Stories for Oliver
Charles William Wrightson
Create Space (2011)
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (2/11)
“Stories for Oliver” is more than a memoir of Charles William Wrightson. It is a tribute to his ancestors and a glimpse into how this heritage has impacted his character, core values, and philosophy of life.
Wrightson has a remarkable memory for detail and a gift for communicating a simple incident into an interesting and entertaining event. Throughout the book he intertwines stories of family activities, sports, and significant events that have made a lasting impression on him and influenced his development.
Young Charles enjoyed sports, school, and family picnics with friends. The story “Summer Adventures on the Runabout” provided insight into the nature and values of his father, Charles Sr.
The “Inauguration Day of John F. Kennedy” made a lasting impression on eleven-year-old Charles. Kennedy’s assassination three year’s later left Charles devastated. He also talks about the “School Prayer Controversy,” “The Depression,” and “America’s Presence in Viet Nam.”
The reflections on parenting, friendship, and values are practical, inspirational, and motivating. I enjoyed his reflections on John Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success” and his reflections on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “What Goes Around, Comes Around.” I found the various reflections on his academic training, career, and travels especially interesting.
As a former resident of Northern California I became engaged in Wrightson’s descriptions and reflections on “Thanksgiving at Yosemite,” “The Official Weigh In,” and “Turning 60.” These described his move to Santa Rosa and his enjoyment of the well-known wineries of the nearby communities.
I was deeply impressed with Wrightson’s broad range of interests and his depth of intellect. His topical reflections and intimate family poems add to the substance of his writing both to his grandchildren and to a much wider audience.
“Stories for Oliver” captures the memories and unlocks the recollections that make up the life Charles William Wrightson. His writing is imaginative, animated, informative and entertaining. His stories are destined to become a lasting legacy, treasured by generations of Wrightsons far into the future.