Local author shares personal, writing history

Published 10:04 am Friday, November 26, 2010

Marilyn Thornton Schraff, a Lawrence County native, has written a book about her upbringing in Kitts Hill and Ironton, and will soon be speaking about it on a local radio show.

Schraff will be talking about her book, “Appalachian Childhood: Growing Up In Rural, Southern Ohio During the Mid-20th Century,” on the Tom Roten Morning Show at 8:09 a.m. Monday on News Talk 800 WVHU.

Schraff grew up in Kitts Hill until she was 15 and then moved to Ironton until she went to college. She got her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Ohio University and has worked as a social worker, a teacher, an artist and, at 62, she is now an author and living in Cleveland. She chose to write about Southern Ohio because of a class she took on multi-cultural literature.

Email newsletter signup

“I learned there is very little written about Appalachia by Appalachians,” she said. She said when people who are not from the area write about it, it is often focused on negative things.

“What people fail to see is the love and compassion and how interconnected people are still,” she said.

The book includes history, humor and plenty of stories from growing up in the area. She included a story about how her mother’s family were moonshiners.

“That always brought some excitement,” she laughed. “My dad made homebrew and we kids helped ourselves to that. When people came to witness to my family as Christians, I didn’t know if they were trying to get us saved, or trying to save the community from us.”

She also wrote about the time she first believed in God. She said her mother told her she had to have black or white patent leather shoes for Easter, but she prayed that if there was a God, she would get red shoes. She said her mother got sick and her father had to take her shopping for the shoes. They were out of white shoes and black shoes, so she ended up with a red pair.

The book includes information about classmates and people in the community, including photos of 86 people from Lawrence County.

“I am proud of how I grew up,” she said. “I am pleased that my parents cared enough to grow us fresh food and make our clothes. Having pride in who you are and where you came from is important no mater what life you choose. I feel blessed to come from Lawrence County.”

Schraff will be doing a book-signing at Empire Books & News in Pullman Square in Huntington on Dec. 4.

The book is available at the Jesse Stuart Foundation in Ashland, Ky., and Durasash Products, Inc., 1302 S. Sixth St., Ironton.