David Kherdian is a Racine author that I ran into for the first time when I read his book called I Called It Home about growing up Armenian-American in Racine. I love this book because it is astonishingly detailed, both in terms of the characters David grew up with, and with the streets of Racine where he lived.
“Your Racine writings will live forever, and will be a source and inspiration for future writers and historians.” — Richard Quinney
Here is a list of David’s books exclusively about Racine.
|Place of Birth|
|The Neighborhood Years|
|Nearer the Heart|
|Friends: A Memoir|
|A Song for Uncle Harry|
|Asking the River|
|Root River Run|
|Our Neighborhood (chapbook)|
Here is David’s official web page: http://www.davidkherdian.com/
Book review: Root River Return
I just finished reading David Kherdian’s latest book, Root River Return, and I loved it. It is every bit as vivid as his earlier poems and prose, and there are so many details about the Racine of his childhood and teenage years that anyone who loves Racine history as much as I do will savor the imagery and come back to it over and over.
Also from a history buff’s point of view, we do cherish writers in Racine’s past such as Eugene Leach and Fanny Stone, but they are gone and cannot write any more books for us. Let’s support David Kherdian as he keeps delighting us with books about the neighborhoods we love to study.
For people who are really into history, the idea of submersing yourself in a time and location that you like is very appealing. I read through my Racine history books, look at the photos, and read the posts in the many Racine history Facebook groups and web pages, and as I run across favorite subjects – fishing in Lake Michigan, exploring along Root River, hanging out in the library – I visualize the time and the place and for the moment, I’m there, seeing the sights and listening to people enjoying themselves long ago.
We have many Racine authors who wrote vivid and engrossing stories – Eugene Leach, Edwin Bottomley, Alice Sankey – and we have one who is still writing fascinating stories today – David Kherdian.
David Kherdian’s latest book, Factory Town, combines prose and poetry about my favorite topics in a uniquely vivid and accessible way. For instance, I have read about Joe Perch, Racine’s artist of fishing, in many stories, but I was not around when he was fishing, so I often feel like I have missed out. However, with David’s writing, I feel like I am right there, watching with the rest of the onlookers:
Joe Perch fished close in towards shore, where the pier had been shored up by boulders. He used catgut only for his lines, and tiny bottle corks, with household matches inserted to hold the line to the cork, and he hooked his minnows under their spines, so they would stay alive. Hook and minnow were the only weight on Joe’s lines, and because the water was usually choppy close in towards shore, his minnows often rode up high, just under the roiling waves thereby causing them to behave very much as living minnows would.
I can visualize this perfectly, and I’m not a fisherman!
How about the Racine Belles?
Will any of us ever forget the Racine Belles
of the All-Girls Professional Baseball League
with their short-skirted canary yellow uniforms
beneath baseball caps, also yellow, that
they bobby-pinned into place
I didn’t know their uniforms were canary yellow! I’ve only seen them in black and white photos.
If you love Racine history, check out David Kherdian’s latest book, Factory Town. I think you will love it.