On Sunday, Jan. 27 at 2 p.m., join author June Pair Kilpatrick for a talk about her book, Wasps in the Bedroom, Butter in the Well: Growing Up During the Great Depression.
Kilpatrick’s story begins in 1934 in the industrial town of Hopewell, Virginia, where a local mill produced a new fabric called rayon and employed more than 1,800, including her father. When union organizers arrived in town, a mysterious night raid destroyed the plant’s machinery and all 1,800 workers suddenly lost their jobs.
As her father searched for jobs and the family moved from town to town, they found themselves in the depths of the country. Kilpatrick recalls the bathroom was outdoors, lamps were lighted with matches, wasps squeezed through holes in the siding, and butter was kept in the well.
When Kilpatrick started writing her memoir she was not even sure if her family would be interested in reading it, but has since found many interested in the project. Her purpose, she writes, is “to record my memories of a difficult era of our country's history and to offer a kind of immortality here on earth for those in my small sphere who struggled through those times and triumphed.”
A lifelong Virginian, Kilpatrick spent much of her career as a writer and editor for nonprofit organizations in Richmond and Northern Virginia. For eight years she was consulting writer for the Business Council in Washington, DC. She and her husband, Fritz, live in Haymarket.