Still Pedaling, by Pauline Hayton. PH Publishing. 296 pages. Trade paperback $11.99. Available on amazon.com.
It is not often that one encounters an autobiography written by a non-celebrity that has the likelihood of reaching a wide audience. Pauline Hayton has written such a book, revealing a life lived with immense challenges, plenty of setbacks, risky decisions, and an evolution of goals and values. As the title suggests, determination has been a major factor in Mrs. Hayton’s journey. So have curiosity, the desire to help others, and spiritual strength.
Born and raised in a small town in the northeast of England, Pauline had a rebellious streak that got out of hand, landing her in trouble and with unplanned-for motherhood at an early age. She had to scramble, as a marginally employed single mother, to keep her head above water. She had to give her second daughter up for adoption for that child’s well-being. So often, it seemed as if there was no hope for her to realize a bright future.
Dealing with the trauma of being gang-raped, finding herself either too trusting or unable to trust through many episodes of her life, Pauline slowly found a path by discovering a faith and a gift, which she nourished. Though she was never a traditionally religious person, she did become a committed spiritualist healer. She took this opportunity as a personal mission, and her studies led to a vocation that helped many people. In this way, she also helped herself.
Her main occupation, in her early adulthood, was as a probation officer, where her healing gifts and knowledge were put to good use. Pauline’s portraits of her probation assignments are among the memoirs many high points, providing insights on how this system works in England that are in contrast in many ways to probation officer duties in the U. S. Or perhaps the contrast is in how Pauline perceived her roll and fulfilled it.
Though never trained as a writer, Pauline has a gift for it. She honored her father’s WWII service by writing a book about it titled A Corporal’s War. The research for this book led Pauline to look more closely into Myanmar (Burma) where her father served. Two additional books – Myanmar: In My Father’s Footsteps and Naga Queen — grew out of that fascination. Indeed, Pauline and Peter Hayton’s support for the education of children in remote parts of Myanmar is one of those miracles of how people who are not well-to-do, like the Haytons, can greatly improve the lives of those who would otherwise have no path out of abject poverty.
What else? . . .
To read the entire review, as it appears in the January 27, 2016 issue of Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the January 28 Naples, Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte, and Palm Beach Gardens/Jupiter editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Still Pedaling