Publisher seeks stories from local 'old timers'

Hometown Memories Publishing Company intends to save a big slice of local history before it's lost forever.

Bob Lasley, 71, Senior Editor at Hometown Memories Publishing, is asking local old-timers to share their memories for a living history book. He invites anyone over age 60 with yarns about the "good old days" in Southeastern Ohio to write them down and mail them to him for possible publication in the book. The hardcover coffee table book will contain tales of bygone years from people who actually lived them.

"The phone has been ringing off the hook," Lasley said. "We have received many submissions already and it is just beginning."

He said he has no idea what he will receive but said, "this should be one of the best books we have ever done."

Lasley expects to have between 200-300 stories in the Ohio book and close to 2,000 stories in all six books the company is publishing this year.

Lasley said he is particularly interested in south eastern Ohio because his ancestors came from Guernsey County in the 1790s and considers the projects fun.

"We are not soliciting experienced writers," he stressed. "We want people who write from the heart."

He said the books are an effort to save old stories, for instance, Lasley said people his age who know what a "two-holer" is and what it was like to build the morning fire, are the story-tellers he is seeking.

To encourage participation, Lasley is offering a $250.00 award for the most appealing story. There will also be three $100.00 runner-up awards.

"I'm not looking for genealogy," says Lasley. "What we want to save are true stories about things that once were commonplace but are virtually unknown to today's generation. The contributor's descendants will love them for it. Life today is not what it used to be," continues Lasley. For example, any old-timer could tell an interesting tale about things like wringer washing machines, downtown cowboy movies on Saturday, radio drama programs, feed sack dresses or old fashioned outhouses. Lasley explains, "Stories like these are not only great fun to read, especially for us old-timers, but they're usually left out of the official history books. I hope some of these books will still be around in 200 years so that people will know that we old-timers were more than a name or a faded picture. But that we were real people with real lives."

Especially wanted for the book are stories that involve humor, odd, unusual, frightening or mysterious events, romance stories ("How I Met My Spouse"), local myths and legends and ghost tales. The deadline for story submission is March 30, 2009.

Lasley began his second career as a publisher about 15 years ago when he retired from the insurance business after 35 years. Although it began as a hobby, he and his partner, Sallie Holt, operating as Hometown Memories Publishers in Hickory, NC have produced over 40 titles since that time. There are currently over 50,000 copies of their living history books in circulation. The company donates its books to any library or historical society that writes and requests them and agrees to pay shipping.

Lasley requests that anyone interested in submitting material for the book phone him toll free, at (877) 491-8802 for instructions or visit the web site at http://hometownmemories.home.abts.net and click the "Submit a Story" link.

ABOUT HOMETOWN MEMORIES PUBLISHING, INC.: Hometown Memories Publishing is a North Carolina Corporation that is dedicated to providing books that preserve the spirit, character, and memory of a time that will never be seen again. The people who appear in them are from all walks of life. Their experiences are so unusual and varied that it is impossible to categorize them. You'll find humor, adventure, romance, hardship, and even a few ghost stories in a Hometown Memories book.