A Writer Comes HomeBy Cathlene SmithSaturday, September 12
, 2009, I had the opportunity of a lifetime. I was slated todo a book signing at the Helper City Library; promoting my thriller, "Slivers of Reality." I had attended many book signings and readings in the previous months;but not in Helper.My excitement grew as my husband - Don, Mother - Rose Rachele Gillespie andSister- Jennifer Gillespie drove down Helper's Main Street. I reached back fortyyears to the days when I traveled this same path with my Dad - Dan Gillespie,Mom and Jen.Helper, population, 2025; 1.8 square miles, is not my place of birth; but it is mymother's. The Rachele family has graced this immigrant, mining and railroad townwith its: Swinging Bridge, Balancing Rock, and rich western history for decades.My Uncle Raymond, Aunt Shirley and Cousin Eldon still call this quaintsettlement, home. My precious Aunt Vee, or Iola Cobain as she was known tomost; was the Helper City Librarian for fifty-five plus years.Yes, while not my birthplace; Helper was always considered "home." My familyand I spent a few weeks every summer: lazing on the porch of my grandparentsSam and Rosina Rachele's house, listening to the sounds of train whistles. Weshopped at Cornet's Five and Dime where candy was truly a penny and paper kiteswere a ten cents. We drank sodas at Veltri's Drug, went to church at St. Anthony's,and traveled the eight miles to Price to Checkerboard Grocery to eat licorice whipsand gulp down Orange Nesbit; Uncle Guido refusing to take any money.Life was simple in Helper. You got up, watered the garden, swam at the old poolacross from my Aunt Helen and Uncle John Bradley's home, and helped Aunt Veeat the Helper City Library. I loved those memories, they flooded me as we arrivedfor my book signing.Amanda Holley, a young, attractive librarian with an adorable personality to match,went to much detail in preparing the event. A folding sign announcing my arrivalgreeted me. It stood under the watchful gaze of the enormous statue of the CoalMiner; affectionately named "Big John." Jenny and I used to run through his legsand sit on his enormous feet as we ate ice cream or popsicles; the drops of childhood hanging from our chins.