Van Damm, Margaret Hay 1923-
Van Damm, Margaret Hay 1923-
Born December 15, 1923, in Memphis, TN; daughter of George Dewey Hay (a radio manager) and Lena Jamison (a homemaker); married Vincent Van Damm (deceased); children: Ward Belmont. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Vanderbilt University, M.A. Politics: Liberal.
Academician. Tennessean, Nashville, TN, reporter; Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, associate professor, 1947-82; Boston University Junior College, Boston, MA, instructor, 1982—.
Betrayal on Sky Mountain, University of West Virginia (Morgantown, WV), 1984.
The River Love, Mayhaven (Mahomet, IL), 2004.
Margaret Hay Van Damm is an American academician. Born on December 15, 1923, in Memphis, Tennessee, Van Damm grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. She is the daughter of George Dewey Hay, one of the founders of the Grand Ole Opry. While in Nashville, she worked for the Tennessean as a reporter. Van Damm completed a master of arts degree from local Vanderbilt University. She later lectured at Norfolk, Virginia's Old Dominion University for thirty-five years. After leaving Old Dominion University, Van Damm published her first novel, Betrayal on Sky Mountain, in 1984.
In 2004 Van Damm published her second novel, The River Love. Set in Middleborough, Mississippi, the novel tells the story of two sisters and the drastic changes they experience in their lives. In an interview on the Mayhaven Publishing Web site, Van Damm described the sisters as "complex people, hiding from themselves their motives and needs." One sister, May, reels from a broken heart but refuses to admit her suffering. The other sister, Anne Joy, shows more affection for her Irish setter dog than any man in her life. Both come together and realize that they have little control over how love influences their lives, which results in unexpected twists for each of them. Van Damm also described her interest in writing the story in the same interview, saying: "The age group of the two sisters reflects the growing trend of women after a marriage has ended and the children have left home; May and Anne Joy are two examples, alone and needing companionship. This is relationship full of interesting complexities." Van Damm concluded that while writing the story, "I wanted to convey the humorous elements about our contradictory human nature. I hope that I did."
A contributor to the Midwest Book Review called the story "relaxing." The same reviewer called the bonds between the characters in the story "powerful." The reviewer went on to say that the story "perfectly captures the quiet splendor of daily life."
Margaret Hay Van Damm told CA: "I am inspired to offer interesting subjects to readers who are generally well-read. I cannot effectively handle explicit or graphic sex or violence except as a possible motive for developing a plot. Attraction between the sexes is a pleasant avenue to peruse.
"For psychological portraits I like Carl Jung and Tibetan scholars. Most important is Thoreau who saw everything as part of nature as a poet, philosopher, and lover. He did express his love for a scrub pine and finding a skunk cabbage made his day. My monologue using his journals was produced in Norfolk in 1987 by the head of the drama department.
"I write on a tablet and then type the words before editing it—two or three times. My interest is encouraging readers to relate to the natural world with compassion."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Midwest Book Review, March, 2005, review of The River Love.
Mayhaven Publishing Web site,http://www.mayhavenpublishing.com/ (December 16, 2007), author interview.