About Dancing in My Nightgown

Married when she was barely 19, Betty Auchard went straight from her parents’ home to her husband’s bed. When she loses Denny to cancer after almost 49 years of marriage, widowhood forces Betty to find out what she can do on her own. She has a lot to learn, having never been single before. These short, upbeat, inspiring stories tell us how this spunky septuagenarian survives—she decides to dance instead of sitting on the sidelines. Betty laughs and cries her way through grief and, ultimately, comes to see her situation as normal. “None of us is going to get out of this alive, and someone is always going to be left behind feeling sad.” Betty shares her journey of widowhood with poignancy and humor.

She places “guy” things around her bedroom so the plumber won’t realize that she lives alone. She sweats at the gym, flirts with gray-haired men, swims laps, and then tirelessly dances into the night. Betty’s road to self-sufficiency is filled with laughter, creativity, connection, and transformation—and tears, self doubt, and lonely nights. Through it all, Betty lands firmly on her feet, ready for whatever comes next. The story on the last page, “Dear Online Matchmaking Service” doesn’t feel like an ending at all because, really, it’s just the beginning.

Watch Betty dance for the
cover of her book!

(for San Jose, CA residents only)
You may buy your copy at
Willow Glen Books
1330 Lincoln Ave.
San Jose, CA 95125
(408) 298-8141



"I'm passionate about many things, especially dancing.
I dance alone in my nightgown to smooth jazz playing on the radio while the coffee is brewing.
It's like going to church."

Table of Contents

Part 1

Blue Skies
While He Was Dying
Driving Denny
Denny, Jim, and Me
Apple Butter for Denny
Putting My Grief on the Line
Negotiations Have Ended
The Mark on the Rug
Never Stop Moving
May Memories
Tears Welling
Hiding the Truth
My Request
Not 'til It's Finished
Emotions: The First Year
Dry Eyes

Part 2

Wilma Gets Married
The Guy in the Middle
Our "Courtship"
Thanksgiving Wedding
Denny's Special Powers
Dirty Towel Tricks
Printing Wild Grass
First Love: A Conversation with My Dad

Part 3

Cookie Power
Not Ready to Date
The Special Gift
Camping Alone
Men in My House
Plumber's Helper
Birthday Bonus
My Way
Conversation with Dave
Proof of Life after Death
Bed Writing
Moving Day
Conversation with Myself
Killing an Hour at the Carwash
Christmas Joy
January 19, 2000
Conversation with Jane

Part 4

The Orchard
Flower Garden Fiasco
The Carpet Man
Patchwork Dream
The Night that Lizzie Got Baptized
Confessions of an Addict
The Conference
Inheritance from Allie Belle
The Love Goddess from Los Gatos
Too Much to Do
I'm New

Part 5

Lookin' Good
Betty Gets Pampered
Pondering My Future 138
The Big Dance
Sherry 143
The Day the Ants Died
My Controversial Christmas Tree
Boy George Took My Picture Today

Part 6

One Half of a Couple
I Want to Live
The Man at the Lion's Club
My Friend Barry
Boyfriend Report
Dear Matchmaking Service



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Betty Auchard presents her memoir, Dancing in My Nightgown: The Rhythms of Widowhood | Site Map