Daughter takes trip down memory lane with new book
Author Connie McCracken’s new book, Nine Decades: Nine Lives - A Life in Pieces, explores the life of Maxwell “Curley” Curvin, a man local to the Peterborough area, with connections to the Haliburton Highlands.
Curvin, who was McCracken’s father, was born in 1918 in Peterborough, where he lived for 96 years, helping his father to establish a resort at Young’s Point.
“My father did a million different jobs to make a buck, some quite unique, and I tell people about them in several chapters … my favourite being ‘Diggin’ Skunks and Pickin’ Pigeons.’ But his main business of pinball machines, novelty games, jukeboxes, and background music actually started at the resort when his dad brought a (one-arm bandit) slot machine home from a business trip to Montreal and they placed them in different tourist locations for their clientele to use,” McCracken said in an email to County Life.
He also had a hunt camp on Eels Lake Road and on Bryan’s Road near Gooderham, which McCracken said are in the book. The family vacationed at Linkert’s resort in Wilberforce for years.
“The book about my father was actually started as a novel, not just a biography so that all could enjoy his funny and unique stories. It has history for all of Ontario and something for young and old to enjoy,” she said. Although it’s based in reality, because Curley isn’t here to verify all the details, McCracken said it’s a fictionalized account.
“The book is very much about how times have changed, as Ed Arnold describes in the quote about the book. It goes from Model T Fords to my dad’s background business being fazed out because of new technology,” she said.
Ed Arnold, former managing editor of the Peterborough Examiner, is quoted in promotional materials for Nine Decades as saying: “People with ideas for books should take the time to write them, especially memoirs or nonfiction ones so history will be retained in a bound format: Connie McCracken has taken the time to do this in a book about her father, Maxwell Curvin, best known among local people as ‘Curley.’ She tells the story through his eyes in an imaginative, raw, down to earth format that not only includes his story but of the people and places around us which will bring back many memories for those who lived those times. Connie has done an admirable job of gathering, researching and putting forth the information for Peterborough and area readers to enjoy while giving younger people a peek into the picture of past lives and a reminder to all of us how times have changed, oh, how times have changed.”
Maxwell “Curley” Curvin lived through the Depression and gained skills in reusing and recycling, fixing things and finding ways to feed his fam ily, even during financial hard times, McCracken said. Sometimes that meant hunting and fishing to put a meal on the table.
“We would laugh that I would say ‘I didn’t even know what beef was until I was a teenager,’” she said.
McCracken is also the author of a children’s book called Indigo Boy and Crystalline Girl.
Nine Decades: Nine Lives - A Life in Pieces is being released on Amazon Kindle as an ebook on Sept. 5 with a softcover launch on Oct. 5 at Ricky’s All Day Grill at 898 Monaghan Rd., Peterborough from 2 to 4 p.m. You can read more at conniemccracken.com/book.