Grand Gorge woman authors tale of life on an island
By Brian Sweeney
A Grand Gorge resident is promoting her non-fiction book, Before You Were Born, which focuses largely upon the award-winning photography career of her father and the unique joys of growing up on an island.
Marguerite Rocholl said she struggled for a long time with the appropriate manner in which to chronicle the life of her family, which included her father’s successful career as staff photographer for The New York Daily News.
The book was written as a means to illustrate her family’s life for her children, but is intended to provide entertainment for all readers interested in a tale about an Irish family’s life on the island of Broad Channel.
“My functional family memories include bootlegging, speakeasies and war heroes, but a very prominent feature of my life was my father’s career as a New York Daily News photographer. The most important feature of an island childhood is the bay itself. It was our playground, we fished, we swam, we explored, we were happy,” is how the author sums up her tale on the book jacket.
Marguerite said it took her three years to complete the book, which traces her family’s adventures from 1944-63. One portion of the book that has received many favorable comments is the section recalling how her father, “Bud,” got his job with the newspaper.
Bud began his career by doing baby and wedding photography. Newspaper work, though, was his dream job. When he took work samples to the Daily News, Bud was rejected. The quality of his work was fine, but politics interfered with his hiring.
After being rejected by the Daily News, Bud was leaving the building when the person who had interviewed him a short time earlier chased him down. He frantically asked if Bud did aerial photography. Although he’d never even been in an airplane, Bud responded that aerial work was his specialty. A short time later he was airborne, taking photos of an encampment established for soldiers returning from the war. Coincidentally, there was a large fire on Staten Island and Bud snapped many photos of that event. Even though he had plenty of good footage, the paper rejected his fire photos.
Tough job to land
That’s when the political realities of getting a job at the paper were spelled out to Bud. He was advised to try offering the fire photos to Look and Life magazines. He did and they ran many of the pictures. Soon thereafter, Bud was offered a position at the Daily News. He was a staff photographer there for the next two decades, winning numerous awards and getting know celebrities like Elvis Presley and Jimmy Durante.
Life on the island
In addition to the segments detailing her father’s career, Marguerite also devotes a good portion of the book recalling everyday life on the island.
“It’s very humorous for women who grew up in that era,” she stated.
The book has received positive reviews from several publications, including the Sullivan County-based Green Door magazine.
“I’m very gratified by the response,” Marguerite noted.
The author and her family have owned property a home in the Catskills since 1975 and moved here full-time 16 years ago. Marguerite pointed out that her father’s job took him around the globe, “but this area was his favorite place on earth.”
Before You Were Born is available on Amazon.com and for download to a Kindle. Locally, the book will soon be for sale at the Cheese Barrel on Main Street, Margaretville. The author is participating in a book signing this weekend at Villa Vosilla in Tannersville.