Grownups telling family history about relatives in the Civil War are Gari’s earliest memories. Her instructions were to learn the stories and pass them on to the next generations.
Gari graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, and studied at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Virginia, and Middlebury College. She speaks French, Spanish, Italian and English. She held positions in Washington at the Embassy of Bolivia and the Embassy of France; worked for Frontier Airlines, taught French and Spanish, and opened and ran a successful clothing & gift shop in Virginia.
Her life then changed abruptly, as she describes in her first book, Healing Myself. Gari and her eleven-year-old son were driving to a gift show to find more items for her shop before her next buying trip to New York, when they were hit head-on by a car in a snowstorm. Gari’s son had learned CPR the week before in Cub Scouts, and he revived his unconscious mother as she was having a near-death experience. Gari’s next ten years were spent in facial surgical reconstruction, using the Monroe Institute’s audio Surgical Support Series to control pain without anesthesia and medication.
Her second book, Troubled State: The Civil War Journals of Franklin Archibald Dick, took her ten years of research about the diaries of her great-great grandfather and his first-hand account of the initial Civil War event in St. Louis, and his correspondence with President Lincoln as Provost Marshall General of Missouri.
Gari has finished researching and writing about the Civil War journal of her great-grandfather Col. William James Leonard, leader of Maryland’s Purnell Legion. He was captured and incarcerated at Libby Prison in Richmond. The book, titled The Bone Ring, is named for an heirloom still in her family: the ring that Col. Leonard’s men carved him for his birthday from the leftover bones of their food.
She looks forward to hearing comments from her readers. Contact Gari.