About author—Pauline Hager

"I would rather be poor in a cottage full of books than a king without the desire to read."

Thomas B. Macaulay (1800-1857)
British historian, poet, and statesman

Clinton Library

Clinton Library

At one time, Clinton, Massachusetts was a thriving industrial town, but by the time I was born, it was moribund. Many mills migrated south, including the famous Bigelow Carpet Company, due to the depression of 1929 and heavy corporate taxes imposed by the not-so-wise city fathers. There was one theater in town and the beautiful Bigelow Free Public Library. My growing-up years centered on these two entities. Another large company was the Colonial Press Publishing Company, where my brother, Peter, worked as a proofreader.

Often the company had book sales, and Peter bought a prodigious amount of books. Several rooms in our house had bookcases filled with books, and I became a voracious reader.

The Bigelow Library was directly across the street from my elementary school and each day when school let out, I visited the library. By the time I was ten years old, I had read every book that Caroline Keene, author of the Nancy Drew mysteries, had written. Her books so impressed me that I was motivated to write my own mystery stories. Nothing came of them, of course, but the seed was planted and I knew I wanted to be a writer.

By age twelve, I was ready for the adult department downstairs on the main floor. Since I was too young, I was refused an adult library card. A cousin with the same name as mine, but considerably older, moved away a short time later and gave me her library card. The librarian never questioned my using Pauline's card.


 

 

My other love was the movies. I started going to the movies with my friends when I was eight years old. Serial films like Flash Gordon, Tom Mix and a host of others were the rage. It cost five cents for a movie ticket.

Reading books and watching movies fed my imagination. Another source was the radio. There was no television at that time. I would listen to "The Shadow", "I Love a Mystery", "Gang Busters", "Jack Armstrong, The All-American Boy" and many others, and my imagination soared. I earned money baby-sitting and joined "The Book-of-the-Month-Club" at age fourteen.

Watching movies and reading was my world. I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up.

Many years later my first book was published. Why did I wait so long to write? I often wonder. Meanwhile I moved to California, got married, and had two sons.

In 1970, we moved to South Carolina. After settling in with my husband and two boys, I returned to school. I was forty-four years old when I graduated from the University of South Carolina. We returned to San Diego and years later we moved to Japan. My experiences there nourished the dormant seed and it eventually blossomed into a book, Memoirs of an American Housewife in Japan.


friends

"In spite of the many obstacles, I found a warm, supportive circle of Japanese and fellow expatriate friends."