The Saga of Helen and Montgomery Chumbley

by Gail Chumbley

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A Local Writer’s Book Charms the Audience at the Garden Valley Center for the Arts Event

Gail Chumbley, a Garden Valley resident, did a brief book presentation at the Garden Valley Center for the Arts last Saturday. Her book titled, River of January, is a love story during historic times and what Gail calls, “A true American Story”.  Her 45 minute presentation was entertaining and Gail was able to take everyone back to the early 1930’s when two most unlikely people met and fell in love.

The stories were told to Gail by her father-in-law, Montgomery Chumbley, before he passed. She told of how even during the times of the Great Depression, people were doing things to have a career. Montgomery had a passion for flying and he “felt that he never worked a day in his life” once he was a pilot. His future bride, Helen Thompson, was a dancer and traveled with dance companies across the US and Europe.  The book bi-line is “He longed to fly and she yearned for fame.”

The two characters in the book had colorful and fun lives even before they met, which Gail captured in her book.  Being a former history teacher, Gail, was able to search and tell the tale of those historical times and of her characters. Gail expressed that she was so happy to know their story because she found pictures and other articles to help write the book. “This history could be lost” had she not known the story.

Gail’s presentation gave tidbits of the book along with a Power Point of unique archived pictures that help to tell the story.  The people that love history will enjoy reading this book of America in the Depression. Then it is intertwined with a sweet love story where the two people finally meet in Rio de Janeiro….River of January. ~Janet Juroch, The Idaho World