Author(s): Catherine Fitzpatrick
A child swipes her mother's ring, snatches her sister's nightgown, and runs outside to play "bride." She soon loses the ring, rips the gown, correctly assumes it's about to rain daggers, and runs away from home to find a "better"family. What happens next is a summer-long journey in which Grace Townsend rides shotgun in a Plymouth Belvedere, and hunkers in the back of a rattletrap vegetable truck, crawls into a crumbling tunnel, dresses up with a prom queen, and keeps vigil in the bedroom of a molestation victim. There are reasons why Grace remembers the summer of 1956 for the rest of her life. Those are just a few. Through the eyes of a child and the mature woman she becomes, we make the journey with Grace and discover important truths about life, equality, family, and the soul-searching quest for belonging."
Catherine Underhill Fitzpatrick grew up in the 1950s and 1960s in suburban St. Louis. She is the second of six children. She, like many children her age, enjoyed summer vacations unscheduled and unfettered. After graduating from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, she worked as a staff feature writer in Hannibal, St. Louis, and Milwaukee. In September of 2001, Catherine was in Manhattan to cover New York Fashion Week. At first word of the terrorist attacks, she rushed to Ground Zero and filed award-winning eyewitness reports. An account of her reportage that day appears in "Running Toward Danger." A front page of the newspaper edition containing one of her 9-11 dispatches is among those memorialized in Washington DC's Newseum. Her book-length account of her harrowing experiences that week has been accessioned into the State Historical Society of Missouri archives. Catherine's articles, stories, and essays have appeared in "The Vocabula Review, Prick of the Spindle, Sew News, Fan Story, Yesterday's Magazette," "Reminisce Magazine, " in three Outrider Press anthologies, and "Lessons from My Parents." Her debut novel, "A Matter of Happenstance," is a four-generation family saga that explores the power of personal character over coincidence. Like "Going on Nine, " it is set in St. Louis. Catherine is a board member of the Chicago-area TallGrass Writers Guild. She and her husband, Dennis, have two daughters. Their first grandchild, Lillian Lesley Gould, was born in June 2013. Catherine and Dennis divide their time between Milwaukee and Bonita Springs, Florida.