2020s Pittsburgh is a world away from 1940s Pittsburgh, and nowhere is that reality better reflected than on the city’s South Side.
What was once an enclave of German and Eastern European blue-collar families, the South Side is now an epicenter of nightlife, with young people flocking to its bars, restaurants and clubs giving it a sense of off most Fridays or Saturdays. nights. South Side native Kathy Kasunich takes a nostalgic look back at the days when World War II raged in her people’s ancestral lands in “Always Remembering,” her debut as a novelist.
Photographer, Kasunich has already written a few articles, notably for the Observer-Rapporteur and The Almanac. “Always Remembering” has been in the making for a long time, she explained over the phone from her home in Williamsburg, Va. at the top.
“It’s a good thing that came out of COVID,” she said.
“Always Remembering” is a romance featuring Helen, a young South Side woman who dreams of marrying Mike, who is sent to the battlefields of Europe during World War II. Their relationship is complicated by conflict, but also by Helen’s overbearing mother, who wants her to marry another suitor, and interference from Mike’s side of the family. “Always Remembering” was inspired by letters Kasunich’s father wrote to his mother while serving in Europe with the US Army during World War II, as well as a diary he kept during the conflict. .
“I felt there was a story that represented everyone in World War II,” Kasunich said. “Everyone could understand.”
Growing up on the South Side, Kasunich has her own memories of it and used WWII newspaper articles to help capture the mood and details of the era.
“I tried to make you feel like you were back in the 1940s,” she said. “I hope when people read it, they’ll feel like they’re back in the 1940s.”
His biggest inspiration as a writer? His father, Kasunich explained.
“He gave me the love to just read,” she said. “I spent days and hours with him in the library. He would take me there and show me books and maps.”
Kasunich will, in fact, launch “Always Remembering” at the South Side Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 9, the same day the book goes on sale through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additional information is available at www.kathykasunich.com. The library’s phone number is 412-431-0505.