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The Book

The Sounds and Smells of My Childhood

Growing Up in the Soo’s East End in the 1950s

The Sounds and Smells of My Childhood Part II invites the reader to pause and remember the times of their own youth. Like the first book, it is a nostalgic journey, with fond memories, tremendous humor and laughter, and at times, tears. But the author always shares the beauty of the Sault, the lovely St. Mary’s river, and the grandeur and power of Lake Superior as well as the pride and resilience of its people.

Sault Sainte Marie has a unique historic and economic significance to the State of Michigan and our Nation, and the author shares that importance.

It is a great antidote to the sea of fear and cynicism prevalent today.  The Author opens the window into the past, but in a very generous and kind hearted way. Readers will love all the details!!  The specific nuances that show respect and value for what has past opens the heart. In this present time of upheaval of values in our society, it is a great reminder of what is good in us. What was “good” then, is still good today – unselfishness, honesty, friendship, loyalty, laughter…..caring for each other.  It is a book that gives us hope for the future, by remembering to live those values TODAY.

Enjoy once again your own youth as you allow yourself to go back to a simpler time, as you recall the Sounds and Smells of your own childhood.



Book Review

The Sounds and Smells of My Childhood Part II: Growing Up in the Soo’s East End in the 1950s
by Mike McCarthy

Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott

“Stand by the beautiful St. Mary’s River, which runs from our rapids—so very clear and free. You will feel it, find it and see it firsthand.”

In this second book of praise to the special region where he grew up, Mike McCarthy once again amplifies the atmosphere of the town and surroundings of Sault (pronounced Soo) St. Marie through sounds and smells. In exploring sounds of his childhood, he includes frogs, which he and his pals swore they could identify as either Catholic or Protestant by their croaks. Every February there was a deafening race for souped-up snowmobiles. Serving at Mass as an altar boy involved the heady smell of incense, which at first overwhelmed the young teen. A less pleasant scent arose at the great Moose Lodge fire of 1961 with its billowing, deep-black smoke. Aromas in his grandmother’s kitchen as she baked apple pies on her woodstove provided another powerful childhood sense memory: “She always let me have the first piece.”

The author’s collection includes Irish songs and poems (a significant part of his cultural heritage) along with some narratives and poetic contributions from his two sisters. The latter portion of the book is given over to a multitude of photographs of people and places relevant to the book. As an economic developer and fund-raiser, McCarthy donates the proceeds of his books to the Soo Theatre Project. He notes that Sault Ste. Marie will celebrate its 350th anniversary next year and is proud that his writings can be part of this important commemoration. The book’s introduction is offered by the Mayor of the town.

McCarthy’s prose is engaging and amusing. His many short prose segments aptly detail the sensory cues of an exciting and varied youth. His reminiscences should strike a chord of recognition with those who grew up in his era as they recall similar experiences. They will also introduce outsiders to the naturally beautiful and culturally rich Soo region of Michigan.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review



Title: The Sounds and Smells of My Childhood: Growing Up in the Soo’s East
End in the 1950s – Part 2
Author: Mike McCarthy
Publisher: XlibrisUS
ISBN: 978-1-5245-9251-6
Pages: 294
Genre: Memoir
Reviewed by: Suzanne Gattis

Pacific Book Review

Sometimes it’s a familiar sight, a gentle touch, or a scent wafting through the air that triggers it. “It” being the floodgate of memories, emotions and laughter of the past. In this authentic memoir by Mike McCarthy, the author and readers alike are privileged to take a walk through one man’s past. However, it is not just the past of the author, but also a tale of how America used to be, particularly in the beauty of the Sault. Through personalized and entertaining stories, The Sounds and Smells of My Childhood: Growing Up in the Soo’s East End in the 1950s Part 2 takes us on a journey of ups and downs, twists and turns, and of laughter and tears. Based on the song and poem written by David Mallett, “I Knew This Place, the book sheds light on how our past helps shape our future and the importance of having this recorded somehow for generations to come.” Stories such as these are the threads that weave together the tapestries of our lives.

In the Introduction, McCarthy states in his lifetime, he has come full circle in his love of the Soo. The place of our upbringing plays a huge role in determining who we grow up to be. It molds us into the people that we are today. McCarthy obviously looks back at his time with nostalgia and loved the place, the people, and the memories. How many of us, like him though, want to grow up and leave and see the world, only to realize it is a place and time that we would love to return to. With chapters such as ‘The Curbside Dust on a Windy Day’ and ‘Let’s Go to the Starlight Drive-In Theater,’ the reader is taken back to a time, childhood, when things seemed simpler. With humor and honesty, the author tells us where he has come from and what he has been. He tells how opinions were formed, relationships built, memories made.

This book is inspiring for anyone who might be thinking of recording their own past for future generations. It’s not just told as a timeline; it is a series of stories strung along to portray a living picture in the reader’s mind. It records not only a time in the author’s life but an era of the world. Things were different then; we all were. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history as well as real-life drama. Anyone who plans to record their own history would gain great insight on how to do so from this book as well.


Book Trailer

The Sounds and Smells of My Childhood