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The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio

How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio introduces Evelyn Ryan, an enterprising woman who kept poverty at bay with wit, poetry, and perfect prose during the "contest era" of the 1950s and 1960s.
Stepping back into a time when fledgling advertising agencies were active partners with consumers, and everyday people saw possibility in every coupon, Terry Ryan tells how her mother kept the family afloat by writing jingles and contest entries. Mom's winning ways defied the Church, her alcoholic husband, and antiquated views of housewives. To her, flouting convention was a small price to pay when it came to securing a happy home for her six sons and four daughters. Evelyn, who would surely be a Madison Avenue executive if she were working today, composed her jingles not in the boardroom, but at the ironing board.
By entering contests wherever she found them -- TV, radio, newspapers, direct-mail ads -- Evelyn Ryan was able to win every appliance her family ever owned, not to mention cars, television sets, bicycles, watches, a jukebox, and even trips to New York, Dallas, and Switzerland. But it wasn't just the winning that was miraculous; it was the timing. If a toaster died, one was sure to arrive in the mail from a forgotten contest. Days after the bank called in the second mortgage on the house, a call came from the Dr Pepper company: Evelyn was the grand-prize winner in its national contest -- and had won enough to pay the bank.
Graced with a rare appreciation for life's inherent hilarity, Evelyn turned every financial challenge into an opportunity for fun and profit. From her frenetic supermarket shopping spree -- worth $3,000 today -- to her clever entries worthy of Erma Bombeck, Dorothy Parker, and Ogden Nash, the story of this irrepressible woman whose talents reached far beyond her formidable verbal skills is told in The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio with an infectious joy that shows how a winning spirit will triumph over the poverty of circumstance.

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 01, 2001 – Married to a man with violent tendencies and a severe drinking problem, Evelyn Ryan managed to keep her 10 children fed and housed during the 1950s and '60s by entering-and-winning-contests for rhymed jingles and advertising slogans of 25-words-or-less. This engaging and quick-witted biography written by daughter Terry (the writing half of T.O. Sylvester, a long running cartoon in the San Francisco Chronicle) relates how Evelyn submitted multiple entries, under various names, for the contests sponsored by Dial soap, Lipton soup, Paper Mate pens, Kleenex Tissues and any number of other manufacturers, and won a wild assortment of prizes, including toasters, bikes, basketballs and all-you-can-grab supermarket shopping sprees. Sometime she even hit the jackpot, as when a Beech Nut jingle contest netted a Triumph TR3 sports car, a jukebox, a trip to New York and an appearance on the Merv Griffin show. But the Ryans' means were so limited that even a $25 prize was an economic boon. Between contests, Ryan provides dry-eyed glimpses of her father's violence, family medical emergencies and the crushing poverty of everyday life, showcasing the resilience of a mother who, despite her own problems, spurned television's Queen for a Day for making victims of its contestants. The results is a quirky, heartwarming celebration of one woman's resourcefulness, and the wacky enticements of 1950s consumer culture. B&W photos throughout.

Customer Reviews

Great above average American story

Amazing average American story. In reading this book, I found a new appreciation for the English language. This was an inspiring book! A must read!

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
View in iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Sep 02, 2005
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings