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Review of Everywhere Means Something to Someone: The People's Guide to Folkestone
This review is a very personal one about a book that means a great deal to me and my family.
**About The Book**
The book is an A6 sized, chunky paperback of 556 pages . Published by Strange Cargo, 25 June 2011, cover price £5. ISBN 978-0956933607.
The book was published as part of the Folkestone Triennial celebrations and can be purchased locally in various locations in Folkestone, or from www.amazon.co.uk.
The book begins with a brief history of my home town, Folkestone. Following this introduction, each even numbered page tells a local person's story of a local landmark, building or street, with a photograph to illustrate the area discussed, on the corresponding odd numbered page.
**Why This Book Is So Special To Me**
As some readers are aware, life took a different path for me after my father died in 2006. My Dad was my Mother's soul mate, her carer and her rock. She never really accepted his death and although she struggled on for a year or two, her own health, already somewhat precarious, began to fail and she developed Senile Dementia. My partner and I became Mum's carers, moving back into the family home to look after her.
Mum had always been a keen story teller and loved nothing better than to talk about the past, recalling friends and relatives, reliving events and experiences. Typically of dementia, her illness sometimes meant she got the stories wrong, or forgot the people involved and she would become annoyed with herself. I often said I wished she'd written her memories down and offered to ghost write some of the family tales she related. She wasn't keen, saying no one would be interested and if pushed, she became upset and flatly refused to let me do this.
In late 2010, an article from the 'Strange Cargo' organisation appeared in our local paper. They asked for residents to share their stories of local places in Folkestone, the idea being that a collection of local people's stories would be made into a book for the forthcoming Triennial. I pointed it out to my mother and suggested she contribute. After some nagging by me, Mum agreed and we sat down one afternoon but she said she couldn't think of anything to say. I suggested one or two of her stories and after a little while, she started talking while I wrote. Eventually we had a few tales on paper and I submitted Mum's stories to Strange Cargo, a public art company in Folkestone.
We thought no more about it and got on with life.
Sadly my Mother died in May 2011 and whilst her death was not exactly unexpected, it was still a shock.
A month or so after Mum passed away, my aunt arrived at my house one day in a state of great excitement. She handed me a copy of 'Everywhere Means Something to Someone' and told me to check out pages 66 and 86. There I found two of my Mum's tales, one about a convent (now a block of luxury flats) and the other about St Peter's church and school, where not only my grandparents and my Mum, but more recently my daughter and grand-daughters have been pupils.
My Mum was the only person to have two stories accepted for publication and her name appears in the list of thanks in the foreword.
An honour for someone who thought that no one would be interested in her stories! I wish she had lived to see it, she would have been so proud.
**My Thoughts and Conclusion**
Of course, I appreciate that this little book probably means much more to me than it would most people, however it is a fascinating glimpse into the people and past of Folkestone. The photography is beautiful, there are some truly wonderful and unusual shots of places I have known all my life, yet taken for granted. I have learned a great deal from this book, facts and information that would have been forgotten had it not been for local people taking the time and trouble to contribute. One example that springs to mind is a photograph of two odd pieces of metal that jut out of the wall behind the beach promenade. They have always been there, but I did not know that they are the only remains of Folkestone's pier, a structure that had gone long before my birth.
There are several references to places that are long gone and it has been very interesting to dip in and out of this book, a discovery trail of my home town. Naturally, the book would probably hold the most interest for people who know the area, but it would make an amusing reference source for those wishing to visit the town.
I hope my review has been of interest and my apologies if it has been a bit too personal.
Thank you for reading
©brittle1906 January 2012
N.B. My reviews may appear on other sites under the same user name.