Author Michelle Houts was welcomed back to Walnut Springs Middle School.
Author Michelle Houts, a former Walnut Springs Middle School student, visited her alma mater on April 27 to talk with all seventh grade students about the joy of writing. Later, a few pupils were selected to participate in small workshops with the writer. The pupils recently read one of her books, Kammie on First, the story of Dorothy Mary Kamenshek, who was born to immigrant parents in Norwood, Ohio. As a young girl, she played pickup games of sandlot baseball with neighborhood children. At the age of 17 she became a star athlete at the national level when the outbreak of World War II and the ensuing draft of able-bodied young men severely depleted the ranks of professional baseball players. In 1943, Chicago Cubs owner Phillip K. Wrigley led the initiative to establish a new women’s league to fill the ballparks while the war ground on. Kamenshek was selected and assigned to the Rockford Peaches in their inaugural season and played first base for a total of 10 years, becoming a seven-time All-Star and holder of two league batting titles. When injuries finally put an end to her playing days, she went on to a successful and much quieter career in physical therapy. Fame came again in 1992, when Geena Davis portrayed a player loosely based on Kamenshek in the hit movie A League of Their Own. Houts also wrote three other published novels, The Beef Princess of Practical County, The Practical County Drama Queen, and Winterfrost.