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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Michigan author writes about turn-of-the-century childhood

New book portrays turn-of-the-century childhood in rural Michigan

"The Making of Drake Memorial House" by Patricia Gillis tells what it was like to grow up in an era quite different from our own

BRECKENRIDGE, Mich. -- "The Making of Drake Memorial House" by Patricia Gillis is an account of the life of Margaret Drake Elliott, the daughter of a country doctor in a small Midwestern town born around the beginning of the 20th century.

Elliott was well-known in the Muskegon area, writing about nature for the Muskegon Chronicle and other nature magazines. She was also well-known for her many contributions to education, and made a 50-year commitment to the Muskegon County Museum and Society. She was inducted into the Michigan Women's Historical Center's Hall of Fame, Lansing Michigan in 1999.

The book is based on the oral history given by Elliott to Gillis in the final years of her life. Readers will find a unique glimpse at the world of the past through the eyes of someone who lived through it. Gillis tells of Elliott's childhood and early experiences with family and friends in the setting of her youth. The book also recounts Elliott's adult life with her husband in a larger town and eventual donation of her family estate to the community at large.

"Margaret Drake Elliott and I became friends when she was 92 years old," says Gillis. "We became close friends and I hope that readers will find her as fascinating as I have."

Long interested in the preservation of the past, Gillis was so inspired and intrigued by Elliott's story, she wanted to compile her tales into a book. Written to engage and educate, the book aims to provide a strong contrast to the experience of children today.

"The Making of Drake Memorial House" is available for sale online at and other channels.

About the Author
Patricia Gillis was raised on a farm in Michigan before working for 18 years as a graphic designer, including seven years running her own graphic design shop. She has worked as a volunteer for the Breckenridge-Wheeler Area Historical Society for 15 years, including 12 years as a member of the board, and served as a member of the board of the Breckenridge Area Chamber of Commerce for four years. Gillis was elected to two terms as a township official and one term as a county commissioner. She is married with three children and four grandchildren and still lives the rural life.


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