Orlene Dentone spotted an empty house in the older part of Woodbridge a few years ago and found it uninhabited.
“Everyone else had Christmas tree lights,” Dentone said. “This one had daffodils.”
Seeing the attractive house while driving home to Acampo, she noted that a whole year had gone by with the house unoccupied. It prompted her to ask herself — “Do houses have feelings?”
In 2011, while Tate Publishing was having a book signing for someone else at the Lodi American Legion Hall, Dentone asked a Tate representative if she could submit her own manuscript about the cute home she saw in Woodbridge.
“I think I was just in the right place at the right time,” said Dentone, who is the Legion’s part-time office manager.
Dentone completed her 21-page book of text and drawings, called “The House Without a Family,” in September 2011, and it was released nationally a month later. She uses the pen name Odie Dentone.
“It’s a story that delivers a Christian message of kindness and generosity, but there’s no reference to God and heaven,” said Dentone, 65.
The book is about Wilson McCurdy, who loves to build things. However, he wants to do more than that. He wants to build something that can help people. In the end, Wilson learns a lot about hard work, patience and giving to people in need.
Dentone, who lived in Lodi for eight years before moving to Acampo seven years ago, said she didn’t become a creative writer until after her retirement.
“Younger adults are too busy with everyday living to let their imagination wander (far enough) to grasp hold of their imaginary thoughts,” she said.
They’re too busy thinking about their job, schoolwork, fixing lunch for the kids, laundry and deciding what to have for dinner, Dentone said. She doesn’t have to worry about those kinds of things anymore.
So what’s Dentone’s secret?
“If you just open your mind, things happen,” she said.
Dentone has completed two other books, but neither has been published yet. One is the sequel to her first book, this one called “Wilson’s House Becomes a Home.” It comes from the perspective of the family who bought the house described in the first book. The original book comes from the perspective of Wilson McCurdy, who built the house.
The third book is about a kitten abandoned by her mother in a dark alley. The kitten jumps onto a truck and ends up in a country farmhouse. The kitten then strikes a friendship with a boy who lives on the ranch.
Dentone lives in Acampo with her husband, Alfred Dentone. They each have two children from a previous marriage, nine grandchildren and one great-grandson.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.