Former Local Resident To Hold Book Signing November 9Oct 24th, 2013 | By Submitted | Category: Community News
A former Madison County, resident, Ruth Rodgers has written a novel and will hold a book signing at the Madison County Public Library on Saturday morning, Nov. 9. Rodgers will have a number of books available and people who buy directly from her that day will be able to get the book for $20, including tax. Rodgers is a 1962 graduate of Madison High School and is the daughter of Doris Everett and the late Murphy Everett. Three of her sisters – Elizabeth Hutto, Ann Olan and Lynn Waller – still live in Madison County. Her brother, Jim lives in Jacksonville and her brother, Bill, lives in Defuniak Springs. A number of other relatives live in Madison County. After high school, Ruth attended North Florida Junior College before she went to Florida State University and received her B.A. in English education in 1966. After graduating from FSU, she moved to Titusville, right across the river from the Kennedy Space Center, and took a job teaching English at a junior high school. At that time, the Apollo moon program was in full swing and Brevard Count was an exciting place to live. New schools were being built and teachers were being recruited from all over the southeast to accommodate the families moving to the area to work at the Space Center. In 1971, Ruth married Bill Rodgers. The couple began a family in 1974 and Ruth left teaching for about 10 years to raise her children. When she returned to work, she applied to teach English part-time at Brevard Community College. She remained there for 25 years and retired in 1979. Over the years, Ruth has been active in several writing clubs and has had fiction and poetry published in a number of literary magazines and anthologies but her goal has always been to publish a novel. The novel, Reparation, has just been published by the Florida Historical Society Press. It is set in rural north Florida in a fictitious town named Pine Lake, that bears many similarities to Madison, although none of characters or events are based on real people or real occurrences. From the following synopsis of Reparation, one might gather that Pine Lake comes across in a negative light, but the novel points out the progress that the town has made as a number of local citizens help the main character, Kate, in her quest to set things right, and one of the most heroic and positive characters is the young female publisher of the Pine Lake Gazette: When her mother’s dislocated shoulder brings 62-year-old high school librarian Kate Riley back to her rural childhood home in northern Florida for a weeks-long visit, events from the past begin to intrude on the present, and Kate soon finds more on her mind than simply caring for her mother. A chance encounter with Delia Carmichael, the daughter of the man who once sharecropped for her father, throws Kate headlong into a painful memory from the past. Childhood playmates before the culture of Southern segregation forced them apart, Kate and Delia had been teenagers by the time civil rights demonstrations roiled the South in the late 1950s, and Kate finds her thoughts going back to a spring night in 1960 at the local movie theater, when, despite all her avowed sympathy for the civil rights movement, she had been too cowardly to stand up for Delia when it counted. Seeing Delia again, after forty-five years, brings her to the realization that the only way to live with her conscience is to make reparation for that terrible night. As the story moves between present and past and as Kate relives pivotal moments from her childhood and adolescence, the social conventions that had governed her behavior weigh more heavily upon her and increase her feelings of obligation to make things right with Delia. As she sets out to repair their friendship, however, she finds that the little town of Pine Lake still seems mired in the past that she has long since left behind. Lonnie P. Ramsey, the leader of the gang of boys who attacked Delia on that long-ago night, is now Pine Lake’s mayor and one of its most deep-pocketed citizens, and his money wields great power and influence over local law and politics. Newly fired up by her conscience, Kate does not let that deter her from finding a way to hold him accountable for what he did to Delia, and her search soon turns up an even worse secret that the town has been keeping for forty-four years—a secret that involves Lonnie P. Ramsey. As Kate cares for her mother, repairs her relationship with Delia, and searches for answers about the past, she is also reconnecting with other old friends and classmates: with Gail Proctor, her best friend throughout her school days, who has remained a product of her small-town Southern upbringing, and with Brian Simmons, the object of her first high school crush—then a skinny, acne-pocked science whiz who had never asked her out—but now a handsome, self-assured, and newly divorced community college professor. Kate has always judged herself content in her thirty-seven year marriage, but with her husband Russell more than two hundred miles away, all the high school fantasies she’d once indulged in are rekindled, and she finds herself dreaming again of what might have been. As Kate’s quest for answers draws her more deeply into danger—both physical and emotional—she is no longer a fearful sixteen-year-old caught up in the strict rules of a segregated society, but a woman ready to do whatever it takes to finally make reparation for the past and see that justice prevails.