Donna was but three years old when she and her siblings were snatched from their Ohio home and taken to Louisiana by their father. There, they were raised by their paternal grandparents while their father worked as a derrick hand. On his sporadic returns home, Donna relished every moment in his presence. She portrays the rugged blue-collar worker as the archetypal superhero: a handsome man of herculean strength with a heart of gold. From the outset the writer introduces us to the rose-tinted nostalgia of the 1950s small-town life in the American South.


“I savored the depth and complexity of this short volume.  It’s a worthy experience that left me longing
for more
"- Melanie Ferguson, Ph. D.

“Donna Orchard grew up in the unpredictable world of fear and love every child of an alcoholic will recognize.” - Frances Caldwell, Aywn Publications

“I was transported into a different world by the author’s child narrator.  The young girl’s perspective made
the story come alive.”
- Mary Van Antwerp, Rehabilitation Counselor




“No matter how much the Supreme Court seeks to sugarcoat its bitter pill of tyranny, the people of Georgia and the South will not swallow it.”  Georgia Governor Marvin Griffin (1954)   

Though heat still rose from the sidewalk in September, I was happy, but anxious when rounding the path to a series of circular stone steps toward the handsome 1950s red brick schoolhouse.  Three stories with long windows were framed by white columns, stout shoulders to hold up public schools and John Dewey and democracy.

It was the first minute of my first job.

I turned and squinted though the morning sun. In the doorway were three figures in the haze, three white men, stiff necked in black suits, matching white shirts, and skinny black ties.

Someone caught my elbow, “Federal Marshals.” 

How could I know what was to come, the secrets—unacknowledged, oblique, some real, some mythical—that lay inside these walls after the door was shut behind me? It was 1969. It would be forty years before I realized how inured I became to keeping the secrets.

Behind The Schoolhouse Door is currently being written by Donna F. Orchard



Nanners for Nana is a children’s book for ages 2-7. It is written in rhyming poetry.
It is a yellow book.
Nana is at the hospital when the children are born over the years, all with yellow hair.
Their names are Mary Gold, Bee Buddy, Sunshine, and Mac-n-cheese. There are symbols to refer to each child throughout the story.
    The kids of various sizes go with Nana on an adventure in her yellow jalopy. There is a sudden delay when an 18 wheeler is stuck in a tunnel that goes under the bay! With nothing to do, Bee Buddy, shouts “Nanner” at a VW beetle on the road behind them. And the game begins! The winner is the one who finds the most yellow cars before arriving at home.
    There is a tiger in a yellow cage going to the circus. That counts. Mary yells “nanner” when she sees a yellow kayak on top of a blue car. Nooooooooooooo. That doesn’t count.
Mac sees a tan car. Nooooooooooooooooo that’s not yellow. The rules become a big to do. Before they know it they are back at home, tumbling out of the jalopy yelling, “I won!”

A few days later, Nana is going to the grocery store and sees four yellow cars calling “nanner,”but there is no uproar. She is alone. Pushing the buggy down the aisle she thinks, “Maybe, just maybe the kids can go for some fun—a banana split. Everyone is happy with cherries, and ice cream flying out of the jalopy— except Mac. He is crying and kicking his feet.I want mac-n-cheese!”


Author’s Note
The grandchildren, older now. There is no longer yelling from the back seat. Yet in the morning when I go out and see my first yellow car, I have a spiritual moment and I am filled with luckiness.





  Essay - ‘I Have Something to Tell You’ included in the anthology, God Stories, edited by Jennifer Skiff, Harmony Books, 2008

Newspaper reporter for the Ocean Springs Gazette covering the arts

Essay - ‘Highway 61 Blues Tour through Mississippi” published in The Flaneur Arts Journal

Grant Writing: Ten thousand dollar grant recipient for experimental Middle School Program

Member, Past President of The Pensters Writing Group begun in 1965

Member, Fairhope Writers’ Forum, Fairhope