The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Author: Terry Ryan

Review: Cathie H.

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio is a wonderful story of strength and courage in the face of serious adversity. It is a true story of the Ryan family from Defiance. Evelyn Ryan is the hero of the tale. She was the mother of ten children. Her husband Kelly Ryan was an alcoholic who drank away a good portion of his small salary. Evelyn supplemented the family income by entering jingle contest sponsored by US companies like Burma Shave, Dial Soap, and Dr. Pepper. During the 1950s it was a popular advertising technique to appeal to “housewives” to enter these contests. To the winners the companies offered cash prizes, cars, appliances, food items, just about any product imaginable. Evelyn kept a notebook on her ironing board and there she jotted down any ideas that came into her head. She would send in multiple entries using different forms of her own name as well as the names of family members. This was allowed by the rules and common among the serious contest participants. Then she would watch anxiously every day for the postman to bring news of what she might have won.

As a young woman