Herta Abarr is a Renaissance Woman. Although she fulfills the historical terms (marry well, be loyal to her husband, and give birth to boys), she is the modern version who has broad intellectual interests and is accomplished in areas of both the arts and the sciences. Her mind is constantly spinning with new ideas and musings where creativity is always at work.
Born in war torn Berlin, Germany, Herta muses. “My birthplace provides the dramatic scenarios for endless short stories and the genesis for a novel in the making.” Many short stories have flowed from that life-threatening dark period and it is evident that her birth place has profound influence in her determination to succeed.
In 1952, her family relocated to Winnipeg, Canada. She remembers “total immersion” in a 50+ student English language classroom. Daily drilling of precision sounds led to her exact, educated diction thath3 sometimes evokes a charge by less enlightened people of being “snooty.”
Four years later, living in Chicago, Illinois, she pursued triple majors of Primary Education, English Literature, and Music, ultimately earning a degree in Nursing. She met husband Dennis after the infamous blizzard of 1967 and produced a son, Scott, who later served in the first Gulf War and in his post military life, became a pro-golfer and annuities broker.
Dennis was employed as an Air Traffic Controller and Herta embraced his passion for aviation. Both are licensed pilots and got free flight time by ferrying new planes from the Cessna factory to aircraft dealers in the Midwest. Her short stature made it hard to see over the engine cowling and she was always seen at the airport carrying a booster pillow.
At an Experimental Aircraft Association Fly-In, Dennis and Herta met pilots from the Berlin Airlift. She exclaimed to a pilot, “Our flour was always gray!” The pilot immediately knew she was a Berliner as they carried fuel coal and flour on the same aircraft. The coal dust contaminated everything!
At the age of forty, Herta returned to school for serious art study. She taught art for 16 years in a Christian Home School setting and often served as an inspirational public speaker. Her award winning paintings are scattered in 20 states, three Canadian provinces, and Austria.
Herta began writing stories at an early age and treasures a saved 8thgrade story. She has published many local articles and wrote a series of short stories of wartime Berlin that she hopes her son will someday treasure. These articles will also serve as background for a book that is on the back burner.
At one point in Herta’s life, tennis, golf, gardening, freezing and canning filled her days. In the 1990’s, Herta and Dennis traveled extensively through the US and Canada, visiting her childhood home in Winnipeg, Canada. She tracked down the now elderly English teacher who shared remembered hilarious stories of Herta’s journey into her new language.
When her mother-in-law died prematurely, Herta realized that family stories were being lost. She researched several hundred years of family history, 1880’s homestead letters, and “living memories” of elderly relatives. Her Roth Family Historywas created the old fashion way: 250 typewritten pages.
After she became a godmother, Herta “created a binder for the child in which life lessons, character building vignettes, and scriptural truths are contained.” When the godchild was 5 years old, Herta wrote a children’s book, The Angel with the Too Long Sleeves. The beautifully illustrated, photo filled book is treasured by her family, although the public has yet to discover her work.
Herta recently joined the Pamlico Writers Group, “for mutual learning and inspirational growth.” She reads, writes, and still teaches art and bible studies via Skype. Her new life challenge is the destructive deer in her Chocowinity backyard.
“Is there anything you can’t do?” a friend asked as they looked at a Nebraskan landscape Herta had created for the N gauge railroad display.
A quick inventory of her experiences includes carpentry courses, repairing and refinishing antiques, Thespian/song and dance, singing in a 300-voice choir, ferrying aircraft, a career in nursing, teaching German and Literature to home schoolers, authoring a World History Course, teaching grades 1-4 in a home school, using art to teach reading to learning challenged children, teaching art and photography, wedding photography, teaching bible studies and Sunday school, an inspirational speaker, award-winning artist, pottery adventures, having a showplace garden, and, of course, writing.
Herta is a true Renaissance Woman who states, “I don’t do windows!”