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An Interview with Angus Munro, Author of A Full House – But Empty

AngusMunro ipgAngus Munro has roots that run deep. His farming ancestors came from Scotland in 1830 and his relatives still reside on the same farmlands in Southern Ontario, Canada. His grandfather left Ontario and took his family to Saskatchewan in 1905 and became a prosperous wheat farmer. When Angus’ father married, the grandfather leased other farmlands to get his son established. Angus’ father lost the total proceeds of his first wheat crop in a wild poker game at the local grain elevator. The grandfather was none too happy and decided to relocate to Vancouver, B.C.

The Depression deepened and sadly Angus’ grandfather passed away – leaving his entire estate to his second son. Angus’ father traveled to see his brother to seek financial assistance and received nothing. He returned to Vancouver unexpectedly one evening and found his wife in bed with someone else. Thus, his father became a single parent to three children – Laura 6, Angus 3, and Marjorie and infant. The following day, Angus became very ill with appendicitis and spent seven weeks in the Vancouver General Hospital. The author vividly covers his early childhood years and living with another family – similar circumstances, a father with five children, coping with the Depression and, thereafter, addressing their dual basic family needs.

Angus’ new memoir, A Full House – But Empty, is the gripping story of young Angus’ life growing up in the Depression years based on the positive lessons he had learned from his father during their somewhat traumatic and hectic years together.

You can visit his website at www.angusrmunro.com.

A Full HouseQ: Thank you for this interview, Angus. Can you tell us what your latest book, A Full House – But Empty is about?

Angus: Based on my background as stated above, apart from growing up during the Great Depression, my story is picking up the pieces as a grade school dropout and moving upward. And in the process, lessons learned.

Q: How difficult was it writing your book? Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?

Angus: I have never experienced writer’s block. I believe I have been blessed with a good memory along with an organized mind in terms of detail.

Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel? Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?

Angus: I have received several five-star reviews and I believe I have injected both some funny and unusual experiences.

Q: What is your daily writing routine?

Angus: When writing my book, I often found the evening hours most productive. I seemed to revisit those surroundings and past situations so clearly, profoundly and ebulliently my thoughts just poured out. My typing fingers were struggling just to keep up!

Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?

Angus: Hum, a cup of hot tea! Black or green!

Q: What book changed your life?

Angus: In terms of enjoyment rather than profoundness, I am an old movie buff! And I particularly like Bob Thomas and his biographies on Thalberg, Crawford and others. Historically and seriously, I love the works of Sir Winston Churchill – particularly, The Gathering Storm followed by WWII.

Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?

Angus: Facetiously, Part two-A Full House – But Empty.

Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”

Angus: Hopefully, a good person!

Thank you for this interview, Angus. I wish you much success on your latest release, A Full House – But Empty!

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Interview with Angus Munro, Author of A Full House – But Empty

AngusMunro ipgAngus Munro has written his touching Memoir, A Full House – But Empty. A Canadian born who grew up during the Great Depression and raised along with his two sisters, by a single parent – their father. Those were very difficult years for this small family. At age fourteen, due to an unfortunate incident, Angus dropped out of school. As a grade school dropout and self-imposed inward failure, at age seventeen, he was tossing lumber ends off of a conveyor belt in a sawmill. At that time, Angus met a university theological student who befriended him and pragmatically identified his potential encouragingly by telling to him to “get off of his ass and get moving.” And he did!

We interviewed Angus to find out more about his book, his past and his life now as a published author.

A Full HouseQ: Thank you for this interview, Angus. Can you tell us what your latest book, A Full House – But Empty is about?

Based on my background as stated above, apart from growing up during the Great Depression, my story is picking up the pieces as a grade school dropout and moving upward. And in the process, lessons learned.

Q: How difficult was it writing your book? Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?

I have never experienced writer’s block. I believe I have been blessed with a good memory along with an organized mind in terms of detail.

Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel? Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?

I have received several five-star reviews and I believe I have injected both some funny and unusual experiences.

Q: What is your daily writing routine?

When writing my book, I often found the evening hours most productive. I seemed to revisit those surroundings and past situations so clearly, profoundly and ebulliently my thoughts just poured out. My typing fingers were struggling just to keep up!

Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?

Hum, a cup of hot tea! Black or green!

Q: What book changed your life?

In terms of enjoyment rather than profoundness, I am an old movie buff! And I particularly like Bob Thomas and his biographies on Thalberg, Crawford and others. Historically and seriously, I love the works of Sir Winston Churchill – particularly, The Gathering Storm followed by WWII.

Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?

Facetiously, Part two-A Full House – But Empty.

Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”

Hopefully, a good person!

Thank you for this interview, Angus. I wish you much success on your latest release, A Full House – But Empty! If you would like to visit Angus’ website, visit www.angusrmunro.com.  If you’d like to pick up a copy of Angus’ book, A Full House – But Empty, click here!

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Book Review: A FULL HOUSE – BUT EMPTY by Angus Munro

A FULL HOUSE – BUT EMPTY
Angus Munro
Memoir
iUniverse
249 pages

Filled with anecdotes, lessons learned, and an inspirational message for everyone who believes that hard work breeds success, this moving autobiography shares the remarkable story of Angus Munro.

Munro is just three when he suffers from appendicitis and spends several weeks in a Vancouver hospital as his family struggles to survive the Great Depression. After finally arriving home, Munro asks his sister, “Where is Mummy?” and is promptly told his mother doesn’t live there anymore. It is this traumatic event that changes the course of Munro’s life forever. His father is suddenly a single parent while simultaneously turning into Munro’s mentor and hero. He teaches Munro the motto, “Always do the right thing,” while raising his children in an environment that is at the very least hectic, and more often completely chaotic.

Through a potpourri of chronological and heartfelt tales, Munro reveals how he learned to view incidents in life in terms of responsibility, recognition, personal conduct, and consideration of others. Despite dropping out of school at a young age, Munro perseveres, eventually attaining professional success.

Munro’s memoir is a wonderful tribute to his father’s legacy and the greatest lesson of all – whatever you do, follow through.

Anyone who has ever had a parent leave them as a young child will be moved, deeply affected, and emotionally pulled into Angus Munro’s beautiful masterpiece, A Full House – But Empty. I know I was. From the very first page came tears. However, this isn’t a sad book; instead, it’s a book about a man who grew up in the Great Depression by a father whose wife was caught cheating and left the home without so much of a goodbye to little Angus (that’s the sad part), and also who beat the odds and turned out into a man with extraordinary integrity and morals. It is through the pages of his book that you lose yourself and you find yourself walking the same path and that’s what I believe the author wanted his readers to do.

At three-years-old, Angus was brought home from the hospital after having his appendix removed only to find out his mother had left his father to be with another man. The author says he was a shy child, but I didn’t see it. His journey from childhood to manhood only reaffirmed my belief that this was a very strong and extraordinary man and to relive his life through reading his book was such a pleasure, I would pick the book up and read it all over again.

His father played a major role at the beginning, then as Angus started spreading his wings, he became a minor role but I believe that it is because of his father, he turned out to become the man he is today. Angus recounts other members of his family throughout the book, and I believe his sister was the # 1 person in his life and became his rock.

What I really loved about this book was that it was was set in the Great Depression in the early beginnings of this book and it’s few authors alive today who can give a first-hand experience of what it was like back then and Angus does an excellent job of describing this.

Overall, I came away from the book satisfied, and am looking forward to the next Angus Munro memoir which is in the works. I would fully recommend this book to anyone who would like to slip back in time and relive a life when life was simpler; yet, so much harder than it is today.

Angus Munro’s writing style was what I loved the most about this book. As a past editor, I subconsciously look for typos and grammar errors and there were none to be found. Impeccably edited. I also loved the book because I found myself relating to a lot that was inside. I didn’t grow up in the Great Depression, but I remember my grandmother talking about it and it was a terrible, terrible time. And, I also had an absent mother some parts of my childhood (that’s the part where I cried). I also loved it because as he got older and moved to California, it brought back memories of living there with all the glitz the state had to offer. Angus’ book had a lot to offer me, but more than anything, it was an enjoyable read and not something I found myself forced to do. His words took me back in time and for that, I am deeply indebted to him. But aside from all that, what I loved the most about FULL HOUSE – BUT EMPTY is that I realized that Angus Munro is an extraordinary human being and at seventy-seven years old, this is a big accomplishment for a first-time author and for him to do this well in bringing me into the story and keeping me there and not wanting to let go, I say it says a lot about his future as an author.  This man is going to go far.

l wouldn’t call it hate, but what I would have loved to have seen was more about his life as a child; in fact, I would have loved the whole book set in the Great Depression as a child. With the economic times being as bad as they are and the country heading into a recession, wouldn’t it be neat to read about how those in the Great Depression survived so that maybe we can take pointers from them? But, if the whole book was only that, then a lot of the author’s message wouldn’t have come through and that’s a big part of why he wrote his book. But, I’m wondering…he has a new book in the works..maybe…maybe?

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Guest Blogger: Angus Munro, author of A FULL HOUSE – BUT EMPTY


As promised in an earlier post, Angus Munro, author of A Full House – But Empty, has agreed to stop by As the Pages Turn and tell us more about his wonderful book and his experiences growing up in the Great Depression. What I find ironic is it seems the same thing might be going on here soon, knock on wood. Maybe Angus can give us some insights with his experiences growing up in the Great Depression…incidentally if you want to check Angus out on the web, his website is www.angusrmunro.com. Buy his book. Make a tour coordinator happy. ;o) I will be giving the book a full review on Friday so stay tuned for that! Take it away, Angus!

Growing Up in the Great Depression ( by Angus Munro)
I recently completed my Memoirs titled, A Full House – But Empty. I must preface that the following experiences and observations are coming from me as a child of the Great Depression and not as a mature adult today – reliving those many years ago.
I was born in Vancouver, Canada during that difficult period. At age three, my parents separated and my father received full custody of my two sisters and me. My older sister was six and my youngest sister was still in infancy. Based on our family situation, the Provincial Government furnished my father, free home care assistance and we had two wonderful ladies taking care of our daily needs. They would alternate their schedule to accommodate other similar commitments. However, one or the other would come – each weekday and we loved them.
My father had been a farmer and untrained for city life in terms of a specific trade or vocation. He was classified as unskilled labor. When not working my father did qualify for financial assistance. However, ironically when not working, he was put to work! He would be assigned to work at a local park as a watchman caretaker and/or as a spare gardener. I recall my sister Laura and I would stop by a neighborhood park that he was assigned to work. He was always happy to see us. In hindsight, and looking at today’s required vigilant and cautious world, seemingly, a concern of safety was never a factor. Laura and I would travel freely all over the neighborhood without fear or concern.
I recall during this period, three or four miles away, there were vast fields of wild blueberries. In season, a neighbor would take several families in the back of his truck and we all went blueberry picking. En route we would all sing the latest Hit Parade songs. Also, neighbors and friends would stop by with fruits and vegetables from their home gardens and orchards just to help us all get by. Those gifts often included used toys and clothing, etc.
My father loved playing poker. Several neighbors and friends would stop by during the week in the evenings for poker games. No one had any money so they used The Eddy Match Company wooden matches that came well supplied in a box. At the end of the evening – at settlement time with each having or not having a stack of matches to count as winnings– I have no idea how it was resolved – as to who got what after the final count. I was simply too young to know. Whatever, they all kept coming week after week and always playing with those wooden matches.
When unemployed, my father was provided with a Relief credit allotment to obtain clothing for we three children. One could always tell which children were from poor families as they had the same monolithic dress code. Same style, same material, all from the same allotment. The girls had their basic standard and the boys theirs.
Churches and private charity organizations were very generous in assisting families in need. Particularly, during the Christmas season, these great gift givers tried so hard to provide girls and boys with the most suitable toys. They also furnished food hampers throughout the year to those seriously in need. I am certain that many of those givers and would-be-caretakers, probably were personally faced with limited incomes and resources too.
We united with another family when I was seven years old. Another single father with five children. He and my father were both from farming families and had shared similar marital problems. Fortunately, that father was working full-time for a roofing company and my father was just working sporadically. They were both faced with the same problems and concerns so unifying our families was a positive union. We rented a large frame house that had a vacant adjacent lot – which we usurped. We raised chickens and goats that were housed on our adjacent lot, and we had four prolific apple trees in our main yard. The remaining land on both lots was cultivated into kitchen gardens growing a variety of vegetables. Overlooking our home, there were vast grasslands on railroad property to sustain our goats. We lads did the hoeing, tended to our chickens and goats and made milk deliveries, etc. We had a regular little farm in the city that helped us tremendously during those Depression years.
My father also had a key to a very secured orchard in South Vancouver. During the fruit-picking season, we lads along with my father would go to that orchard and pick apples, cherries, plums and pears. When leaving the orchard, we would have loaded containers and gunny sacks full of fruit and we would all stand at the back of the streetcar with my father. All being contained in that small area with our sacks and containers made if difficult for other passengers to board or exit the streetcar. It was really embarrassing; however, both the conductor and other passengers were generously kind to us. People were so thoughtful and giving during those difficult times.
My father would visit weekly the fish canneries at the docks and receive free salmon that was always so fresh and delicious. We had a wonderful bread man who would come daily with our order. Apart from his regular bread delivery service he had a small business on the side. He would purchase food supplies at reduced prices and offer them to his bread customers. On one occasion, we purchased a huge box of slightly damaged ice cream cones. We couldn’t afford the ice cream, so creatively we crunched up the cones and poured our goat’s milk over them. For a few weeks, this was our featured evening dessert. I can only say this, “ I unequivocally have never ever eaten the cone of an ice cream since. And ditto to drinking goat’s milk.”
In terms of entertainment, as children we were allotted six cents every Saturday to attend the local matinee theater. It cost five cents for the movie and one cent covered the cost of receiving three small pieces of candy. Cecil, a lad in the other family and I always went to the movies together. If no funds were available – I resourcefully took care of the situation. If our lilacs were in bloom or our apples when in season, I would take a bouquet or a bag to a neighbor stating that my father wanted us to share with them. Gratefully, they would give me a dime or so and off we went to the movies. On off –season, if the problem existed, we would surreptitiously raid clothes hangers from home and sell them to the local cleaners for a penny each. These nefarious stunts by the way, where done all on the Q. T. Our only concern was the end result – off to the movies – our favorite pastime.
A closing thought:
When I look back reminiscently – those four years – half being the tail end of the Great Depression were to me the happiest years in my life. Conversely, my father thought that particular period was the worst and dullest in his life. We parted as our rented house was sold. The other family purchased a fixer-upper and we rented an apartment. Apparently, with the exception of myself, all members of both families were ebulliently looking forward to our new locations. Our very close ties among both families remained – but I was so devastated facing our departure. To each his own; however, with great persistence, I still carry those wonderful memories of so long ago, but still, so very fresh in my thoughts.

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What I Am Reading – A Full House – But Empty

I’m on page 48 of a wonderful memoir by Angus Munro called A Full House – But Empty. I can’t go on enough about how talented this author is. I am fully enjoying this book and wish it wouldn’t end.

This guy is 77-years-old and his memory is better than mine! I am so enjoying his stories of when he was young during the depression.

But what really astounds me is the character of the man which shows up in his book. If I were to ever write a memoir, his book would be a good teacher.

Let me give you an example. On page 48, he tells about living with an aunt for awhile until he is to join his sister in the Spring. He is young, I’m thinking maybe 14 (I’m forgetting) and has left home, much against his father’s wishes but I’m thinking he wanted to explore life a little.

So, he’s staying with different relatives, but this one particular aunt who he stayed with briefly, he just adored. Now, when I quote him from his book, keep in mind that this is the Depression years and even pennies were looked upon like gold.

He has been caring for the aunt’s children and the aunt said she wanted to pay him for the time he spent watching over them. Look, this is what he writes:

“…in those days, all farms had root cellars – either within the home of adjacent to it – where they stored their larder. It was a natural place for storing fruits and vegetables. I checked their root cellar, came back with a quart of preserved peaches, and laughingly said, ‘This is my fee.’ My aunt responded with laughter and it became a joke between the two of us, as that was my remuneration each time. By the time she returned home the quart jar was always empty. And all consumed by me, the skinny babysitter (Apart from a workplace, I would never ever charge anyone for babysitting or performing other chores. I always volunteered just to be helpful).”

Now, the guy probably didn’t have too many expenses back then, but food was a pretty good payment I presume since that was hard to come by. But, I’m thinking he was doing it as an act of kindness and this was all part of his character.

Wouldn’t it be neat if politicians thought this way?

Anyway, back to reading…signing out…

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Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!
  • My two (2) “teaser” sentences for today:

    “My father, like so many others, gratefully worked hard and long hours during the war years after experiencing a terribly long Depression and mass unemployment.  Although my father was basically soft-spoken, he was an excellent conversationalist on both topical and historic issues, and he presented his views effectively.”

    (from page 25 of A Full House – But Empty by Angus Munro)

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    Angus Munro’s A FULL HOUSE – BUT EMPTY

    I started on this book a few days ago and because of work commitments, I haven’t been able to pick it back up but let me tell you, this is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Little Angus Munro was brought up by his father because his mother left the family when he was just three. I have to tell you, I cried on the first page…and this is only because I was relating because it’s not a depressing book at all; in fact, it’s quite an uplifting book.

    It’s set in the Depression years when food was scarce and poverty was at an all-time high, but somehow the families, including the Monros’, survived and made the best of it using what resources they had or could get. It’s quite a remarkable story and I’m really enjoying it.

    I have talked to the author and I told him how much I was enjoying the book and I think it made his day. I’ll be discussing this book more in detail, but I do have to mention that he will be on a virtual book tour next week and you can find out more about him and his book then.

    Meanwhile, more book talk coming up on…

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