Author’s Corner: Kingsport resident reflects on journey from Brooklyn to Model City

Holly Viers • Feb 4, 2019 at 10:00 AM

Kingsport resident David Garrahan has identified a few main themes that have persisted throughout his life, including education, independence and controlling his own destiny.

Those themes also run through his latest book, “From Brooklyn to Kingsport.” A memoir about his life, including his experiences with poverty and homelessness growing up, the book was published by Xlibris Corporation and released in December of last year.

“Controlling my destiny, I didn’t want to be hurt, I didn’t want to be hungry, I didn’t want to be poor,” Garrahan said. “Those were lessons that I didn’t learn in a library or a book or from a teacher at school. I learned them by virtue of my fortune or misfortune.”

About the book

Garrahan’s book recounts his early days in Brooklyn in the 1940s to his present life in Kingsport. The book begins with Garrahan’s childhood, delving into his troubled relationship with his father and his time spent living on the streets with his brother, Artie.

As time passed, Garrahan lived with different families and worked selling newspapers or shining shoes. He recounts the time he failed first grade, his mother’s nine-year stay in a mental health hospital and his move from Brooklyn to Pennsylvania, where he got to know his Russian relatives.

Garrahan lived with an aunt and uncle until his high school graduation, as the book recounts. After receiving his graduation present — a suitcase with all of his belongings inside — he found himself wandering the streets again, unsure where his future would take him.

Eventually he ended up working for a yacht club, earning his college degree at the same time. From there, the book delves into his teaching career, his time in graduate school and his doctoral studies.

Garrahan earned his doctorate and held positions at various high schools and colleges, including Columbia University. He served as a district superintendent for the Northern Highlands Regional High School District in New Jersey, which received national recognition during his tenure.

The book ends with his and his wife’s move to Kingsport, which he said has exceeded his expectations.

“I’ll never move from this wonderful property, in this great small city of Kingsport,” Garrahan writes at the end of the memoir. “It has been a long and often bumpy road, but I’ve reached the end of my journey from Brooklyn to Kingsport.”

Where to purchase

Garrahan said his memoir is available at I Love Books in the Fort Henry Mall. It’s also available online on Amazon in hardcover, paperback and electronic versions.

His first book, “Transition America,” is also available at I Love Books and on Amazon in print and electronic versions.

Why read it?

Though Garrahan said he wrote “From Brooklyn to Kingsport” mainly for himself, his children and some of his acquaintances, he believes other readers could find enjoyment and value in it.

“Someone that reads this seriously might learn some lessons,” Garrahan said. “Controlling one’s destiny is an important message that’s in there.”

Garrahan invites those who have questions about his book to contact him at [email protected]

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