Roni Stoneman Tells Her Rocky Story in Pressing On

The University of Illinois Press has released Pressing On: The Roni Stoneman Story as told to Ellen Wright. Although a champion banjo player and starring member of the Stoneman Family band, Stoneman is most widely known for her comedy routines on the long-running TV series, Hee Haw, where she played the shrewish Ida Lee Nagger aka the Ironing Board Lady. Wright assembled the autobiography from more than 75 hours of Stoneman’s recorded reminiscences. Because her family was so prominent in music, Stoneman rubbed shoulders with virtually every major country and bluegrass star from the 1960s onward. Stoneman was married five times to men who, by her account, were abusers and opportunists. Most heartbreaking is her account of unsuccessfully seeking work as a maid after leaving Hee Haw. Wright teaches in the writing program at Northwestern University and is an occasional folk and country music performer.