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What are you reading?

Linthead: Growing Up in a Carolina Cotton Mill Village" by Wilt Browning. I picked it up in a thrift store. I was a linthead at one time — when I was 17, I worked in a cotton mill in Cliffside, North Carolina. When you came home at night, your hair would be filled with white cotton — that’s where the name ‘linthead’ comes from. I like true stories, primarily — biographies. Even if it’s a thriller, I prefer true thrillers, books like Helter Skelter. I recently read Downwind from Nobody by Joan Wells. It’s another true story — they moved away from the city and lived off the land. They had their own vegetables, their own livestock. They’re secluded, but they have a family. I picked it up, again, in a thrift store, read the jacket, and thought I would like it because I like gardening and the fact that people can live off the land and not depend on society so much. I grew up in the country.”

Tell me about Linthead: Growing Up in a Carolina Cotton Mill Village.

“It’s the author’s perspective on growing up in a mill town in the ‘50s — the social life of the town. The mill built these houses around the mill itself, and the employees lived in them with their families. They’d pay $25 a month or less in rent. He remembers it as a happy life. His dad was very proud of what he did — as far back as the author could remember, that’s what his family did. But he didn’t work at the mill. He went out and became a baseball sportscaster.”

Was baseball part of the mill community?

“Oh, yes. There were teams at each of the mills in the area, and they would play each other. It was a big social thing — it pulled everyone together. Some famous baseball players came out of it. It was a big part of mill life.”

Do you have a favorite author?

“Probably Lilian Jackson Braun — The Cat Who… series. The Cat Who Sniffed Glue, The Cat Who Blew the Whistle, The Cat Who Came to Breakfast. The books are lighthearted mysteries about a millionaire bachelor and his two Siamese cats, Koko and Yum-Yum. The cats give him clues — he interprets their behavior. There’s no bad language, and there’s no heavy romance — it’s all lighthearted. It’s very easy reading; I don’t like anything heavy or deep. I had two Siamese cats when I started reading the books — that’s what drew me to them.”

What book was most life-changing for you?

“I grew up in the south in the late ‘50s, early ‘60s, a time of turmoil for blacks. And I remember learning about the slaves and the freeing of the slaves. It just opened my eyes to everything. The books I remember best are the ones about abolitionists — John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman.”

Do you read any magazines or newspapers?

“I read Diane, which is the magazine of Curves. I’ll read all the articles in there.”

Do you talk to your friends about reading?

“No. My boyfriend reads the newspaper incessantly, but I don’t. I’m not an avid reader. I say I’m too busy, but I don’t know. If I didn’t work as much, I don’t know if I’d read more or find other things to do. I read Linthead because I’d had eye surgery, and I couldn’t do anything but read. Though I do read cookbooks and gardening books. I’m looking forward to getting Pat Welsh’s Southern California Organic Gardening.”

Name: Kathy Kubicki | Age: 55 | Occupation: Fitness Trainer
Neighborhood: Lemon Grove | Where interviewed: Curves, La Mesa

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