The Writings of Mary Haakenson Perry  

Mary's Latest Book: A Lot to be Thankful For

"She's not going to's better you think of her as dead already." So Esther's mother was told when Esther was born in 1920, nearly two months prematurely. That she survived hinted at the resilient spirit inhabiting that fragile body.

From Depression-ravaged northern Minnesota to the colonization of Alaska's Matanuska Valley and, finally, to a homestead in rural Anchor Point, Alaska, Esther lived history. Though she considered herself an unremarkable person, the courage she showed as she met the challenges of life and her unshakeable faith in the goodness of God inspired those who knew and loved her. Esther's example has given us all a lot to be thankful for.

Cost for A Lot to be Thankful For — $18.95 per book, with shipping $3.50 for the first book, and $.50 more for each additional book.

Send order and check to:
Fireweed Tales
P.O. Box 557-W
Anchor Point, AK 99556

Published in 2004: Onward, Crispy Shoulders!

An Extraordinary Life with an Extra Chromosome

My oldest brother, Jim, was born with Down syndrome in 1945. My parents chose to keep him as a member of our family, instead of heeding the common advice of the time, which was to "put him into an institution and forget you ever had him." My book tells of his life, growing up on an Alaskan homestead and thriving in the midst of a large family.

The Homer (Alaska) Tribune writes,

"Onward, Crispy Shoulders! is filled with discoveries of human resiliency, strength, innocence, humor and tenderness. It will deeply touch readers' hearts."

Homer News staff writer Carey James...

said she couldn't put the book down. Take a look at everything else she said in this article.

Readers' comments:

"I wish I had read this when our son [with Down syndrome] was young--we could have had all of our questions answered with this one book!"

"...beautiful, inspiring, and well-written."

"I laughed, I cried, I laughed till I cried."

"I experienced Jim...and your family as though I'd walked along with you in your lives."

And the author's personal favorite:

"Everyone should read it."

Excerpt from the Book

[Jim] had a unique view of such things as life, death and TV shows. He hated unhappy endings, and would watch a chosen movie whenever it appeared on television, apparently hoping that those responsible would finally get it right. "Davy Crockett" was a prime example. Each time, as Davy and his brave cohorts gamely fought the losing battle for the Alamo, Jim perched on the edge of his chair, screaming at the television, "Look out! He's behind ya!" When it was all over, he'd stomp out of the room mumbling, "They'll get 'em next time."

He was an avid fan of "The Price is Right" and watched it any time it didn't conflict with his work schedule. He knew not just Bob Barker, but all the folks who had a part in the show. One of these was Johnny Olsen, the man who announced the prizes and pumped up the crowd with his enthusiastic delivery.To Jim, Johnny Olsen was an irreplaceable part of the experience.

Well, sadly, Johnny Olsen went the way of all flesh, and a new announcer replaced him. This did not set well with Jim. If someone had a job to do, they needed to do it, and not let a little thing like death interfere with the completion of that task. He fretted and pouted; Mom explained that Johnny Olsen had died, and wouldn't be on the show anymore. It took several months, but finally Jim seemed to accept the fact that Johnny Olsen was really gone.

Then came the season of reruns. Guess who was back on "The Price is Right". Jim came beaming into the kitchen to tell Mom, "Johnny Olsen's back."

Mom, understandably taken aback, reminded him, "But he died, Jim."

With a look of utter astonishment he stared at her a moment, then asked unbelievingly, "Again?!"

Click here to read the Prologue.
Click to view the back cover.
Click to view the back cover.

Click here to read the Prologue.

Ordering information:

Books are $12.95 each plus 2.00 ($14.95) including shipping within the US. For other countries see below.
You may use Paypal:
Or you may send payment by mail. If so each book is $12.95 and shipping is 2.00 for the first and 1.00 for each additional book to anyplace in the US.
Send order and check to:
Fireweed Tales
P.O. Box 557-W
Anchor Point, AK 99556


  • For shipping to Canada (by airmail) click here:
  • To Mexico by airmail (correo aéreo):
  • For shipping to any other country by Global Priority Mail:
Click here to send me a message.

To learn more about Down Syndrome:

To learn more about Anchor Point:
Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce

To learn more about the surrounding area:
Homer Chamber of Commerce
Kachemak Videos

{Click to view the back cover.}
©2004 Mary Haakenson Perry — Web site by Joseph William Perry