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Canton resident compiles essays into new book

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CANTON - Peter E. Van de Water doesn’t just make observations about daily life in Canton and the wider world.

For several years he recorded his opinions in writing, covering topics that ranged from politics to farm life.

“I interpret things in my own way,” Mr. Van de Water said. “I enjoy putting my thoughts on paper. If someone else enjoys reading what I wrote, it’s a bonus.”

Between 2000 and 2006, Mr. Van de Water’s essays were published in the St. Lawrence Plaindealer weekly newspaper as a column titled, “Rural Living II.”

Several of his writings are featured in his new book, “This is What I Thought at the Time,” released earlier this month by Commercial Press, Canton.

“It’s a richly diversified collection of memories, thoughts and opinions,” the 75-year-old said. “It was fun for me to write the essays.”

The 214-page, soft covered book is available at St. Lawrence University’s Brewer Bookstore, 92 Park St. It can also be purchased online at brewerbookstore.com.

A book signing is scheduled 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday at the SLU bookstore. Illustrations were sketched by Mr. Van de Water’s, grandson, Jay Van de Water Kepes, a 17-year-old junior at Canton’s Hugh C. Williams High School.

Mr. Van de Water said many of his essays were prompted by items he read in newspapers, books or magazines. The book also highlights childhood memories and changes he’s witnessed in society.

Mr. Van de Water, a 1958 graduate of SLU, has spent most of his life in Canton and was employed for many years in administrative positions at SLU before retiring in 1984.

He and his wife, Rebecca B., raised three children in the community, Thomas B. Van de Water, Catherine L. Brown, and Elizabeth B. Van de Water. They have six grandchildren.

Mr. Van de Water has also played an active volunteer role in the community, including leadership roles with the Canton Community Fund, the Canton Rotary Club and Grasse River Heritage Corp.

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