Cherokee author highlights great-grandmother’s life in first book
Cherokee Nation citizen and author Jameson Brown is pictured with his great-grandmother, Mary Jane Howard, near her home in Tahlequah. Howard’s stories of her life are recounted in Brown’s book, “The Jewel in Oklahoma.” COURTESY
Shown is “The Jewel in Oklahoma,” which was written and published by Cherokee Nation citizen and author Jameson Brown. The book can be found on Amazon. COURTESY
ORLANDO – Family can have different meanings, all depending on who is asked. Blood, deep-rooted relationships, a shared life-changing experience can all be the basis for what one may consider as family.
Cherokee Nation citizen Jameson Brown, 24, explored what he believes the meaning of family is through his great-grandmother’s, Mary Jane Howard, stories in his book “The Jewel in Oklahoma,” which released in April.
Originally from Tahlequah, Brown moved to Orlando to attend film school. Brown said he had always been fond of storytelling, and by attending Full Sail University he was able to take his script writing knowledge and lend it to his book’s creation.
“For the longest time I’ve always had this ability to tell stories,” he said.
In 2019, Brown began hearing stories about Howard’s life he had never heard and knew he had to collect her stories as family keepsakes.
“I have always had a very deep, personal connection to my great-grandmother,” he said. “I had talked to her a little bit and she told me bits and pieces of her life story, and I said to myself, ‘I’ve got to write this down.’ I had no intention of turning it into a book. I was just going to write it down for the family.”
Some stories Brown heard were from her time in California, which prompted him to learn more about her life.
“She worked with Lucille Ball from ‘I Love Lucy.’ She was friends with Mamie Eisenhower, as in the first lady (former President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s wife). She was a model. She worked in the aeronautics industry. She use to work on planes,” he said. “She just had a very interesting life and I had no idea.”
While in his master’s program, Brown learned about self-publishing from an instructor. This gave him the idea to collect his great-grandmother’s stories for a book.
“It was Christmas of last year (2019) that I went back home and sat with her for days upon days and recorded her stories,” he said.
After collecting her stories, Brown knew the book’s theme was family. He spent the next three months crafting her stories, and by the end of March he had finished the book.
“When you read the book you can see that my great-grandmother cares very deeply about her family, and that’s what I want the book to say is that family is very important. Even those that are just your friends can be your family. It’s not just blood related,” he said.
In April, Brown’s book became available on Amazon. Due to distance, Brown’s mother and great-grandmother video chatted with him as soon as they got their copies.
“I got the chance to see her (Howard) seeing it for the first time and she absolutely loved it,” he said.
To purchase “The Jewel in Oklahoma,” visit https://bit.ly/TheJewelinOklahoma
. To stay up-to-date with Brown, find him on Facebook by searching Jameson Brown.