Montmorenci creator Kathy Widener has books in print approximately her family’s lives in rural South Carolina and is waiting for the ebook of the 1/3 approximately her existence growing up in Lexington County. Widener will signal copies of the books, “Where Memories Live” and “The Return Home,” from 6 p.M. To 8 p.M. Thursday at a public reception at the Aiken Center for the Arts at 122 Laurens St. SW. Attendees also can preorder her third ebook, “Southern Child: A Memoir,” at the reception. Widener will also speak on the Aiken County Historical Society meeting at 3 p.M. May 26 at the Aiken County Historical Museum at 433 Newberry St. SW.
Below, Widener stocks her thought and a number of her adventure as a writer:
When I graduated from Pelion School 50 years ago, I had no intention to write it down. I started writing for a purpose and would really like to speak a touch about my lifestyles and my idea for publishing two ancient novels. I was born in Batesburg, South Carolina, the 1/3 of 4 youngsters of Robert Gantt and Sallie Hartley Gantt. Country youngsters by way of definition. Our residence became constructed of pine and unpainted with a clapboard outside and tin roof. The house was constructed around 1912 using my Granddaddy, Kelly Gantt, and his brothers. It set on big pine pillars, leveled to perfection through granddaddy. It still stands today, the home of my brother, Steve.
The avenue I lived on throughout my adolescence was dirt. It still is nowadays; however now has a name, Swamp Rabbit Road. ‘As the crow flies,’ the vintage residence stands approximately a mile from the North Edisto River. The avenue, known as Swamp Rabbit after the railroad line by that name, exceeded thru Rayflin in which my first-rate grandparents, “Kel’” and Peninnah Woodward Gantt, lived. Our house stands at the northern phase of Kel Gantt’s farm, as soon as over 500 acres. A lot of adjustments have taken region considering that my Granddaddy Kelly built his house in 1912. A hundred and six years have handed because the old residence turned into constructed.
The railroad music changed into dismantled in 1933; my amazing grandparents’ house at Rayflin destroyed by means of a heart in 1983. All that remains is a partial bedroom; a mound of river rocks in which the antique chimney stood; a smokehouse, which is surrounded with the aid of a jungle of briars, brambles, small bushes; and Great granddaddy Kel’s corncrib barely discernible across the street. Time destroys not most effective fields, terraces, homes, fences and farm implements, it additionally destroys recollections.
One month after graduating from Pelion, I married my excessive faculty sweetheart and have become a live-at-home mother to our 3 children. During that time, I also advanced a virtually fanatical interest in genealogical research. I visited cemeteries, courthouses, files, and libraries. I interviewed older humans inside the family who had information approximately my circle of relatives lines. All of the older people have handed away now, but I have many notebooks complete of tidbits of own family knowledge gleaned from those interviews. Many facts also came from correspondence with people all across America. All this I compiled and documented before the internet.
My biggest concept for writing changed into my Uncle Leon Gantt. He was an exceptional tale-teller and cherished to speak approximately his existence. His memory becomes sincerely super. Telling a tale to him become an art; names of characters, date and time of the event, normally the climate were included. His consider of occasions turned into almost uncanny, and he relished telling his memories. My siblings and I loved to hear about his existence. He mentioned his childhood: the Steadman twister of 1924, the Great Depression, making moonshine inside the 1920s and ’30s and his service in World War II.
Memories Live,’ posted in early December 2017, tells Uncle Leon’s tale from 1910 to 1923. The 2nd novel, “The Return Home,” turned into posted mid-October 2018 and covers 1923 to 1950. I desired to write a story, not only an own family record with names, birth, and demise dates. I desired it to be a tale that would be loved and anticipated. After publishing my first books, I notion why I no longer write a trilogy? My siblings and I lived basically the same life as my Granddaddy Kelly and Uncle Leon. I lived within the same antique clapboard residence for my complete adolescence, with no indoor plumbing and no warmth except burning wood.
My third ebook is ‘Southern Child: A Memoir,’ and it is approximately my memories of these years. My siblings have exceptional recollections, but these are mine on my own. The simplest difference between our lives and our predecessors: We made no moonshine. A line from one of my favored songs, ‘Three Crosses’ achieved via Randy Travis, sums up the importance of our reminiscences: ‘It’s not what you take when you leave this international at the back of you, it’s what you leave at the back of you while you go.