Willowbrook English teacher publishes book that shares her father’s memories and experiences

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The bond between a parent and child is special and unique. It’s a common human desire to preserve that relationship – through a variety of mediums – to ensure those memories live on and can be shared with future generations.

While many people want to capture that connection and those memoirs, it can be difficult to find the time and to know where/how to begin the process. But Willowbrook English teacher Leslie Allenspach didn’t let that stop her – she recently sat down with her father, Charlie “Chuck” Holdridge, to write “The Life & Times of Grandpa Charlie,” which was published by Wasteland Press in August.

“My dad and I have always been very close, and we both share a love of writing,” Allenspach said. “Having this book published has been a dream of ours for quite some time, and it’s a tangible way to have his legacy continue after we’re both gone.”

As the book’s synopsis reads, “The Life & Times of Grandpa Charlie” “… is part memoir, part nostalgia and part sentimental musings of a father and daughter. As time marches on, it seems many of us are craving small glimpses into the past. We want to peek through a window into our childhood homes to remember a simpler time.”

Allenspach said she and Holdridge have been discussing the book for about five years, and being isolated during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic provided time for them to dive in and get started on the project. Holdridge was in rehab to assist with his Parkinson’s disease, and he and Allenspach would frequently speak on the phone.

“It was a wonderful way for us to stay connected and to keep his spirits up during that difficult time,” Allenspach said. “It was exciting to watch the book expand into a family project, as my daughters and friends got involved and helped me with the revisions.”

Allenspach said she and Holdridge are planning a “Meet the Author” event in November (time/date to be determined) at Holdridge’s senior living facility, Victory Centre of Bartlett, and will participate in an author tour this July in Wisconsin. They also are working on a second book, which will have a similar structure and will focus on Holdridge’s experiences later in life, including his impact in the marketing industry.

Allenspach said she hopes her book encourages others to follow in her footsteps.

“My goal is to inspire people to share their stories in whatever format possible,” Allenspach said. “Everyone has a story; everyone has a voice; and everyone deserves to be recognized and heard.”

Get a copy of “The Life & Times of Grandpa Charlie”
To buy a copy of “The Life & Times of Grandpa Charlie,” go to https://www.amazon.com/Life-Times-Grandpa-Charlie/dp/1681114755. To get a signed copy from Allenspach, contact her directly at lcallenspach@gmail.com.