It’s been three years since my first book of memoirs, Little Heathens, has been published and although I’ve sold hundreds of copies, in retrospect I have to be honest with myself and wonder why. Why would anyone want to read a book about me and my siblings? After all, I’m not famous. I’m not a world-renowned athlete or a war hero. I haven’t invented a cure for some heretofore incurable disease. I haven’t climbed Mt. Everest or swam the English Channel. I definitely didn’t grow up in an abusive household, quite the opposite. I haven’t been to rehab or been a victim, of any kind. I did grow up with asthma, but I never perceived it as a hindrance nor did I allow it to be.
Quite the contrary to those qualities listed above, my life was fairly normal and ordinary. But was it really? It is true that people who’ve read the book and given me feedback, have almost universally found some story in the book that they relate to their own childhood. But was everyone’s childhood as unique, or as odd as mine? Was everyone’s childhood, in retrospect, as funny as mine was? I have to say no based on feedback from reader Ken, “That book was funnier than hell.” Well, since Ken brought it up, here are ten reasons why you should read Little Heathens:
- 10. You’re tired of hearing the same old depressing stories on the evening news and need something to cheer you up.
- 9. Your childhood was bland and you are curious as to how the other half lived.
- 8. You had such a traumatic childhood that you’ve blanked out all memories and are now wondering what childhood was really like.
- 7. You’re a young parent whose children are making you crazy and you wonder if things could possibly get worse.
- 6. You’re parents never allowed you to run around the neighborhood barefoot.
- 5. At times you’ve wondered if your kids are “normal”.
- 4. You’ve seen “those kinds of kids” in the neighborhood and feigned shock and outrage, but inside you were laughing yourself silly.
- 3. You’re secretly a voyeur.
- 2. You had a fun, wonderful childhood and would love to relive it.
- 1. You enjoy reading a book full of funny, delightful stories of four knucklehead kids and the great times they had growing up together.
“Wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying your book, Little Heathens. Your stories bring back many of my own experiences as a child, including the witch’s house, $2 bills, bed-wetting, the “stop touching me!” battles… Today I kind of wish I related more to innocent Kathy, but what fun it was being a little heathen! For everyone who’s ever been told they should write about their childhood, you’ve set the standard with the ideal prototype. Thanks Ron! Can’t wait for Part II!!”
“Ron, where do I start? I am over half way through the book. As I read the journey through your childhood I feel that with each adventure I read there is something that reminds me of my childhood. I have laughed and went to places in my mind that I had forgotten about. All I have to say is Bravo for reminding us of a time when it was ok to be a little heathen, and when it was still ok to have fun and not be afraid of the society we live in.”
“Little Heathens is a well written, humorous book that brought me back to my childhood with my sister. When reading, I had to keep a box of Kleenex near to wipe the laughter tears from my eyes. It’s a book that will keep you laughing to the point where your sides and cheeks hurt. I am ready for the sequel to see what kind of mischief the Bay kids got into when they were in High School!”
“I was able to read the first 50 pgs of the book yesterday 🙂 and I love it. You were talking about those brass tags (I used to get when swimming). I totally forgot about them until that chapter. I can’t wait to finish it. I wonder how much more I have forgotten from my youth….I am sure a bunch! You’re awesome. Keep it flowing.”
“It’s funny I laughed at you playing in the dirt at the construction site and throwing dirt clods at cars especially at the police car!” “Also, you having to break off your own stick when you got in trouble with your brother”….”I can’t wait to read more!”
My twelve-year-old sage is finishing up your book (she is reading three at one time, for pleasure, plus her school work). Anyway, thanks for setting the bar so high… She has already said “Eli, Emma and I are not even close to that bad….” She also “…relate(s) to (your) older and more wise sister…” and “… what that little kid did to the lizard thing, almost made (her) throw up…”
I am so sorry I missed your book signing while you were in Carthage. I have been reading my book and I think it is wonderful. It reminds me of some of the things my sisters and I did when we were that age. Fun times.”
“Really enjoying your book – makes me smile a lot inside”
“Want a light-hearted book about growing up? This would be the one for you! Easy to read, and will definitely make you laugh, or, at least smile really big! In today’s life we can sure use some smiles. Thanks!”
“Ronnie, I enjoyed your book and all the stories about Vicki, Timmy, Kathy and you. Brought back memories of memories I had long forgotten of my childhood. Thank you for bringing back some fun thoughts of my childhood as well as sharing yours with me. Look forward to reading what mischief you guys got into in Missouri.”
“Also, I had an absolutely wonderful day off Wednesday (just in case you were wondering)………I actually slept in, watched the local news, drank 2 cups of coffee and…READ YOUR BOOK AND LOVED IT !..my favorite part was the chapter on Holidays……………I was in memory heaven. Great book Ron, keep writing, you have such a gift.”
“Ron, I finished Little Heathens this weekend. A couple of things I realized were (1) the fact that kids in Southern California, and kids in Southwest Missouri really weren’t that different in those days, and (2) just how similar our families’ activities and lives really were. Your dad and my dad must have gone to the same “Dad School”. Thanks for the memories. I laughed, and I related to so many different stories. Can’t wait for the sequel.”
“Hi Ron !!
“I read the bulk of your book while vacationing at the shore … it was a fun book to read and your memories sparked many in my household (little sister, included … she was the one who was always picked on and would do ANYTHING we asked of her !!! Bless her heart !! 🙂 ).You reminded me much of a brother who was 11/2 years older than I, a wrestler, and a real dickens for our folks !! My favorite which my husband and I still chuckle about comes every time we hear the ice cream fella drive through our neighborhood … you hanging on for dear life …. STOP … I WANT ICE CREAM !!!!! Arriving home to find your war wounds were for naught, as your little brother munched down on his ice cream !!! Some things just aren’t fair in this life – ha !!”
“My Favorite part about your book was your attitude/excitement about seeing what everyday could bring forth. You are privileged to have had that kind of life. I thought it would be a good book for a new father or mother to read that would steer them in a direction of making a good life for their kids and give them insight on the participation it takes to raise a family.”
Angie wrote: “Hey Ron, I started reading your book L-O-V-E it!! I have laughed and cried remembering my childhood.”
“Yes, I did read Little Heathens and absolutely loved it. It was so heart-warming and funny! And it brought back lots of childhood memories. You have such great recall of details from back then; things I found buried in my memory’s archives. So glad you brought those back to life for me. And yes, I’m really looking forward to the sequel! Bring it on!!!” Vickie
“That book is funnier than hell.” Ken in Schaumburg