In the summer of 2018, retired school teacher David Reilly got inspired to write a story about growing up in Batavia, about going to the circus, and he sent it off to Billie Owens, then the editor of The Batavian, and asked if the online news site would be interested in publishing his little piece.
Captivated by the nostalgia, Owens thought it was just the sort of thing readers of The Batavian would enjoy, and she was right.
Reilly went on to write two dozen stories in his humous style about growing up in Batavia in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. He’s collected them in a book for friends and family but has also made the book available for $10 (his cost) at the Holland Land Office Museum.
“I want to compliment your wife, Billie, who read one of my articles and inspired me to keep writing,” Reilly said during a visit with The Batavian on Thursday. “My mom always tried to convince me I was a good writer, and I didn’t really believe it. But once I started publishing the stories, which you did for me, and with Billie’s help with editing and encouraging, it just made all these memories from when I was a kid come out, and it was enjoyable for me to go back and remember all the fun and crazy and wild things I did when I was a kid in Batavia.”
Reilly said he is planning a couple of more stories about his life in Batavia in the coming months that will be published in The Batavian.
Photo by Howard Owens.