An Interview With a Career Writer
My mother’s insight as a writer from the 1960s to modern-day
My Mom raised my twin sister and me on the banks of the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle, Penn., shown in the photo above. Her uncle started one of the first rafting companies in the area in the 1960s. Her mother worked for him in the retail store in the summers. Ohiopyle is a tiny town, only a few blocks deep, with local business owners, outdoor enthusiasts, and wayward souls — all trying to live a nonconformist life.
It was like growing up in Neverland — an ideal island where lost souls escape their problems and hold onto childhood fantasies of play and wonder. It’s nearly impossible to escape once engulfed in the pleasures and wildness of the mountain air.
My Mom, Marci McGuinness, is the local historian and author, publishing books from old black and white photos, natural remedies to a local guidebook on navigating the whitewater of the famous destination river, and many more.
For the first eight years of my life, we lived with my father near the West Virginia state line, deep in the mountains surrounded by woods and creeks. My sister and I found our fantasy world, running in the wide-open spaces, creating stories, and acting out scenes. My sister wrote, and I drew pictures for her words.
My Mom gave our creative minds a chance to go wild.
When we moved to Ohiopyle after my parent’s divorce, it was the happiest day of my life. A vibrant community, outdoor recreation now surrounded us, and still, the wild mountain air prevailed. My Mom worked at home writing. We played outside.
We lived frugally in the house my grandmother inherited from her mother. We could see the river from the back porch before my great uncle built his hotel. Summers were booming with tourists, and winters were a ghost town. We didn’t shop at the mall or make the trek over the mountain for anything but necessities. It seems like a modern-day sport anymore — roaming around Walmart seeking out stuff to buy for no good reason. We didn’t have outfits for every day of the week or expensive toys or cars. We had each other, community, and mother nature.