“Coming home” can mean a lot of different things to different people. It may be returning to the childhood home for the holidays, reuniting with long ago friends and relatives, or returning after a long day to the arms of a loved one.
For Montreal-based author Katharine O’Flynn, coming home meant revisiting the stories her mother told her about growing up in a beautiful and far-distant town called Creston.
O’Flynn’s newest work, Coming Home, traces the life of Mildred Young as she leads the way for three generations of the women of her family to leave England and settle in Creston. Mildred establishes a successful business, daughters Charlotte and Sarah marry, and granddaughter Olwen records how she experiences life in our small town through the tumultuous times of the First World War, the Spanish flu epidemic, and the Great Depression as well as through emotional upheavals in her own family.
The work is a charming, often times amusing, and frequently touching memoir about what O’Flynn calls “the elements that form the concept of home”: family, friends, and home. My favourite story concerns blind Uncle Bob who takes the girls on a camping trip to a mountain lake, evoking so many of my own personal memories about camping around this valley that I have come to call home. The narrator recalls that Uncle Bob’s “visit” to Creston “went on for years and years, almost to the end of his life”.
Longtime residents of Creston will naturally recognize many of the sites and events in this book, and to help bring these connections to life, Tammy Bradford of the Creston Museum will be offering a walking tour of some of the key sites in the book. To add to the fun, during the tour Tammy will take on the character of Mrs. Mallandaine, a close acquaintance of our protagonist Mildred Young.
Katharine O’Flynn will appear at Creston Valley Public Library (531 16th Ave S) on Saturday, October 1 at 2pm, to present stories from her newest work, Coming Home. The presentation will be followed by a walking tour, which will culminate at the corner of Canyon St and 5th Avenue North at approximately 4pm.