Here in the newspaper business we have a saying - “everybody has a story.” Broken Bow native Betty Akin has lots of stories, and is ready to tell them.
Becoming an author was not something Betty had ever really thought about. After graduating from Broken Bow High School, Betty went off to Queen Anne’s School of Cosmetology in Kearney with some of her classmates, pursuing the dream of being a hairdresser.
After graduating from cosmetology school, Betty married a rancher and moved to the Brewster area. Word of the new “professional” in the area traveled fast.
“When it became known that I was a hairdresser, people frequently dropped by wanting haircuts, perms, etc.,” Betty recalls. “The last straw was when we were leaving for a weekend visit to my brother's (Ed Akin) in Kearney,a neighbor met us on the road, wanting a perm! My husband sent me back home with the lady and he went on down to my brother's.”
Betty says when her husband returned the next day, he and her brother had come to the conclusion that she needed to open her own business - which she did. She ran the shop for several years, until she and her husband divorced and she left the Brewster area.
She ended up in Lincoln where she went to work for IBM as a service technician. Betty worked in Kansas, Arizona and Nebraska for nearly 15 years with the company. But she says her heart has always been in the Sandhills.
She left IBM and returned to her native land, and enjoyed working in the hills. However, a needed hip replacement sidelined her laborious work and landed her behind a desk.
Betty returned to Lincoln and worked for a short time for the State of Nebraska, then moved to the Lancaster County Attorney’s Office where she worked for 12 years.
She began having problems with her other hip, and it was during the replacement of her left hip that her life took a turn.
“I took a writing class during my recuperation (from hip surgery). I found that I had lots of stories just dying to be written, instead of just telling them...like when the bull chased me....or the 'case of beer bet' on whether I would get on a bull and ride???....well anyway, you catch, my drift. I found that my mind was still in the hills, so off it went!”
Betty compiled those stories just “dying to be written” into a her first novel titled Sandhills Dreamer, which she plans to release sometime after the first of the year. The book will be available on ebooks, Amazon.
“Presently, I have a short story, 'The Christmas Gift', that is part of an anthology book, written by five other writers and me, called, 'Love and Merry Christmas', on ebooks and in print on Amazon.com.”
When asked where she wants to go from here, Betty shares at least one of her future plans. . .
“My plans are to retire this next May and move back to the Sandhills... the home of my heart.”