Local Woman, 97, Holds Book Signing for Her First Novel

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SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio – A local woman writes her first novel – and she did it at 97-years old.

Mary Butcher celebrated her achievement at a book signing at The Woodlands retirement community in Shaker Heights Thursday afternoon.

“You know, a book sort of lives with you,” Mary said. “You want to write it, but you don’t really start really writing it. You write it in your memory, and I’d say, I’m going to write that in my book.”

Her memoir, “Tho There Be No Tears” documents struggles in her life. Mary grew up in Pennsylvania and her father died when she was a baby. She lived in multiple orphanages and was physically abused. By the time she was 12, Mary and her two brothers moved in with their grandmother, Martha Randolph.

The book also documents Martha’s life on a slave plantation in Virginia. Often as she tucked her grandchildren into bed at night, Martha would reveal details about the Underground Railroad, her dreams for civil rights and an education for Mary.

Mary eventually went to college, where she studied English and journalism. This book was her first publication.

“I’m most proud of writing this book,” Mary said. “Cause you want to write things, but you don’t always do it, you know. And a book doesn’t come easily to you. There are parts of it that I had to struggle with, even as I was writing it, because I didn’t want to put too much negative things in it, but I wanted people to have a picture of my life.”

The book was published through Morning Glory Press. It is only available at The Woodlands retirement community in Shaker Heights.