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The Brass Bell Paperback – 2013
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In everyone's life there is one person, one event, or one experience that affects who they become, the road they take. For hundreds of people in Central New York that person was Miss Parsons; that experience was their days at Cherry Road School. The Brass Bell tells the story of Marion Parsons' life, of the school she started in a hen house in her father’s cherry orchard, of the hundreds, who decades later, still get together to talk about their Miss Parsons and their memorable times at Cherry Road School. The book's author, Camille Cole, is the great niece of Marion Parsons. To her, Marion was a beloved great aunt, but more like a grandmother. Throughout her childhood she was enraptured by stories of the Olden Days. She would go to her Aunt and plead, "Tell me a story out of your think," and Marion would begin, "Jack hitched up the horse and buggy..." Cole recounts these stories in vivid detail in The Brass Bell. She weaves a creative non-fiction account of a young woman who chose duty over desire, who returned home to fulfill her father's wishes to turn the struggling farm into a modern-day community with a school at its heart. She tells the story of a woman who seemingly gave up everything, but realized her dreams in ways she could never have imagined as a young woman leaving home, and then returning to build a school. Cole took liberties to create a story based on her aunt's journal and letters, from the many stories shared by those who were there during rough days of The Great Depression, during the frightening days of World War II, and finally when cornfields were replaced with roads and houses and a red-brick school.
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Thank you very much Camille for taking the initiative to document the Cherry Road School and Aunt Marion's life and times. The book obviously took an enormous amount of research and interviews to put together. Your stylistic approach wove the story together better than any standard biography could ever have done, and made a totally enjoyable read. The love came through loud and clear. Reading of familiar places like Terry Road and Westvale brought back fond memories of days past.
Please let us know when your next book will debut?
P.S., Has anyone ever found the missing ringer for the bell?
Marion Parsons embodied the core values of discipline, integrity, sacrifice and a strong work ethic instilled from her father in a time which required nothing less of these character traits. She left an indelible impression to all people that had the opportunity to share at least a moment and/or lifelong connection on their journey through life. Miss Parsons captivating spirit still resonates as of today within this prestigious community.
I strongly suggest all schools, especially schools that are struggling to stay afloat in today's times, require reading of The Brass Bell in their respective districts.
--- Jay Cole, Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist/Crisis Prevention Counselor , Syracuse, New York