In celebration of Small Business Saturday, Morgan Hill’s BookSmart will host a number of local authors Nov. 25 for book signings and a meet-and-greet. 

Among the featured local authors is Frank McElvain, who recently published “SFC: A Poor Man’s Battle,” which highlights the life of his father, John McElvain. The book, a work of historical fiction, starts with John’s childhood of sharecropping parents and proceeds to his military service in multiple combat zones and his role in breaching Nazi Germany’s Siegfried Line, says a press release from Frank McElvain. The elder McElvain earned a Bronze Star for his service in Europe in World War Two. 

The story tells of John’s greatest challenge—his marriage to Hedy, a 4-foot 11-inch tall “Bavarian firecracker and toughened German survivor of the Third Reich,” says the release. 

The cover of “SFC: A Poor Man’s Battle” depicts the author’s parents, John and Hedy McElvain. Contributed photo.

Published and edited by Manuel Freedman, “SFC: A Poor Man’s Battle,” is based on letters and documents Frank and his siblings discovered when clearing out their parents’ estate after their deaths, says the release. 

Included were love letters from his mother’s first fiancé—a World War Two German soldier fighting on the eastern front, his father’s letters to his parents (intercepted by Hedy) and letters revealing his father’s extramarital affair with a coworker. Many of these personal matters were often rumored but never discussed in front of the McElvain children. 

Frank did not make these discoveries until he was 60 years old. 

“John and Hedy settled in Colorado and were married for 49 years. They were loving parents and grandparents, and didn’t discuss their pasts,” Frank McElvain said. “But we discovered details of a marriage dad had before my mother. It was just one of many secrets underlying their relationship. They had their own personal battles and were not ones to shy away from conflict. I never truly knew my parents until I was 60 and they were both gone.”

McElvain and other authors will be at BookSmart from 10am-3pm Nov. 25. BookSmart is located at 421 Vineyard Town Center. 

Local authors scheduled to attend the Small Business Saturday event are Bill Briggs, California historian; Cheryl Pallindino, author of children’s books; historian Ian Sanders; science writer Richard Anderson; fiction author Scotty Cornfield; Monica Voicu Denniston, author of “Maggie the Military Rat;” Jackie O’Donnell, author of “The Women in Me;” Rachel Endress, “Once Again: A Madrone Valley Bachelors Novel;” Doug Brook, “Rear Pew Mirror: Reflections From the Back of the Sanctuary;” James Hibbard, sports philosophy writer. 

Small Business Saturday is promoted by the U.S. Small Business Association and other retail organizations to encourage people to support smaller, independent companies during the holiday rush. 

BookSmart co-owner Brad Jones said Small Business Saturday (which occurs the day after Black Friday every year) is “about supporting small businesses across the country.” Jones noted that local, independently owned small businesses do much more than contribute to the local tax base. They are also far more likely than retail giant alternatives to support local little league teams, youth organizations and other community groups. 

“Small businesses all over the country, and in our town, do all kinds of things to support the community in many ways,” Jones said. “(Small Business Saturday) is not just about shopping—it’s about raising awareness about small businesses.” 

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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