Frederick Writes Book About Early Years In Willard

By Jane Ernsberger
Times-Junction News Editor

A Willard native has recalled his early years in a newly published book and has provided a glimpse into the past of the City of Willard. Joseph Frederick started 10 years ago to write his book, "People + Me," which depicted his life in the 1950's and 1960's.

"My father once told me, when you live in a community, you owe it to the community to leave the world better than when you came into the world," Frederick said. "That has always been a kind of guiding principle.

"We are talking about interesting experiences," he added. "We are talking about learning lessons. We're talking about family. We're talking about profession. We are talking about the community. We do have the obligation to leave the community better. I hope that some of my writings will affect people positively."

Frederick said he wants people to enjoy what he has written. There are some lessons inside the stories he tells.

Growing up in a small community such as Willard has made Frederick who he is, he added.

"I've never liked the big city," he pointed out. "I've never liked the hustle, the bustle. I've lived in bigger cities, and I think there are some things in a small town at this time, the 40's, 50's and 60's that I wanted to preserve."

Frederick's parents have passed away, but he has given thought to what they might think about his book and what it said about their family. The book is open and positive and reflected the way his family lived in Willard.

"I wanted this to be a book that could be useful to people," he explained. "The emphasis then was a small town. The world has changed so much now."

He said he still lives in a small town. Frederick said he likes knowing most of the people.

"I had a choice," he pointed out. "I was raised here. So what I did, I just used what I had. It was a small town. I don't know anything else, so I can't compare it to anything else."

Reading through Frederick's book is like a time machine. He talks about Stull's News Center, places that are like a key to opening up the past in the community. Reliving his past was something he found enjoyable.

"In fact, the first draft was probably the most fun," he noted. "There was a lot of freedom and you had these ideas down and you thought about what your life really had been like."

In the book, Frederick talks about the people who made an impact on his life. The people's names used in the book all gave permission for their stories with Frederick to be told.

His siblings knew most of the stories he wrote about, according to Frederick. Feedback is coming from others who did not know most of the stories. It has allowed him to share those moments in his life.

"My siblings had seen the book in pieces," he added. "Now, they are going back and reading it."

Family and friends who have read his story are starting to talk about it, Frederick explained. He is getting a lot of feedback from people telling him it brings back memories.

"It's my perspective," he pointed out. "It shouldn't surprise me that people are seeing a lot of things they did not know that were in my life or in other people's lives."

Frederick said he started the book 10 years ago. Writing the third chapter was one of his favorite times in bringing his stories together. He also enjoyed writing about his family, his faith and his marriage to Kathy Long of rural Willard.

The hardest part of writing the book, he pointed out, was understanding his twin. At the age of eight, Frederick said his father told him he had a twin brother who died before birth. His twin is buried in the local Catholic cemetery, and this was his toughest chapter.

"When he first told me that I had a twin," Frederick recalled, "it couldn't register much. As I went to the cemetery that day, I had feeling that I needed to do something, and I needed to do something better and I needed to be better.

"Whenever I see a twin, I know there was something there," he added. "There was a loss."

As his decade long journey in writing his book continued, Frederick said he was surprised himself at how much he could remember. One of the most important parts was having a good copy editor.

"I had four excellent people who worked with me," he noted. "I don't know how other people write, but I do know that they share something called imprinting."

Frederick said once you read something, when you read it the second time, you are reading it from your mind the time before. You really aren't seeing the words as they are written.

"It's hard to copy edit your own writing," he said. "I just had four people who were wonderful and helped me move along."

Each chapter had multiple revisions, according to Frederick, who is self-published. The product can stay true to his own heart.

The parts of each chapter are like vignettes, small little stories within the big story. Frederick said he worked with the copy editors to make sure it was easy to read.

"It really came out good," he added. "I wanted each part to be small because I wanted it to be easy to read. With the introduction, there are 526 pages. I never anticipated it would be this large when I started. This is a big book."

Frederick said he has yet to find anything he does not like with the way the final product has been completed.

"The feedback I've received is more than positive," he added. "And from people I know who tell me the truth. I haven't seen anything negative."

The book has only been out for a month. It is available at The book is also on the shelf at the Willard Memorial Library featuring Ohio authors.

Anyone interested in contacting Frederick can do so by mail at 5570 N. River Rd., Pemberville, Ohio 43450.

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