The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

June 17, 2013

Sisters’ memoir highlights McDowell

Two sisters who grew up in the mountains of McDowell County have recently co-authored and published a series of stories about their past — “Luke’s Daughters: A Memoir of Northfork, West Virginia.”

Jenna Gianato Calovini and Martha Gianato Rector started gathering their stories as a simple project to share with their daughters and grandchildren.

“I believe history is what connects generations,” Rector said.

But what started out as a simple project soon turned into a couple hundred pages worth of recollections.

The sisters filtered through the pages and decided they should turn it into a book, with each chapter telling a short story that spans from their youth through Calovini’s high school graduation.

They got the name for the book because they are Luke Gianato’s daughters, and the cover of the book even shows his signature.

Although both sisters had a hand in the book’s creation, the stories are written from Calovini’s point of view to keep the narrative easy to read.

“We grew up without television. We played games and made up games and picked pokeberries,” Rector said, noting just a few of the many differences between her generation and today’s youth. “We wanted to write it so it would not be lost, so our children would know where they came from and who loved them.”

Rector said the book also highlights McDowell County in an important way. She said it was a time when “coal was king” and McDowell County was “home of the coal barons.”

The young men were either headed off to war or headed into the mines to support the war effort.

“Growing up, Northfork was busy. There was not an empty house in town.”

She said she and her sister remember the good times and that’s what they wanted to retell.

“There is a connection from generation to generation, and without the background, the next generation cannot appreciate what was there before them.”

The book was self-published this year and printed by CreateSpace in Charleston, S.C.

Book signings and sales will be from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, June 20, in Welch at the Sterling Drive-In and from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, June 21, at the Raleigh County Public Library.

For more information, e-mail LukesDaughters@yahoo. com or visit LukesDaughters on Facebook.

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