Author Gary Pickering returned to Témiscaming to present $13,000 to local charities, profits made from the sale of his book Témiscaming Memories.
This weekend marked the town's centennial celebrations, and Pickering’s book was put together for the occasion, providing an oral history of the town as told by residents past and present.
On Monday at 1 p.m., Pickering presented the cheques and offered certificates of appreciation to those who helped compile the stories for the anthology.
About fifty people attended as the author thanked Josette McCann for editing the French portion of the book. Pickering then thanked his wife, Jane Pickering, who along with himself, served as the English editor.
Pickering also extended his gratitude to Guylaine Bourget and Andree Raymond who helped collect stories from seniors.
His final certificate of appreciation went to Dean Sparling of Ross Electric Home Hardware for selling the book locally.
After his thanks came the cheques. “When I told the gathering that we had profits of $13,000 from sales of the book, there were audible gasps of surprise” from the crowd, Pickering said.
“I was told afterward that they were figuring that each charity would get around $500 or $600,” he said, “so the fact that they each got $3,350 was a pleasant surprise.”
Representatives from Place au Soleil, Maison des Jeunes, Maison de la Familles, and the Association des handicappes de Témiscaming and Kipawa all received the donation.
Asked what inspired the project, Pickering said “it would be a good way to help celebrate Témiscaming’s Centennial and at the same time help some charities.”
“The fact that this process happened during the Covid-19 pandemic gave people stuck at home something positive to do as well.”
“I wanted to pay back Témiscaming for the great childhood I had there,” Pickering explained. “That saying, ‘you can take the boy out of Témiscaming, but not Témiscaming out of the boy’ comes to mind.”
Pickering is compiling another volume of Témiscaming Memories and is accepting submissions until September 30. Stories are welcome in either English or French and can be sent to Pickering—along with any questions—at email@example.com.
Copies of the first volume are still available via Amazon, with all profits benefiting Témiscaming charities.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca