The author counts himself among the millions of Baby Boomers who fled the industrial north upon fulfilling their parents’ dreams of a college education, leaving behind a rich cultural legacy that has all but disappeared.
“In many ways, ethnic life in Ambridge with all of one nationality working in a single department in the mill, worshipping at the same church, supporting merchants within each neighborhood, was more Balkanized and less culturally diverse than life in the immigrants’ home countries,” Hertneky remembers.
But the grandchildren of the immigrants led what many would consider a classic, idyllic American childhood. From the pages of “Rust Belt Boy” pour stories with which many emigrants from the industrial north can identify. The sights and sounds of family gatherings, grandma’s kitchen, grandpa’s garden, the surrounding woods, the mills, and the haunts of the union officials and politicos all come together to paint a familiar picture.
Laughlin Memorial Library Director Julie Mulcahy shared that after Hertneky’s reading on Saturday, he conducted a book signing upstairs in the main library.
“All had an enjoyable time. Many of Ambridge Class of 1973 were present, in addition to friends, neighbors, and family of Mr. Hertneky,” she said.
“Local authors are essential to the culture of any given area as their writings tell the story of a place in time through a unique lens. We must preserve these experiences as told by our own natives in order to respect, honor, and celebrate our identity,” added Mulcahy.
“As diverse as Ambridge is and was, our people have much to add to the collective knowledge of the American experience.”
Missed Paul Hertneky in Ambridge? Check out his upcoming public reading and appearances:
May 23, 2016, 7pm, reading at Sewickley Public Library, Sewickley, PA
May 24, 2016, 7pm, reading at City Books, 908 Galveston Ave. Pittsburgh, PA
June 8, 2016, 7pm, reading at Langley-Adams Library, Groveland, MA
June 9, 2016, 7pm, reading at Hancock Town Library, Hancock, NH
Learn more about the author at: http://www.paulhertneky.com/