Special to The Hays Daily News

Hometown Memories Publishing Co. intends to save a big slice of local history before it's lost forever.

Karen Garvey, senior editor at Hometown Memories Publishing, is asking local old-timers to share memories for a living history book. She invites anyone older than 60 with yarns about the "good old days" in northwest and north-central Kansas to write them down and mail them to her for possible publication in the book. The hardcover coffee-table book will contain tales of bygone years from people who actually lived them.

To encourage participation, Garvey is offering a $250 award for the most appealing story. There also will be three $100 runner-up awards and a cash award for best picture.

"I'm not looking for genealogy," Garvey said. "What we want to save are true stories about things that once were commonplace but are virtually unknown to today's generation. The contributor's descendants will love them for it. Life today is not what it used to be."

For example, any old-timer could tell an interesting tale about things such as wringer washing machines, downtown cowboy movies on Saturday, radio drama programs, feed sack dresses or old-fashioned outhouses.

"Stories like these are not only great fun to read, especially for old-timers, but they're usually left out of the official history books," Garvey said. "I hope some of these books will still be around in 200 years so that people will know that old-timers were more than a name or a faded picture. But that we were real people with real lives."

Especially wanted for the book are stories that involve humor, odd, unusual, frightening or mysterious events, romance stories ("How I Met My Spouse"), local myths, and legends and ghost tales. The deadline for story submission is April 30.

Garvey requests anyone interested in submitting material for the book to call her at (877) 491-8802 for instructions or visit the website at www.hometownmemoriesonline.com.

Hometown Memories is a North Carolina company that is dedicated to providing books that preserve the spirit, character and memory of a time that never will be seen again.