It Takes a Village to Write a Memoir: Returning to Lititz, Pennsylvania, Cool Small Town

I grew up on a farm, but I come from a village.

This village, commemorated on a plate that rests in my dining room:

Lititz historical buildings, commemorated on a plate


Today I write in praise of Lititz, Pennsylvania.

I attended Warwick High School, worked at Stauffer’s Market, and attended Lititz Mennonite Church.

Most of the drama of my teenage years happened in one of these three places. Here’s how I looked as I drove from one of these places to another in the little black convertible that gets its own chapter in my memoir Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World.

Picture taken in 1967, the summer after my first year of college. I am no longer plain. But I'm still a Mennonite in a little black convertible.

Next week I will be back in Lititz. With three of my college friends. We will probably visit the Tomato Pie Cafe, where I met up with one of my favorite teachers, Miss Joan Riehl and told the story of our reunion here. Since then, I’ve visited with Miss Riehl again, and with Jean Price, the wife of my now-deceased favorite history teach, J. Lorell Price.

During that same visit, the president of our 1966 Senior Class invited me to visit in her home on one of my trips. And I got to talk to three other class members while I was there. They are eager to read my memoir, especially my last chapter, about my high school years as a plain Mennonite.

I love re-connecting with people I haven’t seen in many years. It gives me the chance to thank them for helping me to grow up and be able to tell my story.

Thomas Wolfe was wrong. You can go home again. It’s never the same place, but it still carries the secrets of one’s past.

A few months ago Lititz was named the coolest small town in America! If you live within a 50-mile drive of Lititz, you can use the links in this link to help you plan a day trip to some wonderful family-friendly locations. And here’s a short video to guide you to the 70 restaurants and many other quaint, high-quality attractions in the small town I claim as my own.

I can’t wait to take my grandchildren, Owen and Julia, to the candy and pretzel factories. What better products could a town produce than those?

My New Beginning today is doing a guest blog for Jane Friedman’s wonderful blog about reading, writing, and publishing in the digital age.

I’m also in the midst of laying out the plan for launch in the next 50 days. Come back again next Wednesday to learn more.

In the meantime, don’t forget to log your New Beginning here. Come back and use this link or bookmark it to check in every day to increase your chance to win the 100 Day Challenge. There’s a new prize to add to the list. More later, dear friends.

Shirley Showalter


  1. Doris Dagen on July 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Posted this on the Remeber When…in Lititz, PA facebook page.

    • shirleyhs on July 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      Thanks, Doris!

  2. Marian Beaman on July 24, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I see a mystery trip for Owen and Julia coming up one of these days: Remember the rules: 1) Insert “mystery trip” placard onto windshield. 2) Insert children into seat belts. (It’s easy–just watch Prince William’s finesse in handling the Royal Prince George.) Lititz, here we come!

    • shirleyhs on July 24, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      Ha! If the future king of England can handle a car seat, I can handle two of them! Thanks for the reminder of the Magical Mystery Tour idea.

      And if you ever take your grandkids to Lancaster County, remember Lititz!

  3. Shane M. Swisher on July 24, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Added your book to my Amazon wish list, Shirley!

    • shirleyhs on July 24, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      Hi, Shane. How good to see you here. May all your wishes, especially this one, come true. 🙂

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