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City in which you reside: Martinsburg, W.Va.
Day job: Retired after 30 years of teaching at South Hagerstown High School
Book title: "Stories From A Small Town: Remembering My Childhood In Hedgesville, West Virginia"
Quick synopsis of book: "Stories from a Small Town" is a memoir set in Hedgesville between 1948 and 1964, following a boy's adventures around his neighborhood, local businesses and the surrounding wilderness. The book provides an unfettered and amusing view of growing up in a working-class family during self-sufficient times.
Publisher: Girls on Press, an imprint of SEDO
You wrote that Earl Hamner's, "The Homecoming," reminded you of your own childhood. Did this inspire you to write your own childhood memories?
I very much enjoy the style Mr. Hamner used in telling his stories, but he was not the inspiration for my stories. The gap of years between his experiences and mine was some 20 years but many similarities existed between his childhood and mine. The closeness of the community, an extended family living under one roof and the makeup of the town showed many parallels.
Your book is a collection of really quick memories and stories of growing up in Hedgesville, W.Va. Is that how you wanted to approach the book from the start? And why did you want to just have quick snippets?
The stories are written as pieces of a mosaic that made up my world. They may appear as isolated events, but were not. The events were ever changing and all equally important in my childhood. There was no preset idea of how long each story would be. The length of the story does not equate to its significance.
How did you write this book? Was it based on journals or more recent writings?
Most everyone has a moment when something triggers a memory. It could be a word, sight or smell. We dismiss most of the memories and they disappear as quickly as they came.
About eight years ago, I started having a flood of such memories. There were so many that I began writing them down — just three or four words — enough to keep the thought alive. I had legal pads at many places in our home that were filled with short entries. I decided to begin elaborating on those thoughts.
I planned to write these memories down for my children, Chuck and Stephanie, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As I began writing, I was amazed at the detail I was able to recall. Some of the stories triggered other memories and more stories. Stories were then entered into our computer.
Several years ago, our daughter found out about this project and put a few of the stories into a small, handmade book and presented it to me as a gift. Upon finding out there were many more stories, she suggested they should be published and shared with more than family. She has a design business and offered to do just that. We all agreed and the book was released in August 2012.