TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- Six months after publishing his family memoir "27 Cottage Place" -- a book about his family and growing up in Tarrytown -- Peter Barbella Jr. is already working on the sequel.
"27 Cottage Place" tells the story of the Barbella family, made more familiar in the village because Barbella's father, Peter Sr., was mayor in the 1980s and the inspiration for the book.
Barbella, who attended schools in both Tarrytown and Elmsford and graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in upstate Troy, had a 35-year career as an aerospace engineer. He also has a "27 Cottage Place" blog where readers can interact.
"When I became addicted to genealogy (after his father died), I discovered that I knew very little of his childhood," Barbella said. "I knew that his father had died when he was only 2. I knew that he grew up in Elmsford with his mother and stepfather; but little else."
Barbella said he wanted his children and grandchildren to have some stories to remember him and the family's history.
"So I began to collect short stories about incidents in my life," the author said. "I wove the stories together into a book juxtaposed to life in Tarrytown in the 1950s and 1960s. I finished the book in time to hand them out as Christmas presents for 2013. I self-published the book, through Amazon, bought a few dozen copies, and handed them out to my family and friends."
With his family project accomplished, Barbella was surprised that others in the community were interested in his book. He said he even received a few phone calls from readers who enjoyed the book and wanted to share some of their own stories.
"Word got out about the book, and people began buying it from Amazon," he said. "It's not on the New York Times Best Seller List, but Tarrytowners from my era began to buy the book. To judge from the reviews on Amazon, they are enjoying the book and reliving their own pasts."
Since publishing, Barbella and his wife, Gayann, made a two-week genealogical trip to the homelands of both spouse's ancestors.
"We met with friends and relatives, and we continue to collect stories about our past," he said. "This will be the subject of my second book, in progress. It was, to say the least, a satisfying venture, and I'm certainly glad that I followed through on my original idea."
Barbella and his wife now live in Massachusetts with their children and nine grandchildren. They both love golf, music and genealogy.
To purchase "27 Cottage Place," log on to the book's Amazon.com webpage.
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