Where? Second Look Books, 4519 School House Commons in Harrisburg
When? Saturday, April 15, 2023
What Time? 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Copies of Harrisburg, Did You Know? Cabarrus History, Book 1 and Book 2 have arrived and been autographed.
Photocopies of my 11×14-inch “Harrisburg in the 1900s” two-map sets have been made.
Business cards and bookmarks are printed.
Saturday, April 15 is the big day for my Meet & Greet at Second Look Books in Harrisburg, North Carolina! I’ll be there from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Please drop by, even if you’ve already purchased both books.
The bookmarks and Harrisburg maps are free while supplies last.
I drew the maps based on detailed memories that Mr. Ira Lee Taylor shared with me while I was writing the “Did You Know? local history column for Harrisburg Horizons newspaper (2006-2012.)
One map covers from along NC-49 to Back Creek. The other map covers from Back Creek to Reedy Creek and where McKee Creek flows into Reedy Creek.
Mr. Taylor told me where such things as the telephone switchboard, spoke factory, two cotton gins, railroad houses, corn fields, cotton fields, and livery stable were in the early 1900s.
He told me where the various stores and post offices were. Being the town’s only mail carrier for several decades, he knew where everybody lived, so I included much of that information The map show where the roads were (and were not) before the coming of the high-speed rail.
In case you arrived in Harrisburg after the two-story red brick old Harrisburg School was torn down, this set of maps will show you the layout of the school grounds. The school property is where School House Commons Shopping Center is now.
The maps also show the locations of the Oak Grove Rosenwald School and the Bellefonte Rosenwald School that you read about in Harrisburg, Did You Know? Cabarrus History, Book 1.
Some things you’ll learn about in my two books
There are stories of local heroism from 1771 and the detailed memories of a World War II US Army veteran who told me about his training for D-Day through to the end of the war.
There are stories about the original Hickory Ridge School, which was a one-room school on Hickory Ridge Road.
There are stories about the Rosenwald Schools that served the black students in the early 1900s.
There are stories about the man from Russia (actually, Ukraine) who settled in Harrisburg in the 1920s to practice medicine until his death in 1960. He was a country doctor who made house calls
There are stories about the construction of the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the first World 600 Race when the track was in such bad shape that chunks of asphalt broke the windshields out of some of the race cars.
There is information about the 22-mile syenite ring-dike that Harrisburg sits in. It’s what remains of an ancient volcano.
Until my next blog post
Remember the people of Ukraine – where Dr. Nicholas E. Lubchenko was born and lived until young adulthood.
I hope to see you on Saturday!
In case you don’t have a good book to read, please consider purchasing my local history books. They’re available in paperback at Second Look Books. They’re also available in paperback and for Kindle from Amazon.
Even if you don’t live or have never lived in Harrisburg, North Carolina, I think you’ll find some interesting stories that you can probably relate to if you are of a certain age. And if you a child, teen, or young adult I think you’ll find it interesting to read about how life used to be in our sleepy little farm village of a couple hundred people in the early 1900s that has grown to nearly 20,000 people in 2023.
What? Author Meet & Greet
Where? Second Look Books, 4519 School House Commons in Harrisburg
Too many books, too little time! I got more reading done in
July than I did in June, although a couple of the books I finished last month
were actually started a month or more before. The best part was that I got to
read 3.5 historical novels. Although not based in my favorite time period –
America’s colonial and revolutionary eras – I was pleased with the novels, and
even learned some things from the one I didn’t finish.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson
This historical novel taught me about two aspects of American
history with which I was unfamiliar:
1. Due to an extremely rare genetic disease, Methemoglobinemia, some people in eastern Kentucky had blue skin; and
2. Part of the WPA program during The Great Depression paid people (mostly women) to deliver library books and other reading material to isolated individuals in Kentucky.
The Book Woman of
Troublesome Creek is a fictionalized story of one such “Book Woman.” Cussy
had blue skin and was, therefore, an outcast. She loved her job of delivering
reading materials to her regular patrons. She rode a mule to do her work.
Cussy faced many dangers at home and on her book route, and
this novel takes you along with her as she continually shows courage in the
face of extreme poverty and personal vulnerability as a blue-skinned woman.
The first third or half of the book got a little tedious, as
it seemed like most of Cussy’s days were pretty much like all her other days
with the occasion father-arranged male visitors who came her way. As I recall,
to a man, she found her gentlemen (and I use the term loosely) callers to be
disgusting. Her father was desperate to marry her off because he’s promised
Cussy’s mother he would.
Spoiler alert: Her
father finally marries her off and it doesn’t begin or end well.
I’m glad I read the book because the story of those Kentucky WPA horseback and mule-riding librarians was something I hadn’t known about. I also didn’t know about Methemoglobinemia. I like books that teach me something. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson, is a prime example of how we can learn from good historical fiction.
Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, by Susan Elia MacNeal
Secretary is the first book in the Maggie Hope Mystery Series by Susan Elia
MacNeal. I read the fifth book in the series, Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante three years ago. I enjoyed it and have
had Ms. MacNeal’s other Maggie Hope novels on my To Be Read List ever since. I
wanted to go back and begin with the first book in the series. Now I look
forward to reading the second book in the series, Princess Elizabeth’s Spy.
You might recall that Mr. Churchill’s Secretary was one of the books I was reading when I wrote my June 17, 2019 blog post, https://janetswritingblog.com/2019/06/17/delving-deeper-into-dialects-and-accents-in-fiction/. I was trying to read too many books at the same time, and I didn’t finish this Susan Elia MacNeal novel until July. That’s not a reflection on the book. It’s merely proof that I try to read more books than I can finish in a reasonable length of time.
Secretary takes place in London in 1940. Graduating at the top of her
class, Maggie is highly-qualified to be a spy for the British government;
however, being female, at first she is relegated to being a typist at No. 10
Downing Street for Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Part of the time Maggie Hope is assigned to decoding at Bletchley Park. Here’s a link to a great four-minute interview with Betty Webb and Joy Aylard who actually worked there during World War II: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07dgj2k. The program was part of the BBC’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day. (I’m now getting a message saying I can’t watch the clip at my location, but maybe you can where you are. A friend in Belgium sent it to me on Facebook.) If the BBC link doesn’t work, perhaps you can still find it on https://www.facebook.com/JanetMorrisonWriter/. I posted the video there on July 29, 2019. While you’re there, I invite you to “like” my writer’s Facebook page.
The copy of Mr.
Churchill’s Secretary that I read included several pages of author’s notes
at the end. It was interesting to learn how Ms. MacNeal wove real people and
fictional people into this cohesive story. She also gave some research facts
she discovered and what inspired her to write the novel.
The Spies of Shilling Lane, by Jennifer Ryan
This is an engaging historical novel set in London during
World War II. Many novels have been published over the last several years in
conjunction with the 75th anniversaries of various events of that
war. I’ve read a number of them, but The
Spies of Shilling Lane, by Jennifer Ryan stands out in my mind.
You might be surprised at who the spies in the story are.
You’ll be surprised when some very unlikely people find themselves spying on
the British Nazis and Nazi sympathizers. Woven throughout is a story of the
estrangement between an adult daughter and her mother. There are family secrets
that are eventually revealed.
If you follow my blog, you know I’m generally not a fan of
listening to a novel, but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this one.
I can’t wait to see what Jennifer Ryan has in store for us in her next novel. Perhaps you’ve read her debut novel, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. I also gave it five stars. If you want to see what I said about that book, here’s a link to my April 1, 2017 blog post, https://janetswritingblog.com/2017/04/01/the-authors-i-read-in-march/.
The Irishman’s Daughter, by V.S. Alexander
I’ve mentioned The Irishman’s Daughter, by V.S. Alexander in several of my blog posts including https://janetswritingblog.com/2019/04/08/three-other-books-i-read-in-march-2019/ on April 8, 2019. I’ve become a fan of V.S. Alexander’s historical novels. It’s just personal preference, but The Irishman’s Daughter didn’t hold my attention like Alexander’s first two novels, The Magdalen Girls (2017) and The Taster (2018.)
Alexander does a brilliant job of research and has a talent
for sharing research without beating the reader over the head with info dumps.
The Irishman’s Daughter takes place in Ireland during The Great Potato Famine. The father in the story oversees an estate for an absentee landlord. He has two daughters. One dreams of marrying the rich landlord, who is oblivious to the poverty and starvation faced by his tenants. The other daughter is emotionally moved by the dire situation and tries to stretch their little bit of food with as many people as she possibly can. She longs to marry a local farmer.
I must admit that I did not finish reading this book. With other books vying for my attention, this one just didn’t grab me. I’ve read good things about the book, though, so I’ll give it another try when I get a chance.
V.S. Alexander’s next novel, The Traitor, is scheduled for publication on February 25, 2020. Although I didn’t like The Irishman’s Daughter as much as Alexander’s earlier books, I’ll get on the waitlist for The Traitor at the public library as soon as it’s ordered.