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Archive for 'memoir'

Jessica Hardy with Lizzie Ashworth: Once in a Lifetime Opportunity (A Memoir)
Monday, February 3rd, 2020

By her 21st birthday, Jessica had completed two years of college, put 1,685 miles between herself and her family, got married, started work in a federal prison, got pregnant, and obtained an (illegal) abortion. That should have been enough adventure for any intelligent, well-raised young lady.

But Jess was just getting started.

Not that her seven years with Parker Grant came without sacrifices:


More than anything, I wanted this to be his plan, not mine. Such a proposal belonged to men and I was well aware I was violating time-honored courtship norms. But I had waited all my life for a man to take the initiative, make me feel loved. I longed for him to sweep me up in his arms, tell me he couldn’t live without me, and get down on one knee to reveal the diamond ring that symbolized his promise. Whisk me away to be his wife forever.

My failure as a woman meant I would never have that.

His response, after a period of quiet pondering, came in a soft, stern voice. “I won’t have a wife who smokes.”

A flush swept up my neck. How could he agree to get engaged and criticize me in the same breath? Was this an excuse for saying no?

I stuffed away hurt feelings, not seeing far enough ahead to recognize the harness he was slipping over me. At the time, I prided myself on my ability to be whatever anyone required me to be. But then, what choice did I have?

“Okay! No problem,” I chirped. “No more cigarettes.”


And its rewards:


At our southernmost destination, we checked into a resort nestled in the midst of tangled forest that curled down to the banks of the Pagsanhan River. In the resort’s sprawling dining room, open to jungle fringing the sides of its big vaulted roof, we sat around a huge fire pit to drink rice wine, feast on chicken adobo with rice, and exclaim over the custard of soft coconut they served for dessert.

A routine for the tourists included dancing the native “tiningaling.” First the demonstration: held close to the floor, two long bamboo poles were rhythmically clacked together and apart while trained dancers performed a series of jumps in and out of the poles. The tourists were expected to try their luck at this, and with the help of more rice wine, Parker and I managed to jump at the right time to avoid having our ankles whacked.

After the festivities and giddy on wine, we left the common hall and retired to our tiny room with its one window looking out into darkening emerald night.

I stood at the window. “How do people live out here, without telephones or television, without roads?”

“They probably have a lot of sex,” he muttered, coming up behind me and running his hands over my hips.

“You’re twisted.” I laughed as he pulled at my clothes.

“In all the right ways,” he laughed back.

We finished undressing each other and fell groaning into the bed.

“I love you, Parker,” I said later. My head rested on his chest, both of us sweaty from our bout of lovemaking.

“I love you, too, Jess.”

I meant it. I felt joyous in the experience of honest affection for him. I felt cared for, protected. Somehow things were right. We made love again, drawing out the embraces until the Filipino maid knocked with towels and halting instruction that the electricity and water shut off from ten p.m. until six a.m.

Looking back fifty years to tell her story, Jessica struggled with concerns about how to avoid hurting people who had been part of her journey. About how to avoid tarnishing her modern-day reputation and the lives of her grown children. More than once as editor and publisher of Jessica’s story, I (Liz Ashworth) questioned whether it would all be worth the effort.

Not many young women today appreciate the obstacles facing women of the late 1960s and early ’70s. So many things taken for granted in 2020 were mountains not yet climbed fifty years ago. And who among readers today want to delve into the torment of that era?

Jessica was driven to tell her story, and I’m glad I helped her. It was an emotional experience for both of us. No matter whether the book becomes a bestseller or even sells one copy, Jessica has satisfied herself that her story is told, that the love, despair, guilt, and frustrations she experienced are preserved as a testimony to life in those times. This is one woman’s story in the framework of her relationship with Parker Grant.

About Jessica

When I was nineteen, I longed to be a writer. Actually, I was a writer, winning awards in high school for poetry and essays. But what I slowly came to realize was, I had no life experience. So you could say that I started living my life in a way that gave me something to write about.

My memoir chronicles seven years of that fully-lived life. From age 18 to 25, I saw some of the world and a lot of adventure, what would later become poignant memories of a man and the times we shared. Now as the fire crackles in the stove and wind howls at the window, I can sit back in my comfortable chair and smile at the story I have written.

But it wasn’t just me writing it. I enlisted the help of my friend, Lizzie Ashworth, to put this story together and make it come to life. I can’t thank her enough!

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Lizzie Ashworth: Once-In-A-Lifetime Opportunity (Excerpt)
Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

Ah, those early years of thrilling sexual exploration and tearful heartaches! All of us have those experiences. Many of us consider spilling the whole story in a memoir.

So it is with this new release by Jessica Hardy. Only she didn’t know how to write a book, so she called on her old friend, Liz Ashworth, to help her put the story together. The result is an up close and personal view of a woman’s journey from adolescence to adulthood and of the times she lived in.

My work on Jessica’s story left me with many questions. Does love last a lifetime? Do we ever forgive ourselves for our mistakes? Is there any absolution in baring your soul to the world?

Jessica will find out as her true life story hits the bookstores and readers decide for themselves.

Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

In the mid-20th century, an entire generation of women found themselves caught up in a revolution. Young women tossed aside society’s rules that had governed women with an iron hand for hundreds of years. Suddenly women had agency, the right to their own identity. And their own sexual adventures.

The story of Jessica Hardy and her seven-year marriage to Parker Grant brings that enormous cultural shift down to the personal level. As she enters college in 1966, Jessica is desperate to break out of her strict upbringing. Parker is her salvation, a graduating senior who becomes the love of her life. Newly married, they immerse in Parker’s duties as an air force officer and a world of their own making—nights in Las Vegas, windy Pacific beaches, and long summer days in the Philippine Islands. Slowly, with Parker’s encouragement, Jessica gains self-confidence and a sense of herself.

But Jessica has a problem. She wants more. More knowledge, more experience, autonomy. Leaving no stone unturned, Jess breaks one rule after another—abortion before Roe v Wade, experimenting with marijuana then LSD, one man then another, even time in jail. It all culminates in an unexpected spiritual awakening that opens the door to the rest of her life.

Once in a Lifetime Opportunity reveals this tumultuous time in a gut-wrenching portrayal of a woman determined to find her own way and the man who loved her.

Get your copy here!


Hartman became ever more distant. I had been conquered, leaving him to pursue new prey. Exhibiting my need only pushed him further away, but then when I regained my balance and ignored him, he needed me.  One night when I had spurned him successfully for over a week and had taken the phone off the hook, he woke me up at one a.m. shouting at my bedroom window.

“Jessica, goddamn it, wake up!”

Groggy, I heard him yell for several minutes before I actually woke up.

“Jessica,” he shouted, slapping the bedroom window screens.

I staggered down the hall and jerked open the carport door. He careened up the steps and stood glaring at me in the dark dining room.

“What the hell, Hartman? I was asleep.”

“Fucking mud all over my boots,” he slurred, obviously drunk. He sat heavily in one of the dining room chairs and tugged at the boots, pulling off one then the other of those precious handmade alligator cowboy boots.

“Wanted to see you,” he said, leering at me.

I huffed and headed down the hallway, climbing into bed as he shucked off his clothes and crawled in on the other side, still complaining about the mud.

“You didn’t have to walk in my yard,” I pointed out, turning off the lamp and trying to get warm. “You knew it was muddy.”

“Hell, I knocked a fucking hour.”

“You did not.”

“Yes, I did.” He snugged up against my body, sucking heat into his cold limbs.

“You’re fucking worthless, Hartman.”

“You love me anyway, Jessica.”

Thanks Delilah!

Lizzie Ashworth
Author of Edgy Fiction
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