‘Old Man and Me’ memoir shares life of young Larlham
Northeast Ohio residents know Hattie Larlham as an organization that provides services for people with developmental disabilities. Before Hattie Larlham was a household name, she was a nurse, wife and mother on a farm in Mantua. Her son, R.C. “Chuck” Larlham, has written a memoir of life with his loving, strong-willed parents, The Old Man and Me.
In addition to operating the farm, the “Old Man,” Dick Larlham, was a welder at a sand and gravel operation. Work on the farm was backbreaking, and when Chuck and his younger brother, Giles, weren’t doing the daily chores at their own place, they were hired labor at other farms and caddying at Aurora Country Club. Larlham’s description of digging a coal bin for the family’s new furnace will make the reader’s back ache. The boys also kept busy with 4-H projects that brought perennial triumphs at the county fair for their chickens and vegetables.
Born in 1942, Larlham is of just the right generation to appreciate his family Christmas shopping expeditions to downtown Akron, where his little sister sat on Santa’s lap at both O’Neil’s and Polsky’s. Larlham remembers the smell of ozone from the trolley cables as the family Studebaker crossed the rails.
Hattie Larlham was, according to her son, “the best doggone cook West Virginia ever produced.” In a terrifically funny scene, a Thanksgiving turkey dinner is almost ruined, though not by a pack of hounds. Young Chuck never shot his eye out, but he did get his first gun on his 12th birthday and went rabbit and deer hunting with his father.
His blowtorch method of painting the house aside, Dick Larlham was a man of surpassing capability, and a chapter in which he, with Chuck’s help, repairs a well pump in freezing weather is mind-blowing.
The Old Man and Me (337 pages, softcover) costs $19.95 through http://rclarlham.com and is the first in a projected trilogy; Book Two is titled Stories I Didn’t Get to Tell You the First Time. R.C. Larlham attended Hiram College and earned a master’s degree in environmental science from Utah State University.
Storybook rooted in life event
Grandparents sometimes have trouble getting their busy families interested in visiting, even at holidays. In Grandma’s Yarn, a storybook based on a real event from Findlay author Waneta Cotner Worstine’s life, a “little old farmer and his wife” come up with a clever plan to make Christmas more special for their family.
Grandma and Grandpa are reminiscing about the good old days when simple games were better than video screens. Grandma gets an idea: Hide all the gifts upstairs and send the family on a treasure hunt. Then her knitting gives her an even better idea: Attach a piece of yarn to each package, wind it down the stairs and give each person the other end.
Grandma and Grandpa spend three days weaving the yarn: she “under the bed, around chair legs, and up through the curtain rods”; he “around door knobs, over lamp shades, and up and over the transom into the hall.”
When the fun is over, thrifty Grandma has plenty of yarn to make an afghan. Illustrations are composed of yarn arranged to correspond with the text. Grandma’s Yarn (38 pages, softcover) costs $16.95 from online retailers.
God’s stamp of approval
Some kids delight in asking unanswerable questions. In Where Do Belly Buttons Come From? The Nonhistorical Truth by Jeffery Warren Scott, former pastor of Broadman Baptist Church in Cuyahoga Falls, brother and sister Amy and Brennan are giggling all the way to their grandparents’ house because they think they’re going to stump Grandpa.
But Grandpa has a ready explanation for them. He tells Amy and Brennan that belly buttons are special marks from God, installed every morning during inspection for every baby who is going to be born that day. An illustration shows a long line of babies waiting for God’s stamp of approval, and Grandpa shows that he, too, has a belly button to prove that God loves him.
Where Do Belly Buttons Come From? (28 pages, softcover) costs $13.95 from online retailers, and $3.99 as an ebook. Jeff Scott now is pastor of a Baptist church in Virginia.
Cuyahoga County District Library (Solon branch, 34125 Portz Parkway) — Solon sisters and brother Sydnie, Shelbie and Sean Singleton talk about their book Thinkie Winks, which promotes virtues like patience and kindness, 3 to 4 p.m. Friday.
Acme #12 (2630 Bailey Road, Cuyahoga Falls) — Retired Director Emeritus of the Cuyahoga Falls Tiger Marching Band Robert H. Feldbush signs his book about the band, The Magnificent Monster, 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday.
— Barbara McIntyre
Special to the Beacon Journal
Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or email@example.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.