Are there other established authors whose styles are similar to yours?
Looking for something to do this weekend? Find what you need in our Weekend Entertainment Guide newsletter.
Earl Hamner Jr. and Jean Shepherd, who wrote, "A Christmas Story." It's also similar to Sam Clemmons — sort of that "storytelling" style.
Contrary to the typical autobiography, in your book there are often many points of view — yours and then the others who experience it along with you. Was that hard for you when writing?
No, I didn't view this as an autobiography, but rather a snapshot of a period of time. I was absolutely positive that everything I was writing was true. The few times I questioned a story or event, I spoke with those who I'd grown up with to verify my story. I sat down and asked a question without leading them to a predetermined response. I was amazed with the accuracy of my stories.
Did you learn anything about yourself while writing this book?
I learned that my stories are not unique but rather unique to me. We all have them — mine are not better or worse — only different. In sharing my stories, I have been able to relive them in my mind and have reconnected with others in the community. I have seen people I had not seen for 50 years. We have laughed and shared experiences that had almost been forgotten.
What do you want readers to take away from this book"?
Everyone should realize they all have stories that could be a book. It's called your life. At our book signings we've given a pencil with the book title imprinted on it, and I tell people to begin writing their own stories. Giving these stories to my children was my first goal. Getting others to document their own stories was the second goal. Feedback has indicated that many have been inspired to do just that.
What do you want people to know about your childhood?
Many have shared that when reading my book, it's as if I am sitting there narrating it to them. The book was designed to describe my childhood through day-to-day events.
All of our childhoods spanned a period of change. My childhood took place at a time when your small community was your world. We were taught traditional values by our families as well as by the entire community. There were not locked doors, and parents didn't have to be concerned about your safety as much as today. We watched Sputnik fly overhead as we were snapping beans and gathering eggs. It was a time of innocence and a time of exploration.
To me, Hedgesville in the 1950s was a wonderful time to be a child and a great location in which to have lived.
Are you working on another writing project?
Yes. My book ends in 1964, the year I turned 16 and got my driver's license. It opened up a whole new world for me. My second book will begin at this period of my life.
Is your book available in the Tri-State area? Where? If not, how can a reader buy a copy of the book?
The book is available at The Four Seasons Bookstore and Shepherd University Bookstore, both in Shepherdstown, W.Va.; Patterson's Drug Store and the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention & Visitors Bureau, both in downtown Martinsburg; and at the Bank of Charles Town-Hedgesville Branch. It has also been accepted through a juried system into Tamarak in Beckley, W.Va.
Anyone wanting to order a book can email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an order form.
— Crystal Schelle, Lifestyle editor
Retired teacher Roger P. Engle wrote a memoir telling the story of growing up in a working-class family during self-sufficient times.