WATERVILLE, N.S. – Linda Pineo has written three books but doesn't call herself an author. She says she's instead a finder of facts, and a gatherer of stories.
The writer has collected tales of Kings County residents for her new book, ‘Saving Lives,’ which features chapters that each showcase a unique piece of personal history.
It’s her third book on local history, and she already has plans for a fourth. Pineo says such stories are perhaps even more important than celebrated buildings since they show a perfect slice of how people have lived in Kings County.
“It’s the kind of local history that doesn’t end up in a history book,” she says.
Pineo, who lives in Waterville, says she felt drawn to writing about history despite a lack of interest in high school, when history seemed just about distant places. She first felt drawn to history through her grandfather, an avid storyteller – and sometimes exaggerator – whose stories of local life in Berwick captivated her.
“After he passed, I thought, ‘why didn’t I write any of that stuff down?’ These were stories about my own backyard I never learned in school,” says Pineo.
The inspiration for her first book came when she learned of Mount Hanley-born Joshua Slocum – the first person to sail solo around the world – who was born just miles away from Pineo's home.
“Here was an international story, from right around where I grew up – yet I never learned about him in school. He’d sailed around the world, and I never heard tell of him,” she says.
Pineo then began two decades of intermittent interviews in the late 1990s while working at Berwick’s Grand View Manor, where she met two women who survived the Halifax Explosion.
After featuring their stories in her second book ‘Caught in Time’ last year, Pineo says she still wondered what other stories remained to be unearthed in Kings County.
And so she decided to write another.
Pineo's new book includes tales of an opera singer from Berwick, a fisherman who survived the sinking of a boat, and a former Waterville fire chief’s take on a famous police case.
Copies are currently sold at Wilson’s Pharmasave, Shelf Life Used Books and Market Between the Mountains, all in Berwick, or through Linda Pineo at Lindapineo1@eastlink.ca.
Pineo says she still wonders what other stories are out there to preserve in pages – “it’s whenever I’m driving – I think of what stories each house has,” she says – so that one day, one hundred years from now, someone will pick it up and read it.
“If you put part of somebody’s life in print, it lives on forever,” she says.