Just a Boy from Home: With songs, stories and recipes

March 16, 2009 7:12:03 PM PDT
"When an old person dies, a library is lost." This proverb, while rueful, is also a call to action to preserve the experiences and knowledge of our loved ones before they're gone forever. In her new book, Just a Boy from Home: With songs, stories and recipes (published by AuthorHouse), Catherine Bourke Chambers records the life story of her father, Bill Bourke, as he told it to her over countless wonderful conversations.Just a Boy from Home tells of Bill's life growing up in County Mayo, Ireland, and his immigration to Chicago, where he married, raised a family and fully embraced his opportunity to realize the American Dream. The captivating stories of his life are interspersed with lyrics to 42 songs, Irish wit, recipes and other memories of a time past, creating the kind of personal, detailed history that so often fades away with time.

Catherine explains that her father's repertoire of songs, poems, expressions and the like ? those things that made him unique, but also reflected his place in the vibrant communities of County Mayo and mid-century Chicago ? could easily have been forgotten had he not agreed to sit for many hours reminiscing:

"My father often talked about his family, especially his mother, but I thought very little about it until a few years ago," Catherine says. "Suddenly I realized that he was not going to live forever. What was my family's history? I decided to ask for his help and one evening after dinner, he began to talk. He told me to listen carefully, because he didn't want to have to repeat. He shared this entire book from memory."

When Catherine set out to confirm the various details of her father's stories ? from song lyrics to people and places to historical events such as the striping of the land in Ireland ? she discovered an Ireland that everyone should meet.

"It took me quite a long time to confirm words to songs and stories from this area," she writes. "So many of his friends and family have died, but what I have I believe is correct. Even if a person does not want to buy this book for the story, the songs, myths and idiomatic expressions should be something that anyone with an Irish background would want to have in their library."

Bill Bourke passed away in 2007. Catherine Bourke Chambers is the second of his five children. She has been married for 31 years and has three sons. Just a Boy from Home is her first book.

For more information, please visit www.authorhouse.com.

"Never Fail" Irish Soda Bread

Apple Pie

Apple Sauce Cake

Whole Wheat Bread