OSWEGO, NY – A Fulton High School graduate has shared the birth, life and death of her son in her books.
Juanita Tischendorf graduated in 1965 and recently attended her high school class reunion.
“At that reunion, I met up with so many friends and realized that Fulton has much to be proud of because of the success in our classmates are many and it stems from the great education we received in Fulton,” she told Oswego County Today. “For me, the success has been in writing. I started writing in 1970 and have continued writing since that time.”
Her first book was “Til Death Do Us Part?,”followed by “Who Says I’m Small” and “The History of the Irondequoit United Church of Christ.”
Along with writing, she worked for many years, first as an executive secretary and finally as a computer support person, which lead to her starting her first business, J Saxton Services (renamed J. Tischendorf Services).
“This introduced me to many people and eventually one of them asked me to write his life story,” she said. “Don McNelly is a world-class marathoner and my next book was published entitled, ‘The Madman, The Marathoner.’ My books are quite lengthy and when I presented a 607-page self-development book, the publisher held out for two years deciding when to release it.”
So, she decided to release it herself, which coincided with her next book that was also ready to be released.
“That is how this year I released two new books, one entitled ‘An UnFair Advantage’ and the other, ‘The Selfie,’” Tischendorf explained.
‘An UnFair Advantage’ is the final chapter in the life of her son.
In its pages the story of his murder unfolds, revealing that “there is still a great police force in parts of this country and that bad things happen to good people.”
“As I planned this book, I thought of how lucky I was to have his assailant captured and serving a life sentence. But, being able to see beyond the hurt took time, which is something I remember my English teacher saying: ‘Take your time and figure it out,'” she said. “I don’t know why that sentence stuck with me except that it helped me through so much in my life.”
Her son was born a dwarf and later he became partially paralyzed.
At the time of his birth, very few people, including Tischendorf herself, knew much about dwarfs since they had a short life span, she said. However, many advancements in science came during his lifetime and he would live to be 41 years old.
Her former English teacher’s advice would help her to ‘figure out’ how to raise her son and how to “help him become a kind wonderful person who was well-liked instead of ridiculed for what he was,” she added.
Another thing she carried with her through the years was that she needed to believe in herself.
“It was the encouragement I received at Fulton High School to enter the school play, ‘The Skin of Our Teeth,’ during my senior year that planted the seed,” she said. “That too has had a positive effect on my life. If it wasn’t for me being able to feel confident about who I am, I could never have thought to step out in the ‘limelight’ and enter pageants.”
For Tischendorf, pageants were a way of cultivating a need to learn how to become the best she could be – inside and out, she said.
“I know most people think that (pageants) are a way of demonstrating external beauty. But it is much more than that,” she said. “You can’t feel good about how you appear on the outside until you feel good about how you think of yourself on the inside.”
This experience led to her second company, Pageant Perfect Productions.
From the training lessons given to so many adolescents and teens, the book that would be called ‘The Selfie’ was formulated with revisions to keep the input updated and fresh.
In its pages are lessons on hair, makeup, walking, talking, holding conversations, hygiene and so much more.
“I introduce my method of ‘blueprinting’ so that each lesson is tailored for the individual. Only in that way can we become the best of ourselves,” she said. “I have two other books in the works right now. One is a sci-fi and the other is a mystery. These will be my first fiction releases and I have been working on them for some time now.”
She hopes to release them next year and hopefully one at a time, “as trying to do publicity on two at once is quite stressful.”
“But, if it comes to that, I know I will find a way,” she said, adding, “Yes, life has been good to me. Life has also held some suffering and grief. How I manage to go on is that I know what I need to do to accept my life experiments and that is to face them head on and temper the bad with the good. Each episode in my life I realize is what made me the person I am today.”