When Sue (Baker) Chidlovski found herself face to face with some family archives, she came across a sentence that would be the inspiration for her latest book “The Tree of Life.” The line, written in the form of a diary entry by one of her ancestors, read: “John Crenshaw gave an army sergeant a $5 gold piece to release her to him.”As an avid storyteller, Chidlovski was immediately intrigued by the mysterious sentence and set out on a journey piecing together remnants of her ancestry. The end result is Chidlovski’s second published book, which tells the tale of her great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother, two Cheyenne Indian women who faced challenges that are unimaginable in today’s world. The story is fittingly set during the days before, during and after the Civil War, and while today’s world is exponentially different, Chidlovski managed to connect the lives of these women with her own, showcasing the resilience of love and bringing to the surface, the strength of women.
“My father had always told me stories of his Indian grandmother, LeAnna Crenshaw Stone, and now I had actually found her story,” said Chidlovski. “Through the archives, I enabled her life to be told again.”
The book’s main theme is one that depicts feminism before it existed, and how, when faced with adversity, women have the power to demonstrate strength in ways that are extraordinary.
Released in April of this year, “The Tree of Life,” follows Chidlovski’s first published book, “Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig,” an autobiography about her early life in Monett, Mo.. She is currently working on her third novel, which enhances the perspective of inclusion in society.
“I hope people get a sense of history and see how strong women had to be during that era,” said Chidlovski, who wrote the book while she was bed ridden in the hospital after heart surgery. “I hope people learn to appreciate the acceptance of people and inclusion.”
Chidlovski lives in Winthrop with her husband Arthur, a noted Russian Hockey and Weight-lifting Historian. She has one daughter, two cats and a charming pup.
“The Tree of Life” can be purchased on Amazon, under Chidlovski’s pen name, “Susie Stone.”