History,  Western Pennsylvania

I Spoiled “A Rose for Emily”

Knead Community Cafe. Photo: Jenny Gaffron Woytek

You fantastic blog readers won’t share my exact taste in books or social activities. However, my sister K. updated our friends and family on her life, so I will as well.

First off, almost every Saturday morning, I grab breakfast at Knead Community Cafe in New Kensington. Knead operates under a pay-what-you-can / pay-it-forward model. Patrons with limited financial means can volunteer for an hour an exchange for their meal. Knead offers Saturday morning breakfast specials that I enjoy. I posted above (and also below) a photo of the communal wooden table that sits in the middle of Knead’s dining area.

I love this table so much. It reminds me of the time back in the 1990’s that my Uncle S. and my Aunt M. rented a huge (to me, at least) lodge in the middle of the woods in Central Pennsylvania for my cousin R.’s wedding. We all slept in the lodge that night. In the morning, we all had breakfast together at a large table.

Here’s the post that I wrote on my other blog about Knead.

Knead Community Cafe. Photo: Jenny Gaffron Woytek

Here’s what else I’ve been up to:

Several years ago, I wanted to find fiction writing programs that didn’t cost too much to attend. So, I obtained the list of faculty members from a Pittsburgh-area fiction writing MFA program. I Googled the names of these faculty members to see what non-MFA classes they taught. (Because the non-MFA classes and lectures are less expensive!) I discovered that one of these faculty members planned to teach a workshop at an event held by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Sisters in Crime.

That’s how I found the Sisters in Crime, an organization formed for the mystery genre. The Pittsburgh chapter includes woman and men, and also includes writers and readers of several genres. Some of the members don’t even write genre fiction. The Pittsburgh chapter meets in Oakmont, Pennsylvania.

Anyway, I just finished reading the first book in a brand new series written by a Sisters in Crime member: “The Enemy We Don’t Know: A Homefront Mystery,” by Liz Milliron. The series features an Irish-American female factory worker named Betty Ahern who solves mysteries in Buffalo, New York, during World War II. In this very first book, one of her German-American female coworkers is accused of committing vandalism and arson at their factory. This coworker hires Betty to find the real perpetrator and thus clear her name. Then somebody gets murdered, and Betty investigates this as well. The mystery takes Betty into Buffalo’s German-American community.

Now, I personally have many branches of my family tree (hopefully we all do!), and each one brought their own stories and perspectives. One of my many branches actually did emigrate from Germany to Pennsylvania between World War I and World War II. My German-American grandmother actually did work in a Pittsburgh-area factory during World War II. So, I enjoyed reading this fictionalized mystery and I recommend it to you readers with similar roots.

A short time ago, I attended a Pittsburgh Sisters in Crime meeting. The current Sisters in Crime national president, Lori Rader-Day, came to Pittsburgh and did a presentation on “Point of View” (POV) at this meeting. Someone asked for an example of a “Plural First Person” POV. I raised my hand and said, “A Rose for Emily, by William Faulkner.” Then, I gave away the spoiler. Whoops!

(If you have no plans to actually read A Rose for Emily, you really should Google it and see how it ends.)

Rader-Day wrote several suspense thrillers, including one released in February 2020. The local bookstore, Mystery Lovers Bookshop, sold copies of her new release at this meeting. Rader-Day signed these copies of her book after her presentation.

I have a feeling that I will have a lot of free time to blog in the next week weeks. So stay tuned.