Among the greatest benefits of being part of a growing local business are the privileges of working with and getting to know exceptional members of our community. We are doubly lucky in this respect, as we are often introduced to these individuals in more intimate settings, typically in their home, perhaps on their couch, or sipping coffee and trading stories at a kitchen table. Inevitably, the relationships fostered during these intimate first meetings have the uncanny tendency to transcend the traditional, offering a glimpse into the passions, ambitions, and triumphs that truly shape our community and the people that help build it.
Last month, we at Duval Home Buyers had the pleasure of meeting one such individual, an author by the name of Marian Longenecker Beaman, regarding a home she owned on Banks Rd in the Southside neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida. She and her husband had cultivated a small rental portfolio over the years but had determined that it was time to sell the Banks Rd property due to an increase in the maintenance requirements on the aging home. It was during this initial meeting that we discovered Mrs. Beaman’s profound passion for writing and learned about her memoir Mennonite Daughter, published in late 2019.
Mrs. Beaman, previously a professor at Florida State College of Jacksonville grew up as a Mennonite in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in the 50s, a time of radical and rapid technological and social change. Her memoir chronicles the joys of a simple life, juxtaposed against the struggles of adapting to a modern world, told through the sights, sounds, and smells of rural America. It is a rare and honest portal into a lost way of life, and a refreshing reminder to slow down and appreciate the gifts we are given.
Literature is perhaps Mrs. Beaman’s oldest love, plainly depicted in a black and white photo she displays on her blog showing her at 14 months with a book in-hand. However, it would be education that would highlight her transition into adulthood. An undergraduate degree in secondary education from Eastern Mennonite College launched a 40-year career, which concluded with a 21 year stint as a professor with Florida State College of Jacksonville. It was during this tenure that Mrs. Beaman published “God: Myth and Mystery from the Romantics through the Twentieth Century: Informing Global Religious Conflict” in Oxford, England. In 2011 Bedford St. Martin’s textbooks would again publish her work in “Facilitating Cooperative Learning,” which she describes as “the mantra of my most effective teaching techniques.”
After her retirement, Mrs. Beaman began to re-discover her Mennonite roots, blogging about her young life and digging up old stories, letters, and treasures from her childhood homes in Lancaster County. It was during this time that she claims to have “embraced creative non-fiction” publishing the short stories “Gutsy in Ukraine,” and “Making Love Edible: Lessons from Fanny Martin Longenecker”, the latter published in the September 2016 Mennonite Magazine.
Then in late 2019 her foray into creative non-fiction culminated in the release of her Memoir, Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl. As previously mentioned above, this memoir is an exploration of her Mennonite roots through the anecdotes of her childhood in Lancaster County. Bobby Oliver, the Duval Home Buyers agent who worked with Mrs. Beaman was intrigued upon learning about the memoir and procured a copy to read. He had this to say:
“The Mennonite Daughter is a refreshing glimpse into a different way of life featuring the timeless tale of an individual questioning the norms and traditions of the society they were born into. Fitting for someone looking to learn more about the Mennonite culture or to simply be entertained through the author’s impressive storytelling ability. Would highly recommend! Looking forward to putting the recipes to use.”
Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl is currently available in both Kindle and paperback format on amazon. As of the time of writing this article, It currently boasts a five star average rating with 65 reviews, an impressive feat for any author, and an exciting achievement for a Jacksonville educator, and valuable member of our community. We at Duval Home Buyers strongly suggest you check it out. Doing so will continue to support creativity and foster success for our neighbors!
And of course, for those left wondering, we were able to buy the house, meeting all of Mrs. Beaman’s needs, and ensuring she and her husband were able to sell without the usual hassle and stress.