AMERICA IS- An essay by Dorothy Huston Hodel

April 9, 2022
Birch Bay, Washington

My mother, Dorothy Huston Hodel, was, in my mind, the personification of The Good, The Beautiful, and The True. She was self-educated, and a voracious reader whose lifelong passions were Art and love for Nature.
Mother was a writer. Her dream was to follow in the footsteps of her literary heroes and write “the great American novel.” Though she did not realize that dream, she did write scripts for radio programs and was a screenplay doctor in the Forties and early Fifties.

For example, just prior to the release of the classic film “Treasure of Sierra Madre” her former husband, director John Huston, came to her and said, “Dorothy, I can’t get this scene right with Bogie and the Mexican boy (played by a very young, Robert Blake). You have three boys that age, can you help me?”
Dorothy rewrote the dialogue, and it is one of the great scenes in a great film.
The following essay was written by Dorothy circa 1944, about the same time the below photograph was taken by our family photographer Man Ray.
I hope you see the elegant mind she possessed and her genuine love for all that was true and noble which she demonstrated to her three sons, Michael, Kelvin, and I.
We shared in this love while she lived. Now through her words written nearly eighty years ago, you can share in what we experienced, her light, brilliance, and her gentleness.
Steve Hodel
St. Patrick’s Day, 2022
AMERICA IS – By Dorothy Huston Hodel (Kindle 22-page essay- $1.99 )


Dorothy Huston Hodel

Author’s Note: HUGE KUDOS to my good friend, Robert J. Sadler for the cover design and layout of my mother’s AMERICA IS essay.

SKH- It was not my intent to make a .35 profit from each purchase of my mother’s essay, but rather to have it reach a larger audience. Hence, the Kindle publication. For those of you that regularly read my blogposts, and those that just happened on my site for the first time. Below is my mother’s original 16-page essay which she typed some eighty years ago. ENJOY!


  1. Joakim on April 10, 2022 at 5:21 pm

    The song Do You Love Me? by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds contain lyrics about bangles.

  2. Luigi Warren on April 10, 2022 at 6:07 pm

    That is a lovely, kaleidoscopic essay. -LW

  3. Edith on April 13, 2022 at 2:22 pm

    I really enjoyed Dorothy’s essay. I liked how she used her perspective on American history and took a single thought process to interweave historical moments. Your mother was a talented, lovely, elegant and thoughtful lady. Thank you for sharing your mother’s essay, Steve.

    • Steve Hodel on April 13, 2022 at 2:59 pm

      Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it. She had her demons for sure, but also LOTS OF ANGELS.

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