By Sarah McCoy
Iowa: Unexpected Joy Press, 2006. Edition of 32.
5 x 7"; 16 pages. Dos-a-dos construction. Stiff leaf bind with soft cover.Printed on Mohawk Superfine. Letterpressed on Japanese Hosokawa Ohban paper. Collage. Typefaces: Bellevue, Didot, Engravers, Interstate, P22 Johnston Underground, and Eric Gill's Perpetua.
Sarah McCoy: "This book grew out of a trip to Poland and many conversations during 2005 and 2006 with my grandmother, Virginia Petroff. This book is dedicated to her and her enduring spirit."
One side of the dos-a-dos book is a collaged version of the life of Virginia Olstynsky Petroff, born January 9, 1919, to Polish immigrants in Hammond, Indiana. In her eighties decided she "wanted to see Poland before I die." In the summer of 2005 she made that trip with her granddaughter, Sarah McCoy.
The other side of the dos-a-dos presents a collaged version of the life of the granddaughter, Sarah McCoy.
The format allows for appreciating common elements in the lives of two women born 50 years apart: love, family, work, first homes. Each story is punctuated by events from the larger world: the Depression, Pearl Harbor, the death of JFK, Oklahoma City. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 appear in both stories.
The twin themes of the book are repetition and change, repetition and change. Tritely, the more things change, the more they stay the same. What binds the book together is the spirit of optimism that glows out of the relationship of this grandmother and this granddaughter.