1012 Jill Glassco
Jill Glassco, author of The Schoolhouse, stands by the fireplace with a copy of her book in her home in Highland Lakes.
In 1916, Elsie Thomas had no fear. She had just received a new teaching job at Shady Grove School and was bursting with excitement when she stepped off the train in Marion County, Tenn. Little did she know it would turn out to be one of the hardest experiences of her life.
Thomas’ experiences at Shady Grove have now been retold in The Schoolhouse, a book by her granddaughter Jill Glassco, a resident of the Highland Lakes community off Highway 280. Glassco’s book is based on Thomas’ own words.
Thomas wrote a 14-page letter about her experiences at Shady Grove and passed it down to her daughter. Years later, the letter was handed down once again to Glassco when she was in college. Although she always cherished the story, Glassco said she never thought about publishing it until a service at the Church of the Highlands last year that she changed her mind.
“The preacher encouraged the congregation to go after the dreams God has set out for you,” Glassco said, adding she took that idea home.
Glassco wrote the first rough draft in a week, but lost confidence after several revisions. Like her grandmother however, Glassco turned to her faith for support, finished the book and signed a contract with LifeHouse publishing. The Schoolhouse was released in June.
Glassco’s book not only tells the story of her grandmother, but also offers a guide on how to live through faith. Each of the seven chapters concludes with a reflection page about ways Thomas found peace with each challenge that she faced. They also include tips and principles for readers to do the same.
“My hope was that it would be a book of encouragement to remind people going through difficult circumstances to finish strong and rely on God,” Glassco said.
Originally from Fort Payne, Glassco and her husband, Phillip, moved to Birmingham in 1996. They have three children and three grandchildren. She said she plans to write more stories based on the South that teach how to live through faith in God. She has already completed her second book, which takes place in Alabama and said she wants to write one story set in every southern state.
The Schoolhouse is available to buy online at amazon.com and imprbooks.com for $17.99. It is also available locally at Cowboys on Highway 280, Family Christian in Inverness, Sanctuary Christian Bookstore at the Colonial Promenade in Alabaster, Briarwood Presbyterian Church and Church of the Highlands-Grants Mill Campus.
Glassco is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. She is appreciative of her family, publishers and those who endorsed her book. As she pursues more writing, she will continue to share her grandmother’s and her own faith in God. She recommends her book to children fourth grade and up as well as families.