Nonnie’s Nuggets

Encouragement for grandson turns into book for Dora author

By RICK WATSON, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 6/10/18

DORA — The seeds of Pam Thomas Campbell’s new book were an accident — not in releasing the book, but writing it.

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Nonnie’s Nuggets

Encouragement for grandson turns into book for Dora author

Posted

DORA — The seeds of Pam Thomas Campbell’s new book were an accident — not in releasing the book, but writing it.

Campbell posted on her Facebook timeline but she thought only her grandson Hunter Andrews would see them. She was wrong. She’d been online for a few years, but she had never learned the ins and outs of Facebook.

Her mistake turned into a thread on her timeline that touched a lot of people. This thread turned into “Nonnie’s Nuggets.”

Hunter is the son of Campbell’s daughter Ashley and her husband, Brett Andrew.  The young man got into some trouble back in 2016. Hunter began hanging out with older kids and got involved with drugs. As a result, he wound up in Camp Mitnick in a six-week boot camp.

Camp Mitnick boot camp specializes in helping young men learn how to help deal with the many problems facing young people today.

“After six weeks, he was doing great, and he came home,” said Campbell.

During the weeks the youth spent at Camp Mitnick, Campbell started writing daily updates on Facebook and Tagging Hunter. 

“I started writing daily devotions and notes of encouragement to Hunter. I thought he was the only one seeing the notes,” she remembered.

As it turns out, she was posting the notes publicly on her timeline, which meant that any of her Facebook friends could read what she wrote. 

She called her girls and asked, “Why is everybody commenting on my notes to Hunter? I thought only he would see them.”

But the notes intended for her grandson resonated with people in her circle of friends. 

Sometimes the notes were Bible verses, and sometimes she told stories to her grandson.

It wasn’t until people started commenting on her notes to her grandson that she realized they weren’t private notes at all.

“Every family is going through something. It might not be drugs, but they face some kind of challenge,” Campbell said.  “And if they aren’t going through something now, they will.”

One of the stories she told her grandson was about a time when he younger. One rainy day, she and Hunter were coming home from a basketball game. Hunter had not played much that day and was feeling down. He turned to her and said, “I don’t even know why I’m here,” Campbell said. 

Those words broke her heart. A few miles down the road, a woman was standing in the middle of the road waving her arms trying to flag them down.

Another woman was trapped in a car that had overturned in a ditch. The ditch was filling with rainwater. Hunter and two other men ran down and held the car on its side to keep the trapped woman from drowning until help could arrive.

Hunter received his answer to his “Why am I here” question. Campbell reminded him of that story in one of her updates. 

These Facebook posts to her grandson helped her during her time of struggle.

“Writing these Facebook updates to him, she was able to say things she couldn’t say to his face. Sometimes he didn’t want to listen, and times he couldn’t listen to me,” she said.

Campbell soon realized her stories were important. Her Facebook friends were writing to her and saying that each day when they wake up, they look to see what words of encouragement she’d written to Hunter. “I can’t wait to read what you wrote,” said one friend. 

She kept getting requests for paper copies of her Facebook posts. “I found myself making a lot of copies for people,” she said. 

One friend encouraged her to put all the devotions into a book. Suddenly, that felt like the thing to do.

Since it had all started on Facebook, she reached out to her friends and had a contest to suggest titles for the book. Kent Glover suggested that she call the book “Nonnie’s Nuggets.” The title fits because Hunter called his grandmother Nonnie.

In February 2018, her friend  Suzanne Light began helping her get the book to print by editing it and formatting it for publication.

She was a little concerned at first that Hunter might not like the idea of a book about him. As it turns out, he was fine with the idea. “He was tickled about the book,” she said. 

“I’ve always been open about Hunter’s struggle with drugs. I never tried to hide anything,” Campbell said.  “If you knew me, you knew what our family was going through. Right now, Hunter is doing well, and we pray that it stays that way.”

The book went on sale the first of May and sales so far have exceeded her expectations. She hasn’t advertised or promoted the book, which has only been advertised by  word of mouth.

She’s almost sold out of her first printing. “I’ll have to reorder soon,” Campbell said.

The first time someone asked Campbell to autograph her book, it surprised her. “I never consider myself a writer,” she said. She was flattered that someone wanted her to sign the book.

She’s exploring ways to promote the work to get the word out. Every family struggles with something. Ms. Campbell hopes her book with be comforting to other’s who are going through a similar situation. She hopes her message matters.

Currently, the books are on sale in Jasper at Sam Glover Drug store and the Walker Baptist Medical Center pharmacy.

Campbell grew up in Sumiton. Her grandfather owned Harper’s Supermarket for 43 years. She now lives in Dora with her husband, Mike. She works part-time at Ken Glover Drug Store at the Sumiton and Jasper locations.