Family

Thomas Tran / National Resources Conservation Service

Hattie says that just before her mother got married, she’d left the farm to start working in a grocery in Springfield, SD, where some young men “seemed suddenly to have a greater hunger for candy and cigars.” One of those young men would become Hattie’s father, who, she says, in all candor, “had need of a girl like this." 

A century ago, when a man got to a certain age, and he came to know he’d better get somebody to help with chores--a man needed to get a wife like he needed to get a haircut. 

Tall, dark, and handsome? --all of that. Virgil Earp and his brothers were big buffalo-shouldered guys who could make every man bellied up to the bar feel prune-ish. The Earps were Iowans, did some growing up here, anyway, their father a gold-digger forever looking west.

I’m talking Wyatt Earp here of OK Corral fame. He was an Iowan. Raised here, in Pella, tulips and wooden shoes down a straight-and-narrow path of Calvinist righteousness. Once upon a time, law-bible-toting, Dutch-speaking Pella was home to the Earp brothers of shelf full of dime novels.

Digital Scrapbooking

Siouxland has experienced a little flooding and that has bothered Siouxlanders. water in the basement can damage precious photos and family mementos.  Often, it’s hard to know what to do to salvage these artifacts. The interview with Randy Silverman can shed some like on how to save those photos and momentos. The audio above has more information.

An informal history of the family road trip!

Support for Check It Out comes from Avery Brothers.

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Almost a year passed before she heard anything at all from her brother. Not that she didn't try. She did, hard and often, writing letters that would return stamped, "Addressee Transferred" or "Return to Writer." One has a note penciled-in: "wounded 8/7/18. We have no further record of this man," then a date "4-2-19," six months after the First World War ended. 

She must have been worried sick. The war, people claimed joyfully, was over. But what did she know of her brother? Nothing. A profound, inconsolable emptiness must have left her sleepless in a nightmare.

Public Domain Pictures

Some psychologists want to drop the last initial in PTSD. They claim that to call PTSD a “disorder” makes the condition appear unusual. It isn’t. They claim that if you’ve been to war, you have post-traumatic stress because war is trauma.

I can’t help thinking such distinctions wouldn’t have mattered to the woman in the casket yesterday. Her husband took Nazi fire at the Battle of the Bulge and came home with a purple heart from wounds that were visible–and some that were not. “He just wasn’t the same when he came back from the war,” one of his relatives said.

During this time of year, we start to see “Best Books of the Year” lists pop up all over.  Today, I am recommending a book that is already at the top of many of these lists—Little Fires Everywhere, the sophomore novel by Celeste Ng—a complex story that examines the themes of loyalty and betrayal, and at its heart, asks the question “Do the faults of our past determine what we deserve in the future?”

Today, I’m recommending Seven Days of Us by Francesa Hornak. Making her fiction debut, Hornak has crafted a witty yet deeply heartfelt work that bestselling author Emily Giffin describes as, “an insightful, character-driven look at the real failures, fumbles, and false starts that define family—and why understanding the people closest to us might be the hardest thing in the world.”

Each year, the American Library Association recognizes 10 outstanding adult books that provide teens with an introduction to adult literature.  Today, I am recommending Everything I Never Told You--the award-winning debut novel by bestselling author Celeste Ng.

This mesmerizing story begins with the drowning death of 16 year-old Lydia Lee--the middle and favorite child of James and Marilyn Lee. One spring morning in 1977, Lydia fails to show up for breakfast.  We know that she has drowned in a nearby lake, but her family doesn’t.

Today, I’m recommending a quirky work of domestic fiction called Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory.

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