December 24, 2017:
Here is an excerpt from my book, with a few photos to match. The 1959 photo is my brother with Dad's childhood Lionel. I still have the train, and I put it around our tree with my village.
From While They're Still Here:
"My crinkled parents were as sparkly as any Christmas decoration with their ear-to-ear smiles, and twinkling eyes. To see them so happy rekindled my holiday cheer. I snapped dress-up photos by their tree, then packed pies, presents, and their old bones into the car for the one-minute drive. They oohed and aahed all the way up my driveway and were awestruck when they entered the house, immersed in holiday fragrances, Christmas carols, and shimmering lights. The dogs demanded their attention first, but then Mom admired each decoration while I helped Dad inch down onto his hands and knees to see the train and village."
(First photo is of Dad and Mom after they moved here in 2003)
Chip with Lionel train, Christmas 1959
Lionel train and Christmas Village today
December 16, 2017:
This is a link to a short piece of nostalgia in my hometown newspaper - the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram:
For author, Elyria is the roots of her soul
Patricia Williams | Special to the Chronicle-Telegram
You can read the article online at: http://www.chroniclet.com/Local-News/2017/11/26/For-author-Elyria-is-the-roots-of-her-soul.html
December 9, 2017:
A little story you might enjoy. All except the first paragraph was cut from the book, but this is a perfect time to smile about my dad's life, November 13, 1923 - December 9, 2012. Here it is, with the actual photo of the event.
"We dropped Mom at the grocery store and Dad moved into the front seat for the ride to the lab for his blood test. I hadn’t washed the inside of the car windows before picking them up, and the sun highlighted all the slime from the dog’s nose prints. He stared at them then said, “It’s a message from Mica!” He read it slowly, as if deciphering canine language. “I love you Grampa.”“I’ll have to tell my sister that one,” he laughed. “When she called last week we talked about our dog. Did I ever tell you about Brownie?”
“No. I thought you weren’t allowed to have a dog.”
"We weren't, and we really wanted one. My mother thought they were to dirty....
December 1, 2017
More great news! IndiePicks magazine included my book in their gift guide for readers round up that ran December 1, 2017. This round up appears in both the print and digital issues of the magazine and also on the magazine’s blog.
IndiePicks is a new publishing trade magazine focused on indie published and self-published books that reaches librarians and booksellers nationwide.
Gift Guide for the Readers in Your Life | In Book Reviews, Featured Blog Post by Rebecca Vnuk | December 1, 2017
November 7, 2017
Today, the publication day for my book about my parents, is also Election Day. We vote by mail now, filling out the form at the kitchen counter. My parents voted together, after Dad got home from work. Mom was ready. Her best dress, pillbox hat, button clip-on earrings, and second-hand Spectator pumps. Voting was important, and required dressing up. I like picturing her that way, and Dad in his suit and tie, celebrating the day that a book about them goes out into the world.
October 11, 2017
I was thrilled to receive a good review from Kirkus for my memoir, While They're Still Here. My favorite lines are:
"Both crushing and uplifting; an account nearly as emotional as the caregiver’s trials it vividly outlines. . . . The end result is an intimate oral history of a blue-collar, postwar American family revealed by the author in the same touching and heartbreaking manner it was disclosed to her." -Kirkus Reviews
October 5, 2017:
Someone asked me recently how it came about that I cared for my parents. Here is a partial explanation, from my book:
"Over the last three years, as their health had declined and my father had lost most of his sight, I had traveled back and forth from Washington to Florida with increasing frequency. Based on my undeniable history as a caregiver, I didn’t even question my role. From the beginning, I dressed my Tiny Tears doll in a warm coat to go outside and in snuggly pajamas for bed. I bathed, brushed, and tucked Bluey and Sugarfoot, my stuffed dogs, under the covers with their muzzles peeking out just enough to sniff fresh air. Over the last three years, as their health had declined and my father had lost most of his sight, I had traveled back and forth from Washington to Florida with increasing frequency.
September 25, 2017:
In the 1955 photo on the cover of my book, my mother has a camera in her hands. There are many pictures of her with a camera, including this one from 2007. My book is thanks to her chronicling of our family life with pictures and stories. What a memory she had!
From my book:
“For the next week, Mom sorted photos and I labeled them. She could instantly name all fifteen people in a tiny, grainy family reunion picture who were all dead long before I was born.
September 2, 2017:
My book about my parents, While They're Still Here, will be published in November. I'm so excited, and more than a little nervous. My parents loved books. After Dad lost his eyesight, the VA connected us with the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library. It changed his life. He listened to several books a week - Perry mason, Hardy Boys, Tom Sawyer, and Westerns by Zane Grey.