Becky Williams Buckman, who attended Woodstock Elementary School and graduated from Cherokee High School in 1958, will be at Dean’s Store on Saturday with her book, “Down the Line.”
Buckman’s parents, grandparents and many relatives were from Woodstock and Cherokee County.
“My father owned Williams Food Store in Woodstock for many years, and my maternal grandfather, the Rev. R. I. Johnson, was a circuit rider minister for the Methodist church in the early 1900s,” she said.
The book features her poetry, as well as that of her late aunt, Martha Johnson, and sermons written by her grandfather in the early 1900s.
“As a child, as soon as I could write I began writing, first of all in diaries. I had wonderful teachers at Woodstock, then for two years I went to Canton High School, where I had a wonderful English teacher,” Buckman said. “Growing up in Woodstock, it was a small county town, maybe 500 people, but I had a lot of one-on-one time with my teachers and I grew up with a wonderful, loving faith-based family.”
Buckman said she is still in touch with her English teacher from Canton High, Joyce Nutt, who is now Joyce Turrentine.
While she has always loved to write, Buckman said it was only in recent years she turned to poetry as a way to express herself.
“It was not until about seven years ago that I had poetry to start just pouring out of me. My husband was in poor health for 20 years. I had a lot of time and thoughts, and I began putting them on the computer,” she said.
Buckman said her grandfather, whom she never knew, influenced her family in many ways, and she believes her love of poetry is genetic, a gift passed down from him. The book contains four of his sermons she resurrected from old typed copies.
“It came to me genetically, three of the four granddaughters have written poetry. It came down the line to us,” she said, referring to the title poem of her book.
Buckman graduated from Reinhardt College in Waleska in 1960, then from Lagrange College, and later received a master’s degree at Emory University at Candler School of Theology in Christian education. She worked in churches in middle Georgia, then Atlanta, and married in 1971.
Only later, when her Aunt Martha died did Buckman discover that her relative had written poetry.
“Martha was a wonderful mentor to me. She was a fantastic person in her own right, a dedicated Christian,’” Buckman said. “She never married; she mentored and taught me a lot, and little did I know that she wrote poetry. It was not until she died that we found she wrote poetry.”
Buckman said she promised to her sister Ruth Willams Pyle, who is 92 and lives in Canton, she would make sure Martha’s poetry was published, along with her grandfather’s sermons.
“My book is a collection of my poetry, my ‘tall tales’/the story of my life, i.e. the many miracles of my life, and the writings of other members of my family who grew up in Cherokee County,” she said.
The book signing event at Dean’s Store in downtown Woodstock is at 1 p.m. on Saturday, and another book signing is planned at Hidden Lakes Assisted Living at 3100 Hidden Valley Drive in Canton at 2 p.m. on Friday.
Both events are open to the public.