Clinical psychologist Luleen Anderson has spent thirty-seven years ‘under the covers,’ listening to stories of people who have triumphed despite incredible odds. In UNDER THE COVERS she returns to her roots – born eighth of nine children to share-croppers – and tells her own story. She paints intimate portraits of the people who touched her early life and of lessons learned on her journey. In this collection of essays she shares humorous, poignant snippets of extraordinary characters who taught her valuable life lessons she now shares with her readers to offer them special encouragement and support on their own path.
“No matter where we’ve come from or where we’re going, we are all stories. And together our stories make up one book we call life.” Readers will find UNDER THE COVERS an inspiring chapter in that book.
“Luleen Anderson is not only a gifted psychologist, she is a gifted writer.”
-Ellyn Bache author, Safe Passage and Holiday Miracles
“In her lovingly crafted Under the Covers, Luleen Anderson intertwines critical events in her childhood with memories of her family and fellow citizens of the tiny town of Roberta, Georgia. She invites us to join her under her mama’s quilting frame to hear the intimate stories of a cast of characters that make me chuckle, but also make me sigh as my eyes fill with gladly-received tears. Throughout her collection, Luleen weaves the same skein of openness, honesty, and trust that she felt as a child, safely ensconced under the quilting frame – connected and sheltered.
There is a delightful terseness to Luleen’s prose. For example, without wasting any words, she puts me squarely in the audience of the spelling bee, where I try to keep myself cool with a cardboard fan provided free of charge by Bankston’s Funeral Home. And then there’s the mayor of Roberta, who sells the town’s only police car because the new chief doesn’t know how to drive. From her boss, Hiram, at Rock Station, Luleen learns that she doesn’t really have to wash her hands between pumping gas and slicing luncheon meat for the customers. And then there’s the food: Luleen grows up eating down-home cuisine that makes my mouth water as I read: Mama’s banana pudding, fried children, mashed potatoes, lots of sweet tea, and cornbread, always cornbread.
But Luleen gives us not only Roberta and its quirky, enchanting citizens, she also gives us lessons to take from Roberta and from her – lessons about the unreliability of absolute certainty, about the meaningfulness of memories, even sad ones. We learn about the importance of gracelets – those extraordinary people who come into our lives and help us see things in ways we couldn’t have imagined on our own..
When Luleen writes about Ruth, her beloved older sister who dies at twenty-nine, about her mama and her mama’s final illness, her prose becomes especially evocative. When she tells of her mother’s pain and how it echoes from her past, confused momentarily with the pangs of childbirth, I find myself shaken but appreciative, reminded again of the tenacity of the past, how it runs through us always, returning and repeating both the sweet and the sorrowful.
Finally, Luleen reinforces for me the opportunity we should all take and encourage in others – to tell our stories and to draw strength from the sharing. I have benefited intimately from my journey to Roberta, Georgia, from my chance to hunker down under the quilting frame and listen intently as Luleen wisely weaves a treasure of stories of a family poor in worldly goods but rich in the loving connections that make us happy in this world.”
– Janet Mason Ellerby, Ph.D. Author, Intimate Reading
“I hope when I’m your age, I have some funny stories to tell.” With these words, Dr. Luleen Anderson’s goddaughter captures the spirit of Under the Covers by inviting her godmother and us to see life as an unfolding story – a story that is best shared with friends.
The extraordinary gift of this book and its author is to hold a mirror up to each one of us to see ourselves as both individuals and as part of a much larger community. It allows us to cry and laugh, to reminisce and learn, to relax and enjoy.
I know the corner of the world of which Dr. Anderson writes, and the stories put a smile on my face and a skip to my walk. I laughed until I cried, and then cried for the experiences of life lived. This is my world and I am proud of it. I am grateful for the words.”
-The Rev. Maxine M. Dornemann
Diocese of Pennsylvania