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Ligonier writer shares sayings from her youth

| Thursday, March 14, 2013, 8:54 p.m.

“Curiosity killed the cat,” “Many hands make light work,” “An apple doesn't fall far from the tree,” — these sayings and many more are among those that Mildred Taylor recalls her mother quoting throughout her life.

In her recently released memoir “As Mother Would Say…” Taylor, a Ligonier Township resident, shares experiences from her childhood growing up in North Carolina in the 1930s and 1940s. The focus of the story is on her mother — a strong, yet insecure woman whose communication with her daughter often consisted of sayings and proverbs.

Taylor, who has been fond of writing from a very early age, said she had been urged throughout the years by both a childhood friend and her husband to put these memories of her mother down on paper. She finally began to write the memoir after she told her young grandson ‘Don't put the cart before the horse' and he was unfamiliar with the saying.

“He didn't understand,” said Taylor, “and I realized these sayings are dying. I wanted to preserve them for my five grandchildren and their generation.”

Taylor brainstormed sayings and memories for her book with her biggest supporter and husband of 60 years, Gustav Taylor. Not only was he encouraging of the whole process, he helped put the manuscript together and proofread late additions to the book.

“Without Gus, there would be no book,” Taylor said.

The emotions in Taylor's narrative are enhanced with poetry and black and white photos, bringing the book to life and giving the reader a true sense of what the author's childhood was like and the relationship she shared with her parents.

“Hers is a poignant, personal story of a time in our history that most people have forgotten or never learned,” said Gus Taylor.

Taylor's love of writing began in fifth grade, when her teacher encouraged her to write a poem. Additionally, Taylor recalls her senior English teacher focusing on writing and fondly said that teacher was the biggest influence in life.

“She encouraged me to go to college and major in writing,” said Taylor. “It only takes one person to encourage you.”

She was so influenced by the positive educational experiences in her life, that Taylor became an elementary school teacher and taught in Hempfield Area School District for 30 years and then at Ligonier Valley Learning Center for an additional six years. Throughout her years of teaching, she continued with her writing and won multiple awards for her poetry. Taylor has been published in several anthologies and has been both an active member and president of the Pittsburgh Poetry Society for more than 40 years.

Taylor hopes to introduce the public to her book by giving readings of her memoir at local establishments and participating in book singings. Presently, “As Mother Would Say…” can be purchased at Ligonier Outfitters and John M Clark Designer Goldsmith, both located on West Main Street in Ligonier, or by contacting Taylor at

“Throughout her life, Mildred Taylor has been a prolific and truly talented writer. Her memoir is a fine collection of precious memories,” said Eugene Price, an author and editor residing in NC.

Cami DiBattista is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.