Book-a-Day #Giveaway! A Girl from the Hill by Patricia Mitchell

a-girl-from-the-hill

I remember feeling very proud at age four-and-a-half. Practically ready for kindergarten, I knew my ABC’s, the days of the week, and that on Sunday nights at eight, I could see my TV pals Dan and Dick and those girls who danced with paint all over their bodies. In 1968 my parents allowed me to watch Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In, a show full of sexual innuendo and political satire.

I am the youngest of five, also known as ‘the baby.’ My parents referred to me as ‘the baby’ until middle school, maybe even high school. In my family, being ‘the baby’ held significant meaning: I was not allowed to hear bad news, witness any kind of family strife, or be disappointed. This meant that I played only a minor role in the actual family dynamics. Reality and I would not meet until many years later.

For me, the best part of being ‘the baby’ were those early years where I spent every day with my Mom. While the others schlepped off to school or work, I stayed home with the nicest person I knew, who totally got how babies should be treated. While she drank coffee by the potful and picked up after everyone else’s mess, I plopped myself on the sofa with my coffee milk to watch Captain Kangaroo. While she made the beds, I helped shake out the sheets. When she hung the clothes out to dry, I ran around the backyard jumping off my favorite rock, pretending to fly. In the afternoons, we’d watch our ‘stories,’ like Search for Tomorrow and The Guiding Light. I ignored the mature plots and drifted off to nap while my mom rubbed my back. The perfect life for the perfect baby.

What I didn’t understand until I wrote my mother’s memoir, A Girl from the Hill, was that my mom was a survivor. She also grew up as ‘the baby,’ with siblings and parents who shielded her, too. Like me, she loved being pampered and the center of attention. But before she got a chance to graduate high school, my mother lost her mother forever, forcing her older siblings to inherit an impossible task – shielding ‘the baby’ from death.

On Federal Hill in 1941, wakes were held in homes. Watching her father sit and stroke her dead mother’s hair dealt my mother a harsh blow that changed her forever.

I didn’t appreciate her journey until I stopped being a baby and listened to her story, a story of strength and determination, sprinkled always with a bit of laughter to endure reality.

Sure, I may have resented my over-protective family growing up. But I’m over it. My mother understood how important it was to let me be ‘the baby’ for as long as possible.

patty-mitchell

Patricia Mitchell’s lifelong love of writing and desire to capture the story of her mother’s life prompted her to embark on her first professional writing project – A Girl from the Hill. She holds degrees in mass media and communication, English literature and creative writing. This work expresses her interest in Italian-American culture as well as the relationship between mothers and daughters.

You can WIN a copy of this book! Just leave a comment below. One winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication.

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13 Comments

Resonance! I was only skimming; but soon lost to the “Miss Bonnie” and “Capt. Kangaroo” mornings, myself~ I too, being AN ONLY CHILD (8-} of post-ww2 parents in their 40’s…I was well aware I was in a virtual glass bubble! I rebelled, but gratefully, enjoyed it . I was listening to Chet, David & Walter as well, so I was ready for reality when the time was right. Congratulations…I find myself @ work!! I was captured! TY & look forward to reading this (after Christmas) of course….

Sounds like a book to be enjoyed by all the “babies of the family”! I was the baby in my family and thoroughly enjoyed it. Looking forward to reading it!

My mother and her family grew up on Federal Hill and this brings to mind her many stories of her childhood in this microcosm of Italian life in a small village. This is an interesting perspective on life the way it used to be!

This sounds like a great read with local references. Federal Hill is a vibrant neighborhood . I can’t wait to read this book.

I am looking forward to reading this, sounds like a wonderful family story.

Congratulations on your first professional writing project. What a tribute to your mom. Can’t wait to read it. I was the baby for six years and remember those days of “stories” that couldn’t be missed or needed to be caught up on. You brought back a very good memory for me.

Reading Pat’s introduction brought a lump to my throat. Knowing Pat, I am certain that her mother’s full story will do the same.

I’m the middle child. Would be interesting to read about the youngest child’s (other than my sister’s 🙂 ) life. Thanks for the chance.

Wow! This sounds like a super-goody! Thank you.

I would definitely like this book. My daughter now lives on The Hill.

Reblogged this on pattytmitchell and commented:
Read Martha Reynolds’ blog and win a copy of A Giirl from the Hil!

I am really enjoying reading about these books. Sounds like an amazing book to read.

Sounds very touching and will let my little sister Mary know about this…a must read for everyone, especially the “babies” of the family.

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