Novel set in Franklin, circa WWII

Published 9:55 am Friday, September 23, 2011

Franklin native and retired Michigan State University professor Roy Matthews is in town to promote his new novel, “Gittin’ Through — A Southern Town during World War II.”

After speaking to the Franklin Rotary Club today, the 79-year-old will hold a book-signing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Peanut Patch on Route 58 in Courtland. The 500-page hardback can be purchased for $34.95 or a paperback version for $24.95.

A 1949 graduate of Franklin High School, Matthews in his novel on World War II, starting with signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938 through the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and beyond the end of the war in August 1945.

“Gittin’ Through” focuses on a small Southern town, namely Franklin, where traditions, class and race defined its residents and the roles they played.

The book does so by focusing on three generations.

“First of all, the parents who had to suffer through the Depression of the ’30s,” Matthews said. “The second generation is the children. We were 10 (in 1938), and it extends to 1945, when we are 17 and have gone through adolescence. It contains many examples of passing through adolescence.”

The third generation is those who fought in the war.

Matthews spent 10 years researching and writing the book. He used the Norfolk Virginian Pilot, Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Tidewater News for his research. He also read memoirs and diaries of Franklin residents of that era.

After retiring from Michigan State in 1996, Matthews and his wife, LeeAnn, moved to Washington, D.C.


A Festival Basket commemorating Franklin’s 50th anniversary of becoming an independent city will be on sale during the Franklin Fall Festival next weekend.

The festival opens Friday, Sept. 30, and continues most of the day Saturday, Oct. 1, in the downtown. The cake baskets are $50 and the seventh in a series, with a limited number available. For $65, you can get the basket with a liner and protector.

Speaking of the festival, the event will once again feature the Mustang Club of Tidewater on the south end of Main Street on Saturday. Registration begins at 9 a.m. The entry fee is $20 plus two canned goods.

GWEN ALBERS is managing editor of The Tidewater News. Her email address is