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  • 4-6-13: "Butternut Tree" book signing at The Strip

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 8-13-98, by Norma Higgins, Morning Journal Correspondent

    ``AVON -- A century-old home is the centerpiece of Olde Avon Village and the location of the Tree House Gallery and Tea Room. Inside, guests can enjoy a refreshing raspberry ice tea and a luncheon of soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts prepared by chef Ron Larson, who uses recipes from his Mother's Swedish family.

    Guests can sit on the side porch and look out at the gardens. An attention to detail is evident in the tea house with its antique furnishings and collectibles. A focal point is a curving staircase. Larson and his two sisters are responsible for the menu and atmosphere.

    "We picked Avon after much searching, and we are delighted to be here," he said. "We wanted to put the antiques and collectibles together and felt that the tea room would lend itself nicely."

    The tea room isn't operated in the traditional sense of a tea room, either, according to Larson. "We don't serve high tea in the afternoon, but what we call a light fare lunch," he said.

    The tea room and a gallery are open daily. Preparing daily meals creates a arduous schedule for Larson, who prepares a special each day. "The menu is made up with fresh produce each morning that is either picked up or delivered," explained Larson. There may be fresh blueberries for blueberry cobbler or fresh peaches for peach scones. Another favorite at the tea room is the spinach soup he makes with bacon, garlic and onion.

    Larson, 40, is looking forward to spending many productive years in Avon. "I really like Avon; there are neat people," he said. "I hope a little place like us will be able to maintain some of the flavor Avon has. It is an interesting community whose people appreciate its historical background and strong work ethic," Larson said. "We are looking forward to fitting in," he added with a smile.

    The tea room is open from 11 am to 4 pm, and the gallery from 11 am to 5 pm. The phone number is 440-934-1636.''

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    Local author comes home to celebrate book about growing up in Avon

    By Erin Beese, Sun News on March 30, 2013

    Avon native Maureen Richards Kostalnick is coming home to promote her new book 'The Butternut Tree,' a coming-of-age novel based on her life in Avon in the 1950s.

    The story follows Maureen as she struggles through life in the small town of Avon, Ohio living in a small farm house with a large family but without a father. Maureen seeks refuge from life's hardships under the shade of a butternut tree.

    Kostalnick will hold two book signing events in the area. The first will be at Barnes & Nobel in Crocker Park at 7 p.m. April 4, 2013.

    The second book signing event will be held at The Strip Steakhouse, Olde Avon Village, at 2 p.m. April 6. This special hometown event will be hosted by Avon Mayor Jim Smith.

    Copies of the book will be available at both events.


    Book Signing and Party with Hometown Author Maureen Richards Kostalnick

    Saturday, April 6, 2013, 2 - 5 pm

    Strip Steakhouse, 36840 Detroit Rd, Avon, OH

    Join Avon's hometown author Maureen Ann Richards Kostalnick as she celebrates the release of her book THE BUTTERNUT TREE at The Strip Steakhouse on April 6 starting at 2:00 PM.

    This event is being hosted by Avon's Mayor Jim Smith in honor of his good friend Maureen.

    Visible Voice Books will be selling the book at the event, and Maureen will be available to sign them ...


    Publication Date: October 12, 2012

    Avon, Ohio, was a sleepy little farm town in 1945. A simple way of life focused around strict Catholic doctrine, St. Mary's Church, and the objective truths and sense of right and wrong contained within those hallowed institutions. Tolerance was a luxury, one in which this town never indulged, favoring the rod over compassion. In 1928, when a young woman was the victim of sexual assault, she was tarnished, regardless of her subsequent marriage and a house full of children.

    Years after the assault, I was born into this family -- a family that shared a dilapidated farm house scarcely big enough to contain two people, let alone my grandparents, mother, sister, and two brothers. The townspeople's denial became condemnation as my father divorced my mother; the Town shunned our family and my mother took to her bed, unable to face herself or the world.

    Unaware of the cause of my mother's inability to function, I only knew I would grow to live a different life. I made a promise to that effect at the age of seven, under the shade and protection of my Butternut Tree. The fulfillment of that promise has taken many turns.

    "By turns humorous and poignant, Maureen Kostalnick's The Butternut Tree is insightful, entertaining, and stands as a testament to the human spirit. A tragedy, but also a triumph, this nostalgic tale brims with love and seethes with vengeance, seemingly in equal measure, pulling no punches in its honest, heartbreaking exploration of the vast spectrum of human emotion." -- Eldon Thompson, author of The Divine Talisman


    Filed by rturman March 30th, 2013 in News.

    By Rebecca Turman

    AVON -- ... On April 3, [Maureen Richards Kostalnick a] former Avon resident will be featured on the WEOL Morning Show at 8:10 a.m. to discuss her book, 'The Butternut Tree,' which gives readers a glimpse into her life growing up in Avon ...

    Richards Kostalnick was born and raised in Avon and married her high school sweetheart, Chuck Kostalnick, also of Avon.

    "We both graduated in 1959 (from Avon High School)," she said, adding they got married in 1960, when Chuck joined the service.

    At first she and her husband moved to California, living there for several years before moving back to Avon in 1963 with their daughter.

    "We were in Ohio maybe 10 or 12 years," she said, adding they lived in Northgate in Avon and also lived in Avon Lake before eventually moving back out west.

    Today she lives in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay area.

    It's been several years since Richards Kostalnick has returned to her hometown.

    "My grandparents were the DeChants," she said. "I have very deep roots there (in Avon) that are very strong." ...

    'The Butternut Tree' is a fictional story, but Richards Kostalnick said 'most of the book is true' and based on events that occurred in her life.

    Writing didn't completely come out of left field for Richards Kostalnick, a sign language interpreter for the deaf.

    "My first job out of school I was a humor writer for American Greetings," she said. "I/ve always written poetry. The writer has always been in me."

    According to Richards Kostalnick, 'The Butternut Tree' started out as a memoir that she began writing in the 1980s.

    But as the years went by, Richards Kostalnick realized there were a lot of things that happened relating to her family that she 'wasn't privy to.'

    At that point, she decided to take a different turn with her book and fictionalize the story.

    "I had a lot of fun, pulling different personalities together," she said.

    "This book is set in the 1940s/1950s," she said. "It's fiction -- a coming of age novel."

    'The Butternut Tree' is a self-published book. Richards Kostalnick said. An agent expressed interest in the book, but she ultimately chose to self-publish the book to have more control over things, like who had control of the rights, etc.

    The book centers on the sexual assault [on] Richards Kostalnick's mother, Laura Richards, which, according to the novel, happened in 1928. The book explores how the sexual assault influenced Richards Kostalnick growing up and how the townspeople of Avon treated her mother and family ...

    "As a child, Maureen was completely unaware of the root of her mother's debilitating depression. She made a promise to herself at the age of seven, under the shade and protection of her Butternut Tree, that one day she would live a very different life," a press release from Richards Kostalnick's publicist states ...

    She personally didn't become aware of the crime until she was 50 years old, she said.

    "The town knew, but my family did not know," she said.

    Asked how her siblings feel about the book being out there for all to read, she said, "We are very close and it's very emotional for all of us, but they are very proud of me. It's bittersweet, but it's a beautiful story."

    As for what she hopes people take away from the book, she said, "I think the poem in the beginning of the book says it all."

    "For all of you bad

    Cause you're sad kids.

    You know who you are.

    You can stay stuck

    Or follow your star.

    Trouble at home.

    Trouble at school.

    Life's not fair.

    Life can be cruel.

    Show who you really are

    And who you are not.

    Heal your hurt by

    Giving what you never got.

    How do I know this to be true?

    A very long time ago, I was you." ...

    Richards Kostalnick felt compelled to share her story. "I think most writers don't write because they want to," she said. "They write because they have to."

    That was the case for Richards Kostalnick, who wanted to, in some small way, immortalize the time period in which she grew up. "It's a beautiful time that I didn't want lost," she said. "I wanted it to be forever." ... through the novel, Richards Kostalnick wanted her children and grandchildren to "realize where they came from." ...


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