So, you’ve read Stories from a Small Town: Remembering My Childhood in Hedgesville, West Virginia. What did you think? Did you read it in one night? Did your kids steal your copy? Are you left wanting more, and eagerly anticipating the sequel? Share how the book touched your life by writing a personal book review below!
I recently picked up Roger’s first book at Nelson’s Supply Company in Hedgesville. I loved the format of the book and enjoyed reading about the author’s childhood in this special town. A fantastic read–relatable and humorous. The author’s writing is superb, the stories flowing and evoking warm memories of times bygone. The way with which Roger describes various settings around town places the reader squarely in the scene.
I was fortunate to spend summers with my grandparents in the Allensville/Hedgesville/ Martinsburg area during the 1970s-80s. Even though I moved away years ago, I’ve always sought connection to the very places Roger describes in this book. This is where my people lived, worked, were educated (at HHS with the author), and raised their families. Reading stories about the Polka Dot, Brick Plant, Poisal’s, and life in Hedgesville just deepened my love for the area and connection to my family, most long gone.
I’m anxious to read his second book, “Mister Fifteen” and continue the journey.
A bonus to reading this book was learning it was published by woman-owned and managed Girls On Press.
The Hedgesville area in addition to the town will always be home no matter where we currently hang our hats. My childhood there was wonderful and the memories always take me back to that wonderful time. The Brick Plant and Polka Dot although no longer there, are still in my mental picture. It has been wonderful to share the stories and encourage others to write theirs. Thanks for your comment and interest. I look forward to hearing from you after you complete the next book. Roger
What a great picture you gave of wild boys and open land. Thank you for living through the dangerous episodes, Roger!
-With childhood memories of the turns and alleys and fire escapes in a New York apartment building, and the awe of nature in Litchfield, Connecticut.
It was my pleasure to share the stories and encourage everyone to not only remember but write their stories. Our memories need to be documented so as to never be forgotten. Thanks for your comments. Roger
I am a year younger than Roger and grew up in a different community yet so many of the stories I related too as I had experienced some part or all of the adventure myself in a different place. The book brought back to mind many wonderful experiences I had and had completely forgotten about. It was wonderful to go back in time in my mind and experience the joy of those activities again. I enjoyed the stories immensely and will reread the entire book so I can go back to my happy childhood again. Thanks Roger for the memories as Bob Hope would say!
I grew up in Hedgesville, and received Stories from a Small Town as a gift while I was away at college. In addition to learning more about the backdrop for my childhood, I loved picking out landmarks on the map. Thank you for providing some relief from homesickness! Though I am destined to be out of state for one more year, I can’t wait to return to the place that will always be home.
Thanks for your comments. It has been my pleasure to share Hedgesville with not only those who lived there but with others who have no idea where it is located. It seems many people can relate to growing up in a very small community. I’m glad the book brought you back to Hedgesville at a time you missed it so much. Many years have gone by since my childhood but my memories are just as vivid as if things had happened yesterday. I hope to release the next book this fall. It will pick up where this one left off. Again, so glad you enjoyed it.
I have just completed reading Roger Engle’s book, Stories from a Small Town. What a wonderful read. I was drawn into the storyline at the very beginning of the book and it kept me there all through his growing adventure with life in a small town. I believe I enjoyed the book so much simply because his childhood in the 50s was my childhood in 1950s Dundalk, Maryland. Anyone who was raised at that time in America knows how great it was to be a kid. Mr. Engle captured that feeling again for me and I THANK him. Looking forward to Part 2.
Grant, thanks for your comments. I agree with you. The 1950s were a wonderful time to experience childhood. I have spoken to many groups and find myself stressing that very point. I’m glad I have been able to capture that moment in time and share it with others. Also, other people are now sharing theirs. That is a good thing. Keep the memories alive. Roger
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I am a resident of Hedgesville and have been for 20 years now. I wanted to share with you how much I enjoyed the history and information along with the story of Mr. Engle. The stories took me to a different place and time, even though I see these places every day. Now, after reading this book, I can “see” them in a much different and enlightening way. I do believe we all have stories to tell and just wanted to say thanks so much to Roger for sharing yours with us.
Highest regards, Donya
Thanks for your comments. I’m glad you can see Hedgesville in a different light. When I drive through town I view it as it appeared some 50 years ago. The fact that reading the book allows others to see it differently makes me happy. You can’t stop progess but you also don’t have to forget the past.
I am into my third read of this wonderful book. Each time I read it, I find myself remembering stories of my own childhood. As I get older, it’s comforting to look back and reminisce about the “good ole days”. Although I grew up in Capital Heights, Maryland, we lived in a rural area and were surrounded by farms and woods and the wonderful outdoors. All of Roger’s stories remind me of those times of joy. I had intended to name a “favorite” story, but I was hard put to do so. After having heard these stories many times over the years, I am so grateful to Roger that he put them into this terrific book. Now, I can read them over and over again and find the peace and joy that they always inspire.
Kay, thanks so much for your comments. I keep hearing how so many of us share similar memories of our childhood. You are so correct in saying that it is not where we grew up but rather how we grew up that allows others to relate so closely to the stories in the book.
My brother, John Huff, and I read your book, and agreed with the fact that we share similar recollections of our childhood. The book “came alive” on so many pages and caused us to remember how great a time it was growing up in the 40s, 50s, & early 60’s.
Your descriptive style of writing had us both enthralled from page 1 and throughout. We eagerly await the 2nd book and want to thank you for the good, good memories this first book allowed. We both could have been walking by your side as you described your daily happenings. Well done Roger, Gula, & Stephanie!!
Judy, thanks for the comments. One of my goals was to get others to remember and start writing their stories. You and John certainly have a lot of stories waiting to be shared. I would love to read some of them.
Your book was OUTSTANDING. Even though we living in different parts of Berkeley County, I could still relate to lots of your adventures. Your are an excellent story teller as I could see the adventures as your explained them. Anxious to read your next book.
Jerry, thanks for the compliments. I’ve shared how it was in the western end of the county and now it’s your turn to tell us all about the south end. I’m waiting to hear the good stuff.
Stories from a Small Town is a great read. The stories were heart-warming and reminded me so much of my summers staying with my grandmother in rural Georgia. A time before electronics invaded our daily lives. When the best games were the ones you made up with your friends. Thanks for sharing your stories, Roger!
Steve, it doesn’t seem to matter where we grew up, our stories are very similar. The greatest reward for this book has been having others remember and recount their childhood stories. Thanks for your kind comments.
As soon as you open it, it is the kind of book you cannot put down. It captures life in a small town in a fascinating way. The style of writing makes you feel like you are there as the events unfold. You get to know and understand the character of the town, the author and the people the author brings back to life. You get to snuggle into, and re-live, the way of life as it was in this small community, the interaction of the townfolks and how its people dealt with whatever life threw their way. Roger generously sprinkles wit and humor on each page of the human events that unfold in those precious days where troubles were few and times of joy were many. A GREAT read that will unlock a flood of fond childhood memories we all have of “the good ol’ days” when we were growing up. Anxiously awaiting the publication of Roger’s next book that will pick up where this one leaves off!
Walter Duke, Former WV State Delegate
Walt, thanks for the wonderful comments but more importantly thanks for being a part of the stories. It truly was a wonderful place and time to experience our childhood.
After 65 years, to be reminded of the times I spent in hedgesville is so great. You forget so much, and someone needs to bring it back–as Roger has done. I think of all the memories this book brought back for me, of Roger, Gula and I during those years and the ones which follow—memories of parties, proms, classes, and just hanging out at each others’ house. It does take a village to make you into a whole person, and Roger’s book shows that. Keep up the good work, and I can’t wait for your second book.
Mary Kate Moore
Mary Kate, being 65 might affect us physically but as long as we keep remembering, and smiling as we remember, we don’t have to get old. Keeping our childhood stories alive keeps us young.
Novelist Thomas Wolfe said that … “you can’t go home again” after you are an adult, but there are ways that your mind can revisit some of those pivotal moments in your thoughts that bring that time into perspective.
One of those ways is to read of people who write about time and places that are familiar to you. Roger Engle has written a book, “Stories from a Small Town,” about the village of Hedgesville, WV. The book relates stories and incidents of a boy to incidents and events around him as he grows to understand relationships, events, and the importance of home as he seeks the greater world.
It is a marvelous trip back to your own early awakenings and recollections of innocence … it is a marvelous sociological piece that will leave you smiling and remembering.
William D. Moore, former mayor of Hedgesville, WV
Bill, as I wrote the book I could visualize the people and places where the stories took place. The town of Hedgesville looks very different today and most of the people are gone, but in my mind very little has changed. I know I’m not alone in my thinking.
Truly enjoyed the book! I knew I would possibly remember some of the things/places that were mentioned. And, it was true, I did. However, his stories would spring forth things I remembered from my own childhood and I would take a moment to jot a note inside the back cover. Before I finished the book, my back cover was full of scribble notes. The book not only took me through Roger’s childhood, it opened the floodgates to my own memories.
And, I have reconnected with Gula, the author’s wife, a dear childhood friend.
I am pleased the book has done so well and look forward to the next one.
Joleen, turn the scribbles into stories. You can always add more pages later. I’m glad you and Gula have kept in contact.
Even though I did not grow up in the Hedgesville area, the stories reminded me of some of the things I encountered as a young boy growing up in a city environment. The nicknames we used to use for each other, the times we did things we shouldn’t have done and the good times that meant the most to me. It reminded me of things I never want to forget and the lessons I learned from personal experiences which have carried me through my life. I have read the book four times and will probably read it four more.
Jim, thanks for the comment. The good thing about words is that they can’t be read off of the paper. Happy reading.
I told your Dad I could only read it if it came out in L A R G E print.
The printed book is typeset in 12-point type, but when the eBook is released, you can make the font as large as your heart desires. Thanks for your feedback!