoy foreign travels, water aerobics, traveling, photography, playing Scrabble, bowling and lifting burdens through smiles, hugs and encouraging words. I’m devoted to my beagle, Ms. Cleo, who in 2008 received her dog therapy certification. Together we visited shut-ins in a rest facility until she became totally blind a few weeks ago."
Mrs. Mason, who formerly lived in Rossville many years, now lives at Alexian Village on Signal Mountain. Her late husband was pastor for a number of years at Rossville First Baptist.