November 6, 2013
Gordon Fimreite has a difficult time keeping in touch with an old high school friend, especially because that friend is married to 2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
“She did a Facebook post,” Fimreite said. “I didn’t even know she was coming to town. I just thought I’d come say ‘hi.’ ”
The friend is Callista Gingrich, Whitehall native and a 1984 graduate of Whitehall Memorial High School. She stopped by Books-A-Million in Eau Claire Tuesday evening to sign copies of her latest book for children, “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”
Gingrich was studious and a member of the high school band, said Fimreite, who dated a friend of Gingrich’s during his high school years. He said he never imagined Gingrich would eventually become an author.
“She’s always excelled in music, so I thought she would get into the music industry,” Fimreite said.
Gingrich arrived solo at the bookstore just minutes before 6 p.m., the official start time of the event. When she walked through the front doors 15 people were waiting in line to meet the author and request her signature on their newly purchased books.
Among those in line were Liz Scott and her 5-year-old son, Jack Kohel, both of Altoona. Scott held three of Gingrich’s books in her hand, one of which would go to her son’s classroom at school, she said. Scott has purchased Gingrich’s books in the past and said she hoped to ask the author a couple of questions about the works.
“I was kind of wondering what got her interested in writing the books and why a children’s book,” Scott said.
“Yankee Doodle Dandy” is the third installment in a series that follows Ellis the Elephant as he experiences major events throughout American history, said Gingrich, whose first children’s book, “Sweet Land of Liberty,” was published two years ago.
“These books are really about patriotism and our nation’s humble beginnings,” Gingrich said. “They aren’t meant to be Republican books or conservative books, but pro-American books, and I really hope that many families will see them as a celebration of our patriotism and of our nation.”
Gingrich said she’s always loved to write and gained plenty of experience writing newsletters for Gingrich Productions, a multimedia production company based in Washington, D.C. She said there’s an insufficient amount of literature available that educates children on the significant events on the United States’ timeline.
“We owe it to our kids to give them the tools they need at a very early age so they can begin to appreciate the greatness of this nation,” Gingrich said. “This is a work of patriotic commitment, and I think it’s so important that our kids, our young Americans, know what it means to be American and understand who we are.”
There is a fourth book in the works, titled “From Sea to Shining Sea,” which Gingrich said will focus on the early stages of the republic.
Gingrich currently lives with her husband in McLean, Va., but said she returns to west-central Wisconsin often to visit friends and her mother, who still lives in Whitehall. Gingrich planned to visit her mother after the signing.
Callista Gingrich Trumpets her Patriotic Kids' Book Featuring Ellis the Elephant
- on November 6, 2013