Henry River: Publication News

by nicolecallihan

“A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.”
Joan Didionphoto by Diane Fields

All summer long, I heard stories. I mean, that’s what summer is, right? Stories and mosquito bites and taking the salt shaker to a slice of watermelon? My favorite story was one my dad told me about Grandma Kate and how every winter when it snowed in Henry River she’d make up huge batches of snow cream–snow, evaporated milk, vanilla–and then she’d freeze it. I imagine, come summer, everyone had pretty much forgotten about it, but then Grandma Kate would go into the kitchen and dig it out from the depths of the freezer and–voila!–instant happiness.

As some of you know, I’ve been fiddling with a book about Henry River for several years now. It started as a quest to find out more about my grandmother, Maxine Newton, who died in an automobile-train collision when my dad was just a little boy, but it’s turned into more of a community-driven, historical journey to preserve a town that’s just a few years away from crumbling into dust.

I found out yesterday that Arcadia Publishing is going to publish the book about Henry River! Several folks who grew up in Henry River, including my co-author Ruby Young Keller, are coming together to tell their stories and share their photographs, and I just get to listen, which is really one of my favorite things to do, and then I get to write, which is one of my other favorite things to do.

Grandma Kate, unafraid of snow

The book will be available next spring (when the flowers bloom!). Look for updates here.