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Honor a veteran by reading some of their stories at library

By Paul Birkhead

Rowan Public Library

  This is the time of year when veterans are given the attention they rightfully deserve. One way to honor veterans is by listening to them and reading their stories. Rowan Public Library is a good place to visit if you are looking for those stories.

“The War Came Home with Him” is a recently published book that the library just put on its shelves. Written by Catherine Madison, it tells her experience growing up with a father who was a career army surgeon. Her father, known as ‘Doc’, served in the Korean War and survived three years in captivity as a prisoner of war. The brutal marches he endured, the deplorable camps he lived in, and the suffering he witnessed and withstood changed him as a person and he came home a different father.

In the years that followed his return, Catherine lived in a turbulent household where she never knew when her father might explode in a fit of rage. What she did know were the values he held dear and roughly taught her over time: character is the most important thing a person has, food wasn’t to be wasted, and weakness wouldn’t be tolerated.

After leaving home as an adult, Catherine still feared her father’s moods and yet somehow wished she could feel closer to him. It was only when she found documents about his prisoner of war experience that she began to understand the reasons behind his shattered psyche. Throughout the book, Catherine’s tale of growing up is interwoven with her father’s horrific experiences as a POW and will be sure to keep you turning the pages.

“Breaking the Code: A Father’s Secret, a Daughter’s Journey, and the Question that Changed Everything” is another book about a daughter discovering things about her World War II veteran father. When author Karen Fisher-Alaniz’s father, Murray Fisher, was 81 he started suffering from nightmares related to his time in the service. Why he would be having such intense flashbacks was a mystery to Karen, who had been told her father had only performed clerical duties for the Navy.

When she is given two thick books containing hundreds of letters Murray wrote home during the war, she slowly began to decipher his true role in the conflict. With time running out, father and daughter get to know each other on a deeper level and secrets are revealed that otherwise would have been taken to the grave.

Yet another book written about growing up in the shadow of World War II vets is “Our Fathers’ War” by Tom Mathews. Mathews, like many others in his generation, had a tumultuous relationship with his father. He discovered this was a common trait between WWII veterans and their sons when he interviewed nine other families.

The stories in the book are compelling and it is interesting to see the father and son dynamic play out in each relationship. The last chapter of the book features Mathews and his father visiting Italy and retracing the steps of his unit during the last year of the war.  Some of the discussions father and son have are very emotional and truly heartwarming as walls between them begin to break down.

Whether you are a veteran or a child of one, service in wartime quite possibly has had lingering effects on you. Since wartime experiences can be so traumatic, veterans and their families can be affected for years on end. On a positive note, research has shown that sharing painful experiences can minimize its hold on the mind.  Take time this month to thank a veteran and come to Rowan Public Library and honor them by reading some of their stories.

Friends of Rowan Public Library book sale: Hardcover adult fiction, $2; children’s books, 50 cents to $1; paperbacks, large, $1, or small, 50 cents; audiovisual, $1 and up. Special items priced as marked. Today, 1-4 p.m.; Monday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Book Bites Book Club: South (China Grove), Tuesday, Nov. 17, 6:30-8 p.m. Free, open to the public. We discuss a different book each month and serve refreshments loosely related to the theme. “A Walk in the Woodsby Bill Bryson. Need a copy? Call 704-216-7841.

Computer classes: If you’re new to computers or never felt comfortable, Computer Basics will cover the everything from components to programs. Nov. 19, 9:30-11 a.m., headquarters.

Getting to know your iPad, headquarters, Nov. 17, 7-8 p.m. Discussion of components, navigation, apps. Must preregister, bring iPad, charged, and with an updated operating system, and have a current, valid Apple ID. Free signup at https://appleid.apple.com/ Space is limited. Call Paul Birkhead at 704-216-8242 to reserve a spot.

Jack Tales by Jackie: East, Nov. 10, 6-7:30 p.m. Honoring local storytelling legend Jackie Torrence on screen. Refreshments. Appropriate for all ages.

Reading with Ringling: Nov. 16-Jan. 31, 2016. Children ages 2-12 may register at any library location to read and report on five books to receive a voucher for a ticket to the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey circus Jan. 27-21, 2016, at Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte. For information and program rules, call 704-216-8234 or visit www.rowanpubliclibrary.org.

International Games Day: Headquarters, Nov. 21, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Join thousands of libraries around the world for the eighth annual celebration of Games Day. Games for children, teens and adults. Skill toys available.

Cards for a Cause: All locations, Saturday, Nov. 28, 10 a.m.-noon. Families may make cards for service men and women. Mailboxes will be set up at all library locations Nov. 21-Dec. 5 to collect additional cards.

Displays: Headquarters, Photowalk photos and International Games Day; South, Rowan Doll Society; East, “It’s a Wonderful Life” Christmas village.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second  language.

2015 Children’s Bookmark Contest: Through Nov. 14.  Children 4-12 years old create and submit their original Rowan Public Library bookmark design. The winning bookmarks in three age categories (4-5 years, 7-9 years and 10-12 years) will be reproduced for distribution at all library locations. Friends of Rowan Public Library Winners Reception will be held Monday, Dec. 7 at 6:30. Visit www.rowanpubliclibrary.org for contest rules, entry forms and more.

Tail Waggin’ Tutors: Children 7 to 9 years old (first to third grade) can reserve a 15-minute session to read aloud to a therapy dog. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 4:30 p.m., Nov. 10, Dupree; Nov. 17, Oliver; Nov. 24, Dupree. 10 a.m. Saturdays, headquarters, Nov. 14. East Mondays, 3:30 p.m., Nov. 9 and 23, Oliver.

Lego Saturdays: The library’s Lego collection will be available for children to play; all times 10 a.m.-noon. East, Nov. 14; South, Nov. 21; headquarters, Nov. 28.

Book Chats: Thursday, Nov. 5, 4:15-5 p.m., for children in fourth and fifth grades. “The Sasquatch Escape,” by Suzanne Selfors. A book discussion group. A limited number of books will be available at all library locations, so registration is strongly recommended.

Adventure Club: Headquarters, Nov. 21, 11 a.m. Join Robert and Johnathan for another round of adventurous hands-on science activities and projects; lasts one hour. This month: “Pipe Cleaner Construction.”

Teen program: Middle and high school teens. All 5:30-7 p.m. Thanksgiving in a Jar, create Thanksgiving themed crafts and food in a jar, South,  Nov. 10; headquarters, Nov. 17; East, Nov. 23.

Teen Advisory Board: Teens who join this board provide input on the library’s teen programming and book selections and discuss current events and issues of interest to teens in Rowan County. Meets once a month, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Headquarters, South, Nov. 12.

Anime Club: For teens, headquarters, Nov. 10, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Learn all things Anime. Second Tuesday of the month, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Weekly events for children through Nov. 30.

Baby Time: Loosely interactive, introducing simple stories and songs to babies  6-23 months old with a parent or caregiver. About 30 minutes. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Mondays, 10 a.m.

Toddler Time: Focused on sharing books, singing songs and encouraging listening skills for children 18-35 months old with parent or caregiver; 30 minutes. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Mondays, 11 a.m.

Tiny Tumblers: Simple stories, musical scarves and instruments for babies 6-23 months old with  parent or caregiver. South, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; 30 minutes.

Preschool Time: Encourages exploration of books and builds reading readiness  for children 3-5 years old. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Noodle Head Story Time: For children 4 and up to enjoy listening to silly books and tales together; 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Mondays, 4 p.m.

Art programs: Activities and instruction based on various themes and media.  Program activities vary by branch. Children 8 and under must be accompanied by an adult; 30-45 minutes. Headquarters, Art in the Afternoon, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, Emma’s Easel, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Art with Char, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.

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