Pat’s Bits & Pieces- Books and Blooms

May 24, 2013

Pat Maurer, Review Correspondent

It is still May, but I saw the first June Bug of the season this afternoon (Tuesday). He thought he was going to come inside I think, but of course that didn’t happen.

With May winding down, now all of our flowering trees and lilac bushes are in full bloom. It smells just heavenly outside, and of course the wildlife around here is busy already raising families. In fact we have a Robin’s nest right outside the back door on top of the electric meter box. This is the second year she has raised a family under our eaves, which seems to be a safe and comfortable home for the young ones even if it is only a few steps from the back door.

I haven’t seen any little beaks waiving around above the nest yet, but I’m sure there are already several little blue eggs in it. Jack had made an attempt to discourage her from the location, but after tearing the nest down twice when she was building it and finding it rebuilt a couple of hours later, he gave up and let her take up residence.

It is a green, green world already out there. It seems hard to believe that only a few short weeks ago the trees were still just showing buds. When it happens, it happens fast! And with over an inch of rain hitting this area with Monday’s thunderstorms, the grass, lush and green and just mowed last Sunday, already needs it again.

Good thing Jack loves to ride on that new 0-turn mower he got last year…
It has been an interesting week, and a whole lot busier with meetings and interviews. One I particularly enjoyed was with local author Christine Pechacek and husband Dan of Harrison.

She recently finished her first book, “If I Had Wanted A Trip Through Hell, I Would Have Bought My Own Ticket.” That title sure spiked my interest so of course, after the interview, I borrowed a copy from her and came home and had to read the book – and did it almost in one sitting, beginning shortly after I got home and even with a work break to attend a couple of meetings, finishing up very late Monday evening!

I seldom recommend books with this column, but I have to make an exception with this one.

Christine is from our generation and tells a story about her childhood and husband Dan’s in an unbelievably dysfunctional family that many, many people will be able to relate to, including these Maurers. It is a sad memoir but also very humorous at times. Reading it takes you back to the fifties when life was supposed to have been simpler and home was supposed to be the American Dream.

Maybe some people had the Ozzie and Harriet, or Father Knows Best life we were brought up to believe was the norm back then, but I never knew a family like that, and Christine certainly didn’t.

She grew up in poverty with a tyrannical, abusive father and browbeaten mother who didn’t even attempt to instill self-worth or a loving environment into the horrible mix. She lived day-to-day with fear and anxiety and in spite of all that, still managed to make friends, enjoy an almost normal childhood, at least outside the home, and even to excel in school.

I just couldn’t put that book down and found it all at once a sad and funny look at the way we really were, at least some of us, back then.

From those dismal beginnings she narrates so well, she overcame those almost unbearable circumstances to become a human resources executive in education, a trained mediator and a public speaker. Now retired and living north of Harrison, she is a miracle of overcoming a dismal situation, long married to her childhood sweetheart, a mother, grandmother and well-rounded person.

I’m not an expert on critiquing a book, but when I find one so well written that it draws me into the story and won’t let me put it down, I am hooked on the author. What a talent!

You can find the book on for Kindle readers. Now I’m waiting impatiently for the sequel, which she said she is already writing.

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