I'm so thankful for the people of Marianna, PA, the setting for my sweet book. No bookstore, no coffee shop in town, but a fabulous librarian and local historian who gathered 70 people—in a town of 390!—to discuss their own stories and mine. First and second cousins came out, along with relatives I'd never met and grandchildren of their neighbors! I was worried they'd point out mistakes I'd made; instead, they said "you saw us," and my heart just about exploded!
Upstairs in the Marianna Library is a scale model someone built of the town in the 1950s. Township supervisor Lars Lange showed it to me and my husband, Gary Zizka, and we compared notes about Marianna history we'd learned in our research. Born in Germany, Lars Lange lives on a farm near Marianna, where he practices law, but he also studied mining and worked both as a coal miner and a mining supervisor.
I was invited to read at the Marianna Library in October, and it was an amazing night! Here's the bird's eye view of Marianna, so you can see the company houses striped up the hill like veins of coal--each stripe was a different ethnicity!
My great-grandfather, Alex Zolikoff (1877-1934) hand copied the Old Believer prayer books and Bible in Church Slavonic. Here is a page from a church service.