Local writers Geraldine "Gerri" Bianchi Wolfe and the late Clark Hawkins teamed up to write a new book, "Through the Window," which offers a diverse collection of short stories of the past and present, many of which are inspired by true life-events and set in northwestern Pennsylvania.
The 100-page book offers 11 short stories, including an introduction, an in memoriam, commentary, brief author biographies and local photos, most of which were provided by Hawkins.
The nonfiction and fiction stories range from Hawkin's personal observations as a young lieutenant in the 1950s to Wolfe's recounting of her brother's true experience in Vietnam and her further reflections on his momentous return from that distant land. According to Wolfe, further included are "stories of human nature with its faults and foibles, intertwined with bits of innocence, humor and irony. Two holiday selections offer a bit of intrigue and a subtle hint of romance, embracing the theme of family with all of its moments of love, togetherness, sacrifices, misconceptions and conflicts."
"Local people will get this book," Wolfe said, referring to many of the familiar geographical settings and characters. "Everything I wrote was deliberate, I knew exactly what I was doing."
Wolfe is hosting a book-signing event on July 2 and 3 at the Fox Township Senior Center on Main Street in Kersey from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Books will be available in paperbook and hardcover versions.
"Every author feels their book is unique-- and they should, because it is," Wolfe said. "There are many books offering short story collections; however, I feel this to be one of the most diverse in regard to the varied subject matter of the individual stories-- the myriad of characters each sharing their own experiences and reasons for their actions. It appeals to a wide audience of individuals."
Wolfe and Clark chose to pair up on this project after they became acquainted at the Fox Twp. Senior Center. They discovered they each shared common interests, particularly in the literary world. While Clark co-authored the book "Theory of Valuation" with Charles L. Hubberd in 1969 while teaching at Florida State University, he informed Wolfe he had also written a few short stories and poetry, none of which were ever published.
"Clark and I drew from our own personal experiences and since we hailed from the same small town, we were able to collaborate on a couple of the local color stories and contribute our own selections," Wolfe explained. "Plus, the idea for some of the stories just popped into my head and I ran with it."
Wolfe currently resides in St. Marys. She grew up in Dagus Mines, while Hawkins was raised in Dagus Mines, Toby and Kersey. In his later years, he divided his time between Toby Valley and Gilbert, Ariz.
As the president of the Fox Twp. Senior Center, Wolfe is also a retired St. Marys Area School District teacher and active member of the Pennsylvania State Education Association Retirees, Seneca Highlands, and serves on the Governing Board of the Office of Human Services. She is also actively involved in various other community and church organizations. She received her bachelor's degree in Secondary English from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and completed her graduate work at Clarion and Penn State universities.
Upon receiving his bachelor and master's degrees in civil engineering from Penn State and his doctorate in economics from Purdue University, Hawkins taught at the University of Arizona, New Mexico State University, University of Arkansas and Florida State University. He was invited to present his financial and investment background expertise to universities and institutions of higher learning throughout the country and the world. Throughout his career, Hawkins did continuous, extensive research in the area of utility regulations, specifically gas price regulation.
Although Hawkins passed away in October 2011, the pair was able to complete a majority of the book, which Wolfe then spent six months completing with final edits.
According to Wolfe, she and Hawkins initially discussed submitting their stories to literary magazines for their approval or rejection. However, they later chose to self-publish their works through Trafford Publishing, the same company which published fellow Fox Township resident and author Rob Schreiber's local history book, "Fox: Buffalo Swamp to Marcellus Shale - The History of Fox Township Pennsylvania," in July 2011.
Dubbed by Wolfe as "armchair travel," she said her book takes readers to such locations around the world as Bavaria, the Far East, Vietnam and back to the small villages of Dagus Mines and the surrounding areas of Pennsylvania.
Pick up a copy of the Friday, June 29, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.