An author’s bond with her past prose helped forge her role as a professional wordsmith. Now, she’s returning home to Muscatine to reconnect with friends and family — including one friend who might just bring back a flood of memories.
MUSCATINE, Iowa — When Cheryl Gillmore Kobel returns to Muscatine for her 45th class reunion, her classmates can read about what she’s been up to — under her pen name of C.L. Gillmore.
Since graduating from Muscatine High School in 1967, Gillmore, who now resides in Surprise, Ariz., retired from her 25-year career in education and become an award-winning author.
On Saturday, Aug. 25, she will hold a book signing for her books, “Of Roots, Shoes and Rhymes,” a collection of poems, and “Uncommon Bond,” her first novel.
The book signing will be at 1:30 p.m. at the Pearl City Station.
Gillmore won first-place in the sixth annual National Indie Excellence Award’s poetry category for “Of Roots, Shoes and Rhymes.” The collection covers her life experiences, and some of the poetry even appears in the novel “Uncommon Bond,” which received recognition as a finalist in the romance category.
“Uncommon Bond,” is the first of a two-part series about Rose and Jake, who marvel at the kind of love that comes along only twice in this modern lifetime: the first time in person, the second via technology through Facebook and texts.
Gillmore holds a bachelor of education degree in both elementary and special education with endorsements in early childhood education and learning disabilities.
She spent her career teaching special education in Missouri and Arizona, and keeping journals and notes about her impressions of students, family and life.
Her original inspiration came from her second-grade teacher, Mrs. (Ethel) Loper, who taught at Muscatine’s Franklin Elementary School.
“She encouraged me to put my thoughts on paper,” said Gillmore. “I wrote throughout my life, but never did anything with it. I never had the time.”
In addition to her teaching career, Gillmore and her husband, Mike Kobel, raised two sons, Adam and Aaron Kobel.
When she retired, Gillmore said the thought of “doing nothing or riding around in a golf cart” never occurred to her.
Instead, once she had more time, Gillmore began going back and rereading her journals and poetry, which chronicled her career and other aspects of her life history.
She drew on that past writing and wove in new experiences to create her works of poetry and novels.
Gillmore has a website with a blog that she uses to share a voice from her generation, whom she refers to as, “The post-World War II baby boomers who watched social media take over lives.
“We’re living and loving in longer life spans except we are pushing the equivalent of a magic button with each electronic message,” she wrote in a recent post.
It has been 25 years since Gillmore has been in Muscatine, and she looks forward to meeting with old friends she’s reconnected with on Facebook.
She will also be visiting with her sister and brother-in-law, Martha and Art Walker of Wilton.
And she will take time to see another old friend.
“I want to spend time at the Mississippi River,” said Gillmore. “The Mississippi is near and dear to my heart.”