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Father's journey from military to dementia inspires novel

Staff writer

For Marion author Thane Schwartz, writing his latest book was a sometimes-painful journey through his father’s dementia.

He started the book about 1½ years ago after his father, longtime Marion resident Dick Schwartz died.

His father served three decades in the Coast Guard Reserve and Marine Corp, seeing duty in Vietnam.

“The Perch at Dalton Pond: A Novel about Dementia, Family, Power, and Forgiveness,” was released in February.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had do, to go back over every day,” Schwartz said.

“It goes back and forth through his life,” Schwartz said.

The book takes place in both Marion and Cripple Creek, Colorado, where Thane Schwartz lived after he retired from teaching.

It incorporates central Kansas imagery into its theme, including the new windmills in the county, and the Tin Man, who would be jealous of the windmills, Schwartz said.

Vietnam also figures into the book because his father’s mind often went back to Vietnam.

“It’s funny; it’s sad; it’s written from my point of view,” he said. “I could have gone a lot longer in that book, but it was so draining, I just had to end it.”

“The Perch at Dalton Pond” is Schwartz’s fourth self-published book. It is available on Amazon for $12. He also plans to take copies to thrift shops in Marion and Hillsboro and is contemplating taking copies to a book store in Council Grove.

Proceeds of sales by local thrift shops will contribute to their causes, Schwartz said.

His first book was a children’s book, “The Adventures of Boo Boo and Little House.”

His second was “Soul Soup for Chickens: This Ain’t Chicken Soup.”

His third is a collection of poetry and prose titled “The Things I Found in My Cedar Chest.”

Schwartz is working on his next book, “Pilzen.”

It will be a fiction work about a Catholic priest from the fictional town of “Pilzen.”

Growing up, the central character dreamed of being both a priest and an FBI agent. He becomes a priest who works as an undercover agent for the FBI.

“I’m having fun writing it,” Schwartz said. “It’s a fun write, not a sad write.”

Last modified March 15, 2023

 

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