In the quiet, insulated early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wisconsin native Gary Hines was feeling restless. His wife, Jean, suggested that he sit down and write some stories from his life to share with their daughters. Nearly three years later, that small collection of stories has blossomed into a full-blown memoir titled A River of Memories: A Midwestern Boy Lives Out His Dreams. The book was published this September through the Write Place, Inc.
“This book was written as a letter to my girls, Tara, Bretta, and Jessie,” said Hines. “I found that at age 75, grabbing memories out of the past is a lot like fishing. Just when you think you’ve got something, it slips away. Occasionally, you drag one in and savor the moment. Then whoosh … a flood of memories flows in like water down a rushing river.”
That image gave Hines’ memoir its title. The story starts in 1945 with the author’s birth in Ellsworth, Wisconsin. From there, Hines recounts his many youthful adventures and mishaps, from childhood to his days as a prep school rebel. He also tells the story of his unconventional educational path from college dropout to PhD in counseling psychology, and he closes the narrative with a touching portrait of his family’s happily ever after in their beloved home on Lake Mallalieu.
“Hines takes you on a merry-go-round ride of his stunningly wide variety of life experiences and career paths,” said Evonne Agnello, author of Shaking Shame from Mental Illness and a key editor of A River of Memories. “You’ll laugh out loud more than once and wonder how this small-town boy of meager means ended up living his dreams. You may be inspired by Hines’ adventuresome spirit and find new paths yourself. If not, at least you’ll be entertained.”