These are the first words stated in Wikipedia about Wyoming, Ohio……Don’t confuse us with a large state. So what defines us beyond confusion with something larger? Often sought after as a “walking community” with great schools, we can find deeper nuggets to celebrate….
There has been a renewal boom in our small land. Several new restaurants, rethinking of our community corridor, not to mention the countless freelancers who run small businesses and the many, passionate volunteers who lead community events. Big changes are happening. While we see these large, visible signs, it sometimes can be refreshing to peak into smaller ones.
Melissa Hunter recently spoke at Book Blvd during the “new, monthly local author series”. She is deep into in the launch of her first novel, What She Lost. It retells the story of the Melissa’s grandmother, a young Polish woman whose family was swept into the chaos of the Holocaust and more importantly, the beginning of her life after such severe trauma. Part memoir, part historical fiction, it a description of the WWII atrocities derived from a personal interview Melissa conducted with her grandmother before her death this year.
There are many novels, stories and poems about the Holocaust. What makes this one special? Melissa’s grandmother confided only to her about that tumultuous time. Not her father, not her sisters, just her. Over the years, her grandmother would offer tidbits from her past that were often overlooked by Melissa until one day she decided to interview her. The interview inspired Melissa to write her first novel from her grandmother’s perspective as a young girl transforming into a women during a time of utter despair. What makes this novel so special is that not only is it about her grandmother’s transformation…..it highlights a transformation for Melissa as well.
What we didn’t know before scheduling her signing is that Melissa started her life as a resident of Wyoming. She and her parents lived on Brocdorf until she was three. She fondly remembers sledding down the driveway during snowy winters when it was too steep to navigate by car, treats at the bakery shop and the general comfort she felt living in a small community. Melissa conducted her grandmother’s interview many years ago and put her novel on hold “as life got in the way”. Like many parents, Melissa gladly welcomed the opportunity to raise her children, even if she knew it would put some of her personal passions on hold. As her children entered high-school, she dusted off her writing pen and wrote What She Lost.
Melissa’s story isn’t unique to the many deeper talents we have cultivating behind larger booms in our community. She is just like many of you jumping into more visible contributions when the time is right. Wyoming may not be a large state, but it is just the right size community to foster creativity and passion – big and small.
For more information on the Book Blvd local author series and the mission to “create community through a shared love of reading” – visit our blog and event pages: https://www.joinbookblvd.com/. To purchase Melissa’s or signed first-time author books – please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. C U @ 502!