A Place Called Josephine: Episodes of a Young Life in an Appalachian Villageby James Kelly Biggerstaff
A Place Called Josephine is a tale of a green valley in western Pennsylvania with remnants of a pig iron factory and overgrown foundations of homes in a once-company town at the south end. Spread across the flatland are small farms and a scattering of snug homes. A lifetime ago author Jim lived the first ten years of his childhood there. The joys and tragedies of a family of nine siblings prove to be profound events to Jim who is the youngest.
Jim grows a little with each episode he tells. We learn a little more of the rural life in those years from 1923 to 1933. We feel the aggravation of poison ivy and the discomfort of the cure. First grade is more than an introduction to studies, it begins a love that could not be forgotten. Jim learns that new friends can mean new joys and unexpected, inexplicable sorrows. Emotions are lived out through the vivid feelings of joy with his first real friend, Billy Reager, though he comes and goes so quickly and dramatically. The innocent joy of companionship returns in new friend Jimmy Melvin, black and poor, wearing the scar of a searing hot poker across his back. The preponderant protocols of the times interfere.
Jim fearfully meets a challenge to his deep faith in Santa Clause on the Christmas of 1932 when he sees the Flexi Flier sled under the tree and is asked who "got" it for him. It becomes a Christmas to remember.
Grandparents McConnell own a farm over looking the Conemaugh River near the village of Blairsville, Pennsylvania. The farm is one of those patches of the good earth that, when cared for and loved, provides almost all the needs for nurturing a family for a lifetime. Growth is rapid for Jim when he visits the farm. One episode offers details of fall butchering; another describes a few pranks that mark the family gathering each July 4th. A third remembers the risks and joys of firecrackers.
A Place Called Josephine is more than a romp with the nostalgia of a time gone by, it's the timeless story of a boy coming to understand his world.
- CreateSpace Publishing
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.35(d)
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