Hearing Highlands stories


Jenkins penning new book about growing up in Highlands.

  • Local author Angela Lewis Jenkins is working on a book about what it was like to grow up in Highlands, as told by folks who experienced it.
    Local author Angela Lewis Jenkins is working on a book about what it was like to grow up in Highlands, as told by folks who experienced it.

There is a new book coming out next spring, penned by a local author that will tell the story of what it was like growing up in Highlands by those who lived it. 

Memories of Highlands’ Early Years… featuring stories by native Highlanders, is being written and edited by Angela Lewis Jenkins, and is a culmination of stories about what Highlands was like a couple of generations ago. The book will feature stories written by native Highlanders about growing up here and other remembrances of their childhood in Highlands. 

Jenkins, who is the director of music at Highlands First Presbyterian Church, said she was inspired by her mother to write the book and make it more than just another memoir about life in Highlands.

“My mother, Jane Anderson Lewis, had so many stories about growing up in Highlands as a child,” Jenkins said, who is a seventh generation native Highlander. “My goal was to record her stories and get them down on paper as something of a legacy for her children.”

Sadly, just two weeks after coming up with the idea for the book, Jenkins’ mother was diagnosed with cancer and has since passed on. The book, Jenkins said, is an homage to her mother and the stories she heard about growing up in Highlands.

“I am a seventh generation Highlands’ native,” she said. “My kids, who were also born and raised here and their kids, are eighth and ninth generation Highlands natives.”

To get her stories, Jenkins sent out more than 60 letters soliciting the childhood memories and stories for the book from fellow Highlands natives. 

“I thought if I had 15-20 stories, I’d be doing pretty good, but as it turned out I had 15 individual stories for the book,” Jenkins said. 

The topics of the oral stories included the holidays and special Christmastime celebrations; how was life during the depression and what was your first job? 

In addition to Jenkins, there are stories by her mother, Jane Anderson Lewis, Virginia Brinson Bryson, Mary Anne Cresswell, Edna Norton Crisp, Agnes Gibson Crowe, Betty Crawford Fisher, Betty Holt, Bobby Houston, Hazel Edwards Rogers and Kenneth Wilson. 

The book will be soft cover and about 150 pages in length. 

“There are a lot of old photographs going in the book as well,” she said. 

Jenkins came up with the idea for the writing project back in mid-April… on a Thursday. 

“I didn’t even have to think about it,” she said. “About two weeks later we found out mother had terminal cancer.”

During the interim since her mother passed away, the book has provided a welcomed distraction. 

“I have to be doing something,” she said. “I have to be busy.” 

Jenkins said there will also be a section of photos of those who have passed on. 

“Seeing these photographs are going to bring back a flood of memories,” she said. 

Jenkins invites the public to send in their old photographs to be included in the book. The deadline for receipt of these old photos is Dec. 1.

“The book should be published, hopefully, in the spring of 2021,” she said. 

For more information about including a photograph or to submit an oral history of your childhood in Highlands, email angiejenkins117@gmail.com