Mary Campisi
Mary Campisi
Mary Campisi

The story behind Simple Riches

The story behind Simple Riches… As a reader, I’m always curious about what drove the writer to pen a certain book. A story in a newspaper? A real life experience that spun imagination and possibility in ten different directions to create a tale? An emotion? It could be any or all of these things. Or none of them. I write quite a bit about small towns, and there’s a reason for that. It’s where I grew up, learned about people and relationships, and it’s often home base for my stories. Here’s the story behind Simple Riches, Book Three of That Second Chance Series.

I grew up in a small town in northwestern Pennsylvania, much like the one in Simple Riches. There were four of us kids, my two older brothers, me, and my younger sister–all of us born within 5 ½ years. There were no McDonalds in our town, no malls, no fancy movie theaters. I used to walk over a mile to school every day, (yes, I really did!) Time was filled with little things, everyday life; weeding the flower beds and garden by hand and getting snail guts under my nails, holding the flashlight while my brothers caught night crawlers, helping my mother bake bread or hang sheets on the line so they could ‘catch the fresh air’. Huddling with my sister in bed on Easter Sunday before Mass and gorging on a milk chocolate baby doll, planting a maple tree– my maple tree–with my father in our back yard, listening to my grandmother speak in broken English as she told stories of being a young girl in Italy and coming to America. Getting ready to go out on Saturday night and fighting over one shower and one hairdryer between the four of us…

Today, my brothers and sister and I live hundreds of miles away from that little town in Pennsylvania, but it is still part of us, it will always be part of us, because that’s where we learned the true meaning of family and friendship, and the importance of honoring your word.

And so, when I decided to write about a small town and its people with their traditions and values, I thought about life as a child and as an adult, and this is the question that led to Simple Riches; What is real wealth? Is it a balanced stock portfolio and a seven-figure income? Or is it more elusive … intangible…something perhaps that cannot be measured or identified or even…understood? Is real wealth that, which reaches out to us, touches our hearts, our souls, filling us yet leaving us longing for more? Is it a fall morning, crisp and clear, with the tip of frost covering green, … a smile, full and honest, … a tradition handed down, … a string of memories planted with a maple tree…

What does real wealth mean to you? Has it changed over time and with life experiences? I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for sharing.


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