Pearl’s new book recalls the days of the old country shop

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Storyteller, Pearl Hutchinson has announced the launch of her latest book: ‘Behind The Wooden Counter’, regaling tales from her father’s country shop and reminiscing of times in County Donegal.

Going all the way back to 1890, when her father’s shop was first opened, Pearl Hutchinson details how her father’s uncle built the shop and called it “Paradise House”, as it was his dream come true.

Pearl also has a penchant for local history having been involved in some way or other for over 30 years. She is Chairperson of Kilrea local history group and has been instrumental in recording and publishing six books on the history of Kilrea in Co. Derry. On top of all this, Pearl is also Vice Chairman of the Coleraine branch of the North of Ireland Family History Society, and enjoys helping people retrace their family steps.

Pearl goes on to explain: “Writing the book has been an incredibly nostalgic and emotional experience, I’m really happy I did it. I remember when calling into our shop to get the groceries was a more social experience, like when local men gathered in the shop on a Saturday night, getting groceries for the week ahead for their families.

“I wanted to hark back to days of old, when the local shop was a place to meet, talk and laugh. It has really taken me back to when I was a young girl. I just loved helping my father in the shop. I can still see him standing behind the wooden counter, behind him were rows and rows of sweetie jars and the bins that held the tea and sugar, in front of him stood the weighbridge on the counter. My father enjoyed talking and story telling but customer confidentiality was always paramount. I know he would be very happy to see this story being told today.

“It’s also amazing when I tell my story, how others decide to journey down memory lane and tell their story. They do so with a big smile on their face,” adds Pearl.

The book contains an incredible amount of detail about the locals, with a full list of the shop’s customers in the 1950s and 60s, which has been taken from the ledgers, which Pearl still owns. The book launches in Windmill Cottage at Hutchinson Engineering, November 10 at 7:30pm.